Monday, May 19, 2014

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By: Adrian Noche, AngelsWin.com Columnist - 

1.) Jose Rondon, SS, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 games: .413 AVG  19 H  3 Doubles  1 Triple  0 HR  1 SB
Overall: .335/.360/.418

Jose Rondon refused to cool off this week and has managed to raise his batting average even higher from .330 to .335. Rondon collected his 2nd 4-hit game of the season, going 4-5 on Sunday. As a 20 year old, Rondon is now 5th in batting average in the Cal League. Though his BABIP in the .400’s is unsustainable, we highly encourage Rondon to ride how this hot streak for as long as he can.

2.) Elliot Morris, SP, Burlington Bees
Last two starts: 0-0  11.2 IP  0.77 ERA  10 H  2 BB  14 SO  1.02 WHIP  .227 BAA
Overall: 2-1  2.08 ERA  34.2 IP  23 H  12 BB  41 SO  1.00 WHIP  .187 BAA

Elliot Morris has been dominant in his first full year of professional baseball. Morris continued his excellence with his start on Wednesday, striking out a season high 9 batters while allowing no earned runs in 5 innings. Hitters can’t seem to do anything but hit the ball into the ground against Morris as he has a ground ball rate of 59%. The 4th round draft pick has given up more than 1 earned run just once this season in 7 starts, posting a dazzling SO/9 of 10.6 and BB/9 of 3.1.

3.) Nate Smith, SP, Inland Empire 66ers
Last two starts: 1-0  14.0 IP  2.57 ERA  9 H  2 BB  12 SO  0.78 WHIP  .180 BAA
Overall: 5-3  3.08 ERA  49.2 IP  37 H  13 BB  43 SO  1.00 WHIP  .203 BAA

Nate Smith has been Mr. Consistency for the 66er’s pitching staff this year, leading the team in wins, WHIP & strikeouts. In his one start this week, Smith went 7.0 innings and allowed 3 earned runs while striking out 7 batters, earning his 5th win of the season. The 3.08 ERA that Smith boasts this season would be even smaller if it were not for an outing in which he only lasted 0.1 innings while allowing 5 earned runs. Take away that outing and he will have an ERA of 2.17. The southpaw’s success this season can be attributed to his ability to keep hitters off balance with his plus-changeup and command of the strike-zone (2.4 BB/9).

4.) Alex Yarbrough, 2B, Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 games: .275 AVG  11 H  2 Doubles  1 Triple  3 HR  1 SB
Overall: .314/.351/.456

Alex Yarbrough continued his hot-hitting this week but decided to add the long ball to the equation. Hitting 0 home runs up to this week, Yarbrough decided to drop 3 bombs including a 2-homer day on Thursday. Another positive sign to take from this week is Yarbrough’s discipline, drawing 5 base-on-balls. He has walked 11 times all year. Yarbrough has done nothing but stroke line drives  this season with a line drive rate of 25% (the league average is 17%). Yarbrough continues to be the lone bright spot on a struggling Travelers offense and is among the league leaders in hits (1st), doubles (1st), RBI’s (2nd) and batting average (3rd).

5.) Mike Fish, OF, Burlington Bees
Past 10 games: .375 AVG  15 H  4 Doubles  2 Triples  1 HR  0 SB
Overall: .276/.328/.474

After struggling to begin the season and a 7-day stint to the DL, Mike Fish is finally beginning to put up strong numbers. Fish brought his average all the way up to .276 buoyed by a string of 10 games in which he hit .375. Of those 15 hits Fish accumulated, about half of those have been for extra bases with 4 doubles, a triple and a home run (.650 SLG%).  After a strong first impression in the 2013 AZL and Rookie League, Fish will need to prove that he can keep on mashing in his first full season of professional baseball.

6.) Cam Bedrosian, RP, Arkansas Travelers
Last 5 appearances:  5.0 IP  0 H  3 BB  11 SO  0.60 WHIP  .000 BAA
Overall: 1-0  6 Saves  0.96 ERA  18.2 IP  5 H  7 BB  39 SO  0.64 WHIP  .085 BAA

Bedrosian made three appearances this week, pitching 3.0 innings and striking out 6 batters along with 1 walk and 0 hits. These kind of performances have been routine for Bedrosian, as he has struck out an otherworldly 18.8 batters per nine innings. For those of you not familiar with Bedrosian, Cam was a 1st round draft pick of the 2010 amateur draft. Unfortunately, he became a victim to Tommy John surgery in 2011 and was not able to pan out as a starter. 2013 was his first year being converted to a reliever and saw success in High-A Ball and the Arizona Fall League. Many expected Bedrosian to have a strong 2014 but no one saw this kind of performance coming. Batters are hitting less than .100 against him and are either striking out (58% K-Rate) or grounding out (61.9% GB-rate). It’s only a matter of time before Bedrosian forces the Angels hand and gets promoted to the Big A to form one of the most formidable bullpens in Angels' history.

