Around the Farm: July 20, 2012

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-2, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB:
This is the kind of performance I love. No, Aguilar did not launch one of his patented home runs, but he did tally a double and showed great patience by drawing two walks. Aguilar has now drawn 40 walks this year compared to 76 strikeouts. No, the numbers aren’t great, but they do show marked improvement from 2011 when he drew a total of 46 walks. I’ve said it before and will say it again, no single player in the Tribe’s system has me more excited than Aguilar.
Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B:

Now, there’s the Wolters we all know and love. Wolters has been on fire as of later and that continued on Friday. With his three-hit performance, the left-handed hitter raised his average to .266. He still has a ways to go to catch up to the .292 clip that he hit at last year, but his recent progress has been encouraging. At the very least, Wolters is a very intriguing infielder to watch in the years to come, or perhaps, he might serve as potential trade bait as the Indians attempt to acquire that elusive right-handed bat.

Jacob Lee: SP, Mahoning Valley (Game 2): (W, 4-0), 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K:
How good has Jacob Lee been so far? He’s been good in just about every start, but on Friday, he might have put together his best performance yet. The right-handed starter pitched five perfect innings and recorded five strikeouts. He now holds a 2.11 ERA, is 4-0 and has recorded 27 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. Yes, it can be argued that the 22-year-old might be facing poor competition in the New York-Penn League, but regardless, his strong performances make him a very intriguing prospect moving forward.
  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB: Carrera has now raised his average on the season to .272. I know that he seems to have fallen out of favor with the Tribe’s front office, but I must say that I would much rather have him on our team as a defensive replacement over Aaron Cunningham.
  • Vinny Rottino: RF, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI: Rottino has been impressive in his 17 games as a Clipper and now holds a .309 average. Yet, it is probably irrelevant as the 32-year-old has been largely unimpressive in 44 career Major League games where he owns a .182 average.
  • Gregorio Petit: SS, Columbus: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Petit made the most of his one hit Friday as he led off the third inning with a solo home run, his sixth of the season.
  • T.J. McFarland: SP, Columbus: (W, 4-3), 7 IP, 8 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K: Few pitchers have been as impressive as the big left-hander this season as McFarland has essentially had just two poor starts the entire season. On Friday, he was at his best once again as he needed just 96 pitches to get through seven innings. Given that he is left-handed and only 23 years old, McFarland is an intriguing prospect and could figure to be a nice back of the rotation starter in the future.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: (L, 6-7), 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R/2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K: Soto was not dominant as he was in his last start when he pitched a no-hitter. The lanky lefty needed 88 pitches to get through five innings. On the positive side of things, he limited the damage and gave the Aeros an excellent opportunity to win even if they weren’t up to the task on this night.
  • Thomas Neal: LF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 BB: Neal notched one hit Friday, and he remains arguably the most intriguing prospect in the Indians’ system as of late. The right-handed hitter holds a .299 average with the Aeros this year, and I hate to beat an old drum… but why is he not playing in Columbus already?
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: I’ve always liked Diaz because of his glove, but his bat has also impressed on occasion this season. On Friday, Diaz slugged his 9th home run of the season, equaling his total from last year. Hard to say if Diaz has any major league future, but it’s always a good thing when a player seems to develop more power as he progresses through the system.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Akron: 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K: It’s been quite the year for Armstrong, and that did not change on Friday. Since his promotion to Akron, the right-hander has pitched five scoreless innings to go along with eight strikeouts.
  • Toru Murata: RP, Akron: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K: Looking at the numbers, it’s amazing Murata did not give up a run. The three punchouts are nice, but the walks leave a lot to be desired.
  • Danny Salazar: SP, Carolina: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K: Well, once again, Salazar is held to a strict pitch count, but it is hard to argue with the results. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.03 and has now struckout 45 batters in 44 2/3 innings this season.
  • Jordan Cooper: RP, Carolina: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K: It gets no better than this. The right-hander threw four perfect innings and averaged a strikeout per inning. Cooper has done well in a piggyback role this season and lowered his ERA to 3.35 after Friday’s perfect performance.
