Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hank Conger tops the Angelswin.com Prospect Hotlist this week with a red hot bat

By David Saltzer - Angelswin.com Columnist

This week we're about three days behind schedule with our list due to a busy weekend of traveling, Mother's Day and some tasks that needed to be taken care of on Monday & Tuesday of this week. Typically we go from Monday to Monday each week, but we’re about 10 days out from our last Hot Prospect List, so we’ll be using the stats for the past 10 games. Once again, we present our list of the Angels Hot Prospects.

Hot Prospects May 13, 2009

1. Hank Conger, C, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 14/37 (378), 3 Doubles, 0 Triple, 1 HR, 5 Runs, 6 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .307/.363/.404 with 2 HRs and 2 SBs

What’s Up: After getting off to a slow start, Conger’s bat is heating up. We knew his offense would return because he dominated at this level during the playoff run last year. But the bigger story is that Conger is playing regularly behind the plate. He’s caught 8 out of the past 10 games, and added in an extra game as the team’s DH during the 2nd game in a double-header. That’s the best news for him because Scioscia wants catchers who can catch as well as they hit. Conger’s power will continue to develop, so we’re not so worried about the lack of HRs to date. We're getting good reports on Conger's defense behind the plate as well.

2. Trevor Reckling, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 1.37 ERA, 19.2 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 1.02 WHIP
Overall: 4-2, 0 Saves, 1.01 ERA, 44.2 IP, 25 H, 13 BB, 36 K, 0.85 WHIP, 160 BAA

What’s Up: T-Rex is pitching like a dominant predator. At just 19 years old, he’s eating up the Texas League like no one else. He’s the league leader in ERA and WHIP. All 4 of his starts for the Travelers have been quality starts. As his manager said about him “He finds ways to make pitches . . . it’s all about attitude . . . I’ve been talking about attitude for a while now, and it’s just your attitude on that mound, and that’s what he’s got.” T-Rex is definitely becoming a special pitcher and a regular on the weekly Hot Prospect List.

3. Gabriel Jacobo, 1B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 14/40 (350), 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 7 Runs, 10 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .269/.322/.398 with 2 HRs and 1 SBs

What’s Up: In a rare feat, Jacobo hit for the cycle in a rain-split game on May 8th and 9th. This was the first time Jacobo hit for the cycle as a pro. Although Jacobo got off to a slow start, he’s been making some adjustments at the plate and becoming more of a patient hitter. Already he’s walked 8 times in 108 ABs, whereas last year he walked all of 11 times in 275 ABs. As he struggled to start the season, he struck out quite a bit, but has settled down much more. He’s only struck out 4 times in the past 10 days while walking 3 times. With his former teammate Roberto Lopez now hitting in front of him, Jacobo should start to see some better pitches and his numbers should continue to rise.

4. Steven Geltz, RHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.45 WHIP
Overall: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.45 WHIP, 100 BAA

What’s Up: Signed with the Angels in 2008 out of SUNY-Buffalo, Geltz is an up-and-coming reliever who’s been exhibiting a lot of control. Last year he pitched for the AZL Angels and Orem and posted a 36:9 K:BB ratio in 26.1 innings. Like Miller below, Geltz deserved to be on here based on his work prior to May 12th (where he gave up 1 run in 1 IP), so we kept him on here. Even with that one bad inning, Miller has been lights out compared to the bullpen in Anaheim. He’s keeping the ball on the ground posting a 1.75 GO/AO rate, which is good for many of the small fields in the league.

5. Carlos Colmenares, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 11/25 (440), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HR, 2 Runs, 3 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .271/.333/.341 with 0 HRs and 6 SBs

What’s Up: For the past few games, it seems like Carlos has been on base in every AB. He’s had a 4 for 4 game and a 4 for 5 game all while hitting in the bottom half of the Quakes’ lineup. This switch-hitting Venezuelan doesn’t have blazing speed or overwhelming power. But, what he does have is a very hot week and earned a spot on this week’s Hot Prospect List.

