Monday, August 31, 2009

Los Angeles Angels start a seven game road trip to Seattle and Kansas City with a new starting pitcher in tow. Scott Kazmir acquired on Friday from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor leaguers Alexander Torres, Matthew Sweeney and a player to be named later will make his Angels debut Wednesday against Mariners' ace Felix Hernandez.

Kazmir told the LA Times Bill Shaikin that the admires the Angels commitment to winning.

Kendry Morales may have had too many plate appearances over the last two seasons to qualify as a rookie, so maybe we should be talking about him for MVP ? Morales has certainly taken his game to a new level.

It's been a good first season for the Angels draft picks.

Let the speculation begin on who the Angels will call up when the rosters expand Tuesday, September 1.

On Sunday Aug. 30th, John Lackey won his 100th game as an Angel in front of the home crowd.
Lackey joins and elite club of only five others to have 100 wins as Angels. Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana, Chuck Finley and Mike Witt.

Angels at Mariners

Joe Saunders (10-7, 5.27) vs Luke French (4-3, 3.92)
Ervin Santana (7-7, 5.94) vs Doug Fister (1-1, 3.42)
Scott Kazmir (8-7, 5.92) vs Felix Hernandez (13-5, 2.77)

(AP Photo)

By David Saltzer - Columnist

There’s something magical about the number 100. It’s not that it has an extra digit compared to 99. It’s that it signifies a major accomplishment. If you’re lucky enough to reach age 99, you’ll be noted as such. But, if you live to 100 then you’re a centenarian.

On Sunday, John Lackey joined the 100-win club for the Angels. He’s only 1 of 5 players to accomplish that feat in our 47+ years of history. The other members are Chuck Finley (165), Nolan Ryan (138), Mike Witt (109), and Frank Tanana (102).

Additionally, with 6 strikeouts in the game, John Lackey now has 1155 in his career as an Angel. That places him 5th overall in Angels’ all-time strikeout leaders again only trailing Nolan Ryan (2416), Chuck Finley (2151), Mike Witt (1283), and Frank Tanana (1233).

If we can define the 21st century as the modern era of Angels’ baseball—an era with regular post-season berths and dominant pitching, then John Lackey is the foundation for the modern team. In every season since his rookie year, Lackey has won at least 10 games. He has a career .588 winning percentage as a starter, and has averaged over 7 Ks per 9 IP. For his career, he has held the opposition to a .721 OPS—well below the league average.

Still, what makes John Lackey the symbol of the modern era in Angels’ baseball is his performance in 2002. Not only did his 9 regular season wins feature prominently in our race for the Wild Card, without him, we might not have our first (and only) World Series trophy.

Pitching on just 3 days rest, John Lackey, a 24-year old rookie took the mound to start Game 7 of the World Series. History was not on his side. No rookie had started and won a Game 7 of the World Series in the 93 years prior to him. Many pundits thought that the decision to start Lackey would be the downfall for the Angels.

Instead, Lackey held the Giants to just 1 run over 5 innings in what was the highest scoring World Series in history. He scattered 4 hits and struck out four in that start and held the mighty Barry Bonds homerless. These were no small feats.

In winning Game 7, Lackey utterly changed the destiny of our franchise. We went from drawing 2.3 million fans in 2002 to drawing over 3 million the following year and every year since. We went from being at-risk of being contracted, to one of the “big-market” teams. Add in Arte Moreno, Vlad, Hunter, Figgins, and all the rest, and you have the modern team. But, take away Lackey and Game 7, and who knows what you would have.

With approximately 5 more starts left this year, Lackey has a shot at passing Frank Tanana for 4th place on the all-time wins list for the Angels. And, with a 5-game lead in the AL West, Lackey is in line to make his 6th post season appearance as an Angel—more appearances than Ryan, Finley, Witt and Tanana combined.

Congratulations John on winning your 100th game. It’s been a pleasure to watch you develop and mature as a pitcher and become the ace of our staff.

(AP Photo)

Only 14 players in Angels franchise history have hit 30 or more home runs in a single season. It's only been accomplished 24 times in franchise history, as well. Kendry Morales is the latest member of this exclusive club:

Leon Wagner (37, 1962)
Bobby Bonds (37, 1977)
Don Baylor (34, 1978; 36, 1979)
Bobby Grich (30, 1979)
Doug DeCinces (30, 1982)
Reggie Jackson (39, 1982)
Wally Joyner (34, 1987)
Tim Salmon (31, 1993; 34, 1995; 30, 1996; 33, 1997; 34, 2000)
Jim Edmonds (33, 1995)
Mo Vaughn (33, 1999; 36, 2000)
Troy Glaus (47, 2000; 41, 2001; 30, 2002)
Garret Anderson (35, 2000)
Vladimir Guerrero (39, 2004; 32, 2005; 33, 2006)
Kendry Morales (30, 2009)

Career HR totals for the players on this list:

Jackson, 563
Guerrero, 403*
Edmonds, 382
Baylor, 338
Bonds, 332
Vaughn, 328
Glaus, 304*
Salmon, 299
Anderson, 284*
DeCinces, 237
Grich, 224
Wagner, 211
Joyner, 204
Morales, 42*

* active

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Baird went 3-3 for with 2 walks and two RBI's last night for the Owlz

Rodriguez: 3-4, HR (28), triple, single, 3 RBI (.305) (AAA)
Wood: 1-4, double (.296) (AAA)
MacDonald: 8 IP, 5 H, ER, 0 BB, 2 K, HR (5.76) (AAA)
Mount: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, 2 K (.240) (AA)
Conger: 1-3, single, 2 BB, K (.296) (AA)
Diaz: 6 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 3 K (3.81) (AA)
Estrella: 2-4, double, single, RBI, BB (.258) (A+)
Brossman: 2-4, HR (6), single, 3 RBI, BB, K (.236) (A+)
Moore: 1-4, HR (11), 3 RBI, BB, 2 K (.282) (A+)
Chatwood: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (4.12) (A)
Auer: 2-4, triple, single, RBI, BB, 2 K (.283) (A)
Amarista: 3-3, double, 2 singles (.317) (A)
Lopez: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI (.275) (A)
Jacobo: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, K (.249) (A)
Perez: 2-3, 2 singles, RBI, BB (.250) (A)
Kehrer: 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 4 K (3.94) (Rookie Orem)
Baird: 3-3, double, 2 singles, 2 RBI, 2 BB (.382) (Rookie Orem)
Ramirez: 1-4, single, BB, K (.368) (Rookie Orem)

Prospect of the day: Orem Owlz 1B Dillon Baird went 3-3 with a double, 2 singles, 2 walks and 2 RBI's, pushing his batting average to .382 on the season. The '09 draft pick was the Pioneer League's player of the week last week. Baird is finishing up the season in fine fashion and has shot up the prospect charts with his level of play in short season A Ball.

Friday, August 28, 2009

By Eric Denton Senior Writer

After a few hiccups The Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays have officially agreed to a trade that sends left handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to Anaheim for minor leagues Alexander Torres, Matthew Sweeney and a player to be named later.

"We're very excited about the player that we can't name yet" Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Per the rules of Major League Baseball, the Angels and Rays have up to six months to decide on the player (which seems to have happened) and the player must change leagues (from Single A to Double A, or Triple A to MLB). So let the speculation begin.

The Angels rotation receives a much needed boost with the addition of the veteran pitcher. Kazmir is in the first year of a three year $28.5 million dollar contract.

