Allyson Foutty/IBI

Around the Farm - April 9, 2017: Nellie Two-Times

It was a busy day in the Indians farm system as the RubberDucks played a doubleheader that featured the first minor league rehab appearance of Jason Kipnis, who is recovering from a shoulder strain that sidelined him out of spring training. The IBI's Jake Dungan recaps all of Sunday's highlights.

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Scoreboard

R H E Game 1 R H E
Columbus 4 9 0 Bowie 6 10 1
Louisville 10 15 0 Akron 7 8 0
BOX BOX
Game 2 R H E R H E
Bowie 9 11 1 Myrtle Beach 4 11 0
Akron 1 4 0 Lynchburg 3 10 1
BOX BOX
R H E
Dayton 6 12 0
Lake County 0 4 0
BOX

Highlights

Nellie Rodriguez (Columbus, 1B): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K. Rodriguez has gotten his power game off to a good start in Columbus as the 22-year-old slugger went deep twice on Sunday in a losing effort for the Clippers, giving him three on the season. So far in four games, Rodriguez is 4-for-18 (.222) in Triple-A with those three homers and four RBI's. He continues to live up to his reputation for the swings and misses, however, as he has struck out 10 times in that span while walking only once. In 132 games for Akron last season, the New York native batted .250 with a career-high 26 homers and 85 RBI's and was a vaunted participant in the Eastern League Home Run Derby during the All-Star festivities at Canal Park.

Shane Bieber (Lake County, SP): 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K, L (0-1). Word was from Eastlake that Bieber's slider was looking sharp with good break on Sunday as the right-hander made his Captains debut. Unfortunately, thanks to no run support from his offense, the two runs he was charged with in his 4.2 innings of work were enough to hand him the loss. However, both runs scored after he left the game. Outside of that pair of runs on six hits, the California native didn't walk anyone and struck out seven Dragons. After being a fourth round selection out of UC Santa Barbara by the Indians in last year's draft, Bieber went to Mahoning Valley and was lights out in nine appearances posting an 0.38 ERA.

Yu-Cheng Chang (Akron, SS-DH): *Game 1* 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI; *Game 2* 0-3, 3 K. In the first game of Akron's twin bill on Sunday, Chang continued his torrid streak to start the season mashing his third home run in as many games and adding another hit on top of that. He did cool off in the second game going 0-for-3 with three punchouts, but he is still batting .417 with those three blasts and seven RBI's in four games. The power surge appears to be carrying over from last year where the Taiwanese shortstop hit a career-high 13 homers in 109 games for Lynchburg. Chang was rumored to be a part of the failed Jonathan Lucroy trade by the Tribe last deadline.

The Rest

  • Jason Kipnis (Akron, DH): *Game 1* 1-3, 1 K. The Indians All-Star second baseman returned to live game action for the first time since being sidelined with a shoulder strain during spring training last month. He will return to Akron on Monday to play second base, after which the next step in his rehab will be determined.
  • Sam Haggerty (Lynchburg, SS): 3-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K. Haggerty is off to a tremendous start for his new team in Lynchburg recording three hits in nine at-bats, including the triple and the RBI from Sunday, to put him at a .444 average thus far.
  • Tyler Krieger (Akron, 2B): *Game 1* 2-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SB. After sitting out the first couple games with a mild injury, Tyler Krieger has made his first impression on Double-A ball going a perfect 2-for-2 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored, marking his first for Akron in each category.
  • Jordan Smith (Columbus, RF): 2-4, 2 2B, 1 K. So far, Jordan Smith has recorded a hit in each game he has played so far in his first season opening with the Clippers. The 26-year-old has recorded multiple hits in two of the four games he has played and has now logged his first extra-base hits of the year with his pair of doubles on Sunday.
  • Richie Shaffer (Columbus, LF): 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI. After being a dark-horse contender for a roster spot in spring training with the Tribe, where he batted .263 with four homers and nine RBI's in 25 Cactus League games, Shaffer has joined the Clippers roster and so far is doing a solid job for Columbus going 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI's up to this point.
  • Bobby Bradley (Akron, 1B): *Game 1* 0-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K; *Game 2* 2-3, 1 RBI. It took a few games, but Bobby Bradley finally put some notches on his Double-A stat line as he recorded a pair of hits and an RBI for his first of each. We're still waiting for his first home run after he had hit a career high 29 last season.
  • Ka'ai Tom (Lynchburg, RF): 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K. Tom got his first knocks in of 2017 on Sunday and drove in his first run as the Hillcats' ninth-inning comeback effort was thwarted. For the 22-year-old outfielder, who missed almost all of 2016 due to injury, he'll take what he can get to get back on the right track again.
  • Matt Whitehouse (Akron, RP): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Outside of Bradley, Whitehouse was the lone bright spot for the RubberDucks in game two of Sunday's doubleheader against the Bowie Bayzox as the left-hander threw up a couple zeroes in relief of starter Travis Banwart. Whitehouse bounced back nicely from his first outing where he gave up two runs onthree hits in two innings.
  • Martin Cervenka (Lynchburg, DH): 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K. Cervenka has only played in two games for Lynchburg so far this season, but in both games, he has gone 2-for-4 with an RBI, giving him a .500 average. In 96 games between the Captains and Hillcats last year, the Czech backstop batted .272 with six homers and 50 RBI's.
  • Andrew Calica (Lynchburg, LF): 2-5, 1 K. In his first three games for Lynchburg, Calica wasn't getting any hits, but was drawing plenty of walks with five in three games. Well, on Sunday, he finally got in the hit column with his first two knocks of his Carolina League career. With the hits added to his walk total, his OBP at this juncture is currently an impressive .389.
  • Kieran Lovegrove (Lynchburg, RP): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 1 K. Lovegrove rebounded from his outing on Friday where he gave up a run and was saddled with a loss and came back with a perfect inning of work on Sunday that included his first strikeout of the campaign. 2017 will mark the right-hander's second full season working as a reliever.
  • Henry Martinez (Lake County, RP): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K. Henry Martinez is making a strong first impression in his first taste of full-season ball as he has allowed just one hit in three innings of work so far for the Captains over two games. On Sunday, the 22-year-old came in and retired both batters he faced, one being via strikeout.

Jake Dungan is the Managing Editor for IBI and a podcast host on the Smoke Signals Network. Email him at jdungan@indiansbaseballinsider.com or follow him on Twitter @JakeDBaseball.


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