Monday, April 20, 2009

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

So it's that time again, every Monday when we take a look on a weekly basis at all the top minor league players in the Angels organization in a top 10 format. This list is unique in that you'll find players throughout the minor league season who may not even qualify as a prospect in general terms, but because they're hungry like all the rest of them to reach their goal and crack a major league roster, they're a prospect in my eyes. So let's take a look this week who's red hot down on the farm for the Halos.

1. Trevor Reckling, LHP (RC Quakes):
Stats: 1-2, 0.95, 16 strikeouts in 19 innings
What's up: Reckling who is now dealing in the hitter friendly California League in High-A Ball, has been unfazed by the ballpark dimensions and weather. Through three starts, Reckling has three quality starts in his first three contests, including going seven strong innings in his last outing on Sunday. The southpaw's ability to pound the strikezone inside and hide the ball well have produced good fruit early on in the season. His late biting slurve and improved changeup have given hitters fits since he commands his 89-92 MPH fastball extremely well.

2. Brandon Wood, SS/3B (Salt Lake Bees):
Stats: .318, .400, .1000, 4 HR's, 6 RBI's
What's up: Erick Aybar should be looking in his rear view mirror because Brandon Wood is approaching his shortstop position with the Angels at a high rate of speed. Wood has a 1.400 OPS, 4 HR's in just 6 games. This after posting solid numbers in spring training. If Aybar doesn't get on base and start stealing bags soon, Wood will be up sooner than later this season. I think with Vladimir Guerrero out it's a no brainer. Let Aybar work on his bunting, base stealing and dance moves around the 2B bag in Salt Lake.

3. Alexander Torres, LHP (RC Quakes):
Stats: 1-0, 1.80, 16 strikeouts in 10 innings
What's up: Two starts with the Quakes and the southpaw has fanned 16 through 10 innings thus far. Torres and Reckling are looking like a nice 1-2 knock out punch to opposing Cal League hitters. Opponents are batting just .118 vs. Alexander through his first two starts. This kid could really shoot up the prospect charts this year.

4. Matt Sweeney, 3B (RC Quakes):
Stats: .341, .370, .659, 3 HR's, 11 RBI's
What's up: Matt must have been chomping at the bit to start playing ball after the entire season lost due to an ankle injury in spring camp last year. He's taken his impatience out on opposing pitchers, posting a 1.029 OPS, with 3 home runs and five doubles. Matt has been playing third base, while getting some time in at DH occasionally. The 6'3", 215 lb left-handed slugger reminds us of Dallas McPherson with power to all fields, but he won't strikeout as much.

5. Michael Kohn, RHP (Cedar Rapids Kernels):
Stats: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 9 strikeouts in 7.2 innings
What's up: Equipped with a 95 MPH fastball and above average breaking ball, Kohn is part of an impressive bullpen with the Kernels in Scholl, Armstrong, Thorne and Taylor. The Angels snagged Kohn in the 13th round of the draft last year and are happy with this arsenal late in the game. Kohn has yet to give up a run through 5 games, fanning 9 batters through 7.2 innings, giving up just 2 hits. The Angels current bullpen could use a reliever with those types of numbers.

6. Peter Bourjos, CF (Arkansas Travelers):
Stats: .306, .409, .444, 2 triples, 4 stolen bases
What's up: Bourjos started his Double-A season with one goal in mind, 'Get on base so I can utilize my speed'. So far so good for Peter, as he's walked 6 times vs. 8 strikeouts (.409 OBP) and stolen four bases thus far.

7. Eddie McKiernan, RHP (Salt Lake Bees):
Stats: 0-0, 0.00, .174 BAA, 5 strikeouts in 6.1 innings
What's up: After saving 22 games for the Kernels in 2008, Eddie has reached Triple-A at the age of 20 years old. The local kid out of Monrovia High School was selected in the 17th round in the 2007 draft, has yet to have given up a run in a combined 6.1 innings between Rancho Cucamonga and Salt Lake, with five strikeouts and a .174 batting average against.

8. Jayson Miller, LHP (Cedar Rapids Kernels):
Stats: 1-1, 3.00 ERA, 11 strikeouts in 12 innings
What's up: The Kernels are blessed with a solid rotation this year, with most of the focus on Will Smith and Manuarys Correa, but Jayson Milller - another southpaw on the prospect hotlist is one to keep an eye on in Cedar Rapids. Miller posted a 2.33 ERA for the Orem Owlz in 2008 after the Angels selected him earlier in the year out of Washington State University. Miller may have the best control in the organization, walked just 7 vs. 69 strikeouts last year in 81 innings. He's right on track this year with a 11/1 strikeout to walk ratio.

9. Tim Kiely, RHP (RC Quakes):
Stats: 1-0, 2.08 ERA, .208 BAA, 13 strikeouts in 12 innings
What's up: The Angels 27th round pick out of Trinity College in the 2008 amateur draft has been solid since signing with the club, including his first two starts this season with the Quakes. Kiely has sported a 2.08 ERA through two starts, fanning 12 hitters in 13 innings. Keep an eye on Kiely, he's a sleeper that could move quick in the organization.

10. Brad Coon, LF/CF (Salt Lake Bees):
Stats: .386, .455, .737, 2 HR's
What's up: When you're at #10 it's not easy because you have to exclude a few players that were worthy of a spot on the prospect hotlist, but I'm going with Brad Coon after batting .368 through the first 5 games, clubbing two home runs and sporting a nifty 1.191 OPS. Coon has shown more power after offseason workouts, though he's kept his solid on base skills (.455 OBP). Let's see if he can utilize that speed of his this season as he stole just 17 bags last year and was caught 10 times.

Other prospects who had a solid opening week: Terry Evans, Trevor Bell, David Herndon, Carlos Colmenares, Alexia Amarista, Robert Mosebach, Daniel Davidson (earned a promotion), Ryan Braiser, Mason Tobin, Jeremy Moore & Sammy Leon.
Love to hear what you think!


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