Wednesday, July 8, 2009

1st round pick Mike Trout debuts and tops the Prospect Hotlist this week

By David Saltzer - Columnist

Hot Prospects July 8, 2009

After taking time off to enjoy our annual Fanfest and celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s time to return to our regular column on the Hot Prospects in the Minor Leagues. In our last column, we focused on the Hot Pitchers because they were dominating the stats. Apparently the hitters were a bit jealous and went on offensive tears. So, this week we’ll focus on the hitters for our Hot Prospects and cover their performances over the last 10 games.

1. Mike Trout, OF, Class A AZL Angels
Past 3 Games: 6/10 (.600), 1 Doubles, 2 Triples, 0 HR, 6 Runs, 1 RBI, 0 SBs
Overall: .600/.750/.1100 with 0 HRs and 0 SBs

What’s Up: When Mike Trout signed with the Angels last week, he got to talk with Torii Hunter, the Angels current CF. Trout said that he joked with Torii about taking his job in about 3 years. While those are lofty ambitions from a 17 year old, Mike Trout has already flashed the skills that made him a 1st round pick by the Angels and our top Hot Prospect for this week. When talking about Trout, Tony Reagins said that he was very impressed with how hard of a worker Trout is. It certainly shows. With weeks like this, Rex Hudler will have to dust off his patented “Upstream!!!!” call as Kid Fish (our nickname for Mike Trout) will give him plenty of opportunities to make that call in what we hope will be a long and prolific Angels’ career.

2. Mark Trumbo, 1B, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 15/38 (.395), 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HR, 4 Runs, 3 RBIs, 4 SB
Overall: .268/.313/.414 with 7 HRs and 3 SBs

What’s Up: After a horrible start to the season in which he hit .231 through May 31st, Mark Trumbo appears to be back on track. The power is still not at the level we saw last year, but, for the past two weeks, Mark has been hitting the ball with some authority. The power should come back soon. Unfortunately, Trumbo’s resurgence has come at a time when most of the rest of his team has not been performing well. Outside of Conger, the offense hasn’t been there. The Travelers have lost 10 out of their past 14 games, often due to limited offense, which has reduced the RBI opportunities for Trumbo.

3. Hank Conger, C, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 14/44 (.318), 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HR, 5 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .279/.329/.392 with 6 HRs and 3 SBs

What’s Up: This year has been a strange year for Conger. Rather than talking about his hitting like we’ve done for most of his career, so far we’ve mostly been limited to discussing his defense behind the plate (which is good and still improving). Finally, though, we can start to talk about him as a hitter as well as a fielder. Hank has been hitting the ball hard for the past 2 weeks. Hopefully this is a good sign that his wrist is finally fully recovered and we should see more power and offense coming from him.

4. Jean Segura, 2B, Class A Orem Olwz
Past 10 Games: 16/46 (.348), 2 Doubles, 2 Triples, 1 HR, 11 Runs, 7 RBIs, 4 SB
Overall: .377/.415/.558 with 2 HRs and 4 SBs

What’s Up: After signing with the Angels at age 17 in 2007, Jean Segura was named a Postseason All-Star for the Dominican Angels. This year, Segura started the season by playing 7 games in Triple-A Salt Lake Bees as a defensive reserve before settling as the leadoff hitter for the Orem Owlz. He’s a rare type of hitter to come out of the Dominican—he’s not a free swinger. In Orem, he has 4 walks to go along with 5 strikeouts. Like Alexi Amarista (Cedar Rapids Kernels), Segura could be another sleeper prospect to come out of our international player development and another player to add to our MIF depth.

5. Brandon Wood, 3B/SS, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 14/40 (.350), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 3 Runs, 4 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .311/.366/.587 with 16 HRs and 1 SB

What’s Up: It’s hard to say that Brandon Wood is the same hitter that we saw striking out so many times in years past. There’s definitely been a change made at the plate. Last year he struck out 104 times in 103 games. This year he’s on pace for only 84 Ks in 103 games. The Angels keep giving Brandon experience at other positions such as 1B to expand his repertoire. We shouldn’t be reading too much into it. However, as the trade deadline approaches, Wood could either find himself as a central figure in a trade or the beneficiary of a trade if it opens up a spot on the Major League roster.

