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'Ducks Notes: Joe Sever's June Boom

Francisco Mejia continues to be the heart and soul of the RubberDucks offense, but he is now getting more help from his supporting cast, including Double-A veteran Joe Sever. The IBI's Jake Dungan recaps Akron's road trip to the northeast in this week's 'Ducks notebook.

The RubberDucks ventured to the northeast last week as they paid visits to Portland and New Hampshire. Thanks to a red-hot offense that averaged over eight runs a game over this six-game trip, including a 21-run explosion in Game 1 of last Wednesday's twin bill against the Sea Dogs. Francisco Mejia and Joe Sever were the lightning rods of the lineup this week batting .609 and .462, respectively, while rotation newcomers Thomas Pannone and Matt Esparza led the way on the mound.

Here's what else happened this week with the RubberDucks...

Week In Review

  • 6/6 - Akron vs. Portland postponed (Inclement weather)
  • 6/7 - *Game 1* Akron 21, Portland 4: Esparza (W, 2-0), Villanueva (L, 0-1)
  • 6/7 - *Game 2* Akron 7, Portland 6: Hill (W, 3-2), Smith (L, 2-1), Holland (S, 4)
  • 6/8 - Akron 8, Portland 14: Dahlstrand (W, 5-1), Linares (L, 0-2)
  • 6/9 - Akron 1, New Hampshire 8: Rowley (W, 3-2), Lugo (L, 4-3)
  • 6/10 - Akron 7, New Hampshire 5: Whitehouse (W, 2-3), Reid-Foley (L, 3-4), Holland (S, 5)
  • 6/11 - Akron 7, New Hampshire 3: Pannone (W, 2-1), Harris (L, 2-6)

Player of the Week

Joe Sever, 3B/OF

Last Week: 6 G, 26 AB, 5 R, 12 H, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 SB, .462 BA

Season to Date: 46 G, 165 AB, 18 R, 49 H, 3 HR, 7 2B, 1 3B, 20 RBI, 13 BB, 37 K, 4 SB, 1 CS, .297 BA

Joe Sever is not a name on the tip of many tongues when folks think of top Indians prospects. He's also probably not near the top of many current major league depth charts for the Indians. But that hasn't stopped the San Jose native from raking at the plate in the month of June as he is batting .475 with a homer and six RBI's through 10 games so far this month as this hot streak has managed to raise his average from .238 all the way to .297.

2017 marks Sever's third season in Akron as he originally joined the RubberDucks for the latter portion of the 2015 campaign and batted .219 with two homers and 13 RBI's over 30 games. Last season in 114 games for Akron, the former 21st round pick hit .251 with four homers and 35 RBI's. Now through 46 games so far this season, the 26-year-old has posted that aforementioned .297 average while hitting three homers and 20 RBI's.

While Sever may offer limited upside at the plate, he is capable of hitting for a somewhat decent average and has been an effective clutch hitter more often than not throughout his career. So far in his 46 games this season, he is batting .326 with runners in scoring position driving in 17 runs. Sever also offers versatility defensively playing primarily as an corner infielder, but has also seen time at second base and, more recently, the corner outfield spots.

At 26 years old and still in Double-A, the clock is not in his favor, but he can easily find his way to Columbus with continued success at the plate and his versatility. While his major league potential with the Indians is up for debate, there's still a decent chance Sever could get at least a cup of coffee in the show at some point.

Who's Hot

Francisco Mejia, C

Last Week: 5 G, 23 AB, 7 R, 14 H, 5 HR, 3 2B, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, .609 BA

Season to Date: 38 G, 149 AB, 25 R, 55 H, 8 HR, 13 2B, 1 3B, 25 RBI, 12 BB, 21 K, 3 SB, 2 CS, .369 BA

It's hard to envision saying this for any player after only 38 games at this level, but the question is now becoming legitimate as to whether the RubberDucks catcher has anything to prove at the Double-A level. With his red-hot performance this week that included multiple hits in all five games and 14 hits overall, adding up to a .609 average with five homers and 10 RBI's. On the year, Mejia now boasts a whopping .369 average with eight homers and 25 RBI's through 38 games.