Kazmir is 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA overall this season. However he's pitched much better post All-Star break going 4-2, 4.41ERA. Maybe more importantly are his numbers against potential playoff match ups are thus.

vs. Boston this season: 2-0, 3.27
vs. New York this season: 2-0, 2.63
vs. Texas this season: 1-1, 2.92

Alexander Torres a 21 year old left handed pitcher was 13-4, 2.74 ERA between the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and Arkansas Travelers.

Matthew Sweeney is a 21 year old third baseman hitting .296 9 HR 44 RBI for the Quakes.

The acquisition also give the Angels some protection in case John Lackey leaves the Angels via free agency this winter. Los Angeles will have Kazmir, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana & Jered Weaver all under club control through at least 2011.

Wilberto Ortiz reached base 6 times, going 5-5 for the Travelers in last night's victory

Sandoval: 4-6, double, 3 singles, 2 RBI, K (.320) (AAA)
Wood: 2-4, double, single, RBI, 2 BB (.297) (AAA)
Pettit: 2-4, HR (8), double, 3 RBI, BB, K (.327) (AAA)
Coon: 2-4, 2 singles, BB, K (.269) (AAA)
Ortiz: 5-5, 5 singles, 3 RBI, BB (.255) (AA)
Bourjos: 4-5, double, 3 singles, 3 RBI, BB, SB (30) (.282) (AA)
Caliguri: 1-3, HR (4), 3 RBI, BB (.205) (AA)
Mount: 2-6, 2 singles, 2 K (.236) (AA)
Trumbo: 2-5, HR (14), triple, 2 RBI, K (.288) (AA)
Sutton: 2-6, double, single, 2 RBI, K (.308) (AA)
Statia: 2-5, 2 singles, 2 RBI, K (.240) (AA)
Romine: 2-4, 2 singles, 3 RBI, BB (.286) (A+)
Nieves: 2-5, HR (3), single, 2 RBI, K (.276) (A+)
Phillips: 1-4, single, K (.234) (A+)
Cates: 2-5, 2 singles (.314) (Rookie Orem)
Bass: 2-4, double, single (.273) (Rookie Orem)
Ramirez: 1-5, HR (5), 2 RBI (.372) (Rookie Orem)
Bachanov: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (3.14) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, K (.369) (AZL Angels)
Gomez: 2-4, double, single, RBI (.301) (AZL Angels)
Mallard: 1-5, double, 2 RBI, 2 K (.302) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 1-4, triple, RBI (.329) (AZL Angels)
Almanzar: 2-4, 2 singles (.319) (AZL Angels)

Game cancelled: Cedar Rapids

Prospect of the Day: DH Willie Ortiz went 5-5 (all singles) and worked a walk in last night's 16-7 victory over the Tulsa Drillers. Ortiz also drove in three runs in the contest.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joe Saunders made a much needed and successful return to the Angels rotation yesterday afternoon. An All-Star in 2008, Saunders had been pitching most of the season with a knot in muscle in his throwing shoulder that did not allow him to pitch with his normal command. By all appearances, Joe is healthy as he stopped the Angels three game skid.

Shane Loux was designated for assignment to make room for Saunders. Mike Scioscia would like to see Loux accept a spot at AAA Salt Lake City and remain with the organization.

Steve Bisheff takes a look at the two types of Angel fans. Any long time user of the message board will know exactly what he's writing about.

One of the Angels top prospects Trevor Reckling has been selected for Team USA.

Vladimir Guerrero became the eighth player to register 1,000 hits as an Angel. Guerrero joins Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Bobby Grich, Jim Fregosi and Brian Downing.

Reminder, if you had tickets for the April 9th game against Oakland 8/27 is the make up date for the game that was canceled due to the Nick Adenhart tragedy.

8/27 also will be the night the Angels organization recognizes former Angel greats Brian Downing and Chuck Finley with enshrinement into the Angels Hall Of Fame.

TV: FS-W (Thur - Sat), KCOP 13 (Sun)

Trevor Cahill (6-12,4.86) vs Ervin Santana (7-6, 6.13)
Brett Tomko (3-2, 3.69) vs Trevor Bell (1-1, 9.49)
Vin Mazzaro (4-9, 5.32) vs Jered Weaver (13-5, 4.03)
Brett Anderson (7-9, 4.35) vs John Lackey (8-7, 4.16)

SS Hainley Statia had a solid game last night for the Travs going 3-4 with 2 RBI's

Rodriguez: 1-2, HR (27), 2 RBI, 2 BB, K (.301) (AAA)
Evans: 2-4, triple, single, K (.286) (AAA)
O'Sullivan: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (5.56) (AAA)
Bourjos: 1-3, single, RBI (.275) (AA)
Mount: 2-4, 2 doubles, K (.234) (AA)
Ortiz: 2-3, triple, double, RBI (.246) (AA)
Statia: 3-4, double, 2 singles, 2 RBI (.238) (AA)
Sweeney: 1-3, HR (9), 3 RBI, BB, K (.300) (A+)
Navarro: 1-2, triple, 2 BB, K (.298) (A+)
Romine: 1-3, single, BB, K (.284) (A+)
Moore: 1-3, single, RBI, K (.282) (A+)
Cates: 2-5, 2 singles (.312) (Rookie Orem)
Haerther: 4-5, 4 singles, 3 RBI (.344) (Rookie Orem)
Ramirez: 1-3, double, 2 BB (.380) (Rookie Orem)
Arenas: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K (3.84) (Rookie Orem)
Andrew: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (2.68) (Rookie Orem)
Trout: 1-5, triple, 2 RBI (.365) (AZL Angels)
Mallard: 2-4, 2 singles, BB (.307) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 3-5, HR (7), double, single, 3 RBI (.330) (AZL Angels)

Postponed: Cedar Rapids

Prospect of the Day - Randal Grichuk went 3-5 with a home run (his seventh on the season), a double and single, driving in three runs on the night for the Arizona Angels.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



WHO: Left-handed hurler Chuck Finley and outfielder Brian Downing.

Finley (1986-1999) was a four-time All-Star with the Angels and holds the club’s all-time record for wins (165), innings pitched (2,675) and starts (379).

Downing (1978-1990) left in 1990 as the Angels career leader in games (1,661), at-bats (5,854), runs (889), hits (1,588), total bases (2,580), doubles (282), home runs (222) and RBI (846).

WHAT: The duo will be inducted into the Angels’ Hall of Fame in a pre-game ceremony. Finley and Downing are the newest additions to the Angels’ HOF, which includes current members Nolan Ryan, Rod Carew, Bobby Grich, Don Baylor, Jim Fregosi and Jimmie Reese.

Participating in Thursday’s on-field pre-game ceremony will be Arte and Carole Moreno, Angels President Dennis Kuhl, and former Angels Willie Fraser, Bobby Grich, Rod Carew and Jim Fregosi.

Over 25 Angels "alumni" will also be present including Buck Rodgers, Clyde Wright, Jay Johnstone, Doug DeCinces and Mark Langston.

To commemorate the inductions, all fans will receive a Brian Downing and Chuck Finley Hall of Fame Plaque.

WHEN: Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at Angel Stadium. Ceremony to start at approximately 6:55 p.m.

