By Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com Founder & Executive Editor
Q: (Angelswin) - Hope you've been well the last month since we last chatted, Eddie. What's new as Director of Scouting of the Los Angeles Angels?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Hey guys. Travel, hotels, watching games, renting cars and seeing a lot of airports. Not much else except that wonderful road food that keeps us scouts in such tremendous condition.
Q: (Angelswin) - The Salt Lake Bees are 21-1 as of right now, going into Sunday's game. What an amazing feat they've accomplished. What an amazing roster. Your thoughts?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I think you also need to realize that this team in Salt Lake is made up of a lot of home grown players that are prospects. A lot of them will be needed over the course of the season to help at the Major League level, but it is quite a testament to these players and Bobby Mitchell that they are keeping their focus and playing the game hard and with great concentration. A lot of times in todays game 3A is an older group that is playing out the string. Not the case at all with the Salt Lake team. Nick Green, Nick Adenhart, Thompson, Arredondo, Morales, Willits, Coon, Brandon Wood, Freddy Sandoval and several others are all homegrown and they are all legit major leaguers that will all play at that level if they can stay healthy.
Q: (Angelswin) - I noticed that Nick Adenhart's SO/BB ratio is 19-15. That is not very good in my opinion, despite his low ERA. Is he working on something in Salt Lake? Or is he instructed to "Pitch to Contact" rather than go for the whiffs?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I certainly do not see it that way at all. Nick is a guy that has an ERA under 1.00 in the PCL which is tradionally a hitters league. He is pitching against a lot of older guys and he is 21 years old. Nick Adenhart is probably the best pitching prospect in the game right now and we are lucky to have him and lucky to have him healthy. He continues to work hard and just today I noticed he blew away Fresno for 8 innings. I really do not care what the SO/BB ratio is when a pitcher has as low an ERA as Adenhart does. Sometimes with stats we can make baseball a lot harder than it is. As the old scout saying goes, "the hitters will tell you how good a guy is throwing"....... and the hitters have let us know that Nick is throwing the ball extremely well.
Q: (Angelswin) - Speaking of "Pitch to Contact". Can you explain to our readers what this means and if it's beneficial to a starting pitcher? Additionally is it only taught to those who do not have a knock out pitch to generate K's?
A: (Eddie Bane) - "Pitching to contact" is one of my least favorite sayings in todays vernacular and my scouts know that. Koufax and Ryan never pitched to contact. Blyleven did not. I guess the term means to get the ball over the plate early in the count, but if that is what you want to say then just say that. My scouts know not to say, "pitches to contact"........ " the guy has electric stuff" or that a "pitcher is bumping 95" on the radar gun. I only went to Arizona State so I don't know what that stuff means.
To answer the question you cannot teach a pitcher to "pitch to contact". You can get the ball over the plate more often, but that only helps the guys with marginal command.
Q: (Angelswin) - Matt Brown, a later bloomer, future starter? or is he just on a hot streak, still projecting as a reserve infielder or utility player in the big leagues? What do the Angels and your scouts think of him? Do they view him as a future starter or?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Matt Brown has always been a good player. He is hard on himself sometimes and that is tough in a 162 game season. We certainly see him as a major league player. No doubt about that, but he has to find a spot with the Angels and carve that spot out. That is not easy.
Q: (Angelswin) - Injury update: When can we see the likes of H. Conger, M. Sweeney, C, Pettit, J. Haynes, M. Gonzalez, R. Mount and Young-Il to name a few, back in action with one of the affiliates?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Our group at Rancho (Conger, Sweeney, Mount and some others) are working their way back slowly and when the medical people give them the ok then they can play. Same with all of our injured players. We know it is frustrating to all involved not to see these guys, but it is much more frustrating to the individuals themselves as all of these kids have great makeup and it is really killing them not to be playing now. On another front Ryan Aldridge came back the other day and was throwing bullets in an Arizona game.
Q: (Angelswin) - Speaking of which. Who has looked good in extended spring training? Any buzz from the coaches and scouts for any of the prospects in Arizona?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Ty Boykin and his coaches do a great job with those guys and they work incredibly hard. As I said one of the names I was encouraged by was Ryan Aldridge and seeing his velocity in the mid 90's again.
Q: (Angelswin) - At what point in the season do you start making personnel decisions on what type of season you think the team/player will have? 1 month, 2 months?, Longer? Is there a timetable where you feel it is more than just a hot streak/slump and more of a trend/indicator of the year's performance?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I think you can relate that more to the injured players than anyone else. The position players need to get 300 or more at bats in order to get evaluated for the move up a level next season. That is why it is important that Sweeney, Conger, Mount and others get back ASAP. Everybody evaluates the players a lot when the season first starts, but it is important to get the entire body of work for the season. It is only natural though and expected to scout the players hard when you personally see them. That is because a good scout trusts his eyes and knows what he is looking at and does not need someone else telling him what he saw.