Luigi Rodriguez, OF

Last Week: 5 G, 20 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 2 HR, 4 2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 CS, .450 BA

Season to Date: 22 G, 84 AB, 9 R, 23 H, 3 HR, 6 2B, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 29 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, .274 BA

Rodriguez appears to be finding his groove again at the plate after getting off to a late start to the season. Over the last week, the 24-year-old is batting .450 with two homers while driving in four, doubling his RBI total on the season and tripling his number of home runs. After his suspension in 2015 and part of 2016, it's nice to see him start to bounce back from all that.

Thomas Pannone, SP

Last Week: 1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR, 1.50 ERA

Season to Date (Lynchburg and Akron): 12 GS, 4-1, 65.2 IP, 37 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 19 BB, 71 K, 3 HR, 0.96 ERA

After a brief hiccup where he surrendered six runs (five earned) back on May 20th against Hartford, Pannone has gotten right back to putting up one dominant performance after another allowing only tow runs on 12 combined hits over his next four outings where he averaged over six innings per start with seven walks and 19 strikeouts over 25 innings.

Bobby Bradley, 1B

Last Week: 6 G, 24 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K, 1 CS, .292 BA

Season to Date: 55 G, 191 AB, 27 R, 46 H, 10 HR, 7 2B, 1 3B, 35 RBI, 26 BB, 58 K, 2 SB, 1 CS, .241 BA

The home runs haven't been as frequent for Bradley since the start of May, but he's making more consistent contact and trying to be more selective at the plate. Last week was the best of both worlds, however, as the 21-year-old slugger crushed two home runs over six games while batting .292 and drawing five walks versus six strikeouts.

Who's Not

Leandro Linares, RP

Last Week: 1 G, 0-1, 0.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R/ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 109.09 ERA

Season to Date (Lynchburg and Akron): 19 G, 0-3, 3 SV, 28 H, 23.2 IP, 16 R, 10 ER, 9 BB, 25 K, 3 HR, 3.80 ERA

It appears the jump from A-ball to Double-A is taking an early toll on Linares as his last two outings have yielded subpar results as the right-hander has surrendered 11 runs (eight earned) on nine hits over just two-thirds of an inning of combined work between his June 4th appearance against Reading and his 8-run outing in Portland last Thursday. In 12 appearances for Lynchburg this season, the Cuban native had posted a 1.32 ERA. So far in seven games with Akron, his ERA is 7.20.

Luis Lugo, SP

Last Week: 1 GS, 0-1, 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 4.09 ERA

Season to Date: 11 GS, 4-3, 51 H, 55 IP, 26 R, 25 ER, 25 BB, 34 K, 8 HR, 4.09 ERA

Lugo's been walking a tightrope in his outings lately allowing a fair amount of baserunners and on Friday, the Fisher Cats made him pay tagging the left-hander for six runs on nine hits over five innings, marking the most he has allowed in a start this season and the most he has allowed since August 27th of last season in Lynchburg. In two June starts so far, Lugo has gone 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA allowing nine runs on 16 hits over 10 combined innings.

Transactions

-  6/6: RHP Cole Sulser transferred to Columbus from Akron.

-  6/7: Indians send RHP Danny Salazar on rehab assignment to Akron.

-  6/7: RHP D.J. Brown activated from the 7-day disabled list.

-  6/9: OF Connor Marabell transferred to Akron from Lynchburg.

Coming Up...

The RubberDucks return to Canal Park this week for a six-game homestand against Harrisburg and Portland. Right-hander Matt Esparza will look to continue his hot start to his Double-A career on Tuesday. Next, it will be Nick Pasquale and Luis Lugo to wrap up the Senators series, after which southpaw Matt Whitehouse will be slated to take the hill in the opener against Portland.

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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