Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Trevor Bell enjoyed is a nice season in '09, making the jump to the bigs after a solid AA and AAA season

By David Saltzer—AngelsWin Columnist

Abe Flores is the Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Abe to discuss many of the players and teams throughout the Angels’ organization. Today we are presenting our third and final part of our interview with Abe in which we discuss many of the pitchers throughout the Angels’ organization. As with the hitters, there were many more players that we wanted to discuss than we had time to cover. And, as with the hitters, such depth is a good thing as we all saw last year, when having that depth proved invaluable over the course of the season.

AngelsWin.com: What’s going on with Bachanov? Is he going to continue as a starter or reliever?

Abe Flores: As a reliever. He throws 90-94. His slider is progressing. He’ll get on top of a couple of them that have sharp tilt.

AngelsWin.com: What can you tell us about Martinez-Mesa?

Abe Flores: He’s still a starter. He has a power arm.

AngelsWin.com: Where did you clock him (Martinez-Mesa)?

Abe Flores: 90-96 MPH.

AngelsWin.com: What about his other pitches (Martinez-Mesa)?

Abe Flores: He throws a fastball and slider.

AngelsWin.com: What did you see in the Korean players Jang and Jung?

Abe Flores: Jung just came back very very late. Flashed low velocity. The velocity didn’t come back in Instruction League. Jang is more of a finesse right-hander. The command is good. The breaking balls are okay. His velocity is a little short.

AngelsWin.com: Could you give us a scouting report on Tyler Skaggs?

Abe Flores: Good looking lefty. Left-handed curveball guy. Depth to his curve ball. He’s projectable. He has the chance to have 3 plus pitches somewhere down the road.

AngelsWin.com: How did Garrett Richards look?

Abe Flores: Good looking guy. Good body. 3 pitch mix. Was 90-93 or 94 and had some depth on his curveball. Just saw him briefly—didn’t get a lot of look at him because they were just getting him cranked up so I didn’t really get an extensive look at him. But, he looks the part.

AngelsWin.com: The pitching at Cedar Rapids may have been the best in our organization overall.

Abe Flores: Probably yes. I would say so. But I would also think that Orem rotation has a pretty good upside also, so far as the starting rotation. Probably all around, you are right with those 12 guys.

AngelsWin.com: Let’s talk about the starters. What can you tell us about Will Smith?

Abe Flores: Not overpowering. Control command type guy. He mixes a nice breaking ball for a strike. An effective changeup. Mature, competes and has poise. When he is on his game and has all 3 pitches working, he’s pretty tough. Good tempo.

AngelsWin.com: Tyler Chatwood?

Abe Flores: Power arm. Power arm in a short package. Downhill 92-95 in May, 92-95 in August. Power curveball. Good changeup. What he has to continue to harness and improve on is his command of his pitches. Not necessarily strike one, but being efficient in finishing hitters off and not letting counts get away from him.

AngelsWin.com: Would you say that’s a result for him, as well as for several of the other pitchers at Cedar Rapids, age? They were rather young for their league.

Abe Flores: Oh yes. Not only him, but a bunch of guys on that team and a bunch of guys in our organization. It is one of those things that young pitchers are going to continue to improve on and try to harness.

AngelsWin.com: It did seem like at many of the levels, and throughout the organization overall that we had many players who were beating guys who were 2-3 years older than them in the same league.

Abe Flores: That is a credit to our coaching staff and also to Kernan Rowan who is our pitching coordinator. Give those guys credit. And, to the players themselves.

AngelsWin.com: How about Chaffee?

Abe Flores: A multi-slot guy. Kind of a Dave Cone type approach. Two slots. A very, very good slider when it is right. Plus slider when it’s right. Good changeup. Not overpowering, but has to be effective with his command and his location to make it all work.

AngelsWin.com: There were several dominant relievers at Cedar Rapids in Chris Scholl, Andrew Taylor and Michael Kohn.

Abe Flores: Taylor: Left-handed 90-94. Good breaking ball. Aggressive in the strike zone with his stuff. Threw strikes. A really pleasant surprise.

Scholl: Really had a remarkable finish having those consecutive scoreless innings and those no-hit innings I should say. That really took us a bit back because in the beginning he was a bit of a smaller stature guy. He tended to be a bit flat with his stuff. His angle improved. The crispness of his breaking ball improved. And his ability to locate his pitches out of the middle of the plate improved.

