By David Saltzer - Angelswin.com Columnist
1. The Salt Lake Bees (the entire team)
21-1 W/L record, 9-Game Lead
313/391/896 161 runs, 54 Doubles, 6 Triples, 28 HRs, 146 RBIs, 84/165 BB:K ratio
21-1, 3.21 ERA, 202 IP, 195 H, 79 BB, 156 K, 1.36 WHIP
In case you haven’t heard the Buzz, our colony of prospects at AAA are swarming for the kill in every game they play. They’ve gone 21-1 to start the season (an unheard of 955 win %) all while having several key players fly off to the parent club and back. Rather than getting stung by overlooking any individual member of the hive’s contribution, the #1 spot this week goes to the entire team. I’ve never seen such a strong start to the season. This is one of the greatest starts to any season for a minor league team, if not the greatest ever. Congrats!
2. Matt Brown, 3B, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
15/32 (469), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 7 Runs, 8 RBIs
Last week Matt Brown said “Look at me! Look at me!” with his numbers. This week, the fans are saying “We want to see you in Anaheim!” With a few more weeks like this, it will be hard for us NOT to see him at the ML level as he’s blowing away the competition at AAA. He’s in the top 10 for the entire minor leagues in many offensive categories and is definitely making a strong case for a role in the majors. Message boards are already clamoring for it, and hopefully, the next time he gets a call up, he’ll stick.
3. Nick Adenhart, SP, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
2-0 in 2 starts 0.00 ERA, 14 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 10 K, 0.93 WHIP
4-0, 0.87 ERA, 31 IP, 18 H, 15 BB, 19 K, 1.13 WHIP, 170 BAA
If the PCL is a high octane league, then Nick Adenhart is a cool-headed fireman. At some point Adenhart may need to rely on his offense to pick up the slack in a start. But until then, he’ll just keep cooling off the opposition until he gets his shot in Anaheim. When he does, the AL better watch out, this guy can deal. He’s already making the adjustments that will keep him in the show for a long time. His walks are coming down and his strikeouts are up. At 21, his future is bright!
4. Shane Loux, SP, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
2-0 in 2 starts 2.08 ERA, 13 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 7 K, 1.08 WHIP
4-0, 1.40 ERA, 25.2 IP, 23 H, 5 BB, 12 K, 1.09 WHIP, 237 BAA
Stop me if you’ve heard this story: high school pitcher gets drafted, plays a bit, gets injured, washes out of baseball, becomes a high school coach, gets a shot in the majors and just blows away the competition. Does it sound a lot like Jim Morris (the real-life Roy Hobbs)? Well, it’s true, and it’s the story of Shane Loux. Originally drafted in the 2nd round in 1997 by Detroit, at this time last year, Shane was out of organized baseball and working as a high school baseball coach. Like Adenhart, Shane is a veteran of Tommy John surgery in 2005. And, like Adenhart, he’s mowing down the competition at AAA. According to Shane, the Angels signed him and gave him a month to get in shape. If the surgery can work for Adenhart, and the story is as good as Jim Morris’s, let’s keep our eyes on Shane Loux!
5. Bobby Wilson, C, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
8/19 (421), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HRs, 0 Runs, 4 RBIs
Behind ever great pitching staff is a great catcher. And, the problem is that under Scioscia, we’ve become stacked with catchers. Wilson., a defensive oriented catcher, is putting up putting up better offensive numbers than last year, when he first reached AAA all while guiding several of our young pitchers to dominate the opposition.
6. Giancarlo Alvarado, SP, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
1-0 in 2 starts 1.54 ERA, 11.2 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 11 K, 1.08 WHIP
1-0, 3.32 ERA, 21.2 IP, 17 H, 8 BB, 20 K, 1.15 WHIP, 213 BAA
I purposely split Loux and Alvarado around their catcher because if I told you their stories back-to-back, you wouldn’t believe it. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: young kid gets drafted, bounces around the minors, washes out a few years later, hangs around pitching for independent teams, goes to another country to pitch, gets noticed, and gets one last shot to prove himself back in America. Well, that’s Giancarlo’s story. Originally signed by Pittsburgh at age 17 in 1995, Giancarlo bounced around the minors, never really made it passed AA, and eventually ended up playing in Mexico last year. Somehow he got noticed and signed by the Angels, and has been blowing away the competition ever since. So, if you’re into feel good stories, or just like seeing stats that make you feel good, keep another eye on Giancarlo.
