Down on the Farm: Weekend check on Cleveland Indians minor-league affiliates
Amid the madness of last week’s MLB Trade Deadline, many Indians prospects blocked out the noise and put together some impressive performances.
Triple-A Columbus went 4-3 last week, splitting a crucial four-game series with Indianapolis to maintain a five-game lead over the Pittsburgh affiliate.
Yandy Diaz and Giovanny Urshela continued their impressive hitting streaks as both recorded hits in all six games played last week. Diaz, who leads the International League with a .343 average, went 9-for-24 (.375) with two doubles, four walks, six runs scored and three RBI, while Urshela went 10-for-27 (.400) with three doubles, one home run, three runs scored and seven RBI. Diaz’s 23-game streak is the longest in the IL this season, while Urshela’s 18-game streak is the third-longest.
New Clipper Bradley Zimmer also impressed in his first full week with the club, going 9-for-25 (.360) with one home run, five walks, five runs scored and two RBI. In 10 total games with Columbus, Zimmer is batting .306 (11-for-36) with seven walks and a .419 OBP.
Double-A Akron did not fair as well last week, going 1-5 with five straight losses to end the week.
Greg Allen and Luigi Rodriguez put together two of the more effective weeks for Akron offensively, coming on strong after they were both called up from Advanced-A Lynchburg on July 25.
Allen hit safely in each of the six games he appeared in last week, going 7-for-20 (.350) with a double, two homers, four RBI and six runs scored. Over his last six games, dating back to last Thursday, Rodriguez is batting .300 (6-for-22) with a double, two homers, three RBI and three runs scored.
Left-hander Rob Kaminsky, acquired from St. Louis at last season’s trade deadline, turned in the best performance of any Akron starter. On Sunday, Kaminsky held the Bowie Baysox scoreless on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks over 6.0 innings of work in a no-decision. The 21-year-old southpaw went 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA (10ER/36.2IP) in six July starts after going just 1-3 with a 4.15 ERA (14ER/30.1IP) in June.
Advanced-A Lynchburg continued its winning ways last week, going 5-3, as the Hillcats took three out of four games from the first place Potomac Nationals.
Catcher Francisco Mejia extended his historic hitting streak to 46 games, tied for the eighth-longest hitting streak in the history of Minor League Baseball, and the longest streak since 1954. The catcher’s streak began with 24 straight games with a hit for Lake County, the longest streak in the Midwest League this season, and has continued with 22 straight games in Lynchburg, the second-longest streak in the Carolina league this season.
Left-hander Sean Brady turned in one Lynchburg’s best starts this week, limiting the Potomac Nationals to two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walks over 6.2 innings in the winning effort on Monday. Since June 28, over his last seven starts, Brady is 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA (9ER/45.0IP) and 39 strikeouts to just nine walks in that span.
Class-A Lake County struggled to a 2-5 record this week, falling to seventh place in the Midwest League Eastern division, 10 games back.
While many of the Captains’ first-half standouts have been promoted to Lynchburg, outfielder Jodd Carter and catcher Martin Cervenka have come on strong in recent weeks.
Since joining Lake County on July 28, Carter is batting .406 (13-for-36) with two doubles, one RBI and five runs scored in eight games. Cervenka, who has spent most of the season with Lake County, is batting .339 (21-for-62) with two doubles, a home run, nine RBI and eight runs scored in 17 games since rejoining the club on July 16.
Short-season Mahoning Valley has hit its stride, moving into third place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney division after a 4-3 week.
Triston McKenzie continued his dominance of the NYPL, as he allowed just one unearned run to the Williamsport Crosscutters on one hit, two walks and one hit batter with eight strikeouts over 5.0 innings last Sunday. McKenzie leads the NYPL with a 0.55 ERA (3ER/49.1IP), 1.07 earned runs per 9.0 innings fewer than the next best qualified hurler.
Right-hander Michael Letkewicz also turned in a banner week out of the bullpen, earning two wins and a save over three appearances. He allowed just one run on one hit, two walks and two hit batters with two strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work.
The Arizona League Indians have struggled in the second-half of their schedule, now sitting in fourth-place in the AZL central division at 3-5.
Third baseman Nolan Jones continues to impress in his first professional season, as he went 9-for-18 (.500) with two runs and two RBI in four games this week. Jones is batting .358 (19-for-53) with two doubles, five RBI and seven runs scored in 16 games with the AZL Tribe.
Jose Vicente also put together a solid week, going 8-for-19 (.421) with three doubles, one triple, three RBI and three runs scored in five games. Vicente, a catcher and first baseman, is batting .319 (36-for-113) with eight doubles, one triple and two home runs with 24 RBI, the second-most in the AZL this season.
Check TribeVibe each weekend to see how the Indians’ Minor League affiliates fared in the previous week.
–TribeVibe contributor Robert Davidson