  • Grant Sides: RP, Carolina: S (4), 1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K: Between Lake County and Carolina, Sides has been fantastic this season. Though he got into a little trouble Friday by walking two straight batters, Sides maintained his composure as he came back to get a strikeout and flyout to end the inning. The 23-year-old now holds a 0.79 ERA in nine games with the Mudcats. It will be interesting to see how far the Indians choose to push him this season. So far, he has shown that he is up to the challenge.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Lindor has started to heat back up as of late and with Friday’s two-hit performance, he raised his average back up to .270.
  • Jose Ramirez: 2B, Lake County: 2-for-5: Outside of Lindor, Ramirez was the only other Captain to register a multi-hit game Friday. The 19-year-old infielder has more than held his own with Lake County as he now owns a .288 average in 25 games.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 2 K: As an undrafted player from the 2011 draft class, it’s hard to get too excited for Sabourin, but I admit to having a soft spot for the left-handed hitter. In 88 games with Lake County, Sabourin holds a .298 average and has shown some pretty good plate discipline. At this point, whatever he develops into should be considered a bonus to the Indians.
  • Elvis Araujo: SP, Lake County: (L, 4-8), 8 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K: Much like his right-handed teammate Felix Sterling, Araujo has struggled mightily as of late. That remained the same on Friday. It’s disheartening because the talent is certainly there, but the Indians may want to start thinking of moving him to the bullpen, at least for the remainder of this season.
  • Joseph Wendle: 2B, Mahoning Valley (Game 1): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Wendle has been incredibly impressive so far. The PSAC product continued his tear in a game that was suspended from Thursday as he collected three hits, including two doubles. As a Division II college baseball player, it would be easy to think that Wendle might show some difficulty adjusting to the professional game, but so far, he seems to have made a flawless transition.
  • Evan Frazar: 1B, Mahoning Valley (Game 1): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB: The Indians’ 27th round pick of the 2011  draft certainly had a moment he’ll remember as he hit a grand slam in the top of the third inning to give the Scrappers a 5-3 lead.
  • Richard Stock: C, Mahoning Valley (Game 1): 2-for-3, 1 R: The Tribe’s 2012 27th round pick continued the hot start to his professional career and now has a .304 average.
  • Tyler Naquin: CF, Mahoning Valley (Game 1): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB: Naquin continues to impress and get on base quite frequently. With just a short amount of time left in the minor league season, it will be interesting to see if the Indians decide to move him up before long.
  • Juan Romero: RF, Mahoning Valley (Game 2): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: Honestly, Romero’s stats have become laughable. I actually struggle to type this. The 19-year-old holds a .187 average and has now hit six home runs and driven in 15 runs in 22 games. He has also recorded an alarmingly high 39 strikeouts to go along with just three walks… How is that even possible? Though his home run proved to be the difference in the Scrappers’ 2-1 win, so the value of his power certainly cannot be understated.
  • Jairo Kelly: SS, Mahoning Valley (Game 2): 1-for-1, 2 BB: There was not much to like about Mahoning Valley’s second game as the team recorded just three hits and committed three errors in earning an ugly 2-1 win. Nonetheless, Kelly recorded one of those three hits and showed good patience in drawing two walks.
  • Juan Herrera: 2B, AZL Indians (Game 1): 2-for-5, 1 R: The AZL Indians made up a suspended game from the Fourth of July on Friday, but considering that they were defeated 18-3, it was a game they probably would have rather just skipped. Herrera was a bright spot though as the 19-year-old recorded two of the team’s eight hits.
  • Dorssys Paulino: DH, AZL Indians (Game 1): 3-for-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI: Paulino is such an exciting player, especially considering that he is just 17 years old. He put together quite the performance in the AZL Indians’ first game Friday as he recorded three hits including a triple.
  • Tyler Booth: CF, AZL Indians (Game 2): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 K: The Tribe’s 13th round pick in the 2012 draft has been impressive in the early going and has now hit .291 in 12 games. Aside from the 13 strikeouts in those games, there’s a lot to like about Booth’s numbers.
  • Jorge Martinez: 3B, AZL Indians (Game 2): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: The 19-year-old Martinez is now in his third season with the AZL Indians, and so far, he seems to be a different player. In 20 games, Martinez has a .400 average and shows steady improvement from the .256 and .216 batting averages that he posted in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
  • Manuel Boscan: DH, AZL Indians (Game 2): 3-for-3, 4 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB: Amazing what a game like this can do for a man’s average at the beginning of a season. Boscan entered the game hitting .190 but exited the game hitting .292 after this Herculean performance.
  • Claudio Bautista: 2B, AZL Indians (Game 2): 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Bautista hit his first home run of the 2012 campaign Friday. In 14 games, his average now sits at .261.
  • Dylan Baker: SP, AZL Indians (Game 2): 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R/0 ER, 1 K: The start is better than the Tribe’s 2012 5th round pick’s last start where he gave up two earned runs in an inning of work, but it is still hardly what you would call impressive. Still, it was nice to see Baker get stretched out a little bit more. It’s progress regardless of how minimal it may seem.

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