Da Clip Show: Keeping An Eye on the Tribe’s AAA Squad – 6/28/2011

Clip Show aims to be your weekly update for all things Columbus Clippers. Check back each Tuesday afternoon for team records, roster updates, and performance updates on some of the brightest prospects in the Tribe system.
The hot streak has cooled. After winning 16 of 17 to reach a high water mark of 52-23, the Clippers have lost three in a row to Gwinnett. I guess that’s OK. I mean, you can’t expect a team to keep winning at that clip all season, right? Some more roster upheaval, as reigning IL Batter of the Week Lonnie Chisenhall has moved on to Cleveland, so it will again fall onto the remaining guys and callups to keep the train rolling… just like last season.

This Week: 4-3
Season Record: 52-26, 1st place (of four) in ILW (International League West)

Results
6/21 vs. Toledo – Clippers 4, Mud Hens 3; WP McAllister (8-2)
6/22 @ Toledo
Clippers 13, Mud Hens 7; WP Smith (2-1)
6/23 @ Toledo – Clippers 6, Mud Hens 0; WP Gomez (7-2)
6/24 vs. Gwinnett – Clippers 9, Braves 5; WP Huff (6-2)
6/25 vs. Gwinnett – Braves 5, Clippers 1; LP Barnes (6-2)
6/26 vs. Gwinnett – Braves 8, Clippers 5; LP Judy (2-2)
6/27 vs. Gwinnett – Braves 5, Clippers 1; LP Kluber (4-5)

Roster News
6/22 3B Lonnie Chisenhall activated from DL

6/24 C Dwight Childs recalled from Lake County
6/24 RHP Chen-Chang Lee recalled from Akron
6/24 OF Travis Buck optioned from Cleveland
6/24 RHP Jensen Lewis released
6/24 OF Shelley Duncan recalled to Cleveland
6/24 C Luke Carlin to DL
6/24 OF Donnie Webb activated from DL

6/25 OF Travis Buck recalled to Cleveland

6/27 OF Tim Fedoroff recalled from Akron

6/27 3B Lonnie Chisenhall contract purchased by Cleveland

OF: Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedoroff, Jerad Head, Chad Huffman, Donnie Webb
IF: Jason Donald, Jared Goedert, Nick Johnson, Jason Kipnis, Luis Valbuena
C: Dwight Childs, Paul Phillips
SP: Scott Barnes, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister
RP: Justin Germano (R), Nick Hagadone (L), Josh Judy (R), Chen-Chang Lee (R), Joe Martinez (R), Zach Putnam (R), Carlton Smith (R)

DL: RHP Hector Ambriz (torn right elbow ligament); RHP Anthony Reyes (torn right elbow ligament); RHP Hector Rondon (torn right elbow ligament), LHP Jeremy Sowers (left shoulder), C Luke Carlin (right elbow strain)

Upcoming Schedule/Probables*
*subject to change
6/28 vs. Toledo, Jeanmar Gomez
6/29 vs. Toledo, David Huff
6/30 @ Toledo, Scott Barnes
7/01 @ Toledo, Zach McAllister
7/02 vs. Louisville, Corey Kluber
7/03 vs. Louisville, Jeanmar Gomez
7/04 @ Louisville, David Huff

Players To Watch
How are the kids doing? Let’s take a look…

Hitters

2B Jason Kipnis leveled off a bit this week, going 7-for-26 (.269) this week with a triple, a homer, and two RBI. For the season, however, he continues to turn in solid numbers, as he’s hitting .292 with nine homers and 44 RBI in 74 games. With the absence of Cord Phelps and Lonnie Chisenhall in the lineup for protection, it will be interesting to see how his numbers continue to track.

Back on the plus side of the ledger is INF Luis Valbuena, who put up an impressive week. He went 9-for-21 (.429) with two doubles, three homers, and even RBI. With the departure of Chisenhall and Cord Phelps, Sweet Luis is being asked to carry more of the load in Columbus, and so far he’s responding. His season average sits at .314 through 67 games in Columbus.