Sean Rodriguez tops this week's Prospect Hotlist

Hot Prospects August 26, 2009

With the minor league season coming to a close, our organizational franchises are still pushing hard to make the post season. Many players are stepping up their game and are making clear cases for moving up the organization’s depth chart. The Single-A Orem Owlz have gone 19-2 for the second half, including a franchise record setting streak of 15 wins in a row. They currently lead their league by 6 games for the second half and feature a lineup of nearly all-300+ hitters. The AZL Angels won a wild game in which they were no hit but still managed to score 2 unearned runs on walks and errors. They presently sit 1 game out of first place for the second half. At 32-26, the Cedar Rapids Kernels are 3.5 games out of first place for the second half.

By David Saltzer Columnist

1. Sean Rodriguez, INF/OF, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 16/33 (.485), 3 Doubles, 0 Triples, 3 HRs, 11 Runs, 8 RBIs, 2 SBs
Overall: .299/.398/.605 with 26 HRs and 9 SBs

What’s Up: Everyone wants to be an armchair GM. Sure, it sounds fun, and sure, it seems like an easy job. But, the reality is, sometimes events and players make things very difficult for a GM. Rodriguez is the kind of player that makes for difficult decisions by the GM. He’s the ideal player for Scioscia—he can play SS, 2B, and is even playing the OF. He has the arm to play RF and roamed centerfield in high school. Rodriguez is 24 and is 2nd in the league in HRs, 3rd in SLG, 6th in OBP. He’s been posting all of these numbers while on the shuttle between Salt Lake and Anaheim. He really has nothing left to prove in the minors, but trying to find a way to get his bat, along with Brandon Wood and Chris Pettit in the lineup will be a major challenge for Tony Reagins this off-season.

2. Dillon Baird, 1B, Class A Orem Owlz
Past 10 Games: 16/40 (400), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 10 Runs, 11 RBIs, 3 SBs
Overall: .383/.447/.563 with 4 HRs and 1 SB

What’s Up: If you want to find a batting leader for the Pioneer League, just look for Dillon Baird—he’s most likely going to be amongst the leaders. Dillon is leading the league in BA, and in the top-5 in most every other category. It’s as if he hasn’t missed a beat from the Pac-10, where he led the league in hitting. Playing in the heart of the Owlz order, Baird has been driving in runs in bunches which helped him earn offensive Player of the Week honors for the Pioneer League on August 24.

3. Alex Torres, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 3 Games: 2-0, 0 Saves, 0.53 ERA, 17.0 IP, 12 H, 9 BB, 18 K, 1.24 WHIP
Overall: 13-4, 0 Saves, 2.75 ERA, 147.1 IP, 116 H, 80 BB, 149 K, 1.33 WHIP, .222 BAA

What’s Up: When you think of top Angels’ minor league lefties, usually Trevor Reckling comes to mind. But, Alex Torres is another lefty in the system who has been having an incredibly good season. After tearing up the hitter-friendly California League (posting a 2.74 ERA and going 10-3), Torres was promoted to Double A and hasn’t slowed down. Overall, he’s posted a 2.77 ERA in the Texas League, with almost all of that coming in one game. The walks are a bit of a concern, but the talent is definitely there. Torres definitely has the stuff to be a major league pitcher, and he will be one—especially when he gains a bit better command. He may start next year off again with Arkansas, but, he should be in Salt Lake by the end of next year.

4. Carlos Ramirez, C, Class A Orem Owlz
Past 10 Games: 16/38 (.421), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 3 HRs, 12 Runs, 11 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .381/.489/.600 with 4 HRs and 0 SBs

What’s Up: If Napoli and Conger think that they’re the only offensively minded catchers in our organization, then they need to check out Carlos Ramirez. Drafted in the 8th round this year, Ramirez has been putting up Mauer-like numbers. He has more BBs than Ks (22:17) and is putting up some formidable power numbers. With only half the games played as some of the league leaders, Ramirez’s power numbers would be on par or exceed the league’s best if he had the same number of ABs.

5. Pil Joon Jang, RHP, Class A AZL Angels
Past 3 Games: 1-1, 0 Saves, 2.12 ERA, 17.0 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 22 K, 0.94 WHIP
Overall: 6-3, 0 Saves, 3.49 ERA, 77.1 IP, 68 H, 9 BB, 65 K, 1.00 WHIP, .232 BAA

What’s Up: If Martinez Mesa is all about the power, then Jang is all about the control. He’s about as stingy as they get in the Pioneer League. As a starter, Jang ranks down with the relievers in terms of the least amount of walks given up while at the same time ranks 5th in the league for the most Ks. He’s been delivering everything that was promised when we signed him last December out of Korea. He should only continue to get better, having an assortment of quality pitches.

6. Fabio Martinez Mesa, RHP, Class A AZL Angels
Past 3 Games: 0-1, 0 Saves, 2.35 ERA, 15.1 IP, 14 H, 6 BB, 22 K, 1.30 WHIP
Overall: 3-2, 0 Saves, 2.51 ERA, 57.1 IP, 38 H, 34 BB, 85 K, 1.26 WHIP, .181 BAA

What’s Up: With the way that Fabio is pitching, the sky could be the limits for him. Punching out nearly 13.5 batters per 9 innings, he is an ace in the making. As he matures, he should cut down on the number of walks that he’s giving up and should refine his secondary pitches. But, when he does, the opposition better watch out, because Fabio throws hard (95-98 mph), and has a big upside.

7. Hank Conger, C, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 12/37 (.325), 3 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 5 Runs, 7 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .299/.366/.425 with 9 HRs and 3 SBs

What’s Up: Playing in a cavernous stadium, we expected some of Conger’s power numbers to drop. And, playing with an injured hand/wrist in the first half, they did. But, since the All-Star Break, Conger’s been putting up numbers closer to what we’re used to seeing from him (.317/.407/.470). His OPS is 140 points higher than it was during the first half of the season and he’s now ranked 8th in the league for BA. Next year, he should move up to the hitter-friendly fields of the Pacific Coast League, and then we should see more of his doubles turn into dingers.

8. Roberto Lopez, 1B/DH, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 17/42 (405), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 6 Runs, 10 RBIs, 2 SBs
Overall: .324/.356/.541 with 11 HRs and 5 SBs

What’s Up: After being a regular on our column last year when he posted a .400 BA for the season, we had great expectations for Roberto Lopez. Unfortunately, he got off to a slow start. But, since the All-Star Break, Lopez has been getting back to form, posting a .303/.363/.470 line. With 11 HRs, he leads the club in that category while only playing in 85 games (the regulars on the team have played about 115. We think that next year Lopez should get back on track and should find the hitter-friendly parks of the California League much more to his liking.

9. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Class Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 3 Games: 3-0, 0 Saves, 1.50 ERA, 17.2 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 18 K, 0.85 WHIP
Overall: 6-7, 0 Saves, 4.10 ERA, 105.1 IP, 90 H, 59 BB, 97 K, 1.41 WHIP, .238 BAA

What’s Up: Walks have been Chatwood’s Achilles’ heel all year this year. Ironically, though, in the past three games, Chatwood has only given up 3 runs—all of them in the one game where he only issued 1 walk! Still, Chatwood has the stuff to be a major league starter. He has a good fastball and a plus curve, and should continue to cut down on the walks as he matures. After all, he’s still only 19 and he’s doing more than holding his own in the league.

