More Freshness and we try to recalibrate to a normal Sunday schedule...
Columbus Clippers: Cord Phelps
Phelps hit a HR in the first inning of last night's game, giving him seven on the season, one more than he had in 66 games last year in Columbus, and five for the month of May alone. With an OBP well above .400 and a SLG above .500, Phelps is certainly not moving further away from a role in Cleveland this season. In Columbus, Phelps has played 17 games at SS, nine at 2B, one at 3B, and nine at DH...seemingly making him tailor-fit for a utility role in Cleveland. Phelps, who was a marginal prospect during his first two seasons with the organization (2008, 2009), has shown a sustained improvement across the board offensively since his promotion to Columbus last year.
Akron Aeros: Tim Fedroff
Impossible to leave Fedroff off this list. Over the past ten games all he has done is put up a .488/.523/.634 line. Should Columbus need another outfielder in the near future (and assuming it isn't Nick Weglarz), I'd guess Fedroff gets the call. But despite the recent hot stretch, I'm not that high on Fedroff's future. Like many other Indians outfield prospects, Fedroff lacks power - but unlike Henry/Carrera/Holt, Fedroff is not a centerfielder. Fedroff also lacks the great plate discipline of some of those guys (BB rate, 7%). Finally, Fedroff's current performance is heavily weighted by a .417 BABIP, which, while Fedroff has put up high numbers in his career, is obviously unsustainable. But...can't complain about what he has been doing lately.
Kinston Indians: Adam Miller
I can't resist highlighting Adam Miller. We all know his story, and we all should acknowledge that his chances of ever achieving anything close to his original potential, let alone any major league success, are beyond slim. But it is good to see what he has done in his four May outings: 6IP, two hits, no runs, two walks, and nine Ks. Kevin Goldstein highlighted him in a recent minor league recap piece, saying this:
Now 26 years old, Miller has been showing 90-93 mph heat while occasionally touching 95, but his once-sharp slider is a bit flat and his command has been wavering.
Not the most positive news, but impossible to root against the effort.
Lake County Captains: Steven Wright
Wright is not a prospect, and as someone who will turn 27 in August, is not young. He also passed through Lake County previously, in 2007, putting up a 4-7 record across 14 starts. He made it as far as Columbus working as a marginal swing-starter/bullpen arm. He is back in Lake County because he is attempting to recreate himself as a knuckleballer, and so far, the results are positive. In his last two starts he has gone twelve innings, allowing just four hits, six walks, 12 strikeouts, and not allowing a run. If I didn't have a Phil Niekro/Tom Candiotti inspired tender spot in my heart for the knuckleball Wright wouldn't merit a mention. But it is true that knuckleball pitchers are perhaps the most aberrant creature in all of baseball. A recent BP piece highlighted post-30 All-Stars, guys who were valuable players but who showcased the vast majority of their success after their 30th birthday. Perhaps not surprisingly the list included the aforementioned Niekro and Candiotti, as well as Hoyt Wilhelm. Wright's a long way from Cleveland, but I would imagine the organization will (re) promote him pretty aggressively if they like what they are seeing from him.