6. Jeremy Moore, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 15/42 (.357), 3 Doubles, 3 Triples, 2 HRs, 6 Runs, 9 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .307/.350/.478 with 6 HRs and 8 SBs

What’s Up: Last year Jeremy hit 17 HRs and stole 28 bases. This year, we expected even bigger things from him as he moved to a much more hitter friendly park. While at first it he numbers didn’t explode, it appears that things are finally clicking with this left-hander as he’s been tearing up the Cal League. The only drawback to his advancement is his free-swinging approach to the game. He’s struck out 91 times in 75 games while only garnering 18 walks. However, he just turned 22 and still has time to become a more patient and selective hitter.

7. Justin Bass, 2B, Class A Orem Owlz
Past 10 Games: 10/31 (323), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 6 Runs, 6 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: 324/489/471 with 1 HR and 1 SB

What’s Up: The son of former major leaguer Kevin Bass, Justin was taken as a 2B by the Angels in the 21st round of the 2007 draft. He has the kind of bloodlines and tools that the Angels look for in the later rounds (his uncle and older brother both played in the Minor Leagues). After spending 2 seasons with the AZL Angels, Justin has earned a promotion to Orem this season. So far he has only played DH. But, while doing so, he has shown the new patience at the plate that the Angels desire while switch hitting. So far he has drawn 10 walks and only struck out 8 times.

8. Roberto Lopez, OF, INF, Class A Orem Owlz
Past 10 Games: 12/35 (.343), 1 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 7 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .262/.383/.417 with 8 HRs and 2 SBs

What’s Up: Last year, Roberto was the only player in the Minor Leagues to hit .400 and narrowly missed the Triple Crown for his league. That was quite an accomplishment, but it was also done in a short season. This year was going to be an adjustment for Roberto to the grind of a full season. After a slow start (he hit 244 before the Minor League All-Star Game), Roberto’s bat has started to come alive. The good thing for Roberto is that even during this slow first half, he still maintained his patience at the plate generating a nearly 1:1 ratio of K:BB. In order to get his bat into more opportunities, the Angels have been rotating him between the corner OF spots, 1B and DH. The greater his defensive versatility is, the greater the opportunities will be for him to advance.

9. Randal Grichuk, OF, Class A AZL Angels
Past 10 Games: 13/44 (.295), 3 Doubles, 2 Triple, 0 HR, 8 Runs, 9 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .292/.340/.438 with 0 HRs and 1 SBs

What’s Up: Grichuk, our first overall pick in the 2009 draft, knew that there would be an adjustment period when going from high school to professional baseball. He struggled for his first 3 games striking out 5 times. By his 9th game, Grichuk exploded going 6 for 7 with 3 doubles showing off the power and potential that made him a highly rated high school prospect. There are still lots of things for Grichuk to adjust to. He’s had to learn to play all 3 OF spots and has batted in various parts of the lineup all while using wood bats for the first time. Still, it’s good to see that he is settling in to what we hope is a bright Angels career with many more stints on the Hot Prospect list.

10. Matt Crawford, OF, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 14/37 (.348), 1 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 5 Runs, 2 RBIs, 3 SBs
Overall: .300/.368/.369 with 1 HRs and 19 SBs

What’s Up: Since the Minor League All-Star Break, Crawford has been on fire posting a .378/.452/.486 line. Crawford has the speed to be a leadoff hitter, and, as a switch hitter could make for an excellent catalyst at the top of the order. But, he also has seen time deeper in the lineup to provide a secondary catalyst for the lineup. Crawford has the range and ability to be a very good centerfielder, though he's seen a lot of time in LF for the Kernels.
Love to hear what you think!


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