10. Garrett Richards, RHP, Class A AZL Angels
Past 3 Games: 2-0, 0 Saves, 1.56 ERA, 17.1 IP, 17 H, 0 BB, 15 K, 0.98 WHIP
Overall: 2-1, 0 Saves, 1.91 ERA, 28.1 IP, 29 H, 4 BB, 22 K, 1.16 WHIP, .269 BAA

What’s Up: One of our 1st round supplemental picks (#48 overall), Richards is off to a hot start. Along with Dillon Baird, he won Player of the Week honors August 24 for his two wins and stellar pitching. After being slowly eased into the rotation, it’s good to see Richards getting stretched out to 6+ innings while still maintaining great control. Next year, he should get the chance to show off his stuff at Cedar Rapids.

Honorable Mention

1. Mike Trout, CF, Class A AZL Angels
Past 10 Games: 16/44 (.364), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HRs, 7 Runs, 6 RBIs, 3 SBs
Overall: .371/.433/.517 with 1 HR and 13 SBs

What’s Up: Recently moved into the leadoff spot, Trout (aka “Kidfish”) has been taking advantage of three of his many tools: speed, hitting ability and plate discipline. In the past 10 games he has more BBs than Ks (6:5). But, don’t forget about his power. He’s 10th in the league in SLG, which combined with his high OB% makes him 4th for OPS. And, this past week he made his first of hopefully many appearances in Baseball America’s Hot Prospect List on when he cracked the list on August 21.

2. Randal Grichuk, OF, Class A AZL Angels
Past 10 Games: 13/40 (325), 0 Doubles, 2 Triples, 4 HRs, 9 Runs, 11 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .324/.356/.541 with 6 HRs and 6 SBs

What’s Up: We wanted power in this draft, and we got it. At just age 18, Grichuk is 4th in the league for SLG, tied for 6th in HRs, and leading the league in triples! You can also find Grichuk leading the league in hits, 2nd for RBIs, 4th for runs scored, and tied for 9th in doubles. Not too bad for our first pick of the 2009 draft. With a little bit more plate discipline, he could be a monster at the plate in a few years.

3. Mark Trumbo, 1B, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 15/42 (.357), 3 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 5 Runs, 5 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .289/.329/.444 with 13 HRs and 6 SBs

What’s Up: Trumbo’s season is a tale of two halves: During the first half, Trumbo posted a .263/.308/.405 line. Since the All-Star Break, he’s posted a .325/.359/.498 line. Most likely Trumbo’s slow start resulted from his difficulty making the adjustments to the league and his opponents being able to pitch around him while the rest of the Travelers’ lineup struggled with injuries and slow performances. But, as his post All-Star numbers show, Trumbo is more than capable of hitting and should hit some monster shots next year in the Pacific Coast League.

Chris Pettit went 3-4 with a triple and RBI for the Salt Lake Bees on Tuesday night

Rodriguez: 1-2, single, 2 BB, K (.299) (AAA)
Pettit: 3-4, triple, 2 singles, RBI (.329) (AAA)
Figueroa: 2-4, 2 singles, K (.267) (AAA)
Torres: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K (2.77) (AA)
Sutton: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.310 (AA)
Trumbo: 2-4, 2 singles, BB (.289) (AA)
Conger: 2-4, double, single, 2 RBI, BB, K (.299) (AA)
Mount: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, K (.230) (AA)
Walker: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, K (.289) (AA)
Contreras: 2-2, double, single, 2 RBI (.286) (AA)
Romine: 2-4, 2 singles, BB (.284) (A+)
Colmenares: 1-3, double, RBI, 2 BB, K (.296) (A+)
Smith: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (3.46) (A)
Auer: 2-3, double, single, RBI, K (.281) (A)
Lopez: 2-3, double, single (.272) (A)
Crawford: 2-4, 2 singles (.291) (A)
Perez: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI (.246) (A)
Ramirez: 2-5, double, single, 2 RBI, K (.381) (Rookie Orem)
Baird: 2-5, double, single, RBI, K (.383) (Rookie Orem)
Haerther: 2-5, double, single, RBI, K (.329) (Rookie Orem)
Trout: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.371) (AZL Angels)
Alvarez: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, K (.278) (AZL Angels)
Skaggs: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00) (AZL Angels)

*Prospect of the day is
- Arkansas Travelers southpaw, Alex Torres. The lefty pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, while striking out 8 Tulsa Drillers. Torres lowered his ERA to 2.74 on the season, posting a 13-4 record, while striking out 149 batters in 147.1 innings between two levels.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

By David Saltzer - Columnist

There are many players in the Hall of Fame who lived a less than admirable life off the field than Pete Rose. Babe Ruth was a womanizer. Ty Cobb, an unabashed racist who once stabbed a black man for being "uppity," nearly beat a crippled fan to death during a game. Most recently, many players have been identified as users of performance enhancing drugs. Some have even allegedly lied under oath about their drug use, and even others have evaded tax responsibilities.

Monday, August 24, 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the day that Pete Rose signed an agreement for a lifetime ban from baseball for betting on baseball. In every year since that day, players, coaches, and fans have questioned the fairness of that agreement and that ban. I say that Pete Rose should not now, or ever, be admitted as a player into Cooperstown.

So, why is Pete Rose different from the other players who had off the field issues? Three things: 1) Pete Rose has never made a full and complete admission about his gambling on baseball; 2) Pete Rose has yet to atone for his prolonged mockery of the Hall of Fame; and 3) the most important aspect of Pete Rose—the artifacts from his career—are already in the Hall of Fame.

As every adult knows, when you are caught red-handed, it’s best to come clean at the outset. Whenever you make an authority figure work to prove what is already known, the punishments will always be worse.

Pete Rose knew he bet on baseball. He voluntarily signed a document saying he bet on baseball that placed him on the permanent ineligible list (yes, with the proviso that he could apply for reinstatement in a year). Then he went around the country and lied about it. He claimed he never bet on baseball. Ever. In 1999, he lied about it again on national TV when interviewed by Jim Gray. He only came clean in 2004 in a book to boost sales rather than out of contrition. And even then, he didn’t make a full confession—he claims he never did bet against his team or altered a game because of his gambling when there is a strong belief that he did one or both.

What makes matters worse is how Pete Rose has done everything to mock the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. In almost every year since 1990, Pete Rose has gone to the Hall of Fame induction and setup shop selling autographs during the induction ceremonies across the street from the ceremony. He made a spectacle of every other player’s induction to draw attention onto himself. While children may engage in such antics, no self-respecting adult would. It shows a total lack of humility and an egregious amount of arrogance on his part. It flies in the face of a life worth honoring. Pete Rose is his own worst enemy.

Finally, what most fans fail to realize is that Pete Rose is in the Hall of Fame. As the official website for the Hall of Fame notes, Pete Rose donated more than 20 artifacts from his career, many of which are on display. If a person went to the Hall of Fame and looked up who the all-time hit leader is, it will say Pete Rose. So, Charlie Hustle’s accomplishments on the field are honored and respected in the Hall of Fame. The baseball feats are respected. Only Pete Rose the gambler—the man who broke the cardinal rule of baseball—is not honored with a plaque.

Rather than arguing that past inductees like Cobb justify the admission of Rose, fans today should argue that the admission of Ty Cobb was wrong (even for his times) and would not be done today. Society has evolved over time, and rather than arguing precedent, we should strive for improvement in those we honor.

The issue of Pete Rose is still pertinent. As the performance enhanced players start to retire and become eligible for admission into the Hall of Fame, baseball will once again have to decide how to handle another issue—like gambling—that forever tarnished the game.