Kohn: Another guy who, when he was fresh, was a power arm. He is continuing to develop his breaking ball slider and has the potential to have 2 plus pitches hopefully down the line. But that slider needs some work.

AngelsWin.com: How fast did you clock Kohn?

Abe Flores: He was about 90-95.

AngelsWin.com: What about Vladimir Veras?

Abe Flores: Another power arm. The thing with him is that as we’ve talked about with some of the other pitchers is his command of his pitches, command of his stuff.

AngelsWin.com: Who else should we be looking at from that Cedar Rapids club?

Abe Flores: A guy who was pretty tough from a little bit of a funky slot was Nick Pugliese who had some pretty dominant numbers along with Andrew Taylor. Both 3-quarters. 90 to 92-93. Aggressive, tough. Pitches. Competes. He can work the corners. His breaking ball was enough. Really a pleasant surprise. His velocity picked up. He just kept coming on.

AngelsWin.com: Can any of these guys accelerate through the system quickly or are they one-stop along the way players?

Abe Flores: Probably as of right now, probably one-stop along the way. There’s no rush. But it wouldn’t surprise me if they did move along either—they are that talented.

AngelsWin.com: How is Reckling recovering and how does he project?

Abe Flores: Trevor Reckling is a top of the order type of starter. Left handed. Velocity was up to 93 at the beginning of the year. It kind of tailed off a little bit at the end. Definitely a concern of running a 20-year old out there at Double-A, but he ended up being 4th in ERA in the Texas League which was impressive and he ended up being a member of Team USA which won a gold medal and was one of their starters. They’ve only won a few gold medals in that tournament and they beat Cuba. He wasn’t the starter.

AngelsWin.com: He struck out 11 against China in that tournament. That was quite an accomplishment.

Abe Flores: Sure. We all just need to be patient and monitor Trevor because he is young and he still has some projection. He has a chance to be a physical good looking pitcher. Top of the rotation kind of guy.

AngelsWin.com: Where do you see Walden going forward? Is he a starter or going to the pen?

Abe Flores: Probably more in the pen. More than anything, though, we just want to keep him on the field. He’s had a couple of years in a row getting dinged up—especially this year being on the DL twice—so that is a concern. We just want to keep him on the field. If he’s on the field, we can develop him and develop his pitches. He has the ability to be a force and to help us.

AngelsWin.com: Bell really turned it around this year. How would you rate his performance?

Abe Flores: I thought he did marvelous. I thought, hey, a number 1 competitor. I think that the breaking ball was a little bit of a concern but his fastball command was good. His changeup was good. He needs to continue to develop and get in work and a consistent breaking ball. But, he had fastball command. He was tenacious. He attacked the strike zone with what he had night-to-night so you knew what you were getting. He just grew up.

AngelsWin.com: What I noticed was that he was working faster on the mound then when I saw him at Rancho.

Abe Flores: I don’t know if I would categorize it as that. Just being able to locate his stuff and get outs with frequency and not derailing him. All of a sudden he was a different kind of guy this year.

AngelsWin.com: Another player who really took off and made it to the Majors was Sean O’Sullivan.

Abe Flores: Yes. When you see him he’s a big-bodied guy. You think he’s going to throw rockets. He doesn’t. He’s about pitchability—mixing, matching sequences. He has a 3 pitch mix. He can throw 3 pitches. You can see that the wheels are turning. Sometimes it seems like he’s picking at the zone instead of really nailing that pitch and getting it or a quality strike. And that ends up getting him in trouble because his pitch counts increase and his outings become a little shortened because of his pitch count.

AngelsWin.com: Is that more of a mental challenge or a physical challenge for him to work on?

Abe Flores: Having a repeatable delivery and attacking that strike zone and throwing those pitches on the corners for strikes. These are easier said than done. Believe me.

AngelsWin.com: Once again thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today.

Abe Flores: You are welcome.

This concludes our 3-part interview with Abe Flores, the Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Check out part one and two of our interview with Abe Flores.
Love to hear what you think!

1 comments:

James said...

I really enjoyed the interviews. Great work. Nice to hear comments direclty from Abe. I'm very excited about some of the guys he talked about.

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