By Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com Executive Editor
Eddie Bane the Angels' scouting director and a former top pitching prospect himself as a standout pitcher for the Sun Devils from 1971-73, Eddie anchored two College World Series runner-up teams, in 1972 and 1973. His college accolades read like a laundry list of virtually every honor possible: A first-team All American, an All-College World Series selection, the 1973 Sporting News Player of the Year -- and later, a first-round draft pick. More specifically, Eddie led the ASU pitching staff to the tune of 130 strikeouts and a 2.18 era in 1971, 213 strikeouts and a 0.99 era in 1972, and 192 strikeouts in 1973. Over time, his accomplishments have proven to be timeless.
Eddie's numbers are as phenomenal today as they were some 25 years ago. He still owns several ASU pitching records, including the single-season record of 43 consecutive scoreless innings in 1972. He posted a school record 0.99 era and 7 shutouts that same year. His 505 strikeouts top the Sun Devil career charts, and he owns the great distinction of throwing the only perfect game in ASU baseball history. For you trivia buffs, it was against Cal State Northridge on March 2, 1973.
Eddie was a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1973 (11th pick overall), and went on to spend the 1973, 1975 and 1976 seasons with the club.
In fact, since major league baseball began its free agent draft in 1965, eddie is one of only 18 players to ever advance directly to the major leagues without first playing in the minors. He shares this distinction with such players as Dave Winfield and Bob Horner.
In 1994, Baseball America named Eddie to its All-Time College All-Star Team and most recently, inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
A former scout for the Angels now as director of scouting Bane was instrumental in the last two drafts with luring in Jered Weaver and Trevor Bell for its two top picks, but more importantly snagging late rounders Nick Adenhart, Mark Trumbo & in '05 Tommy Mendoza (5th round) & Peter Bourjos (10th) who have a chance to be steals when we look back on the his first two drafts a few years down the road.
So with that, let's get proceed to the Q&A session this month, with Eddie Bane.
Q: (Angelswin) - Before we dig in to this month's Bane Connection, tell us a little bit about the induction to the College Baseball Hall of Fame Eddie.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Hey guys. The thing in Lubbock was cool. Riding in a parade. Signing autographs, hanging around with Hooten, Swindell, Ben MacDonald and the others was a lot of fun. Kind of like I explained to my daughter Veronica though. She plays a princess at Legoland and when she comes out dressed in the princess outfit everybody adores her. When she walks back out in her street clothes only her boyfriend, me and her mom notice her. That is what celebrity really is. Take it with a big grain of salt. As soon as I left Lubbock I had the same Southwest Airlines flight as everybody else.
Q: (Angelswin) - Sean Rodriguez has really been stepping up his game and seems to be positioning himself as one of the top prospects in the organization perhaps even passing Wood at the moment. With Kendrick in front of him at 2B, and Aybar at SS, is Sean good enough to beat out Eric at SS, is he destined to be part of a trade or are there thoughts of playing him somewhere other than 2B/SS.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Chuck and guys and girls this is what makes the Angels so good. Arte wants a world champion, but he also wants the Angels to be good for a long time. We will be. Kotchman (who netted us Teixeira), Kendrick, Aybar-Izturis and Figgins are all young and good. They have Morales, Trumbo, Sean Rodriguez, Statia, Mount, Wood, Phillips, Romine and others right behind them and pushing hard. That is what made the Dodgers so good in the past. The Dodgers got away from that method for awhile and it has hurt them until recently.
That is just the infielders and does not include guys like Sweeney who has missed the entire season. Sean Rodriguez is really good and is having another really good season and for that he gets all the credit. But, one prospect is going to have a hard time sticking out in the Angel system. How can anyone overlook what Freddy Sandoval has done this season? Freddy will be a major league player if he continues to put in the time he always has and works on his craft.
Q: (Angelswin) - How confident are you that Adenhart has just hit a bump in the wall and will rebound nicely this season or next? What does he think the big problem is right now. He's not missing many bats.
A: (Eddie Bane) - I have talked about this in the past and still feel the same exact way. Nick Adenhart had a TJ surgery while still in high school. He still made it to the big leagues at 21 years old. That is a big time accomplishment. Nick is not in any way, shape or form a part of any problem. Nick Adenhart is the solution as long as he stays healthy and will one day shortly be a front of the rotation starter. I find that stats, etc are fun to play with, but you have to take them with a grain of salt.
I read a guy named Passan today talking about our club and was concerned that our run differential was not as good as he would like it to be. We have a 11.5 game lead in the West right now and the 5th guy that started out of the break is Jered Weaver. That alone shows you how tough that big league rotation is for other teams to handle and they just swept the reigning World Champions last week for their 2nd time this season.
