By Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com Executive Editor
This week, we are throwing out our first ever all-pitcher's Hot Prospect list. We're sure that some hitters like Brandon Wood might be a little up in arms about it, but, this week the talent was overwhelmingly with the pitchers. We saw some pitchers make their debuts, others bouncing back, and some who were just pitching too well to ignore. Our belief is that from top to bottom we may be seeing the best overall collection of pitchers that the organization has had in the past 20 years or more.
Later on this week, we will be previewing the Orem Owlz and the AZL Angels. Look for our regular feature on the 5-Key Questions facing each team to learn more about our affiliates as they begin their seasons.
With that, here is our Hot Prospect List for June 24th!
1. Trevor Bell, RHP, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Last 2 starts: 1 win, 16 ip, 0 earned runs, 5 hits allowed, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk
Overall: 5-3, 1.81 ERA, 84 2/3 IP, 59 hits allowed, 59 strikeouts, 12 walks
What’s Up: Trevor Bell was #2 behind Sean O'Sullvian in last weeks' list, tops the prospect hotlist this week with yet another zero in the earned runs column in his 2nd start with the Bees. Trevor has thrown two goose eggs in his first two starts as a member of the Triple-A affiliate Salt Lake Bees against the PCL's most feared offenses in Colorado Springs (Rockies) and Sacramento (Oakland). Allowing just 59 hits and just 2 home runs in 84 2/3 innings is an indicator that Bell doesn't allow opposing hitters to square up the ball well; in part because of his above average three-pitch repertoire, excellent command and the fact that he works quickly on the mound. The reports I've received from our area scouts is that Bell comes to the mound with a game plan and is poised throughout the game.
Trevor Bell was selected by the Angels in the supplementary first round (37th overall) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Crescenta Valley (Calif.) High School. Bell a former child actor, having starred in commercials for Hot Wheels, Kellogg's and Old Navy, his grandfather was also on television as Bozo the Clown for WGN-TV in Chicago for a quarter century.
2. Alexander Torres, LHP, High Class A, Rancho Quakes
Last 2 starts: 2 wins, 14 ip, 0 earned runs, 14 strikeouts, 2 walks
Overall: 5-2, 2.79 ERA, 77 1/2 ip, 80 strikeouts, 1 HR allowed all season
What’s Up: After sporting a high ERA in the month of May, the southpaw Alex Torres has been lights out in the month of June giving up just 2 runs in his last six starts. Torres has a sparkling 0.33 ERA in four contests this month, notching 24 strikeouts in 27.1 innings, while just walking 6 batters, an improvement after walking 23 in the month of May. The fact that Torres has managed to sport a 2.79 ERA in the California league is reason enough for a promotion to the Arkansas Travelers Double-A club.
3. Manaurys Correa, RHP, Low A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 2 starts: 2 wins, 16 ip, 0 earned runs, 10 hits allowed, 3 strikeouts
Overall: 4-4, 3.74 ERA, 1 shutout, 2 complete games, 79 ip, 31 k's, 20 bb
What’s Up: Correa has been lights out in the month of June, posting a 0.90 ERA with 3 wins out of his 4 starts. After a tough start, Manaury's has lowered his ERA to 3.74, a year after sporting a 2.65 ERA for the short-season Arizona Angels club. Correa is currently sporting a 23 innings scoreless streak.
4. Tommy Mendoza, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travs
Past 2 starts: 1 win, 13 ip, 4 earned runs, 12 strikeouts, 2 QS's
Overall: 4-3, 3.05 ERA, 62 ip, 40 strikeouts, 18 walks, 2 HR's allowed
What’s Up: Mendoza has five straight quality starts and has a 2.42 ERA in his last four starts in the month of June. Yet another young kid (21 years old) who is excelling as a starting pitcher for the Halos. Mendoza has a low 90's fastball that he can touch 94, flashing a solid curve and decent changeup. The Angels are excited about Mendoza who Eddie Ban drafted in 2005 along with Trevor Bell (1) and Robert Mosebach (9).
