September 20th, 2007
Interview conducted by Senior Editor, Chuck Richter
Eddie, it's that time of the month again to connect and proceed with what is to be the final Eddie Bane Connection segment on the Angels Minor Leaguers in 2007. (More on that later)
I want to thank you for all of your time you've put into this as I've received numerous thank you emails over the last year and a half from Angels fans across the country that can't wait for this segment every month as they share the same passion I do in following what could be not only future Halos, but perhaps future All Stars in the major leagues down the road.
You're the best Eddie, thank you for sharing your insights with us all. We at Angelswin.com truly appreciate it & thoroughly enjoy it.
Ok, roll up your sleeves, let's dig in....
Q: (Angelswin) - Eddie, the minor league season has ended and there have been a few surprises this season. Who sticks out in your mind as most surprising minor league player in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - The most pleasant surprises this year were players such as Trevor Bell showing the plus stuff he showed as an amateur. Also, Jordan Walden and Robert Fish both have superior stuff and they were able to get it over the plate in good spots much quicker than I thought they would. That is in large part due to Zeke Zimmerman and Kernan Ronan, our pitching coaches. At the end of the summer Walden threw 100 mph in a game and only walked one batter in that game. Outstanding at an early part of his career. Ryan Mount is beginning to open all the eyes that I thought he would. He has surprising power.
Q: (Angelswin) - On the heels of the most surprising player in 2007, what Angels' minor leaguer do you think took a step backward in his development in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - That is impossible to answer as I always see the glass as half full. I would say that injuries are the only thing that deter me. Nate Boman and Jon Bachanov both missed time and I hate seeing that.
Q: (Angelswin) - Before we get into our categorized awards, what Angels' minor leaguer would you consider, naming just one, would be your selection for the Angels' Minor League Player of the Year?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Chris Petit is the name that comes quickly to mind.
Q: (Angelswin) - What Angels' Minor Leaguer displayed the best approach at the plate and discipline in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I try and stress to our scouts to seek aggressiveness and the other stuff will come. Sweeney, Pettit and Conger come to mind immediately when talking about hitting. Statia is also going to be good at all the things that come with discipline.
Q: (Angelswin) - What Angels' Minor Leaguer would you consider the best 'hitter' for his contact rate & ability to hit for a high batting average in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I still think our best hitter in the minor leagues this year was Kendry Morales when he was in Salt Lake. He went on a streak in SLC and LA where every time he swung was a rocket off the wall. I have said for a long time that when he does get comfortable in the USA he is going to be a real tough out.
Q: (Angelswin) - What Angels' Minor Leaguer showed the most raw power in 2007'?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Mark Trumbo has as much raw power as any player in baseball.
Q: (Angelswin) - What Angels' Minor Leaguer displayed a mirror of the Angels prototypical player with the aggressive philosophy on the bases, success rate of stealing bases, ability to put the bat on the ball making a productive out and for laying down a bunt successfully in 2007? Additionally, who was clocked the fastest from home plate to first base among the Angels minor leaguers in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Chris Petit and PJ Phillips fit in this category. PJ stole a lot of bases this season. Look at what his brother did this year. 30-30 and Brandon Phillips is a late bloomer. Sean Rodriguez is a good baseball player also. Peter Bourjos is the fastest player in the organization and has to get better at stealing bases and taking over a game that way. In this organization he will learn that over time.
Q: (Angelswin) - Most raw talent offensively, despite the lack of statistical numbers in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) -PJ Phillips has a ton of potential. The entire Cedar Rapids team will just get better and better as they learn the rigors of 162 games.
Q: (Angelswin) - Lastly, before we switch gears to the pitching awards, who in your mind wins the best defensive player in 2007, both in the outfield and infield (1 a piece)?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Peter Bourjos is our best defender in the outfield and Statia and Andrew Romine are the best infield defenders.
Q: (Angelswin) - The Angels Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2007 is?
A: (Eddie Bane) - That is a tough one. I will give out the names to consider in my mind, Nick Adenhart, Nick Green, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O'Day, Sean O'Sullivan, David Herndon, Robert Fish and Jordan Walden. I would say that O'Sullivan leading the league in ERA is the most impressive.
Q: (Angelswin) - Which Angels Minor League pitcher commanded the strike zone the best in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - O'Sullivan has Major League command right now. But, if you look at that entire staff at Cedar Rapids and most of them threw wall to wall strikes which is again a compliment to Dan Ricabal and Kernan Ronan. I will say that conversion pitcher, Marco Albano switched from being an infielder and threw nothing but quality strikes.
Q: (Angelswin) - What Angels Minor League pitcher showed the best fastball for both his movement and velocity in 2007? Which Angels' Minor League Pitcher clocked the highest on the radar gun in '07 as well?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Adenhart still has the best fastball for location, life and velocity when he is right. Walden touched 100 and threw several 99's in the playoffs. The neat thing about Jordan is that he threw his best fastball later in the game when the game was on the line. Most impressive.
Q: (Angelswin) - Best curveball demonstrated by an Angels Minor League pitcher in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I am not sure it is the best in our system, but new draftee Trevor Reckling has had his curveball compared to Barry Zito. Pretty good company.
Q: (Angelswin) - Best slider demonstrated by an Angels Minor League pitcher in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I need more time to think on that one, I've seen some good sliders thrown in our system.
Q: (Angelswin) - Best changeup demonstrated by an Angels Minor League pitcher in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Nick Green has an outstanding change.
Q: (Angelswin) - Lastly, which Angels Minor League relief pitcher would you say showed the best punch-out pitches and knack for closing games out in 2007?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Warner Madrigal has big league stuff. Darren O'Day will pitch in the big leagues with his nasty underhand delivery. Hard to say who will be a closer as usually that happens at the Major League Level or in 3-A.
As always Eddie, we thank you for your time and efforts as there was a lot of questions here in this segment, We'll conclude our Eddie Bane Connection next month with some non Angels' Prospect questions, calling the segment "The Lighter Side of Eddie Bane". Should be a blast!
(Eddie Bane) Thanks Chuck and thanks readers. It is really great to have this kind of interest in Angel baseball and all our scouts really appreciate the interest and the questions keep us on our toes. With Kotchman, Morales, Kendrick, Aybar, Mathis, Napoli, Weaver, Wood and others you are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. Bill and Arte have allowed us to sign players which is not always the case in other organizations. Look at our roster some time and you will see that we have more homegrown players that play important roles than any team in baseball. 4/5's of the rotation along with the closer and setup guy are all homegrown. This allows Arte and Bill the opportunity to do the right things when the free agent market opens. That is why the Angels simply have the best all around organization in the game of baseball.