Brandon Wood pushes his average back up to .300, hits HR # 22 on the season

Wood: 2-4, HR (22), double, 2 RBI, BB, K (.300) (AAA)
Rodriguez: 4-5, 4 singles (.298) (AAA)
Brown: 2-4, HR (11), single, 4 RBI, BB (.235) (AAA)
Trumbo: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 K (.288) (AA)
Smith: 2-4, 2 singles, K (.254) (AA)
Bourjos: 1-4, single, K (.276) (AA)
Sweeney: 1-2, HR (8), RBI, 2 BB, K (.304) (A+)
Rosario: 1-3, triple, RBI (.233) (A+)
Romine: 1-3, single, BB (.282) (A+)
Amarista: 3-4, 2 doubles, single (.313) (A)
Castillo: 3-3, double, 2 singles, 2 RBI (.235) (A)
Brooks: 1-3, double, BB, 2 K (.252) (A)
Trout: 3-5, 3 singles, 2 RBI, BB (.370) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 1-5, single (.329) (AZL Angels)
Bachanov: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (3.51) (AZL Angels)
Blanco: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (3.50) (AZL Angels)
Jung: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (AZL Angels)

Off-day: Rookie Orem

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Angels return home to the "Big A" after a tough 6-4 road trip through Baltimore, Cleveland and Toronto. A winning record despite a mini offensive slump and a disastrous starts from rookies Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell and unfortunately one from veteran John Lackey.

O'Sullivan's starts were so poor that he was sent back to AAA Salt Lake City after his start in Toronto. Rafael Rodriguez was recalled.

Even with Joe Saunders looking like he will be activated this week from the disabled list the Angels are still in search of a 5th starter and it makes a fan wonder why GM Tony Reagins was not more active this off-season and at the trade deadline in regards to signing or trading for a veteran pitcher.

Former Angel, Jon Garland has cleared waivers and could be acquired but it appears the Angels have no interest in upgrading the pitching staff. Hopefully they can hold on for the final month of the season and hold off Texas. It would seem Halos management is playing with fire if another injury hits their rotation.

According to Baseball Prospectus, the Angels and Bobby Abreu have initiated talks on a contract extension.

Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis laugh off critics.

TV: FS-W, ESPN2 (Mon)

Justin Verlander vs Jered Weaver
Jarrod Washburn vs John Lackey
Edwin Jackson vs Joe Saunders

Sunday, August 23, 2009

By Mike Schulte - contributor

The Angels went into interleague play this season with a 28-29 record despite the consistent play of one of the top catchers in baseball Jeff Mathis. It was on June 12th that Mathis tried a stunning almost unheard of strategy behind the plate, squatting lower. Although this has led to a league leading number of passed balls and has made it so even my grandmother can steal a base off of Mathis, umpires and Angels pitchers rave about Mathis’ new mind bottling strategy at catcher. Umpire Joe West recently stated, “It is truly amazing being behind home plate with Mathis catching. It is almost like he is not even there. Now only if I could see over fat ass stomach I might be able to see what is going on out there. Ever since Mathis developed his low squat, umpires have a microscopic .000001% MCP (missed call percentage) when Mathis is catching. Angels skipper Mike Scioscia said “Jeffy’s new low squat is without a doubt one of the main reasons for our success this season. He has been our team MVP so far.

If Mathis’ low squat is not enough to convince you that he is the most amazing catcher ever, then maybe his CERA will. Jeff Mathis is currently on pace to have the lowest ERA of any fielder since Jackie Robinson posted a 2BERA of 1.02 in 1949. One scout said of Mathis, “he can’t throw out a runner or block a baseball, but I have never seen a catcher give as good of a target as Mathis does.” Angels pitcher Ervin Santana said of Jeff’s target giving ability, “have you ever seen Mathis give a target? It is just like the first time I saw a pair of tits.” To put Jeff’s CERA into perspective, the 2nd lowest fielder’s ERA this season is Mark Teixeira, whose 1BERA is a full run higher that Jeff’s 1.10 CERA.

Jeff Mathis’ hitting has improved by leaps and bounds this season. In a lineup full of .300 hitters it has obviously been Jeff who has been the most impressive. This year Mathis is popping up less than 75 % of the time which is down from last years 82 %. Mathis may have only be hitting .211 this season, but he has led the league this season by hitting .667 with 2 home run and 9 rbi’s in the 5th inning on Wednesday’s between 2:00-2:30 pacific time. If you look closer at Jeff’s offensive statistics you will clearly see he has been getting unlucky this season. According to Mathis’ decepticlerean batting average this season is .340 which leads the Angels.

Bobby Abreu says of Mathis, “I heard stories about Mathis’ great talents when I was in New York but to truly appreciate what he does on the field you have to see him play every day.” Mike Scioscia said to me as tears rolled down his face, “Jeff Mathis is truly an inspiration to his teammates I don’t know where we would be without him.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Angels 1st round supplemental pick - southpaw Tyler Skaggs, debuted tonight for the Arizona Angels short season club. Skaggs was schedule to get in an inning of work tonight and he did just that, notching a perfect frame in which he struck out two out of the three batters he faced.

The real story tonight however wasn't so much the debut of Tyler Skaggs, but that the Arizona Angels were no-hit by three pitchers from the Oakland Athletics Arizona rookie club, yet won the game by a score of 2-1. Let's just say it was a great night by the Oakland Athletics pitching staff, but a night to forget by their defense who committed two errors and a passed ball, combined with 4 total walks by the A's staff.

The Arizona Angels scored their runs in the fifth inning and then won the game in the bottom of the ninth by a bases loaded walk-off walk by 1st round pick Randal Grichuk. Grichuk came into the contest having had four straight multi-hit games, including two triples and four home runs.

Jang was a hard "Pil" to swallow for the AZL Brewers on Friday Night.

The Owlz won their team-record 15th straight Friday as Kevin Ramos set a franchise mark with four doubles.

Trumbo: 3-5, double, 2 singles, 3 RBI, K (.289) (AA)
Sutton: 2-5, double, single, 2 RBI, BB (.303) (AA)
Bourjos: 1-4, single, BB, K (.277) (AA)
Fuller: 1-3, single, K (.240 (A+)
Phillips: 1-1, single (.233) (A+)
Chatwood: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K (4.10) (A)
Amarista: 2-4, double, single, K (.312) (A)
Crawford: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI (.291) (A)
Ramos: 4-7, 4 doubles, 3 RBI, K (.333) (Rookie Orem)
Ramirez: 3-6, HR (3), 2 doubles, 2 RBI, K (.376) (Rookie Orem)
Baird: 3-7, HR (4), 2 singles, RBI (.387) (Rookie Orem)
Alliman: 2-4, 2 singles (.315) (Rookie Orem)
Jang: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (3.49) (AZL Angels)
Gomez: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.321) (AZL Angels)
Mallard: 3-5, HR (5), 2 singles, 3 RBI (.308) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 1-5, single, RBI, K (.362) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 2-4, HR (6), single, RBI, K (.336) (AZL Angels)
Long: 2-4, double, single, RBI, BB (.301) (AZL Angels)
Gillan: 2-3, 2 singles, BB (.193) (AZL Angels)

