Minor league report: Columbus Clippers

Tony Lastoria takes a look at the Columbus Clippers - is anybody on the verge of promotion?

This week, we take a look at the Indians' Triple-A affiliate in Columbus. With the Tribe in need, we review some of the options in Columbus that could help in Cleveland.

Just the facts

Columbus (34-37) sits in third place in the International League West Division, 12.5 games out of first. They have lost two in a row and six of their last ten games.

Columbus ranks 12th out of 14 teams in hitting (.253), 8th in home runs (62), 11th in runs scored (304), 3rd in walks (299), and 8th in OPS (.725). On the pitching front they are 8th in ERA (4.38), 4th in strikeouts (591), and 8th in WHIP (1.42).

Who’s hot

Lonnie Chisenhall
.405 AVG (15-for-37), 6 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K, 1 SB, 1.026 OPS

Chisenhall has done just about everything he can do offensively to show he deserves to be in Cleveland. He is hitting .390 with 6 homers, 26 RBI, and 1.132 OPS in 27 games for Columbus. He is raking against right-handers, hitting a blazing hot .421 with a 1.215 OPS. He has done well against lefties, hitting .310 with a .915 OPS. The defense is still inconsistent, and the issues with lefties will always be there, but he can help the Indians.

Chun Chen
.324 AVG (12-for-37), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K, 2 SB, .985 OPS

Chen has had a breakthrough season, showing more consistent power - hitting .303 with 11 HR, 43 RBI and .893 OPS in 66 combined games between Double-A Akron and Columbus. He has always been able to hit for average, but it was the power that was the missing element. He has his issues defensively and might just be a designated hitter at the big league level, but the Indians are being creative, and might experiment with him in left field or third base to add more versatility.

Who’s not

Ezequiel Carrera
.184 AVG (7-for-38), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K, 4 SB, .507 OPS

The month of June has not been kind to Carrera, as he is hitting .190 with a .573 OPS in 16 games. The struggles over the past few weeks have dropped his season numbers to a .233 average and .699 OPS. He has shown a little more pop with 14 of his 35 hits going for extra bases, and he has 17 stolen bases, but the bat has just not been there. He is a minor league upper level outfield depth option for the Indians and probably will remain in Columbus the remainder of the season.

T.J. House
1-6, 5.46 ERA, 10 GS, 59.1 IP, 68 H, 40 R (36 ER), 10 HR, 27 BB, 43 K, .288 BAA

The above numbers are his season numbers at Columbus. After a good showing to start the season at Akron (2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts), he has been up and down with his performance. He is working on his consistency and may not be an option in Cleveland until late in the season as a September callup.

Parting shots

- Lefty JC Romero was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Monday for an undisclosed injury. The Indians had just signed him to a minor league deal a little over a week ago, and in two appearances he totaled two innings and allowed one run on one hit, two walks and two strikeouts. He appears to be out of the equation as a left-handed option in Cleveland for at least another two to three weeks.

- The Indians signed lefty Clay Rapada last weekend, and in two appearances with Columbus he has thrown two shutout innings. He is a veteran that has a lot of major league experience and just last season went 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA in 70 appearances for the Yankees. He could be in Cleveland very soon to help fix the Indians left-handed relief issues.

- First baseman Matt LaPorta is on the disabled list with a hip issue again. He has had two offseason hip surgeries the last two years and was slowed by his recovery from the second surgery this spring. After a hot start in Columbus, he quickly cooled as the hip began to bother him again. There is no timetable for his return and you have to wonder if the chronic hip issues are career threatening at this point.

- Right-hander Trevor Bauer has recovered from a rough three start stretch from May 19-29 where he went 16.1 innings and allowed 16 runs (8.82 ERA), and has since made three starts totaling 17.2 innings and allowed just two runs (1.02 ERA). He has been working on a significant delivery correction which has affected his performance, but hopefully as he becomes comfortable with it he will see some improvement with his command.

- If you are looking for another arm that may soon make his major league debut in Cleveland, it would be that of right-hander Preston Guilmet. In 28 appearances for Columbus he is 2-3 with a 2.67 ERA and has 16 saves with an impressive 40 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched. He doesn’t have power stuff, but he throws strikes, commands all of his pitches well, and has a unique over the top delivery that creates deception and gets the ball on a good downward angle to the plate.

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