7.) R.J. Alvarez, RP, Arkansas Travelers
Last 5 appearances: 8.2 IP  2 H  2 BB  12 SO  0.57 WHIP  .074 BAA
Overall: 0-0  0.00 ERA  19.0 IP  8 H  5 BB  28 SO  0.68 WHIP  .BAA

In two appearances this week, Alvarez pitched 3.0 innings and retired all 9 hitters with 7 coming via strikeout. Alvarez has yet to be scored upon this season in 19.0 innings pitched. The only thing that was holding Alvarez back last year was his struggles with command, as he posted a BB/9 of 5.0 in 2013. It seems like he has figured it out because he has cut that amount in half walking only 2.4 batters per nine innings in 2014. It’s obvious that Alvarez is no longer challenged by AA hitters and is best suited for a bigger challenge in the major leagues.

8.) Matt Long, OF, Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 games:  .342 AVG  13 H  2 Doubles  0 Triples  0 HR  3 SB
Overall: .247/.355/.351

Matt Long’s scorching hot spring training did not carry over to Salt Lake as he has been ice-cold thus far this season. However, Long has been hitting the ball well as of late in both hitting and seeing the ball. In his past 10 games, Long has hit for an average of .342 and an on-base percentage of .468. It’s hard to imagine Long making an appearance in Anaheim any time soon with the return of Kole Calhoun and strong play of Collin Cowgill.

9.) Cal Towey, 1B/3B/OF/C, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 games: .333 AVG  13 H  1 Doubles  0 Triples  1 HR  4 SB
Overall: .273/.362/.386

After clearly being unchallenged in Orem last year, Cal Towey skipped Low-A Ball and headed straight to High-A Inland Empire. Though his numbers aren’t nearly as strong as they were last year, Towey is still putting up a respectable line of .273/.363/.386. Towey continues to show an above average batters eye (10% Walk-rate) though his K-rate has increased to 26%. Cal has been somewhat of a man without a position as he has logged in starts at both hot corners and right field. He has even logged in 8 games at catcher but has not played at that position in his last 9 games.

10.) Zach Borenstein, OF, Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 games: .293 AVG  12 H  3 Doubles  1 Triples  1 HR  1 SB
Overall: .256/.333/.413

Borenstein shot up prospect lists with a monster hitting display last year in the Cal League. Unfortunately, he was struck hard by the pitcher friendly environment of the Texas League. Borenstein seems to be turning it around with a positive showing this week. In his past 10 games, Borenstein slashed a line of .293/.370/.488, driving in 8 runs along with 3 doubles, 1 triple and a home run. Playing his home games at Dickey-Stephens Park has severely hurt Borenstein’s numbers this year, as his OPS is .900 away from the stadium as opposed to .558 at home.

Minor League Affiliates Report
Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
The Bees continued their losing ways as they dropped 5 of their 6 games this week. Taylor Lindsey is still waiting to break out of his offensive funk as he is batting just .244 on the season. Recently acquired southpaw Brooks Raley started in two games this week and got shellacked Sunday, allowing 10 earned runs on 2.2 innings pitched. In the bullpen, recently promoted Ryan Chafee struggled in 3.2 innings pitched, allowing 5 walks and 7 earned runs.

Double-A Arkansas
The Travelers split 6 games this week winning 3 and losing 3. Arkansas, currently 21-21, is sitting 1.5 games behind first place. Brian Hernandez continues to be one of the only consistent performers on offense, hitting .298 on the season. Top prospect Kaleb Cowart continues to struggle as his average has dipped down to a lowly .230. The offense should be in better shape once prospects Eric Stamets and Michael Snyder are activated from the 7-Day DL. Michael Roth pitched well in both his starts this week, only allowing 1 earned run in 12.2 innings pitched. LHP Brandon Sisk was put on the 7-Day DL with shoulder impingement.

High-A Inland Empire
The 66ers had a rough week with a record of 1-5, falling to last place in their division. 1st baseman Wade Hinkle continued to hit the ball well and is second in team batting behind Jose Rondon with an average of .330. Michael Clevinger struggled in his second start with the 66ers, allowing 4 earned runs in 5.0 innings pitched. Pitchers Dan Tobik and Daniel Hurtado both made their High-A debuts this week. Tobik pitched 8.2 innings in two appearances and only allowed 1 earned run while striking out 7. Daniel Hurtado struck out 2 and allowed 1 earned run in 1.0 inning pitched.

Low-A Burlington
The Bees of Low-A are second to last place in their division thanks to a 3-4 record this week. 1st baseman Eric Aguilera, member of the 2013 draft class, swung a red-hot bat this week. Aguilera hit 2 home runs and 3 doubles with a batting average of .500, bringing his average all the way up to .295 for the season. Harrison Cooney only allowed 2 earned runs in a 4.0 inning start this week, striking out 6 batters. Out of the bullpen, Alfonso Alcantara pitched well allowing no earned runs in a 5.0 inning appearance.
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