Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dillon Baird seen above with the UOA earned the top spot in this weeks' Prospect Hotlist

By David Saltzer – Columnist

This was a tough week for the Hot Prospect team. There were many good performances to highlight--both at the plate and on the mound. So, there’s no doubt that we’ve left some stellar performances off the list. But, we’re taking it as a good sign that the organization has the talent to make our job tough. As Angels fans, we’re never going to complain about that!

1. Dillon Baird, 1B, Class A Orem Owlz
Past 7 Days: 10/17 (.588), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HR, 3 Runs, 7 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .429/.508/.571 with 0 HRs and 1 SB

What’s Up: After leading the Pac-10 in BA, Hits, Doubles, Total Bases, and RBIs this year, Dillon Baird has continued his hot-hitting ways. The left-handed hitting (right-handed throwing) 1B has been hitting .485 for the month of July, and may be yet another sleeper in the deep 2009 draft. John Gracio, an Angels scout who has followed Baird since high school said “He showed all the qualities of a good infielder with good actions, he showed an above-average arm at third base, he needed to mature as a hitter, and going down to the University of Arizona ... he did mature as a hitter. And that's one of the reasons why we took him." During our post-draft chat, Eddie Bane said “Plate discipline has always been a play in our system, but yes it is an extra look now. Baird led the Pac-10 in hitting. Last guy I drafted that won that crown was Paul LoDuca. Hope the same happens with Dillon.” We couldn’t hope for more.

2. Jake Rife, LF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 7 Days: 11/21 (.524), 3 Doubles, 2 Triples, 0 HR, 4 Runs, 5 RBI, 2 SBs
Overall: .422/.486/.667 with 1 HRs and 6 SBs

What’s Up: Possibly a late round steal for the Angels (48th round) out of the University of Washington, Jake has been on the fast track since signing. He’s jumped from AZL through Orem and all the way up to Rancho this week. He skipped right over Cedar Rapids. Facing tougher competition hasn’t slowed him down though. One of Jake’s doubles and SBs came on a pinch hitting performance in the 10th inning. With 1 out and a man on first, Jake doubled and took 3rd on a throwing error (no RBI). He then stole home to give the Owlz a 2-run lead and the win. Long term, Jake profiles as a speedy LFer with patience at the plate.

3. Fabio Martinez, RHP, Class A AZL Angels
Past 7 Days: 0-1, 0 Saves, 1.80 ERA, 10.0 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 20 K, 1.10 WHIP
Overall: 2-1, 0 Saves, 1.86 ERA, 29.0 IP, 17 H, 16 BB, 47 K, 1.14 WHIP, .167 BAA

What’s Up: A 19 year old prospect out of the Dominican Republic, Fabio Martinez has been just dominating the competition since signing with the Angels as a 17 year old. Last year, Martinez posted a 6-1 record with a 1.53 ERA and a 93:32 K:BB ratio. This year, he’s on the same pace. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider. Baseball America had him on their “Helium Watch” for July 17th, and said that his “upside makes him one of the Angels’ most promising young.” With players like Chatwood, Chafee, Reckling, Smith, Torres and Walden ahead of him in the organization, that is a lofty comparison.

4. Jean Segura, 2B, Class A Orem Olwz
Past 7 Days: 12/33 (364), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HR, 5 Runs, 5 RBIs, 3 SB
Overall: 386/427/545 with 3 HRs and 8 SBs

What’s Up: The rave reviews for Jean Segua keep coming in. The latest is from one of our fans Stevestevens “I have seen him play three times and he is good. Great approach each AB. He is the best hitter on the team by far.” Segura is riding a 15-game hitting streak at the moment and earlier in the week set an Orem Owlz franchise record by collecting 5 hits in 1 game. As Mike Eylward, the Owlz hitting coach said after Segura’s 5-hit day “[Segura] is really locked in right now . . . He has the power and the speed which makes him a very tough out. This is a day that doesn't happen very often in baseball."

