After a bit of an Around the Farm hiatus due to work/travel, we're back this morning taking a look at some individual performances from around the Indians affiliates. With Lonnie Chisenhall promoted to the big club, Columbus is woefully thin on anything that could be called a hitting prospect. The AAA team has become mostly a stomping ground for has-beens (Chris Ray and Jeremy Accardo) and never-was (Matt LaPorta, Russ Canzler, Andy LaRoche, Chad Huffman...I could go on). There's a smattering of interesting arms, but CC Lee is hurt and Scott Barnes has been converted to relief, so that's a big hit on two of the top prospects on the team. What I'm basically trying to tell you is to expect more in ATF on legit prospects lower in the system than droning on about AAA filler who are there in case of emergency at the big league level. You don't need me to tell you that Andy LaRoche went 1-3 with a BB last night (even though I suppose I just did), because he's not going to be a significant piece of the big league roster going forward. I'd much rather talk about an extra kid at the lower levels than one of these vets taking up space in C-Bus. Anyway, on to the recap...
Eric Berger, SP-COL: 5 2/3 IP, ER, 3 H, 6 K, 3 BB. Aside from his May 24 start in which he allowed 10 ER in 2 IP, Berger has been oustanding for AAA Columbus. Again, leaving out that one start, Berger has thrown 22 2/3 innings, allowing just 6 earned runs while walking 8 and striking out 20. You can't just pick and choose which stats to keep and which to throw out, but that 10 run outing sure looks like an abberation to me.
Jason Donald, 2B-COL: 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB. Donald had two of the Clippers 5 hits yesterday, and the only XBH for the club. Since being sent down to the minors, Donald is hitting a respectable .304/.418/.478 with a HR and 5 RBI in 12 games for the Clippers.
T.J. House, SP-AKR: W (4-1), 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, K, 4 BB. Wierd start for House, who walked too many guys and didn't miss a lot of bats, but still managed 5 1/3 shutout innings. House has been excellent for AA Akron, going 4-1 with a 2.80 ERA in his 6 starts since being called up from Carolina. He's thrown 35 1/3 innings, struck out 28 and walked 14. Opposing hitters are batting just .198 against him, which is pretty good for the AA Eastern League.
Bryce Stowell, RP-AKR: IP, K. Stowell missed about a month, but is back in action and has now made three appearances without incident. He's thrown 3 innings in May, striking out 5 and allowing an earned run.
Preston Guilmet, RP-AKR: S (6), IP, ER, H, 2 K. Guilmet's 1st appearance since May 16, and he records his 6th save of the season. Overall, he's thrown 13 innings this year, allowing 6 earned runs (4.15 ERA) while walking 4 and striking out 11.
Chun Chen, C-AKR: 1-4, R, K. Chen was back behind the dish last night for the Aeros for the 5th time this year. On the season, he's hitting .316/.394/.433, still with just one home run. Not sure where Chen's power went, but last year it did come in spurts where he'd hit 2 HR a game or several in a week. Hopefully one of those outbursts is forthcoming, because if he's going to be a 1B he's got to hit for more power.
Kyle Bellows, 3B-AKR: 1-4, 2 K. The suddenly well-balanced Bellows has his season line up to a respectable .257/.349/.399 with 5 HR and 20 RBI. He's a 23-year old repeating AA, so he should hit. He's always had an elite glove, so if his bat even works it's way up to average, we're talking about a prospect here. In May, Bellows is hitting .289/.360/.478 with 4 HR. If he can keep that up, he's a prospect. If he regresses back to his April line of .207/.333/.276, he's back to organizational filler.
Nick Weglarz, LF-AKR: 1-2, 2B, BB, R. Weglarz has hit in 7 of his last 8, and in his last 10 games has a line of .310/.382/.586 with a pair of HR and 7 RBI.
Kyle Blair, RP-CAR: W (2-1), 5 UP, 3 R (2 ER), 5 H, 2 K, 2 BB. Blair came on in relief yesterday, and worked 5 effective innings for the victory. He had given up 12 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last two appearances, so this was an encouraging sign for the young righty.
Shawn Armstrong, RP-CAR: IP, 2 K. Armstrong's dominant season continues, as he's now thrown 26 innings for high-A Carolina, allowed just a pair of earned runs, struck out 35 and walked 14.
Tony Wolters, SS-CAR: 3-5, 3 RBI, 3 R, K. Wolters has put together an outstanding month of May after struggling in high-A to open the season. He hit just .130/.231/.159 in April, but has turned things around to the tune of a .309/.381/.436 line with a HR, 3B and 7 2B here in May. In his last 10 games, he's hitting .390/.479/.561. Wolters skipped low-A entirely and is still just 19 years old, so it's understandable that he had a bit of an adjustment period. He's got 80 #want and is a really fun kid to watch play the game, so it's especially great to see him finding success for the Mudcats.
Jesus Aguilar, 1B-CAR: 3-5, 3B, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R. Improbably, Aguilar has two triples in his last three games. He had two triples in 462 at bats all of last season.
Jeremie Tice, DH-CAR: 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI, R. Tice is up to .313/.400/.649 on the season, and his 1.049 OPS leads the Carolina League. Still, he's a 25-year old DH in high-A for the 3rd straight season; he needs to be doing this in AAA (or at least AA) to be considered much of a prospect. Health has been an issue for the slugger in the past, but he's appeared in 38 games for the Mudcats already this season.
Tyler Holt, CF-CAR: 1-4, RBI, BB, SB, 2 K. Holt has slumped down to a .298/.404/.392 line after a sizzling start, but those are still some pretty good overall numbers. He's stolen 12 bases, but been caught 6 times as well.
Elvis Araujo, SP-LCC: 3 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 7 H, 2 K, 2 BB. Araujo has started 11 games for the Captains, throwing 53 2/3 innings, striking out 45 and walking 20. He has a 3.19 ERA and has allowed opposing hitters to bat .269 against him. Yesterday's 3 inning effort was his shortest outing of the season.
Jeff Johnson, RP-LCC: IP, 3 K. Perfect frame for Johnson, who has been lights-out of late. His season ERA is 5.66, but in his last 10 outings he's thrown 10 1/3 innings, allowed just one earned run and struck out 17 while walking just two.
Leo Castillo, 3B-LCC: 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R. Castillo is 5 for his last 9 with a pair of doubles and 5 RBI. Overall he's hitting just .183/.223/.268, but he won't even turn 19 until July. There's a lot to like here, believe it or not.
Francisco Lindor, SS-LCC: 1-4, R. Lindor is in his first prolonged slump of his career, as he's hitting just .167/.239/.214 in his last 10 games. No one said he'd hit .400 this year. Struggling and learning to adjust is all part of the developmental process, and we're going to see how quickly Lindor makes adjustments at the plate.
Alex Lavisky, C-LCC: 1-3, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R, SB. Lavisky has hit in 8 of his last 9 games, and has worked his season line up to a respectable .261/.323/401 with 3 HR and 23 RBI. I told you to be patient with the young backstop, and I still think he's going to put up good numbers down the road.
Jordan Smith, LF-LCC: 1-5, HR (3), 2 RBI, R, 2 K. Overall, the lanky Smith is hitting .265/.304/.411 with 3 HR and 20 RBI. He's a man without a position, as he's probably not a 3B long-term and the lower levels of the system are crowded with OF, so it will be interesting to see where Smith plays going forward.
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