Jake Lowery, C-LCC: 1-4, HR (5), RBI, R, 2 K.
Lowery was the Indians 4th round pick out of James Madison University in 2011, coming off of a season in which he won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher. He signed quickly and went straight to Mahoning Valley, where he started off hot but clearly wore down at the end of a long season to finish the NYPL campaign with a .245/.377/.415 line. Lowery was impressive enough that the Indians had him skip over low-A Lake County and start the season in high-A Carolina, passing over Midwest League All-Star catcher Alex Monsalve and fellow top prospect Alex Lavisky in the process. Lowery struggled at the plate in the notoriously hitter-friendly Carolina League, hitting just .222/.315/.325 with 2 HR in 59 games with the Mudcats. The Indians sent him down to low-A Lake County in mid-July to try and jumpstart what was considered an advanced bat, and after an initial struggle it looks like the move might finally be working. It's a small sample size, but Lowery has hit all 5 of his Midwest League HR's in his last 10 games, and in his last 5 contests he's hitting .278/.316/.833 with 3 bombs. Lowery is still just 22 years old, and has the raw tools to be a solid two-way catcher in the major leagues. He's got a strong arm, strong enough to gun down runners stealing 2nd from his knees, and moves well behind the plate. He needs to clean up some of the fundamentals in his recieving and throwing mechanics, but they are minor issues that can be fixed with time and experience. His struggles at the plate are more concerning, but he has good hands and a nice lefthanded swing, he just needs to work on pitch recognition/selection. There's still an awful lot to like here, and hopefully Lowery can close 2012 with a solid run in Lake County and build on that success next year when he's back in Carolina.
Eric Berger, SP-COL: 6 IP, ER, 5 H, 2 K, 2 BB. Still not sure why the Indians are trying to force a square peg in a round hole here. Even with last night's solid start, Berger's AAA ERA as a starter is 6.55 in 44 IP as opposed to 1.57 in 23 IP out of the bullpen. His walk rate his higher as a starter, his K rate is lower, his opposing AVG against is higher, his HR rate is higher...I just don't get it.
Scott Barnes, RP-COL: W (1-3), 1 2/3 IP, K. Now Barnes could actually start and has had success in that role, and yet he's in the bullpen. This organization confuses me sometimes.
Jason Donald, 3B-COL: 3-5, 2B, RBI, R, 2 K. Donald has been hitting well in Columbus, with a .349/.404/.512 line in his last 10 games. His AAA OPS is .807 overall, and it's pretty likely that he's a September call up this year, if not sooner.
Aaron Cunningham, RF-COL: 2-3, BB, R. Cunningham has played six games for the Clippers, and is hitting a robust .176/.263/.176. That's right in line with the .175/.245/.247 line he put up in Cleveland this year.
Trey Haley, RP-AKR: 2 IP, 2 H, K. Haley made his AA debut last night with a pair of scoreless innings for the Aeros. Like I've been saying, if he's healthy, he could fly through the system. His fastball sits between 94-96 MPH, and has touched triple digits.
Tyler Holt, CF-AKR: 2-3, BB, K. Holt has a 9-game hitting streak going, during which he's hitting .353/.421/.353. He still has just 3 XBH in 29 AA games, but it seems like he's getting more comfortable at the plate.
Juan Diaz, SS-AKR: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 2 K. Diaz and Holt accounted for all four of the Aeros hits yesterday. he's hitting .294/.351/.500 in his last 10, and has a .746 OPS overall. He's hit 11 HR and driven in 52 for AA Akron this season.
Mike Rayl, SP-CAR: W (8-8), 6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 7 H, 4 K, 2 BB. In his last four starts, Rayl has gone 3-1, allowing 7 ER in 23 IP. He's struck out 12 and walked 7 in that timeframe, and has lowered his season ERA to 4.22.
Cole Cook, RP-CAR: IP, 0 H, 0 R. Cook with another clean inning, and stretches his scorless streak to 14 1/3. He hasn't given up a run of any kind since June.
Tony Wolters, SS-CAR: 2-5, R, 2 K. Wolters has hit in 8 of his last 10 games, with a .333/.386/.564 line in that span. His season line is up to .270/.331/.397 with 4 HR, 24 doubles and 47 RBI.
Gio Urshela, 3B-CAR: 3-4, HR (8), 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, K. Urshela is 6 for his last 13, raising his season line to a solid .267/.302/.402. He slugged just .347 last year in Lake County, so the increase in power is a really encouraging sign for the slick-fielding young 3B. He's still just 20 years old, so that power should continue to mature as he adds strength to his frame.
Ronny Rodriguez, SS-CAR: 1-4, HR (13), 3 RBI, R. Ro-Ro's season numbers now stand at an impressive .271/.309/.439 with 13 HR, 16 doubles and 55 RBI. Pretty good for his first full season in professional baseball.
Elvis Araujo, SP-LCC: 6 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 6 K, 3 BB. I'm surprised at how ineffective Araujo has been this year; I really expected him to be one of the top pitchers in the system this year. He missed 2009-2010 with injuries, but pitched enough in 2011 that I expected a leap forward in 2012. With a 5-9 record to go along with a 5.20 ERA for the Captains, that just hasn't happened.
Leo Castillo, 1B-LCC: 2-4, HR (4), 2 RBI, 2 R. Playing a rare game at 1B, Castillo sent the Captains fans home happy with a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 8th inning in a 7-5 Lake County victory yesterday. His season line is just .207/.247/.307.
Luigi Rodriguez, CF-LCC: 2-4, R, SB. Rodriguez has slumped to a .270/.337/.407 line after a fast start this season, but the numbers are still pretty solid for a 19-year old learning a new position in his first full year in a full-season league.
Jake Sisco, SP-MVS: 6 IP, 5 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 2 BB. Sisco actually gave up more runs than hits, primarily thanks to a pair of those hits being home runs. He's 1-3 with a 3.93 ERA for the Scrappers now, having struck out 31 and walked 21 in 52 2/3 IP.
Joe Wendle, 2B-MVS: 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI. Wendle has hit in 9 of his last 10, putting up a .395/.409/.605 line with 2 HR and 8 RBI. He's up to .336/.388/.527 in 37 games with the Scrappers this season.