Minor League Report: Reviewing Lake County's first half
The top performers and biggest disappointments after the first half of baseball for the Indians' Single-A affiliate, the Lake County Captains.
Robbie Aviles is one of the Indians prospects who performed well in the first stage of the Single-A season.
By Tony Lastoria
The first half of the Single-A season is in the books as both High-A Carolina and Low-A Lake County enjoyed their All-Star break this week. After three days off, Carolina and Lake County both kick up second half play on Thursday night.
Just the Facts
For those who don't know, the Single-A seasons at both the High-A and Low-A levels are broken up into two halves. The team leading its division after the first half of the season is declared the first half division winner and earns a spot in the postseason in September. While the records for all teams are kept season long, for the purposes of keeping standings and providing a second-half division winner and wildcard winner(s), every team starts the second half with an 0-0 record in the second half standings.
A big reason why this is done is because there is often a lot of roster shuffling around this time of year at the Single-A levels because of the draft and players earning promotions. With so many teams at the Single-A level getting a complete makeover because of an infusion of players via promotions, the draft and extended spring training, a first and second half division race both rewards and provides incentive. It rewards a team for a good first half who may have all of their top talent promoted to the next level, and it provides incentive to the teams that did not have a good first half to go out and compete in the second half.
Hendrix rode a huge month of May where he hit .386 with 5 homers, 16 RBI and 1.095 OPS to pace his first half. His performance of late his slipped back to what it was in April and at short season Single-A Mahoning Valley last season, so it is still too early to put too much stock into his good first half showing. If he can show some consistency at the plate in the second half and continue to provide some plus offense with the bat from the middle of the diamond, then his prospect value should bump up a little.
Aviles had a very strong showing in the first half. He had seven consecutive starts of six innings or more until his final start of the first half and really showed an improved ability to limit damage, keep the walks down and get more swings and misses with his stuff. He had a lot of hype coming out of high school but injured his arm and has spent the last several years working his way back, so it is good to see some of that promise starting to show through.
It has been a forgettable season to date for Vick. He came into the season as one of the Indians higher rated outfield prospects because of his eye at the plate, some speed and versatility, but even though he continues to show a solid to good eye at the plate he is just not making enough solid contact. He recently was reassigned to Lake County where he has still struggled. The All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time for him and he is going to need a big second half to get people to pay attention to him again.
No matter how you slice it, the numbers have not been pretty for Kime this season. As a high round pick out of last year's draft so much more was expected. However, it is important to note that he is kind of raw as a starting pitcher as he was mostly a reliever in college, so the byproduct of working on three pitches and developing a routine can often times lead to poor results at the outset. His outings have been much better of late as he is 1-3 with a 2.70 ERA over his last six appearances, so maybe things are starting to come together for him.
- Catcher Eric Haase had some trouble making consistent contact (.246 average) and struck out at a good clip (27.2% K-rate), but his power at the plate (.299 isolated power) and his improving skills behind it have seen his stock jump.
- Center fielder Clint Frazier has not wowed with the numbers as he is only hitting .248 with 4 homers, 19 RBI and .699 OPS, plus he has a very high 29.4% K-rate; however, his performance has steadily improved over the course of the season and it is important to remember he is still only 19-years old.
- Outfielder Dorssys Paulino had another poor showing at the plate hitting .241 with 0 homers, 15 RBI and .640 OPS in 51 games, and his defensive issues also resulted in a move from shortstop to left field. However, he looks to be gaining some comfort at the plate as he is hitting .317 with a .903 OPS and 8 walks to 2 strikeouts in 13 games so far in June.
- Left-handed pitcher Luis Lugo has had an excellent season to date going 5-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 13 games. The ERA may be a little high, but he is holding hitters to a .210 average and has 69 strikeouts in 56.1 innings.
- Right-handed pitcher Mitch Brown's overall numbers don't look all that great as he is 0-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 starts; however, he looks to have finally turned a corner and is pitching much better of late after some rough outings in the early part of the season. In his last eight starts he is 0-1 with a 3.12 ERA.
- Right-handed relievers Ben Heller and Trevor Frank have been the most impressive out of the Lake County bullpen this season. Frank is 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 23 appearances (27.2 IP, 21 H, 2 HR, 4 BB, 24 K) and also has four saves and has finished 19 games. Heller is 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 22 appearances (28.2 IP, 14 H, 3 HR, 14 BB, 41 K) and has 3 saves and has finished 13 games. No other reliever has more than one save or seven games finished.
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