5. Randal Grichuk, OF, Class A AZL Angels
Past 7 Days: 9/22 (.409), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 2 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .306/.327/.459 with 1 HR and 3 SBs

What’s Up: Like the Beach Boys hit, Grichuk is real fine at .409 this week. His biggest production came Monday night when he went 4 for 5 with 7 RBIs against the AZL Dodgers. He collected his 6th double of the season that night along with his first HR. Grichuk still needs to work on his plate discipline. He has only 3 walks on the season along with 30 Ks in 98 ABs. But, the makings to be a power-hitting OFer are clearly there.

6. Terry Evans, OF, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 7 Days: 8/25 (.320), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 5 Runs, 6 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .290/.333/.528 with 19 HRs and 20 SBs

What’s Up: What a nice week for Terry Evans. Aside from tearing up the Pacific Coast League, he just got promoted up to Anaheim. While he has the power and speed to be an ML OFer, he still needs to improve his plate discipline (he has a 106:24 K:BB ratio). Evans profiles as a role player for the Angels, with some speed and pop to come off the bench and can provide depth in the event that Rivera’s injury limits his activity on the field.

7. Will Smith, LHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 3.46 ERA, 13.0 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 1.23 WHIP
Overall: 8-3, 0 Saves, 3.29 ERA, 90.1 IP, 84 H, 19 BB, 75 K, 1.14 WHIP, .247 BAA

What’s Up: It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen one of the Kernels’ rotation on our Hot Prospect List. That has a lot to do with the timing of the list, as there were several times when they were pitching well, but, unfortunately had an off game right before the list came out. Overall the Kernels starters (Chaffee, Chatwood, Correa, Flores and Smith) are a combined 29-21 with a 3.69 ERA and a 340:152 K:BB ratio in 463.2 innings. All potentially have high ceilings, and all should continue to advance through the organization.

8. Jayson Miller, LHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 7 Days: 0-1, 0 Saves, 2.05 ERA, 13.2 IP, 12 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 0.95 WHIP
Overall: 5-7, 0 Saves, 3.80 ERA, 111.1 IP, 130 H, 18 BB, 76 K, 1.33 WHIP, .292 BAA

What’s Up: Miller is a left-handed control specialist who continues to get hitters out. Drafted out of Washington State University in the 30th round of 2008, he had the most wins for the Cougars since 2004. Miller mixes speeds well and keeps hitters off balance. At the same time, he can expand the zone and still throw pitches for strikes. He’s the kind of pitcher who can give a team a chance to win most games. Long term, though, a move to the pen may make some sense for Miller as his control could be much more useful in a critical situation and would give him his best chance for rapid advancement to the majors.

9. Pil Joon Jang, RHP, Class A AZL Angels
Past 7 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.13 ERA, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.50 WHIP
Overall: 3-2, 0 Saves, 4.05 ERA, 33.1 IP, 24 H, 5 BB, 24 K, 0.87 WHIP, .200 BAA

What’s Up: One of our 2 South Korean pitchers, Jang has been having a Jekyll and Hyde season so far. In his 4 home starts, he has only given up 1 run per start, for an ERA of 1.44 in 25.0 innings. In his 2 road starts, he’s given up a combined 11 runs for an 11.88 ERA. This could be explained by adjusting to a new country and a new league. Jang’s control appears to be quite good: he has yet to allow more than 2 walks or 6 hits in any of his starts. Jang sports a mid-90s fastball and should continue to get better as his comfort level improves.

10. Brad Salmon, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.71 WHIP
Overall: 4-2, 0 Saves, 4.09 ERA, 55.0 IP, 58 H, 30 BB, 47 K, 1.60 WHIP, 269 BAA

What’s Up: This journeyman pitcher was signed as a free agent to help provide depth when all of our starters went down at the start of the season. Salmon has seen some time in the majors with Cincinnati in 2007, owning and 0-1 record, 4.13 ERA in 24.0 IPs, and a 22:10 K:BB ratio. At Salt Lake, Salmon has split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation. This past week he got the start and ended up being named pitcher for the week for the Pacific Coast League.
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