Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Orem Owlz have been a dynasty of sorts in the minors - The entire club tops the #1 spot this week

By David Saltzer - Angelswin.com Columnist

1. The Orem Owlz, the Entire Team
Past 10 Games: 9-1 Record
Overall: 19-5 Second Half Record, Division Winners in the 1st Half

In a season that saw Tom Kotchman earn his 1500th managerial win, the Orem Owlz are dominating their league. They find ways to win each and every game. There are many potential stars on this team, and many potential Top-50 prospects here.

Some names to note:


Castillo, Angel, RF, 289/347/539 with 13 HRs, 46 runs and 43 RBIs
Giovanatto, Donato, DH, 312/384/488 with 8 HRs, 39 runs and 31 RBIs
Jimenez, Luis, 3B, 318/352/628 with 14 HRs, 50 runs and 58 RBIs
Lopez, Roberto, 1B, 401/482/650 with 12 HRs, 63 runs and 58 RBIs
Perez, Darwin, SS, 290/402/435 with 51 runs and 12 SBs


Boshers, Jeff, SP (LH), 4-0, 2.66 ERA with 35:19 K:BB in 40.2 IPs
Kohn, Michael, RP (RH), 2-0, 2.29 ERA with 36:9 K:BB in 19.2 IPs
Miller, Jayson, SP (LH), 7-2, 2.01 ERA with 61:7 K:BB in 71.2 IPs
Perez, Jose, SP (RH), 5-2, 4.17 ERA with 77:8 K:BB in 58.1 IPs
Scholl, Chris, RP (RH), 3-1, 1.82 ERA with 39: 13 K: BB in 39.2 IPs
Thorne, Jeremy, RP(RH), 0-0, 0.39 ERA with 6 saves and 17 Ks in 23.1 IPs

2. Brandon Wood, INF, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 12/34 (353), 2 Doubles, 0 Triple, 3 HRs, 5 Runs, 12 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: 298/372/602 with 31 HRs and 5 SBs

For all those who thought that Wood was a failed prospect, they need to revisit him again. In the second half of 2008, he has been a totally different player. He has worked to shorten his swing and has not lost the power. He is striking out substantially less (18:37 BB:K ratio) and has been putting on a major power display. Most likely he should go to winter ball to continue this offensive progress, but, more importantly to define and refine his defensive position. It seems very likely that he will break with the big league camp next year, so, there is the question as to where he will play. However, what no longer seems to be a question is if he is ready to hit in the majors. This second half has clearly answered that question.

3. Drew Touissant, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 14/38 (368), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 6 Runs, 14 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: 298/333/466 with 14 HRs and 6 SBs

Another fine showing for Drew. He appears to have mastered the Cal League in almost all respects. He still needs to work on his plate discipline (he had 0 walks compared to 8 SOs in the past 10 games and a 14:96 BB:K rate for the season). However, next year should see him starting in Arkansas. Hopefully he’ll take better to the higher level competition next year than he did this year.

4. Ryan Mount, 2B, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 15/45 (333), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 3 HRs, 9 Runs, 9 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: 297/349/533 with 16 HRs and 10 SBs

In our top 50 prospect list at the start of the season, we said this about our 28th ranked left-handed hitting infielder: “Ryan has some pop, but profiles to hit more doubles at higher levels, though he may enjoy a breakout season in terms of slugging pct. in the hitting friendly California League. Mount runs well, has average speed and moves well going into the hole, while showing a slightly above average arm. Profiles to be an adequate 2B with a chance to provide some offense along the way. Keep an eye on him in '08 as some project him to breakout.” That still holds true for him today. Ryan is finally posting more of the power that we projected (he’s had 8 dingers in August and 6 in July), so maybe this is the breakout that was projected for him.