7. Anthony Norman, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
9/27 (333), 1 Doubles, 0 Triple, 1 HRs, 4 Runs, 4 RBIs, 4 SBs
323/443/538 6 SBs
There’s been a lot of debate as to who should bat 2nd for the Angels. Well, for Rancho, the man who bats second is Anton Norman, and he’s doing a great job at it. He combines speed and power with patience at the plate. Hitting behind Bourjous, he’s taken enough pitches to allow him to steal 17 bags already. Yet, Norman isn’t afraid to swipe a bag himself. Drafted out of UCLA, he’s a bit old for the league, and might get promoted mid-season if he continues to show that these numbers aren’t flukes.
8. The Pitchers Who Were Left Out, SP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
In the 5-Key Questions for Cedar Rapids, one question related to how the trio of lefties would do. While we all know about the Walden and Tobin, the lefties are being just as impressive now that they’re past their first starts.
2-0 in 2 starts 1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 1.26 WHIP
2-1, 2.63 ERA, 24 IP, 21 H, 5 BB, 15 K, 1.08 WHIP, 236 BAA
0-0 in 2 starts 2.70 ERA, 10 IP, 6 H, 6 BB, 15 K, 1.20 WHIP
1-0, 3.47 ERA, 23.1 IP, 16 H, 14 BB, 30 K, 1.29 WHIP, 184 BAA
1-0 in 2 starts 2.70 ERA, 10 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 9 K, 1.40 WHIP
2-0, 3.57 ERA, 17.2 IP, 16 H, 10 BB, 16 K, 1.47 WHIP, 235 BAA
9. Peter Bourjos, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
6/19 (316), 1 Doubles, 0 Triple, 0 HRs, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 4 SBs
293/354/347 17 SBs
Eddie Bane said that if Peter figured out how to steal bases with effectiveness that he’ll be a strong base stealer in our system. Well, so far, Peter has seemed to figure it out, having swiped 17 bags in 18 attempts and in only 19 games. Projecting those numbers out and he’ll be in Anaheim leading off for us in the future. The only drawback so far to Peter’s game this season has been a bit of a decrease in the power that he showed last year and in the spring—especially considering the league in which he hits. Otherwise, he’s been stealing at will and getting on base—which are his primary duties as a leadoff hitter.
10. Tommy Mendoza, SP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
1-0 in 2 starts 1.54 ERA, 12.0 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 5 K, 1.42 WHIP
1-2, 2.89 ERA, 28.0 IP, 34 H, 9 BB, 13 K, 1.67 WHIP, 293 BAA
Still trying to rediscover the form that allowed him to strike out more than 1 batter an inning as a rookie, Tommy is holding his own in the high-octane California league. Tommy definitely like his home cooking—he’s got a 1.50 ERA at home vs. a 5.40 ERA on the road. Maybe he should talk to whomever straightened Santana out from last year so that he too can rediscover how to dominate at both home and on the road.
On the Outside Looking In
At AAA Salt Lake City
Brandon Wood, SS
273/333/614 with 8 HRs—Still working to improve the BB:K rate.
Reggie Willits, OF
333/429/500—Great start after being demoted.
Freddie Sandoval, 3B
385/417/641—He’s picking up the load with 16 RBIs for the team.
Nick Green, SP
2-0 3.41 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 289 BAA—Still proving to be a solid pitcher.
At AA Arkansas Travelers
Michael Collins, 1B
324/400/527—Not too shabby for a bloke born down under.
Kevin Jepsen. RP
1-0 1.46 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 163 BAA—Has 3 saves so far in split closing duties.
At A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Mark Trumbo, 1B
289/354/522—The power is there and when the rest of the lineup gets healthy, he should really start to smoke the ball.
Barrett Browning, RP
0-1 3.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 191 BAA—Has a 15:3 K:BB ratio as a closer.
At A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Tyler Johnson, OF
255/368/527—The power and speed is there and developing.
Jeremy Moore, OF
257/342/429—Another speedster with 15 SBs in 17 attempts.
Mason Tobin, SP
2-0 0.00 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 154 BAA—Only had 1 start this past week and only went 2 innings.
Jordan Walden, SP
1-3 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 230 BAA—Got touched a bit this week giving up 7 runs in 13 innings, but still has a 25:9 K:BB ratio.