Q: (Angelswin) - There seems to be a drastic discrepancy in terms of leagues so that every other year if a player progresses normally they will go from a pitcher league to a hitters league then to a pitchers and back to a hitters. Was this formulated by the org on purpose or is it just happenstance?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I would agree that the jump to the Cal League from the Midwest League is a tough one for pitchers. The toughest jump though by far is from 3A to the Major Leagues. Those are the best players in the world and if you can compete with those guys you can compete anywhere.
Q: (Angelswin) - Have Michael Collins, Mark Trumbo and Robert Mosebach turned a corner? So far so good in 2008, performance wise.
A: (Eddie Bane) - All three are really good looking young players that we think will help the Angels at some point. Trumbo got an opportunity to show his massive power when he was in big league spring training. Others got to witness the power and it helped Mark to know that it would not take super human effort for him to play with those guys. Power is the last tool to come at the major league level and Trumbo is comfortable with that now.
Mosebach has always been a superior prospect, but for some reason the media and others tend to overlook him. We, in the organization certainly do not.
Q: (Angelswin) - Could you tell us more about Kevin Jepsen? What does he throw, where is he developmentally, etc. I remember when he was with Cedar Rapids a few years back, he was throwing in the mid 90's and had a nice breaking ball. Has he regained the velocity he once had before his shoulder injury?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Jepsen is a young pitcher that threw really really hard when we first signed him and then he got hurt and was on the backburner for a few years. With hard work and total dedication he has put himself firmly back in the picture as a legit prospect. Yes, the velocity is mostly all back.
Q: (Angelswin) - Could you compare the stuff of Jose Arredondo, Stephen Marek, Kevin Jepsen and Ryan Braiser? Which one has the best shot of becoming an ML closer?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Tough to answer who has closer stuff. Closer stuff and closer mentality are 2 completely different things. Takes a lot of stones to throw the 9th inning no matter what Bill James says and I like James' work. All those guys have plenty of fastball to do that job, but it takes a lot more than a fastball to pitch the 9th. Right now though we have one of the best closers in the game in Frankie so I am happy with that for now.
Q: (Angelswin) - Could you compare Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood defensively at SS? Do you think Sean Rodriguez profiles best at 2B or at another position?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Aybar has a spectacular glove with plus range. Erick is working really hard with Alfredo Griffin to make the steady plays. He will be a plus defensive shortstop in the big leagues for a long time. Brandon Wood is steady and makes all the plays with an above average arm and glove. Brandon needs to pay attention to advance scouting, spray charts and all the other stuff to get an edge on players at the big league level. Fortunately he has such great makeup that he will do whatever it takes to get an edge. Can you imagine a SS that has 30 homerun potential? Wood has that potential.
Yes, Sean will play a lot of 2B only because of all the SS prospects that we have. He can still play short though. In addition to Wood and Aybar, we have both Statia and Romine on express trains. As I said before a friend that scouts with Tampa told me that he would take "any of your shortstops, We dont care which one, just give us one of them including Izturis."
You have to be careful though as the Blue Jays had Michael Young, Cesar Izturis, Felipe Lopez and Chris Woodward a few years ago. They gave away all the good ones and kept Chris Woodward. Oops.
Q: (Angelswin) - Ken Rosenthal reported that some scouts believe Howie Kendrick should play LF next season because he does not turn the double play very well. Are the Angels scouts saying the same thing?, or is this just a Sports reporter pulling stuff out of the air?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I really respect Ken Rosenthal and his writing, but he and those scouts are "Way OFF Base" on this one. Howie Kendrick has made himself through hard work and great coaching into a really good defender. That includes the double play. People want to get on Howie about the DP because he is so tough that he hangs around and is not afraid of getting dirty from a hard slide. He takes the runner and still makes a good accurate throw.
As I have said before, Howie Kendrick will win a batting title. If he can stay away from the injuries (which he has always done before the last season or two) Kendrick will be an all-star at 2ndbase. He and Pedroia from the Red Sox should fight it out for the All-Star spot every year for a long time.
Chuck Richter - Eddie as always, the fans, the entire staff and community at Angelswin.com and myself, appreciate your time.
Eddie Bane - I have stated a lot that I really enjoy hearing from the fans at Angelswin.com and I learn a lot by getting their ideas and questions. Keep them coming as it makes me think when guys write about stuff. PS. If you have kids tell them not to "pitch to contact" and try to strike every kid on the other team out so that scouts will notice them. That should keep the young scouts and their toes for awhile.