Monday, April 13, 2009

1st round pick Tyler Chatwood is tuning up for Orem in 2009 in extended spring camp

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

David Saltzer has previewed the 5 Key Questions for Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga over the last few days, with Arkansas and Salt Lake to be published early this week, while next Monday our annual weekly prospect hotlist will debut. In the meantime here's some quick hits after this weekend's minor league games from each level.

Triple-A (Salt Lake Bees): In the Salt Lake Bees opener, which was an emotional one for a team that knew Nick Adenhart well, saw all nine batters in the starting lineup had at least one hit each as the Salt Lake Bees downed the Reno Aces 6-2 for their sixth consecutive Opening Night victory. Brandon Wood has launched two HR's in his first three games, while Freddy Sandoval, Brand Coon and Sean Rodriguez have all opened up the Bees season well. Chris Pettit after a successful AFL and spring camp is leading off for the Bees. Anthony Ortega pitched five innings, giving up just one run, while fanning two and not walking a batter. The Bees have opened the season 2-1. They face the Las Vegas club tonight on the road.

Double-A (Arkansas Travelers): The Travelers have perhaps the best overall roster out of all four levels. Peter Bourjos has started off the season well through four games, hitting .400, with two triples, 3 walks vs. 2 strikeouts and two stolen bases. Mark Trumbo, Ryan Mount and Hank Conger haven't gotten it going as of yet, but its early. The good news is that Hank Conger is back behind the plate. The pitching staff lead by Sean O'Sullivan, who pitched six innings of one run ball, fanning six on opening day is solid. Following O'Sullivan in the rotation is Jordan Walden, Amalio Diaz (threw a gem over the weekend), Michael Anton and rounding out the rotation former #1 pick Trevor Bell. Both of which are pitching today in a doubleheader vs. Frisco (The Rangers Double-A club). Dave Herndon will be the closer for the Travelers this season.

High-A (Rancho Cucagmonga Quakes): THe Quakes opened the season 2-2, look poised to take another Cal League Title. Led by 1B/3B Jay Brossman hitting .385, while slugging .769, the return of Matt Sweeney who has opened up with a .353 batting average and 1.000 OPS, they have plenty of power and speed supplied by Juan Perez, Clay Fuller Jeremy Moore, with SB leader of 2008 Andrew Romine leading off. P.J. Phillips has moved to 2B to accommodate the defense of Andrew Romine, repeats High-A ball in hopes of making the jump to Double-A by mid-season. Trevor Reckling (6 ip 0 runs, 7 strikeouts) & Alexander Torres (5 innings, 2 runs, 9 strikeouts) opened up with wins to start the season. The backend of the bullpen is solid with converted starter Mason Tobin who notched his first save on the season & Eddie McKiernan. The Quakes take on Visalia on Monday.

Low-A (Cedar Rapids Kernels): Cedar Rapids sports a nice 1-4 in the rotation with Will Smith, Manuarys Correa, Brian Davitt (Struck out 10 in 5.2 innings) and Jayson Smith. Tyler Chatwood and Ryan Chaffee are both in extended spring camp and they'll start the season in Orem initially, but could see Cedar Rapids before the end of the season. The real strength is in the bullpen as the Kernels are sporting Michael Kohn, Chris Scholl and Jeremy Thorne to slam the door shut on close games. Cedar Rapids is about to receive 1B Roberto Lopez soon but at a different position, catcher. He's been learning the new position all spring and in extended camp in hopes of increasing his versatility and to get his bat in the lineup since the Kernels are sporting slugger Gabe Jacobo at first base. The Kernels have another slugger in the lineup this season in Angel Castillo. Speedsters: OF Auer, OF Crawford, SS Perez & 2B Amarista have the ability to get on base and steal some bags as well. As a team, the Kernels have 10 SB's vs. 7 extra base hits thus far.
Love to hear what you think!


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