Minor-League Update: April, Part I

(Rankings based on my off-season prospect list)

(1) 3B Andy Marte
    AAA: 102 AB, .255/.355/.343,
    Trend: Down

    Marte doesn't have a single home run to his credit, but does have 9 doubles. The Indians are trying to fine-tune his two-strike approach, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is pretty decent. The lack of power is disappointing, though.

(2) LHP Jeremy Sowers
    AAA: 36.2 IP, 1.47 ERA, 37 H, 23 SO, 14 BB
    Trend: Level

    The peripherals are off a bit, especially the walks, but everything else looks OK. He hasn't given up a single home run, which speaks to his command within the strike zone.

(3) RHP Adam Miller
    AA: 32.2 IP, 2.76 ERA, 26 H, 31 SO, 6 BB
    Trend: Up

    Tasty. Miller made #3 on my list because of his physical attributes, but he's really become a pitcher this season. He's cut down on his walks, and kept everything else status quo. That's good.

(4) RHP Fernando Cabrera
    MLB: 8.2 IP, 11.42 ERA, 8 H, 11 SO, 8 BB
    AAA: 8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 8 H, 13 SO, 2 BB
    Trend: Level

    Cabrera came down with WBC disease, and a fortunate bruise on his foot allowed him to recuperate in Buffalo, where he seemed to haved fixed his control issues. He's still working his way back into the setup rotation in Cleveland.

(5) 1B Ryan Garko
    AAA: 100 AB, .260/.381/.410, 19 SO, 13 BB
    Trend: Down

    The lineup in Buffalo has collectively gone cold, and Garko has been no exception. His peripherals are still decent, so it's not like he's swinging at pitches in the dirt.

(6) RHP Fausto Carmona
    MLB: 17.0 IP, 7.94 ERA, 21 H, 10 SO, 6 BB
    AAA: 16.1 IP, 6.06 ERA, 15 H, 15 SO, 3 BB
    Trend: Level

    I'm going to give Fausto a mulligan because he's been up and down the first month. A lot of his problems in Cleveland were related to overthrowing his off-speed pitches, which made his fastball seem a bit slower than it should have. He'll continue to work on that in Buffalo.

(7) OF Franklin Gutierrez
    AAA: 120 AB, .275/.356/.408, 29 SO, 14 BB
    Trend: Level

    For the first few weeks of the season, it appeared that Franklin had figured out the strike zone, but in recent weeks, he's been piling up the K's. His glove will play anywhere in the outfield, but I don't know if the Indians can justify placing him on a corner until he can show more power.

(8) OF Brad Snyder
    AA: 116 AB, .250/.310/.405, 42 SO, 10 BB
    Trend: Down

    Yeah, a 4-to-1 SO/BB isn't going to get Snyder to Buffalo anytime soon. The Indians were planning on having Brad getting most of his 2006 ABs with the Bisons, but John Farrell hasn't been pleased with him thus far:

"[The problem] centers around strike-zone discipline," Indians farm director John Farrell said. "Clearly, when he chases pitches out of the zone, he's not as productive a hitter as when he does maintain a disciplined approach."

(9) C Kelly Shoppach
    MLB: 10 AB, .300/.417/.300, 3 SO, 2 BB
    Trend: Incomplete

    With Victor Martinez hitting .364, Shoppach isn't going to get much playing time. He's made the most of it, though. Jim Callis has an interesting take on Shoppach, in that it might be best for the Indians to deal him for help at second base:

But I will share one of my smaller deals: Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach for Giants second baseman Kevin Frandsen.

[snip]

While Frandsen, a gamer with solid tools, is the heir apparent if San Francisco doesn't bring Ray Durham back for 2007, speedster Marcus Sanders is the best second-base prospect in the system. Though Sanders won't be ready for a couple of years, it's easier to find a second baseman than a catcher. The Indians have a bigger need at second, where Frandsen would be as effective (and more cost-effective) than pending free agent Ron Belliard.

An interesting idea. It probably wouldn't happen until the off-season, but it would make sense for both teams, particularly if the Giants have to rebuild.

(10) 1B Michael Aubrey
     A+: 12 AB, .167/.214/.500, 1 SO, 1 BB
     Trend: Incomplete

Aubrey just got back in the lineup last week after spending most of April in Florida. He just has to stay healthy, and the numbers will probably take care of themselves.

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