By Scot Stedman - AngelsWin.com Minor League Reporter
Salt Lake Bees - The Bees will wrap up the season on Monday, after having gone 1-6 in their last 7 games, and missing the playoffs. Third baseman Luis Jimenez will enter the final game hitting .309 with a .826 OPS and much improved defense. As always, the knock on Jimenez is his plate discipline, as underscored by his .333 OBP. If Jimenez does not get the call after the Bees' season wraps up, it will tell you a lot about his long-term future with the Halos. Catcher Hank Conger is hitting .291 with a .805 OPS, amid reports of much improved defense as well. Started Barry Enright, acquired from the Dbacks in late July, has been brilliant since joining the Bees. In 53 innings, the 26-year-old Enright has posted a 2.73 ERA and a WHIP just north of 1. As the Bees' season comes to an end, look for some more call-ups to the Angels in the coming week.
Arkansas Travelers - The Travs' will conclude a very disappointing season Monday, finishing 3rd in the Texas League North. The roster was wiped of most of its talent after the Greinke trade, but some bright spots are still in place. Starter A.J. Schugel will take the mound for the final start of the season on Monday. His 2.89 ERA and 140 innings lead the team to go along with a great .232 batting-average-against. The 23-year-old was a Texas League mid-season all-star for 2012. Center-fielder Travis Witherspoon, a 23-year-old speedster from Sumter, SC has struggled to hit with Arkansas, after hitting .319 with the 66ers. With the Travs' Witherspoon has struggled to stay above the Mendoza line. However, his outstanding defense still makes him a valuable prospect and could be a future 4th outfielder for the Angels. Former non-drafted free agent Ryan Chaffee has been racking up the strikeouts this season out of the bullpen. In 64 innings between Inland Empire and Arkansas, Chaffee has 82 punch-outs and a 2.69 ERA. Look for Chaffee to get a look in the Angels bullpen sometime soon.
Inland Empire 66ers - Inland Empire will finish the year with a record just below .500, missing the playoffs. First-baseman/DH C.J. Cron has had season-ending Labrum surgery, but not before putting up very respectable numbers. His 123 RBIs, which still have no defined value, led all of the minor leagues. His .293 average and 27 HRs helped Inland Empire in the middle of the lineup. The 22-year-old is expected to miss 8-10 months as he recovers from the surgery. Outfielder Randal Grichuk, 2009 first-round pick, is hitting .296 with 18 HRs and 16 Stolen bases. Since the all-star break, the 21-year-old Grichuk has a .940 OPS to go along with stellar defense. This season has shot Grichuk up the rankings for the Angels top prospects, likely in the top 10. Eswarlin Jimenez will toe the slab for the 66ers final game. After a great year in Cedar Rapids, Jimenez has started 2 games with Inland Empire, allowing just 1 run (0.69 ERA), and walking just 1. Jimenez pitched in the DSL last year, so it is truly remarkable that he finished this season 4 levels higher - as a 20-year-old.
Cedar Rapids Kernels - The Kernels are in the cellar in the Midwest League with a record of 53-85. Outfielder Zach Borenstein has been flying under the radar this season, but is having a great year. His .824 OPS leads the team, to go along with 25 doubles, 11 HRs, and 13 stolen bases. The 22-year-old should start the 2013 campaign in Inland Empire. 2012 3rd round pick, R.J. Alvarez has racked up 36 strikeouts in just 26 innings pitched. With his pure stuff, he could be a guy that we see in the Angels bullpen next season. Finally, 22-year-old catcher Zach Wright has put up a .814 OPS even though he has gone through somewhat of a slump lately. It's always great to have catching depth, and Wright's .388 OBP should put him at the top of the list.
Orem Owlz - Orem will miss the playoffs (see the trend here?) but they were in it until the very end. Led by an extremely powerful offense, the Owlz nearly slugged their way into a playoff spot. First-baseman Wade Hinkle carried the team with his 1.027 OPS and 41 walks with just 50 strikeouts. He is already 23-years-old, so look for Hinkle to rise quickly in the system. Center-fielder Joel Capote leads the team with a .449 OBP. The surprising season from Capote may put him in position to skip Cedar Rapids, and start with the 66ers next year. Corner infielder Michael Snyder usually hits clean-up for Hinkle as he posted a .922 OPS with 34 extra-base hits. Finally, outfielder Jonathan Walsh seems to have the best chance at being a legit prospect for the Angels, as he is only 21-years-old. The switch-hitting Walsh has a .418 OBP with 4 more walks (46) than strikeouts (42).
AZL Angels Notes
Pedro Toribio a 22-year-old SS from the Dominican Republic, led the team in hitting with a .379 average. Left handed starter Zach LeBarron, 22, led the team with a 2.70 ERA in 67 innings. Ryan Bolden, a former 1st round pick, hit .133 in his 3rd year in the AZL. Team finished in last place.
21-year-old speedy 2B Ismael Dionicio is hitting .300 with 21 SBs. Angel Guerra, a 19-year-old SP, leads the team with a 2.09 ERA in 90 innings. Eduar Lopez, 18, was by far the most dominant starter. 91 strikeouts in 57 innings of work. Only Angels minor league affiliate to make the playoffs
This concludes our prospect reports for the 2012 season. If you'd like to comment on the reports brought to you by Scott Stedman, please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all for reading!