Minor League Report: Akron RubberDucks
The minor league season has been interrupted several times over the first two weeks because of weather, and Double-A Akron has seen their fair share of cancellations and weather delays that have resulted in several doubleheaders and rescheduled games in the early going. Here is an overview of how things are going for the RubberDucks in the early going.
Just the Facts
Akron (6-7) has struggled with consistency in all phases of the game and currently sits in third place, 2.0 games out of first in the Eastern League’s Western Division.
The bats have been inconsistent but Akron has been very solid as they rank 8th out of 12 teams in hitting (.249), 7th in runs scored (45), 7th in doubles (19), tied for 3rd in home runs (7), 2nd in total bases (151), 1st in walks (48), 1st in strikeouts (104), 7th in stolen bases (9) and 5th in OPS (.696).
Pitching has been their strong suit in the early going as they rank 1st in ERA (2.69), 4th for most hits allowed (105), 1st for most home runs allowed (10), 9th for most walks allowed (28), 10th in strikeouts (72) and 2nd in WHIP (1.21).
Bryson Myles, Outfielder
.367 AVG (11-30), 3 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 SB, .1094 OPS
Myles has probably had the most encouraging performance to date in the entire system. He is showcasing his wide range or tools with some power, his ability to run and showing bat-to-ball. If he can maintain health and consistency at the plate all season, then the Indians might really have something here.
Kyle Crockett, Left-handed reliever
5 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 5 K, .111 BAA
Crockett is picking up right where he left off last season when he threw nine scoreless outings over 10.1 innings at Double-A Akron. He has now made 14 scoreless appearances at Double-A Akron (15.2 innings) and has allowed just one earned run in his minor league career covering 26 appearances (30.0 innings).
Giovanni Soto, Left-handed reliever
5 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 8.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 HR, 2 BB, 5 K, .040 BAA
Soto has been almost unhittable and has flat out dominated Double-A hitters. The Indians pushed him back to Akron because of some relief depth at Triple-A Columbus, but if he keeps this up he won’t be in Akron for long and given a bigger challenge at Triple-A Columbus to show if he is back at full strength and ready to be a Major League option.
Tyler Naquin, Outfielder
.239 AVG (11-46), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 16 K, 1 SB, .590 OPS
Naquin has had a tough time of things so far at the Double-A level. While the sample size is still small, there are some concerning trends as in 30 career Double-A games between last season and this season he is hitting .230 with 38 strikeouts in 126 at bats – one every 3.3 at bats. He has so much to offer as a player, but unless he hones in on the strikeouts it is going to limit him going forward.
Jordan Smith, Outfielder
.206 AVG (7-34), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 12 K, 1 SB, .525 OPS
Smith is a reputed slow starter, so hopefully this is the case here. Last season at High-A Carolina he was hitting just .150 with a .419 OPS through his first 15 games of the season, yet went on to finish the season hitting .292 with a .768 OPS. He also got off to a similar slow start in 2012 at Low-A Lake County.
Ronny Rodriguez, Infielder
.152 AVG (5-33), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K, 0 SB, .419 OPS
Rodriguez has really struggled at the outset of the season and you have to wonder if he’s having trouble adapting to a super utility-type role where he is rotating all over the infield and not playing every day at one position. He has a gifted throwing arm, some athleticism and surprising power, but without much consistency with the bat, he has no chance to move up.
– Catcher Tony Wolters is off to a fine start hitting .343 with 2 RBI and .810 OPS in 10 games. The main area of focus is his development behind the plate, but he’s showing a nice approach at the plate in the early going and the Indians are showcasing his versatility by playing him some at second base.
– Third baseman Giovanny Urshela has the goods to be a well-above average defensive third baseman in the big leagues, but the bat is the biggest question mark — particularly the lack of consistent power. He’s off to a nice start hitting .286 with 2 homers, 8 RBI and .864 OPS with six of his 12 hits going for extra bases.
– Right-handed starting pitcher Cody Anderson has struggled with inconsistency in the early going as he has made three starts and is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA. The ERA is nice, but the he has struggled with his consistency throughout his outings which has hurt his fastball command and the quality of his secondary stuff. Considering how he has "struggled" yet performed as he has just shows how much potential he has.
– Right-handed pitcher Duke von Schamann was picked up from the Dodgers in a trade for lefty reliever Colt Hynes, and in the early going the trade is looking favorable for the Indians. He has a big frame and is a sinkerballer with some upside as a starter, and so far is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in three starts this season.