The List: Down on the Farm--6/22/16

Last night, High A Carolina and Low A Lake County played their All-Star games. In honor of their big night, today's list will focus on prospects, including the big nights of some of our All-Star players. I used to write the bulk of Around the Farm for Indians Baseball Insider, and miss it on occasion. Because of the repetition of the piece, and writers continually hammering that thing out night-after-night, it's easy to lose the nuance of the players and the piece. Here at EHC, we're going to continue the AtF tradition on occasion, but try and balance the quantity, with absolute nuance and quality. Here's today's list, nine players worth pondering over your morning coffee.

Yandy Diaz: LF, Columbus Clippers--2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K

If there's a player in the Indians organization to be curious about, it's Yandy Diaz. The former third base prospect has been getting a ton of reps in left field in Columbus, playing in his tenth game over the past two weeks. He's only made one error, but still has a lot of work to be done before he can grasp a day-to-day run at the Big League level. The balance here is that the Indians could use a good option, and Diaz brings flexibility, as he can play third base, and could likely play second in a pinch. But where Diaz isn't struggling is at the plate. His two hits last night continue a nine-game hitting streak, and a stretch of 12-of-13 games in which he has a hit overall. During that nine-game stretch, Diaz has a .394/.474/.636 slash, with four runs, two doubles and two homers, to go along with his elite eye (five walks, and only three K's). It's important to note the two homers though. While it is Triple A Columbus, any sign of power is a good one for a guy that could likely make an impact this season with the Indians.

Clint Frazier: CF, Akron Aeros--2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

The Indians top prospect crushed his eighth home run, and has now gone 2-for-4 in back-to-back ball games, after his first three-game stretch without a hit this season. That's right, prior to that three-game run, Frazier had only one other two-game stretch without a hit all season. It's clear that the future outfield staple for the Big League Indians is really figuring out how to put the bat on the ball. Here are some really important things to note about Frazier this year.
  1. He's hitting .302 against lefties, and .298 against right-handers. While he only has two homers against lefties, and six against righties, he only has 53 at bats against lefties, vs. 178 vs. righties, so the power appears equal, at least this year.
  2. His K% is still at 20.8%, while maintaining a fairly elite 12 1/2% walk rate. This is a pretty big deal. As he continues to get stronger, and continues with his elite bat speed, you're going to see some fairly big things offensively. He's eating up Akron pitching right now, and I suspect when he gets the call up fairly soon to Columbus, he's going to absolutely rake in that band box.
  3. My favorite? He's played right, left and center in three consecutive games. No, he's not elite defensively, but the Indians clearly think enough about him, a top prospect, to shake him up on a daily basis. That says a lot about his make-up. He's making this club this year, I guarantee it.
Ryan Merritt: SP, Columbus Clippers--6 IP, 12 H, 8 R/ER, 3 HR, 2 BB

Merritt has clearly handled his demotion well. Over his past three starts, Merritt has given up 17 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings. Let that settle in for a second. His ERA prior was 2.64. His current ERA is 4.06, and while this may be a poster-reason for why you don't move guys to the pen, and then back to the rotation, I disagree wholeheartedly. He should have stayed in the pen in Cleveland, and should ultimately be joined by the next guy I'm going to talk about. I love Merritt in the sense that he can serve a big league purpose as a lefty in the pen, but will never...ever...start significant games for the Indians, unless things go dramatically wrong. PUT HIM IN THE PEN, BRING HIM UP TO THE INDIANS...AND STOP MESSING WITH HIS HEAD.

T.J. House: RP, Columbus Clippers--1 IP, 2 GB

Unlike Merritt, the 26-year old House is where he needs to be to become a big league pitcher, and that's in the pen. While I do like him as a starter, he's just not good enough to crack the current code of the rotation. The major league rotation is chalk full of good, and Columbus has at least two guys laying in wait. Behind House, it only gets worse. BUT, as a lefty out of the pen, he can be one of the better options the Indians have. In his fourth outing as a reliever, his glorious statline was forgetful. In case you didn't know this already, for a guy in the pen, this is good.

Greg Allen: CF, Carolina League All-Stars--1-for-4, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 SB

So Allen has my curiosity. Many have him rising through the prospect ranks, and rightfully so. He's raking this year. He's old though, and I've seen older, smart players like Allen snack on the lower levels, then just disappear. But...he has speed, and sometimes speed kills, right? Allen did what good lead-off hitters do for the Carolina League, in their All-Star game against the California league, he created havoc. He opened the game with a walk, then stole second and third on the next two pitches. He was driven in on a sacrifice fly. He scored after a single in the fifth, then a fielder's choice in the seventh, after triples via Andrew Stevenson, the MVP of the game. If Allen keeps doing this, age won't matter.

Julian Merryweather: SP, Carolina League All-Stars--W (1-0), 1 IP, 1 K

The former 5th rounder is a somewhat interesting prospect in that he's dominating in the Carolina League, with an 8-2 record, and a 1.03 ERA. He earned the start, and I love that he's not really on anyone's prospect radar. Now there's a reason for that. He doesn't have elite velocity, but his K/9 continues to stay in the mid-8's, and as long as he's locating, who knows. It'll be fun watching all the prospect rankers scattering to move him up, while discussing all the "new" things he's doing that they would have never missed before (we all missed, let's just hope he continues).

Bobby Bradley: 1B, Carolina League All-Stars--1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K

Bradley hit the only home run in the game, and continues to show off the type of power that really should excite fans of the organization. No, I don't think he's a big league lock, but yes, he has intangibles that really could make him special. He's hit four homers for Lynchburg in the month of June, but before we go and elect him our future starter, keep in mind that he strikes out...a lot. His 32.3% K% is on a curve to nowhere, but he does have a 13.6% BB%, which should keep you all from jumping off a bridge. Look, he hits for power, and he hits both righties and lefties equally well. This alone should be a good sign for the 20-year old youngster, who is still developing into what could be the corner power-hitter the Indians desperately need.

Francisco Mejia: C, MID East Division All-Stars--1-for-3, 1 R

Mejia didn't provide any fireworks in this game full of them, but he's provided plenty of power for Lake County this year, and in the month of June in particular. He's crushed five homers in the month, to go along with six doubles. Certainly, he still needs to strike out less, and walk more, but his potential to be a game-breaking bat is obvious. He turns 21 in October, and rode into the All-Star game on a 21-game hit streak.

Willi Castro: SS, MID East Division All-Stars--1-for-2, 1 RBI

In a game full of blasts and bluster, Castro's hit provided the most bang-for-the-buck. His single delivered the go-ahead run in the game, which brought the East back from a seven-run deficit. 
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