Postponed: Salt Lake

Friday, August 21, 2009

Matt Sweeney is back with the Quakes after a suffering a hip injury 5 weeks ago

Sandoval: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, BB (.309) (AAA)
Wood: 1-4, double, 3 RBI (.296) (AAA)
Wilson: 2-4, double, single, 3 RBI (.266) (AAA)
Knox: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, BB, 2 K (5.35) (AAA)
Conger: 2-4, double, single (.300) (AA)
Trumbo: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, K (.285) (AA)
Sutton: 2-5, double, single, K (.301) (AA)
Romine: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.287) (A+)
Sweeney: 1-2, single, RBI (.309) (A+)
Nieves: 2-4, 2 singles, BB, K (.298) (A+)
Moore: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI, 2 K (.287) (A+)
Phillips: 2-4, 2 singles (.231) (A+)
Colmenares: 2-4, double, single (.300) (A+)
Rosario: 2-3, 2 doubles, RBI, HBP (.232) (A+)
Lopez: 3-4, double, 2 singles, RBI (.273) (A)
Younger: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, K (.233) (A)
Castillo: 1-3, single, BB (.230) (A)
Perez: 1-2, single, RBI, 2 BB (.237) (A)
Arenas: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (3.86) (Rookie Orem)
Ramirez: 3-4, HR (2), 2 singles, RBI, BB, K (.376) (Rookie Orem)
Ramos: 1-3, double, RBI, HBP (.318) (Rookie Orem)
Haerther: 4-5, 2 doubles, 2 singles, RBI, K (.326) (Rookie Orem)
Baird: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI (.385) (Rookie Orem)
Wing: 2-3, 2 singles, RBI, BB, HBP (.318) (Rookie Orem)
Bass: 2-4, double, single, 2 RBI (.269) (Rookie Orem)
Mann: 2-5, double, single, 2 RBI, 3 K (.267) (Rookie Orem)
Grichuk: 4-6, double, 3 singles, K (.333) (AZL Angels)
Long: 2-6, 2 singles, K (.296) (AZL Angels)
Jimenez: 2-3, HR (3), double, 3 RBI, 2 BB (.222) (AZL Angels)
Mallard: 1-4, double, RBI, BB, K (.291) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 1-6, single, BB (.368) (AZL Angels)
Oliver: 1-5, HR (4), RBI (.312) (AZL Angels)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Angels sported an entire lineup of .300 hitters against the Indians on August 18th.

The Angels have gone on a 44-16 run since being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa dating back to June 11th.

Since then, the Angels have surpassed everyone in the runs scores, team batting average, have won 44 games and hold a 6.5 game lead over the Texas Rangers despite winning just 3 games against Texas, combined with coping with a shaky bullpen, inconsistency from the starting pitching and Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter missing a month of Baseball action.

So what did Mike Scioscia tell the players after that dreadful sweepage in Tampa that led to a huge turn around? Adam Dodge wrote a Blog entry back in June that details out the top 10 things that Scioscia may have said to his players in that meeting.

All kidding aside, on August 18th the Angels sported a .300 or better batting average from all nine of their regulars. Incredible and a huge compliment to the players who responded and major kudos to Angels' hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.

With Saunders claiming he feels better and is set to come off the DL soon, Ervin Santana showing the type of pitcher we witnessed in 2008, Lackey proving he's a legitimate ace and Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter back in the lineup -- the Angels appear to be on their way to another strong finish to the season. Let's just hope it carries over through October so fans can enjoy another World Series parade from Disneyland to the Big A.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Romine is showing that he can field and hit. Pushed his BA to .285 tonight.

Wood: 1-4, double, K (.296) (AAA)
Coon: 1-4, double, K (.269) (AAA)
Denham: 7 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 5 K (5.10) (AAA)
Reckling: 5 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 6 K (2.69) (AA)
Mount: 1-4, HR (4), 3 RBI, K (.224) (AA)
Trumbo: 2-3, double, single, BB (.284) (AA)
Bourjos: 1-2, double, 2 RBI, BB (.281) (AA)
Ortiz: 2-4, double, single, 2 RBI (.245) (AA)
Conger: 1-4, single, K (.298) (AA)
Statia: 1-2, double, BB (.232) (AA)
Brossman: 1-4, HR (5), 2 RBI (.237) (A+)
Navarro: 4-4, 4 singles, 2 RBI (.305) (A+)
Colmenares: 2-3, 2 singles (.299) (A+)
Romine: 2-4, 2 singles, K (.285) (A+)
Rosario: 2-3, double, single, RBI, K (.227) (A+)
Phillips: 1-2, HR (10), 2 RBI, BB, K (.228) (A+)
Flores: 5.2 IP, 6 H, ER, 0 BB, 5 K (3.70) (A+)
Cates: 2-4, 2 singles (.323) (Rookie Orem)
Baird: 2-4, HR (3), single, RBI, K (.385) (Rookie Orem)
Karcich: 2-3, HR (5), single, RBI, BB (.246) (Rookie Orem)
Pardo: 3-4, double, 2 singles, RBI (.247) (Rookie Orem)
Trout: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, BB, K (.377) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 3-4, HR (5), triple, single, 3 RBI (.323) (AZL Angels)

Off-day: Cedar Rapids

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Los Angeles Angels head to Cleveland after taking 3 of 4 from the Orioles. The Angels high powered offense is still the talk amongst fans and the media.

Manager Mike Scioscia talks about how the deep the offense for the 2009 squad.

"On the offensive side, it's certainly the deepest [we've had]," Scioscia said. "I knew it was going to be better [this year], but until you see Bobby Abreu in there every day or Juan Rivera in there every day or what Torii Hunter's done or Chone Figgins, the development of [Erick] Aybar, [Kendry] Morales, everyday offensive players also, I think you can project, but these guys have been extremely productive."

Sean O'Sullivan will remain in the rotation until Joe Saunders is ready to return. Ervin Santana's velocity is improving.

Chone Figgins reached the 1000 hit milestone and gives Mickey Hatcher the credit.

LA Times Ben Bloch talks to former Angel Scott Speizio who is currently playing for the Orange County Flyers.

Angels at Indians

Trevor Bell (0-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. Fausto Carmona (2-7, 6.37 ERA)
Jered Weaver (12-4, 4.12) vs. Jeremy Sowers (4-8, 4.88)
John Lackey (8-5, 3.73) vs. Justin Masterson (3-4, 4.70)

Monday, August 17, 2009

By Jason Sinner - Columnist

An unusual turn of events. This year has been strange so far to say the least. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been a perennial pitching powerhouse or at least a team that has relied upon those that toe the rubber to propel them to a world championship and four division titles in the last seven years. That and a guy named Vlad. Yes, there have been occasional hitting frenzies for short stretches that have been just enough to supplement the team’s offensive mainstay that has been aptly named ‘little ball’. These frenzies certainly came in handy during the 2002 playoffs yet have been few and far between otherwise. Innumerable bunts, productive outs, and several offensive dry spells during the playoffs later had the pundits begging and pleading for that elusive big bat to provide that extra postseason punch. Well, that big bat has come and gone with the supposed recipe for success leaving a bad taste in our mouths.

The offseason came and went with a bit of a fizzle as the team was left with their secondary choices to fill several spots. Although reasonably well received, it was anticipated that the changes would necessitate another campaign of get them on, get them over, and get them in. Little did we know that after 115 games, a slew of injuries, and an unfortunate tragedy we would be left clamoring for ‘Clyde McStrongarm’ while the offense has carried the team.