Q: (Angelswin) - Can we get a run down on some of the prospects in the Arizona League and Dominican Summer League? How does the Dominican Summer League compare in terms of talent to the other minor league levels in the org? Who stands out when you think of some of the players in both of these leagues. Who should we keep an eye on?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Keep the name Flavio Martinez in mind. Huge, almost Walden-like fastball.
Q: (Angelswin) - Tell us about David Herndon and his conversion to close. Stuff, Makeup etc. - Is Trevor Bell going the route of Stephen Marek, pitching primarily out of the bullpen from here on out?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Some guys take to the pen quickly with no speepd bumps and even improve in those stints. Herndon and Marek, both had big velocity jumps in short stints. And, their breaking stuff was also improved. It is a lot of fun to watch Herndon close a game now and David will come quick if needed. Trevor is also a guy that pitched best in HS when he pitched like his hair was on fire. But, it might be a little early to put Trevor Bell in the pen.
Q: (Angelswin) - In our last Draft Edition of the Bane Connection you rated the best tools of the 2008 draftees. After a half of season of evaluation of those that have played, let's rate the Angels minor leaguers best tools.
A: (Eddie Bane) -
BEST ATHLETE - For baseball I would say Peter Bourjos, but all around probably PJ Phillips with all the talent in that family.
BEST PURE HITTER - Very tough question. For me personally it would be either Conger or Morales. Switch hitters so they dont have to face that breaking ball running away from them.
BEST POWER HITTER - Mark Trumbo has as much pure power as anyone in baseball. Now he is using that incredible power in games also.
BEST STRIKE-ZONE JUDGMENT - First reaction would be I don't care, but that would be a little blase as I am looking for guys that crash the ball, but I understand the theory about plate discipline. Let me answer it this way then, Ryan Mount needed better plate discipline as did PJ Phillips and they have both done a fine job this season of reading and studying pitchers. That is what I look at in most cases.
FASTEST BASERUNNER - Peter Bourjos who is also using that speed better after a ton of work in big league camp with Mike Scioscia, Ron Roenicke, Alfredo Griffin and others. The he took it to the next level thanks to Bruce Hines and our other minor league coordinators.
BEST DEFENSIVE OUTFIELDER - Same guy (Peter Bourjos). Kotchman compared him to Devon White at one point and Kotch had Devon and that is really high praise.
BEST DEFENSIVE MIDDLE INFIELDER - Some really slick guys in the middle, but for pure defense I would want Andrew Romine playing shortstop when I needed an out and I was pitching.
BEST DEFENSIVE CATCHER - In the catching category we always defer to Mike Scioscia.
BEST ARM STRENGTH - On defense Bourjos may not have the most pure arm, but he will always throw out a lot of guys because of a quick, accurate arm that Ever Mags has helped hone.
BEST FASTBALL - Lots of guys. But, flat-out day in and day out Jordan Walden can bring it. He faced Morris with the Dodgers the other day and Morris was up to 96. He was getting beat by 2 MPH by Walden. I told our guys, "how many times do you think Morris has had a pitcher on the other team throw harder than he does." Touched 100 last year for Kotch in the playoffs with Poreda (White Sox) throwing up to 98.
BEST CURVEBALL- Both Adenhart and Reckling have plus curves.
BEST SLIDER - I like Ryan Aldridge's slider personally.
BEST CHANGEUP - Nick Adenhart
BEST COMMAND - Sean O'Sullivan
CLOSEST TO MAJORS - Nick Adenhart
Q: (Angelswin) - Why aren't the last two catchers from our minor league system better at throwing out runners. I understand that our pitchers are great at holding on runners, but, its gotten to be pretty bad. How does Bobby Wilson compare to Mathis and Napoli both offensively and defensively?
A: (Eddie Bane) - On this one I would have to respectfully disagree. Napoli and Mathis are both above average catchers in the Mike Scioscia system and that is the best system for a catcher to be in at the Major League level. They are lucky to have Mike and we are lucky to have the both of them, they've had some bad games, but it's not indicative of their ability. Bobby Wilson is a major leaguer at some point and needs to simply keep working and trying to improve while working as hard as he is now to stay in the best shape possible.
Q: (Angelswin) - How are the signings going? Has a player signed that we don't know about yet? Who have we lost (as in no way they will sign with us)? I'd love to get our top draft picks signed such as Zach Cone, Khiry Cooper, Joey Belviso, Taylor Jungmann, Rolando Gomez, Jamie Mallard, and Donnie Roach. Can you give us an update on these kids and where we're at going forward with the class of 2008?
