April 23, 2014

Da Clip Show: Keeping an Eye on the Tribe’s AAA Squad – 7/5/11

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.
It doesn’t seem to matter who gets called up or who gets hurt. This ship is humming along, with another great week in the standings. If I were the head of the Tribe organization, I’d figure out some way to keep Mike Sarbaugh in that organization, because he’s going to get a Major League job at some point in the not too distant future, and he’s going to be a good one. The Clippers now have an 11.5 game lead over Louisville in the IL West, and have a 7.5 game lead for the best overall IL record.

This Week: 5-2
Season Record: 57-28, 1st place (of four) in ILW (International League West)

Results
6/28 vs. Toledo – Clippers 5, Mud Hens 4; WP Gomez (8-2)
6/29 vs. Toledo
Clippers 12, Mud Hens 4; WP Huff (8-2)
6/30 @ Toledo – Clippers 6, Mud Hens 2; WP Barnes (7-2)
7/01 @ Toledo – Mud Hens 3, Clippers 1; LP McAllister (8-3)
7/02 vs. Louisville – Clippers 6, Bats 5; WP Lee (1-0)
7/03 vs. Louisville – Clippers 4, Bats 2; WP Gomez (9-2)
7/04 @ Louisville – Bats 5, Clippers 4; LP Martinez (6-3)

Roster News
6/28 C Dwight Childs to DL (broken hand)
6/28 1B/C Matt McBride recalled from Akron

7/04 OF Donnie Webb recalled from Akron

OF: Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedoroff, Jerad Head, Chad Huffman, Donnie Webb
IF: Jason Donald, Jared Goedert, Nick Johnson, Jason Kipnis, Luis Valbuena
C: Matt McBride, 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), C Dwight Childs (broken hand)

Upcoming Schedule/Probables*
*subject to change
7/05 @ Louisville, Scott Barnes
7/06 @ Louisville, Zach McAllister
7/07 vs. Toledo, Corey Kluber
7/08 vs. Toledo, Jeanmar Gomez
7/09 @ Toledo, David Huff
7/10 @ Toledo, Scott Barnes

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

Hitters

Newly minted All Star, Part 1: 2B Jason Kipnis has a bit of good-news/ bad-news for the week. First, the good news: Kipnis was named the IL Batter of the Week for 6/27-7/3, as he led the IL with a .500 batting average (11 for 22), including a double, three home runs, seven RBI, and eight runs scored. He got on base at an insane .577 clip, and his equally-insane .956 slugging percentage over those six games gave him an OPS of 1.533. Sounds awesome, no? The bad news? He hasn’t played since Saturday, as he fouled a pitch off his knee and has missed the past two games with a contusion and swelling.

Newly minted All Star, Part 2: INF Luis Valbuena is just humming along. He went 8-for-25 (.320) with two homers, five RBI, and six runs scored. Sweet Luis is the regular player with the highest batting average, hitting .315 through 74 games. He also has 12 homers and 54 RBI with a .905 OPS. Perhaps this is his Andy Marte Swan Song season, as we pretty much know he’s not a Major League player.

INF Jason Donald is back, and is playing a lot of shortstop since Cord Phelps and Lonnie Chisenhall have been recalled. How’s Donald doing? Well, it could be better. Over his last 10 games, he’s been hitting at a dismal .227 clip (10-for-44). He has just two extra base hits–both doubles–and no RBI. He’s scored five runs, but he’s also struck out eight times against just two walks. For the season in Columbus, Donald has played in 25 games and is hitting at a .278 clip with an OPS of .699.

Pitchers

Newly minted All Star, Part 3: He’s been so good of late, RHP Jeanmar Gomez needs to have a bigger picture look. Over his last nine starts dating back to May 23, Gomez is 6-1 with a 1.82 ERA. In 64.1 innings over those nine starts, Gomez has fanned 49 hitters. He’s walked just 20 and allowed 50 hits (WHIP: 1.09). Gomez was especially good this past Sunday, when he worked 8.0 innings and allowed two runs, though they were both unearned after they scored after a Jared Goedert throwing error. More on Gomez and his cohorts below…

A nice AAA start for 24-year-old RHP Chen-Chang Lee. Signed by the Tribe as a non-drafted free agent in 2009 out of Taiwan, the 5’11″ 175 pound right hander isn’t imposing. However, after posting a 2.50 ERA in 39.2 innings in Akron, he got the call to Columbus. So far, so good. In his first three appearances spanning 4.1 innings, Lee has a win and hasn’t been scored upon. He’s allowed three hits and walked one, but eight of the 13 outs he’s recorded have come via the strikeout.