Yes, for those of you who have been stranded on a desert island for the last five months, I will write it again. The offense has carried the team. To mention this is almost an understatement without truly detailing what has been accomplished when the halos have stepped into the batter’s box.

Currently, the Halos have a team batting average of .291. To put this into historical perspective, they have a chance to finish the season with one of the best averages in league history since the 1930s. The Red Sox hit .301 in 1950, The Indians .293 in 1996, and the Rangers .293 in 1999. So a couple of points and the squad will record the highest team average in the AL in over 50 years.

What’s most impressive is that it hasn’t been just a couple of guys or even those who we would normally expect carrying the team. They have had their fair share of injuries to deal with including extended time from what many considered two of their best offensive weapons at the beginning of the season. Yet, if the halos were to field what many would consider their everyday players tomorrow, all but one would have at least a .300 average, and the outlier would need only a hit in his first at bat to get there.

So with all the obstacles to overcome, how is it possible that the team has performed so well on the offensive side of the ball this year? It was clear in the offseason that the staff would encourage a more patient approach at the plate yet many were skeptical (including myself) as to whether that would take hold. Lo and behold, the team is seeing 3.87 pitches per plate appearance this year. Whereas from 2002-2008 they saw 3.60, 3.65, 3.66, 3.66, 3.66, 3.66, and 3.65 p/pa. I was amazed at the level of consistency in previous years, and even more amazed at how they have seemed to flip a switch and alter their approach. About 0.2 p/pa equates to nearly an inning’s worth of pitches per game they above what they saw the previous seven years.

Whether it has been the instruction of Mickey Hatcher, the addition of Bobby Abreu, or a lucky horseshoe they hung in the clubhouse, it’s working. Let’s hope that it keeps on working through October.

1st round pick Mike Trout went 2-4 and upped his BA to .373 on the short season

Willits: 2-4, 2 singles, BB, K (.270) (AAA)
Evans: 2-5, HR (25), single, RBI, K (.292) (AAA)
Sandoval: 1-3, single, 2 BB, K (.306) (AAA)
Conger: 1-3, single, BB (.299) (AA)
Mount: 1-3, double, 2 K (.223) (AA)
Lopez: 2-4, double, single, RBI, K (.267) (A)
Amarista: 1-4, single, K (.311) (A)
Ramos: 2-4, 2 singles (.326) (Rookie Orem)
Baird: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI (.382) (Rookie Orem)
Karcich: 2-3, 2 singles, 2 RBI, BB (.237) (Rookie Orem)
Witherspoon: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, K (.205) (Rookie Orem)
Mesa: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K, HBP (2.58) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 2-4, double, single, 2 RBI, BB (.373) (AZL Angels)
Alvarez: 2-4, HR (4), single, RBI, K (.277) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 2-4, 2 HR (4), 4 RBI, K (.315) (AZL Angels)

Off-day: Rancho Cucamonga

Saturday, August 15, 2009

OF Angel Castillo enjoyed a nice night at the plate for the Cedar Rapids Kernels

Rodriguez: 0-1, 2 BB, HBP (.295) (AAA)
Wood: 0-2, 2 BB, K (.301) (AAA)
Bourjos: 2-5, double, single (.301) (AA)
Sutton: 1-3, single, RBI, BB (.304) (AA)
Thorne: 7.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 2 K, HR, HBP (4.14) (A+)
Navarro: 2-4, double, single, RBI (.300) (A+)
Fuller: 2-3, 2 singles, RBI, BB (.238) (A+)
Colmenares: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI (.292) (A+)
Auer: 2-5, double, single, BB (.285) (A)
Castillo: 3-4, double, 2 singles, RBI, BB, K (.231) (A)
Crawford: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, BB (.291) (A)
Younger: 2-5, HR (4), single, 3 RBI, K (.224) (A)
Wing: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI (.323) (Rookie Orem)
Cates: 1-3, single, RBI, 2 BB (.313) (Rookie Orem)
Ramos: 1-3, single, BB (.307) (Rookie Orem)
Perez: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 9 K (3.46) (AZL Angels)
Mallard: 2-4, double, single, 3 RBI, BB (.296) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 1-3, single, 2 RBI (.324) (AZL Angels)
Gomez: 2-2, double, single, RBI, 3 BB (.326) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 2-5, triple, single (.371) (AZL Angels)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Torii Hunter returns to the Angels as they start their longest road trip of the year. Los Angeles will be facing the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays while beginning a stretch of twenty straight games. The "dog days of summer" indeed.

Lyle Spencer of takes a look at the masterful job manager Mike Scioscia has done this year while dealing with tragedy and adversity.

Mike Scioscia also confirms what most fans thought was the case. Kelvim Escobar is officially done for the season.

LA Times writer Kevin Baxter has a feature on Kendry Morales making the most of his chances.

Bil Dwyre has a piece about Trevor Bell's major league debut.

Angels at Orioles

TV: FS-W (Fri, Sat & Mon) KCOP (Sun)

Jered Weaver vs Chris Tillman
John Lackey vs Brian Matusz
Sean O'Sullivan vs Jeremy Guthrie
Ervin Santana vs David Hernandez

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chris Pettit's batting average on May 9th, 2009 during a game against the Portland Beavers

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

After evaluating and ranking who we thought were the top-30 Los Angeles Angels prospects at the mid-season break in our last feature, we decided to take a look at who possesses the Best Tools in the organization. With help from Eddie Bane and our own area scouts, we came up with this list to give our readers an idea of what prospects excel at certain facets of the game.

Obviously, those who have graduated to the big leagues and have surpassed our requirements to be considered a prospect, such as Kendry Morales, Kevin Jepsen, Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Wood, you won't see them on this list. Though in Wood's and Rodriguez's cases, they're not currently in the big leagues, but they're putting up incredible power totals in Triple-A and should get a starting job in the big leagues in 2010, much like Morales did at the start of this season.

So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at who brings what to the table ... er, diamond, down on the farm.

Best Batting Prospect
Chris Pettit: Pettit brings an ability to square up the ball and make solid contact better than anyone in the organization right now. Hank Conger was a close second, with Alexi Amarista not far behind. Pettit is hitting .336 on the season.

Best Power Prospect
Mark Trumbo: After an incredibly slow start with the bat and in the power department this season with the Travelers, Trumbo has gotten it going in the second half. Trumbo is hitting .320 in the second half thus far, posting a .500 slugging percentage in July and .596 in August. He's up to 13 home runs on the season. James Mallard, Conger, Randal Grichuk and Matt Sweeney all bring some serious power to the plate, as well.

Best Power & Hitting Prospect
Hank Conger: "The Mighty Cong" brings an ability to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate, better than anyone in the system, though Matt Sweeney is a close second to Conger in this department. Conger, like Trumbo, got off to a slow start with the Travs this season, but has come on strong in the 2nd half -- posting a .959 OPS in the month of July. Conger has upped his batting average to exactly .300 on Aug. 13.

Best Strike Zone Judgment
Alexi Amarista & Chris Pettit: Sometimes you just can't pick one and since we make up the rules, we're fine with a two-way tie for the best strike zone judgment in the organization. Both Amarista and Pettit have a good idea at the plate and would make for an excellent lead off or No. 2 hitter at the top of the lineup, especially with their ability to steal a base.

Best Baserunner
Peter Bourjos: Nobody goes from first to third faster than Bourjos. With Bourjos' speed, he's turned would-be bloop singles into doubles and has notched 11 triples in just 85 games this season. Pettit and first round pick Mike Trout are also excellent base runners with good speed.

