Thought I'd do some caption shots of guys on the farm who haven't been talked about much:
Aaron Laffey, Buffalo - Another in a line of soft tossing lefties, Aaron started out the season in the Akron rotation and did well enough to get a promotion when injuries and callups thinned out the Bison starting 5. It was not advertised as a permanent deal, but it seems as if Laffey is going to stick, and he joins Adam Miller as the first HS draftees since 2001 (I think) to advance to the highest level of the Indian's farm system. Laffey has established a track record of being an extreme groundball pitcher (more so than Westy even) who relies on control to get guys out. When he's off he can get battered (sound familiar?) but when he's on he can be very effective, using his fastball to both sides of the plate and a good curveball to get guys out. While not a strikeout artist, he can get whiffs, as when he struck out 7 in 6 innings in his last start. When you consider that he is younger than David Huff and already experiencing some success two levels higher you'd have to say he's creeping up the prospect lists.
Jensen Lewis, Akron - Akron started the year with a bullpen dotted with former starters and a lot of questions. Lewis has answered those questions and now looks to have benefitted from the move and is set to get on the fast track as a late inning bullpen guy. Unlike Joe Ness, who never adjusted to coming out of the pen and is now back (doing well) in the rotation, Lewis took to it like mother's milk and since the end of April has logged 20 scoreless innings striking out 27, while giving up just 10 hits and 3 walks. Like Mastny, Mujica and Perez, Lewis looks to arrive in Cleveland much faster as a 1-2 inning reliever than as a starter slogging his way up the ladder.
Matt Whitney, Lake County - its not surprising he's hitting well at low-A. What is surprising is that for the first time in his career he dipped below the 20% line for K's per at bat. Last year at Kinston he struck out nearly a third of the time. If he can maintain the new K-ratio on his return to high-A, we may have something.
Draft update - the latest mock drafts still center on Cleveland drafting HS righty Blake Beaven, which would be fine with me. Beaven has as good a pedigree as a prep can have, with international and showcase experience, and the ceiling of a #1 starter. If he's taken, there will be equally enticing prep hurlers available in this year's pool, and the Tribe looks to jump in. Interestingly, the Boras effect is already kicking in, and some projections have Georgia Tech catcher Matt Weiters, the consensus top college bat, falling from the first 3 picks. It will be interesting to see what happens if he falls all the way to #13.