6. Trevor Bell, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Days: 1-1, 0 Saves, 2.37 ERA, 19.0 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 18 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 3-1, 0 Saves, 2.25 ERA, 36.0 IP, 30 H, 10 BB, 27 K, 1.11 WHIP, 221 BAA

What’s Up: This is a totally different year for Trevor Bell compared to last year. He’s 3rd in the league in ERA and WHIP and tied for 6th in the League in Ks. He held the divisional leading Springfield Cardinals to 1 run on Monday night to help the Travelers halt a 5-game losing streak. That was no small feat as the Cardinals were 2nd in the league in BA, OB and RBIs. At 22, Bell appears to be back on track to making the majors as a starter.

7. Chris Pettit, OF, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 15/41 (366), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 7 Runs, 10 RBIs, 3 SBs
Overall: .412/.452/.588 with 1 HR and 8 SBs

What’s Up: It’s a pretty rare feat when a .366 average actually LOWERS your overall BA for the season. But, when you’re leading the PCL in BA, that’s what happens when you have a “mini-slump.” Pettit is wasting no time making up for last year and is positioning himself to be a strong contender for a corner OF spot next year in Anaheim. While he’s only hit 1 HR, he’s leading the league with 15 doubles and is one of the league leaders in just about every other category. Lately he’s been hitting 2nd for the Bees and could have a future in the top of the order.

8. Alexi Amarista, 2B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 12/40 (300), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HRs, 6 Runs, 6 RBIs, 5 SBs
Overall: .324/.416/.486 with 0 HRs and 12 SBs

What’s Up: We had a big debate as to what is Alexi’s real first name. Although several sources list it as Alexia, we’re going with the information from one of our members, Cubsphil, who tells us that at the games, they introduce him as Alexi. So, we’re going to go with that from now on. Either way Alexi is still showing tremendous plate discipline (he has 15 BBs and only 10 Ks), developing power (9 doubles and 4 triples), good fielding (he’s only made 3 errors in 28 games) and good speed. He’s 4th in the Midwest League in SBs, 9th in the league in OB, 11th in the league in BA and 12th in the league in SLG. Overall, that puts him at 8th in the league for OPS and definitely on our radar for players to watch.

9. Matt Sweeney, 3B, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 11/34 (324), 4 Doubles, 0 Triple, 0 HRs, 6 Runs, 5 RBIs, 1 SBs
Overall: .307/.378/.500 with 3 HRs and 2 SBs

What’s Up: Prior to the start of the season, when asked about Matt Sweeney, Abe Flores, Director of Player Development for the Angels said that he wanted to see how Sweeney would move and react on the field and in game situations. Well, so far, it appears that all is going well for Sweeney. Batting cleanup for the Quakes, he’s leading the team in doubles and total bases. He’s 2nd on the team in RBIs and BBs. As for his fielding, he’s only given up 3 errors in 29 games while manning the hot corner.

10. Jayson Miller, LHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 3.55 ERA, 12.2 IP, 19 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1.57 WHIP
Overall: 2-2, 0 Saves, 2.50 ERA, 36.0 IP, 41 H, 4 BB, 26 K, 1.25 WHIP, 289 BAA

What’s Up: The California League is a well-known hitters’ league. It has a way of distorting many pitching stats, and often does so in 1 game, so it’s not always fair to judge a pitcher in the league by just the usual stats. Like Geltz above, Miller deserved to be on this list for his starts on April 30th and May 5th, so we kept him on here even though he was roughed up a bit more on May 10th (and also deleted his stats from the April 30th game where he gave up 1 run in 5.1 IP). If Miller had enough IP to qualify, he’d be tied for 3rd in ERA for the league. Miller’s control has been quite spectacular (a 26:4 K:BB ratio) and he’s quietly working his way up the depth chart as another left-handed option.
Love to hear what you think!


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