Minor league report – Mahoning Valley Scrappers

This week we head down south on Route 11 to the Steel Valley to check in on the Indians’ short season Single-A affiliate the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
 
Just the Facts
 
Mahoning Valley (23-35) sits in 5th place in the NY-Penn League’s Pinckney Division and 12.5 games out of first. With just 16 games remaining they have all but been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
 
On the offensive side of the ledger, Mahoning Valley ranks 9th out of 14 teams in batting average (.238), 14th in runs (187), 11th in hits (451), 14th in doubles (75), 6th in home runs (26), 11th in total bases (626), 12th in walks (161), 6th in strikeouts (478), 14th in stolen bases (29), and 8th in OPS (.638).
 
On the pitching front things are a little better as they rank 7th in ERA (3.17), 10th for most hits allowed (459), 6th for most home runs allowed (25), 8th for most walks allowed (178), 7th in strikeouts (440), and 7th in WHIP (1.27).
 
Who’s Hot?
 
Here are a few players who have been hot over the past 10 games:
 
Caleb Hamrick (Right-handed pitcher)
0-0, 1.50 ERA, 2 GS, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 4 BB, 4 K
 
At 19 years of age, Hamrick has had a fine season pitching in the NY-Penn League, a league that is mostly populated with 21-23 year old college players. He is now 1-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 starts on the season, and in 60.0 innings has allowed 59 hits, 8 homers, 19 walks and has 38 strikeouts. He is one of the Indians better young pitching prospects, and his progress this season is encouraging. He needs to work on more consistency in his command, delivery and arm slot, and if it all comes he could take off.
 
Paul Hendrix (Second Base)
.286 AVG (10-for-35), 1 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 11 K, .804 OPS
 
The fact that Hendrix is listed here in the “hot” section even though he is not technically “hot” tells you all you need to know about how much Mahoning Valley has struggled as a whole over the past two weeks. Overall this season he is hitting .259 with 0 homers, 11 RBI, .669 OPS and 15:41 walk to strikeout ratio.  Hendrix has mostly played second base (26 games) though has a few games at shortstop *6 games) under his belt this season as well. That versatility will serve him well in the lower levels and provide opportunities for him.
 
Who’s Not?
 
Here are a few players who have been cold over the past 10 games:
 
Josh McAdams (Outfielder)
.031 AVG (1-for-32), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 12 K, .177 OPS
 
You won’t find a colder player in the Indians organization right now than McAdams, and on the season he is now down to .211 average with 0 homers, 8 RBI and .538 OPS in 55 games. The 19-year old has massive upside as a prospect, but is going through the growing pains of his first full season. His power arm and good defense have impressed this season, but the power in his bat has yet to show this season or as a professional. His approach and swing will need a lot of work in Instructional League and offseason.
 
Robel Garcia (Infielder)
.158 AVG (6-for-38), 3 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 BB, 11 K, 1 SB, .477
 
Easily one of the more disappointing prospects in the lower levels the last two seasons has been Garcia, a versatile player that the Indians have been high on with his bat after his good showing in the Arizona League in 2011. This season he is hitting just .196 with 4 homers, 22 RBI and .641 OPS in 56 combined games between Low-A Lake County and Mahoning Valley. He is regressing as a player and could be in danger of being released before the start of next season.
 
Parting Shots
 
– First baseman Nellie Rodriguez has cooled off after a hot July where he hit .383 with 7 homers, 21 RBI and 1.104 OPS in 29 games. In 15 games this month he is hitting just .170 with 0 homers, 3 RBI and .467 OPS.
 
– Infielder Claudio Bautista has struggled of late, but is still having a solid season hitting .276 with 3 homers, 21 RBI and .749 OPS in 52 games. He is versatile and can play several positions, has some power, and the bat has upside. He could return to Low-A Lake County next year as a regular, a destination he struggled at earlier this season in 16 games (.157 AVG, .459 OPS).
 
– Left-hander Luis Lugo was promoted to Low-A Lake County earlier in the week. In 11 starts with Mahoning Valley he went 1-4 with a 1.97 ERA, and in 50.1 innings he allowed 39 hits, 1 homer, 11 walks, and had 30 strikeouts. He’s established himself as a top young pitching prospect for the Indians and maybe the top left-handed starting pitching prospect.
 
– Right-hander Dace Kime, who was this year’s second pick for the Indians in the draft, is off to a fine start to his professional career. In eight starts he is 0-2 with a 2.91 ERA, and in 21.2 innings he has allowed 16 hits, 0 homers, 15 walks and has 23 strikeouts. His workload has been limited because he is still being built up as a starter.