June Prospects Rundown: Indianapolis Indians

The month of June almost completely depleted the Indianapolis Indians of any legit prospects.  Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Brad Lincoln were all promoted to the majors, leaving the Indianapolis lineup and rotation without any impact players.  Lower key prospects like Daniel McCutchen and Justin Thomas also got the call to the majors.

Indianapolis did receive several disappointing players from the major league level.  Akinori Iwamura was demoted near the end of the month.  Charlie Morton spent almost the entire month on a rehab assignment at the level, only to end up getting demoted once the assignment was complete at the start of July.  Jeff Clement also was demoted and spent most of the month in AAA.

Here is a quick breakdown of the month of June, with players who played up to expectations, some surprises, and some disappointments.
Good as Advertised
Daniel McCutchen - Before McCutchen got the call to the majors, he put up four nice starts in Indianapolis, combining for a 2.73 ERA in 26.1 innings, with a 15:7 K/BB ratio.  That was a big upgrade over his 5.60 ERA in 27.1 innings in the month of May.
Hayden Penn - Penn had an excellent month, making six starts, and combining for a 1.89 ERA in 33.1 innings, with a 32:9 K/BB ratio.  Like McCutchen, Penn also struggled in the month of May, with a 7.78 ERA in 19.2 innings.
Erik Kratz - Kratz is making a case to get promoted to the major league level as the backup catcher for the Pirates.  In the month of June he hit for a .292/.415/.538 line in 65 at-bats.  Jason Jaramillo has been struggling at the major league level, although regardless of who the catcher is, they’re probably not going to see much playing time.
The Big Surprises
Jim Negrych - Negrych was promoted to AAA in the month of June, and handled the promotion with ease.  Negrych got off to a hot start, hitting for a .404/.452/.614 line in 57 at-bats, with three homers.  There’s no rush to promote Negrych until he can do this with a bigger sample size, but he’s definitely one to watch, especially as a bench option in the majors for the 2011 season.
Wilfredo Ledezma - Ledezma has been great this season, and only improved in the month of June.  He pitched 11.2 shutout innings in 11 appearances, with an 18:6 K/BB ratio.  Ledezma could be a candidate to be promoted to the majors if the Pirates trade one of their major league relievers, or he could be a trade candidate himself in a minor deal.
Vinnie Chulk - Chulk hasn’t had any problems since his struggles in the month of April.  After a strong month of May, Chulk repeated the success in the month of June.  In 11 innings he put up a 0.82 ERA, with a 12:3 K/BB ratio.  Chulk is also a candidate to get the call to the majors if a major league bullpen option is traded.
Kind of Disappointing
Charlie Morton - Morton made five starts in Indianapolis in the month of June, putting up a 4.33 ERA in 27 innings, with a 21:10 K/BB ratio.  That’s worse when you consider that one of those outings was a nine inning, one run outing, in which Morton walked one and struck out four.  Morton has since been demoted full time to the AAA level, with some rumors circulating that the Pirates have considered trading him.
Michael Crotta - Crotta’s feel good season fell apart in the month of June, with a 6.00 ERA in 27 innings over six starts, and a 17:9 K/BB ratio.  Before the season I thought Crotta could be a good bullpen option in the majors.  He’s not blocking anyone in the Indianapolis rotation, so it’s good for him to get some innings, but I still think his long term value is a reliever.
Brandon Jones - Jones struggled enough this year to go from Atlanta’s 40-man roster, to being demoted from the Pittsburgh 40-man roster, to being demoted from AAA to AA in the month of June.  Jones put up a .205/.277/.321 line in his time at the AAA level, before getting demoted to AA.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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