More please! LHP Nick Hagadone looks to finally be getting more comfortable at AAA. He made two more appearances, working 3.2 innings and not allowing  run. He didn’t allow any hits, walked just one, and struck out four. Over his last six trips out to the bump, he’s worked 8.2 innings and allowed just one run (ERA: 1.04). He’s allowed five hits, but walked just two while fanning nine. His AAA ERA through 20.2 innings is continuing down into a palatable territory, but still high at 4.79. Important: that ERA has dropped over two runs in the past two weeks. Trends!

A Quick Word…

…about the starting rotation. Much like last year, the rotation was in flux for a big stretch of the year, but in the last month to six weeks it has solidified. The rotation hasn’t changed in awhile, and guys appear to have settled into their roles. Let’s look at the five starters currently in the rotation:

Jeanmar Gomez: 9-2, 2.26 ERA in 13 starts
Zach McAllister: 8-3, 2.97 ERA in 15 starts
David Huff: 8-2, 3.84 ERA in 15 starts
Scott Barnes: 7-2, 3.40 ERA in 13 starts
Corey Kluber: 4-5, 6.38 ERA in 16 starts

Obviously, Kluber’s the outlier there. But if you look at those other four guys, what you see is a great series of starters. The other four guys total up like this:

56 starts, 32-9 with a 3.11 ERA, 352.6 IP, 1.21 WHIP, 280 strikeouts, just 10 home runs allowed.

When four out of five nights you can count on getting a quality start from your starter, the fact that the Clippers can score runs at 5.5-per-game (467 runs in 85 games) gives the team a better-than-average chance to win three or four times every time through their rotation.

Not surprisingly, the Clippers have gone 21-6 in their last 27 games. This is the main reason why.

And Finally…

…one more groovy bit about Jason Kipnis. From Jim Massie’s blog in The Dispatch comes word that Kipnis is not only playing in the AAA All Star Game, at which he’ll be the IL’s starting second baseman,  but is also playing the Futures game:

Kipnis faces a busy next 10 days. He was named to the U.S. team for the All Star Futures Game on July 10 in Phoenix. He also was elected to start at second base for the IL All Stars against the Pacific Coast League stars on July 13 in Salt Lake City.

Kipnis plans to play in both games.

“Yeah, they’re far enough apart,” he said. “I’m very excited about both of them. They’re both nice (honors) to have and they’re both nice to be a part of. It will be a fun experience and I’m very happy about it.”

  • Sam B

    “If I were the head of the Tribe organization, I’d figure out some way to keep Mike Sarbaugh in that organization, because he’s going to get a Major League job at some point in the not too distant future, and he’s going to be a good one. ”

    I honestly was hoping that we would promote him when we fired Wedgie. This guy has done nothing but win as a coach at all levels of the minors. Although, since we are leading the division a year before we were supposed to I guess we the powers that be made the right call.

  • Anthony

    For the love of god trade Luis while his value is somewhat high! We know he can’t cut it at the MLB level but other teams might just see this line at the AAA level and part with something for him (ahem hello Ryan Ludwick)

  • mgbode

    @Anthony – funny you mention Ryan Ludwick as he was an Indian “4A” player a few seasons ago who had trouble hacking it at the MLB level.

    Or at least that was the perception at the time based on his limited time up with the big club and his low BA (looking back his peripheral advanced stats actually were much better than I would have thought)

  • 216Diehard

    Anyone have thoughts on bringing up Jason Kipnis?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com DP

    Kipnis is worse defensively than Phelps, and they were comparable with the bat in AAA. I would say he may not have any more success than Phelps has.