Pitchers

Thankfully, RHP Zach McAllister looks to be back to his normal pitch counts. He made his two scheduled starts this week, working a combined 13.0 innings and allowing just five runs (four earned; ERA: 2.77) while going 1-0 in decisions. He walked four while striking out nine, and scattered 10 hits. He’s now 8-2 on the year with a 2.93 ERA in 14 starts.

After turning in his worst start of the season last week, RHP Jeanmar Gomez bounced back to have one of his best. He worked 8.0 scoreless innings, allowing just five hits while walking four and whiffing five to earn the win. For the season, Gomez is now 7-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 12 starts.

Has he finally leveled off? LHP Nick Hagadone made three more appearances, and in his last four appearances he’s been very good. Over those four trips ut to the bump, he’s worked 5.0 innings and allowed just one run (ERA: 1.80). He’s allowed five hits, but walked just one while fanning five. Here’s hoping the adjustment period is over and we’re starting to see him settle in. His AAA ERA through 17.0 innings is down more than a run from last week, but still a pretty ookie 5.82.

A Quick Word…

…about 3B Lonnie Chisenhall. I received a tiny bit of blow-back from some Tweets I sent yesterday when news first came out about his promotion, and I’d love to use this forum–what with its more than 140 characters at a time–to better explain myself.

First and foremost, I Tweeted that I didn’t think it was time yet (and that’s the important word: “yet”) to call him up. I also said that he hadn’t done enough to earn the promotion. I think this latter statement is what might have irked a few people. Allow me to do my best to elaborate.

If you read this column with regularity, you know that I’m largely a guy who uses stats to make judgments and arguments about players. But, if you only look at it from that point of view, you’re ignoring the fact that I *do* actually go to a fair amount of Clippers games and watch these guys play as well. So, when I use Chisenhall’s batting numbers on Twitter to make a point, don’t forget also that I’ve probably seen him play more times in person than the people accusing me of “just being a stats guy” in making my judgment.

But, stats are important. One big stat? Chisenhall’s age. He’s just 22, which is young even for AAA in most circumstances. I know he has the pedigree of a high first round pick, but for the most part he was playing this year in Columbus against guys more advanced in age. It’s also fair to point out that, despite his torrid week last week here in Columbus, he was streaky-at-best for most of the year at the dish, and had his periods of prolonged struggle. Before his injury in mid-June, he was hitting just .250 for the year with five home runs and 30 RBI. He was getting on base at a .326 clip. Even with his insanely great five games after coming back from injury, he was hitting just .200 against lefties in AAA, and has just 24 extra base hits in 253 at bats. I can go on and on.

My point wasn’t that Chisenhall isn’t a solid prospect, or that he’ll not succeed in the Majors. My point was that if you look at the season he’s had, and not just the “14 RBI in five games” week, you can make a pretty good case for saying he’s not ready. And, to go beyond the stats argument, after seeing Carlos Santana for roughly the same amount of time last year down here, he just *looked* like a Major League hitter. Chisenhall hadn’t yet gotten to that point for me. Again, though, here’s hoping I’m wrong.

All of that said, I hope he plays well enough not only to help the team, but to never have to go back to AAA. At this point, my only concern is his confidence level, and whether or not he plays every day. He needs to do the latter, and hopefully that will help the former.

And Finally…

…the road has ended for the venerable RHP Jensen Lewis. JennyLew had his ups and downs in the Cleveland organization, but it seems to have been time for the 27-year-old former third round sandwich pick from Cincinnati. He had made 22 appearances for Columbus, and was 3-2 with a 5.14 ERA out of the pen. Opponents were hitting .342 off of him, and he’d allowed 40 hits and 15 walks in just 28.0 innings (WHIP: 1.96) while striking out 22. It was time.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I am actually sorry to see JennyLew go. After he showed such promise in the pen over the years, I always hoped for him to get back to the majors with the Indians. Not sure exactly why. I hope he catches on somewhere and pitches well again though.