5. Jordan Walden, SP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 4 Starts: 3-0, 0 Saves, 2.66 ERA, 23.2 IP, 18 H, 9 BB, 22 K, 1.14 WHIP
Overall: 8-8, 0 Saves, 2.68 ERA, 144.2 IP, 114 H, 51 BB, 127 K, 1.07 WHIP, 215 BAA

After struggling when promoted to the high octane Cal League, Jordan is bringing the heat. When I saw him pitch a few weeks ago, you could tell the ball was popping into the catcher’s mitt with a different sound. His breaking pitch was crisp, and he was setting hitters up well (he had 9 Ks that night in 7 innings). Most likely he will stay as a starter (where he could be front-end material with his 98+ mph heat), but he needs a more dominating third pitch to succeed at the higher levels. However, if he cannot master one, I can see him becoming a very successful closer. Either way, he has ML material.

6. Gabriel Jacobo, 1B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 14/38 (333), 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 3 Runs, 9 RBIs, 2 SBs
Overall: 327/363/566 with 9 HRs and 5 SBs

With a current 10-game hitting streak in progress, Gabe’s pushing hard to help the Kernels earn a playoff berth. Since his promotion from Orem earlier this year, Gabe’s hitting has remained constant (he had a 327 BA in Orem and has the same overall at Cedar Rapids). Most likely Gabe could start at Rancho next year where he could have a breakout season.

7. Freddy Sandoval, 3B, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 14/42 (333), 5 Doubles, 0 Triple, 1 HR, 7 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: 330/385/514 with 15 HRs and 6 SBs

A sleeper prospect if ever there was one, Freddy has a shot to earn a roster spot next year as the backup corner infielder. He has been rather consistent throughout the year. He has good plate discipline (46:72 BB:K ratio) and hits well with runners on (361) and in scoring position (391). He’s a switch hitter and has posted a 316/379/456 vs. lefties and 336/388/540 split. If the Angels decide to forego Quinlan next year, watch for Sandoval to battle it out with Matt Brown to earn the final bench spot. Brown has more power, but Sandoval has better discipline and is less prone to streaks.

8. Robert Fish, SP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 4 Games: 2-0, 0 Saves, 1.21 ERA, 25.1 IP, 21 H, 6 BB, 20 K, 1.07 WHIP
Overall: 9-4, 0 Saves, 5.07 ERA, 135 IP, 135 H, 65 BB, 126 K, 1.48 WHIP, 260 BAA

Robert has had a Jekyll and Hyde season. He’s been great for month long stretches, such as in April, June and August, and not so great in May and July. In the good months he’s posted a 3.45 ERA. In the bad months, a 7.31 ERA. Robert has been allowing too many walks and too many fly balls (he has a 0.97 GO/AO ratio) to be successful at the higher levels. However, he is young (he’s 20) and a lefty. So, a repeat of the Midwest league may be in order for him with a chance at a promotion to Rancho later next year.

9. Naldy Calderon, RP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 4 Games: 2-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.55 WHIP
Overall: 4-0, 0 Saves, 1.73 ERA, 36.1 IP, 20 H, 20 BB, 45 K, 1.10 WHIP, 161 BAA

Drafted in the 10th round of the 2006 draft, this lefty was another Tom Kotchman find out of Lake City Florida Junior College. His command has improved from last year where he posted a 27:19 K:BB ratio. He’s mostly a fly-ball pitcher (he has a 0.97 GO/AO ratio). We should get a better chance to see him next year at Rancho where he will be challenged by many of the ballparks. Hopefully he will be able to succeed there with such a high fly-ball ratio.

10. Peter Bourjos, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 15/45 (333), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HRs, 7 Runs, 4 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: 291/320/427 with 6 HRs and 47 SBs

It’s been a while since Peter has cracked the Top 10 Hot Prospect List. He has been struggling and bounced around in the lineup of late. Of concern is his lack of patience at the plate (when I saw him he was pressing hard and flailing at pitches out of the zone) and his recent lack of speed on the bases. Since the start of July, he’s only had 4 walks and 6 SBs while striking out 45 times and getting caught stealing 7 times. Hopefully Eddie Bane can give us some more insight as to what is going on with him as he still profiles to be a fixture in our outfield in the next few years.

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