5. Andrew Taylor, LHP, Low A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Days: 1.35 ERA in last 13 1/3 ip, 22 strikeouts
Overall: 2-0, 1 save, 3.38 ERA, 29 1/3 ip, 47 strikeouts
What’s Up: The hard throwing southpaw out of Wake Forest has been a force in the Cedar Rapids bullpen late in the game. Taylor, has fanned 47 opposing hitters in just 29 1/3 innings this season with the Kernels, boasting a 1.90 ERA in the Midwest League. The Kernels seem to be hogging all the top late inning relief arms. Besides Taylor, the Angels are pleased with relievers: Michael Kohn, Vladimir Veras, Kevin Nabors, Chris Armstrong and Nick Pugliese.
6. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Low A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Last 2 starts: 12 ip, 3 earned runs, 12 strikeouts, 7 hits allowed
Overall: 6-2, 2.82 ERA, 60 1/3 ip, 66 strikeouts, .176 BAA
What’s Up: Chaffee has continued an excellent beginning to his pro career by sporting a 2.82 ERA, while striking out 66 opposing hitters in 60 1/3 innings. In Chaffee's last two starts, he's given up just 3 runs in 12 innings, with 12 punchouts. Yet another up and coming arm that the Angels have in their arsenal going forward. Especially with Escobar most likely done as a starting pitcher, questions about Santana's health and Lackey's impending free agency.
7. Jordan Walden, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Last 2 starts: 12 2/3 ip, 11 strikeouts, 4 earned runs
Overall: 1-4, 4.12 ERA, 43 2/3 ip, 43 strikeouts, .298 BAA
What’s Up: Two straight quality starts get Walden a spot on this weeks' Angelswin.com prospect hotlist. Walden has 43 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings pitched this season and has proved that his elbow inflammation that caused him to miss a few starts in May is behind him. The fireballer is still throwing gas, but without a solid third pitch (Changeup) Walden is giving up a ton of hits as opposing batters are hitting nearly .300 against him this season. The fastball/slider combo can get you some strikeouts, but without a change in velocity, hitters will sit dead red on his fastball and adjust more easily to his 86-89 mph slider as the game progresses.
8. Trevor Reckling, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travs
Last 2 starts: 1 win, 11 2/3 ip, 2 earned runs, 8 strikeouts *9 walks
Overall: 5-4, 2.16 ERA, 83 1/3 ip, 66 strikeouts, 38 walks, .202 BAA
What’s Up: The good: a combined ERA of 2.16 between two levels, the fact that he's 19 years old and holding his own in Double-A (2.52 ERA) against hitters that 3-5 years older than him, as well as throwing six scoreless innings in his last start, which earned T-Rex the eighth spot this week. The bad: In his last 10 starts, Reckling has walked 32 hitters vs. just 46 strikeouts, an indication that Trev is struggling with his command. He walked 6 in his last game vs. Springfield, despite shutting them out for six innings.
9. Robert Mosebach, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travs
Past 10 Days: 5 saves, 0.71 ERA, 12 2/3 ip, 8 strikeouts, 6 hits allowed
Overall: 2-0, 6 saves, 1.32 ERA, .212 BAA
What’s Up: The converted starter has enjoyed his new role out of the bullpen, notching 5 saves out of 6 chances with the Travelers while sporting a 0.71 ERA. Mosebach's slider and low 90's sinking fastball which touches 94-95 MPH plays out well at the back end of games. The Angels are thanking the Philadelphia Phillies for sending him back after selecting him with their rule 5 pick.
10. Pil Joon Jang, RHP, Short Season Ball, AZL Angels
Last start: 5 ip, 1 earned run, 3 strikeouts, 4 hits allowed
Overall: 1-0, 1.80 ERA, .211 BAA *first start of the season
What’s Up: The short-season Arizona Brewers club had a large Pil to swallow on Monday. In the home opener for the Arizona League Angels, Pil Joon Jang in his first professional start after signing with the Angels for $500,000 in '08 - went 5 innings, giving up just one earned run while notching his first win for the organization. Jang delivers the ball from a three-quarters arm slot and compliments his 90-93 fastball with a curveball, slider and changeup. The Angels originally tried to sign Jang out of high school, but he opted instead to join the military to begin his required two years of service, which he has now completed.
Remember to tune your radio dial to AM 830 if you're in Southern California or stream live off the internet at http://am830.net/ at 5:15 p.m. PST for "The Richter Scale" with Chuck Richter and AM 830 talk show host Jeff Biggs. Call in and ask questions about the list or any other Angels farmhand down in the minors.