A: (Eddie Bane) - We just signed Rolando Gomez and I think you guys will like him a lot. Great father and a quietly intense kid. If you have to dream on a player, (I encourage our scouts to always come up with a big league comparable player) then Rollie's comp is Rafael Furcal. Shorter guys with outstanding strength and plus throwing arm. Rollie does not have Rafael's arm, but not many people do either.
On a bit of a different note; every once in awhile you run into some parents that really want to make this about them instead of their children. Most always the parents are outstanding and really help our draftee along the way. Frank Gomez was great to deal with. The Chatwood family was off the charts. When I watch Rancho I am always excited about seeing the Mount family, the Conger family, the O'Sullivan's, the Trumbo's and all the other great parents like Trevor Bell's.
But, once in awhile you run into somebody you just cant get on the same page with. Last week I emailed Donnie Roach's family to let them know that I did not think it was going to work out and that the best thing to do was go our different ways and I wished him good luck at the University of Arizona. So I sent the letter and lo and behold Mr. Roach printed my letter word for word on a blog site that the young men and their family use that attend or attended Bishop Gorman HS.
I know that the mail is a public deal (especially the email internet version) and told them that they had every right to post my email to them, but that nevertheless I was disappointed that they would put my personal email to them on their blog site. Next thing I know my 2nd email to them was on the blog site also. Needless to say I have stopped any more emails to the Roach family and have definitely moved on from that particular player and learned my lesson. The tough part is that we liked Donnie Roach and wanted to make a run at him later in the summer, but that is over with and I would take this time to apologize to the Roach family if myself or my scouts did anything that really bothered them..
Q: (Angelswin) - Where does Freddy Sandoval fit? He's having a great season yet it seems he will have no spot. How is his defense?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Freddy Sandoval has established himself this year as a solid major league prospect who is one jump away from the big leagues. Freddy has had a great season, again, and has really increased his value by learning some other spots. Great position to be in for any young prospect. As I said above, learning other positions and how to hit at certain parts of the order have definitely increased his value across the board.
Q: (Angelswin) - The Angels have a ton of incredible pitching talent in the lower minor leagues. What can he tell us about Manuarys Correa and Alexander Torres? Who do you compare them to?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Yes, the pitchers have really come through for us this season in the minor leagues and you have to be especially happy at the way some of the Latin pitchers have risen to a big challenge. Torres is going to be really good and a couple of those arms in 2A are nightmares for the opponents.
Q: (Angelswin) - Who will be the first player to have an impact on offense in the majors that we aren't expecting? Or who's the biggest sleeper on the offensive side?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Not a sleeper because he has been doing great for a long time, but Sean Rodriguez to go along with "Steady" Freddy Sandoval. They are big leaguers without a question.
Q: (Angelswin) - Sean O'Sullivan and PJ Phillips have really turned things around of late, anything that they've changed to their approach or mechanics that have resulted in better performances of late?
A: (Eddie Bane) - PJ has really started to hit and get more comfortable in his overall game. Great to see from a wonderful young man. I am not sure what people were looking for from Sean O. He is leading the Cal League in wins and is on pace to be a 16-17 game winner this year in 5 months. Dominant at times. He has the best command for me of any pitchers we have in the minors and touches 94 mph every time he is on the mound. Knows what he is doing on the mound and after leading the Midwest League in ERA at 19 years old and then leading the Cal League in wins at 20 years old, we certainly could not be happier with O'Sullivan.
Q: (Angelswin) - Has there been a lack of strong offensive talent in recent June drafts? It seems that a far larger % of the first 7-8 picks by the Angels are pitchers, in spite of the strength in that area in the org.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Same old story guys. As Bill Parcells says all the time, "we just take the best player available regardless of position.
Q: (Angelswin) - Lastly, the Angelswin.com readers would love to see a Mock 2010 lineup and pitching setup according to Eddie Bane. So just for kicks, have at it Eddie ...
A: (Eddie Bane) - I would love to have at that lineup myself, but at this time I will hold off on giving you my projections, as that is a secret that I owe only to Tony and Arte Moreno, so I am going to bail on that question and wait for a good pitch to hit as they say.
(Angelswin) - We just nearly had a sick lineup from Eddie Bane, maybe next time (heh). Thank you for your time once again Eddie, the Angels fans, Angelswin.com members and myself all appreciate it.
(Eddie Bane) - Just as a side note myself and the scouting department wanted to thank both Casey and Stephen for their great contributions to the Angel organization. Thanks, Casey and Stephen.
Thanks Angelswin.com members for writing into Chuck. Make sure that Chuck shares some of his pictures from his vacation in Yellowstone. Until next time, EB.