Fastest Baserunner
Peter Bourjos: Even though the Angels had stolen base artist Chone Figgins in camp last spring, Mike Scioscia noted that Bourjos was the fastest player in camp. Bourjos missed some time this year with a wrist injury, but has still managed to steal 22 bases. He needs to work on the art of stealing a base (caught 11 times), but there is no questioning his game-changing speed on the bases and in the outfield.

Best Defensive Catcher
Bobby Wilson: Does a great job at blocking balls in the dirt, throwing out runners and has only committed four errors on the season for the Bees. Wilson also frames the ball well for the pitcher, along with calling a good game. Wilson is a solid defensive backstop with a bat decent enough to be a solid backup catcher in the big leagues.

Best Defensive 1B
Gabe Jacobo: In 98 games, Jacobo has committed just three errors. He's solid at digging balls out of the dirt and going to his left to stop would-be doubles down the line. A former third baseman, Jacobo has a strong arm, as well.

Best Defensive 2B
Alexi Amarista: The 5'8", 150-pound second baseman has incredible range to his left and right and makes the double play look easy. Amarista has a solid average arm and should be a above average second baseman in the future with more experience, despite his 13 errors this season.

Best Defensive 3B
Jay Brossman: Through 53 games, Brossman has just three errors at the hot corner. Brossman looks real fluid and comfortable around the third base bag, rarely missing a routine grounder or hot smash to him. His throws are strong and accurate. Sweeney showed a lot of improvement before he went down with a hip injury last month, as well.

Best Defensive SS
Andrew Romine: There is no question about Romine's defensive ability at the shortstop position. He has above average range, hands and arm strength and his throws are accurate.

Best Infield Arm
Andrew Romine: See above. Strong arm. Has made several nice plays for the Quakes going to his right in the hole between SS and 3B to take away base hits all season long. He's got a lot of Erick Aybar in him with the glove.

Best Defensive Outfielder
Peter Bourjos: There is no question here, Bourjos is the best in the system. Reminds me a lot of Devon White with how fast and yet fluid he is out there running balls down in the gaps. There are many balls that left the bat and you just knew it was a gapper or over Bourjos head, but ended up being caught. If Bourjos continues to improve with the bat and his plate discipline, he'll be moving Torii Hunter over to a corner spot before his contract is up with the Angels.

Best Outfield Arm
Terrell Alliman, Julio Perez: These two can flat out throw laser beams from the outfield and should notch a bunch of outfield assists as they move up levels. Both of these guys can go get it in the outfield as well, especially Alliman.

Most Athletic
Jeremy Moore, P.J. Phillips, Terrell Alliman, Peter Bourjos: Possessing a blend of athleticism and baseball skills, it's worth giving praise to Alliman, Phillips (Brandon Phillips' younger brother, who was just moved to CF) and Moore. Bourjos is the best of the four here in terms of athleticism, but these other three are faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. They're able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But will they hit enough to make it to the big leagues? We'll see.

Most Exciting Player
Peter Bourjos: Everyone in the stands who knows about Bourjos speed braces themselves for a gapper hit by Bourjos, because it's truly exciting to see him go from the batters box to third base for a triple, or run down a would-be gapper by the opposing team. Without question, Bourjos is the most exciting player in the organization's crop of top prospects.

Best Pitching Prospect
Trevor Reckling: Our mid-season pick for the Angels top prospect hasn't changed our minds two weeks after giving him the top spot, nor do we think he'll give up the spot in our 2010 preseason Top-50 Prospects list. The 20 year old has more than held his own in Double-A this season, flashing three above average pitches, with room for more velocity on his 88-93 MPH fastball as his body fills out.

Best Fastball
Fabio Martinez Mesa, Michael Kohn, Robert Mosebach: Usually this was a given with the award going to Jordan Walden, who once threw 100 mph in Low-A ball. But this year it has been a struggle for Walden, with arm injuries and a decrease in fastball velocity (90-93 mph). Kohn has dialed it up to 97 mph this season, along with Martinez Mesa, with Mosebach hitting triple digits for both the minor league affiliates and the Angels in a brief stint earlier this season.

Best Breaking Pitch
Trevor Reckling, Alex Torres: Reckling throws more of a tight, hard breaking ball, where Torres throws more of a traditional style curveball that generates some awful swings from opposing batters. Both are well above average.

Best Change Up
Sean O'Sullivan: If you've watched any of O'Sullivan's starts as a member of the Angels, you've witnessed a Major League change up in his arsenal. The best part of Sully's offspeed pitch is that he's not afraid to throw it behind in the count. If O'Sullivan can keep his 90-93 mph fastball down in the zone, he'll be an above average Major League starter for many years.

Best Control
Trevor Bell: Just recently promoted to make his Major League debut for the Angels against the Tampa Bay Rays, Bell has turned a lot of heads at the ballpark this season. Bell works quickly and pounds the strike zone with a 92-94 mph fastball, touching 95, and flashing a solid slider and change up. Case in point, Bell's first batter faced in the Major Leagues was Jason Bartlett, who was retired on three pitches: Strike one (94 mph fastball), strike two (94 mph fastball) and the third pitch another 94 mph fastball for a ground out to Figgins. The infielders love Bell's pace, as it keeps them on their toes ready for a would-be put out. Bell induces a ton of ground balls, but as he gains experience and studies the hitters he should strike a few more out, as well.

Best Reliever
Michael Kohn, Bobby Cassevah, Vladimir Veras, Robert Mosebach, Andrew Taylor: It should be "Best Relievers" because of the number of quality relievers in the organization. It has been as much of a successful season for a good sized crop of relief prospects down on the farm as it has has been a struggle for the Major League bullpen in 2009. Kohn, Cassevah, Veras, Mosebach and Taylor all bring upper 90s velocity to the back end of games and should be an asset to the Major League pen in the near future. When you factor in that Mason Tobin and Ryan Aldridge will each be someone to look at in 2010 in the minors, along with the graduations of Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger, the bullpen looks to be in good shape sooner than later.

Sean Rodriguez hit his 25th and 26th home runs last night for the Bees

Rodriguez: 4-4, 2 HR (26), 2 singles, 7 RBI (.296) (AAA)
Wood: 1-4, HR (20), RBI, K (.303) (AAA)
Brown: 3-4, 3 singles (.238) (AAA)
Albano: 6 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 8 K, HR (4.01) (AA)
Smith: 1-3, HR (7), RBI, 2 K (.260) (AA)
Miller: 8 IP, 4 H, ER, 0 BB, 0 K (3.90) (A+)
Romine: 2-5, triple, single, RBI, K (.280) (A+)
Nieves: 2-4, HR (1), single, 2 RBI, BB (.284) (A+)
Navarro: 3-5, HR (5), double, single, 3 RBI (.300) (A+)
Brossman: 2-5, HR (4), single, RBI (.256) (A+)
Lopez: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, 2 K (.257) (A)
Perez: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI, K (.229) (A)
Ramos: 3-5, 3 doubles, RBI, BB (.305) (Rookie Orem)
Cates: 3-5, 3 singles, BB, K (.307) (Rookie Orem)
Wing: 2-5, 2 doubles, RBI, BB, 3 K (.315) (Rookie Orem)
Eichelberger: 2-2, 2 singles (.273) (Rookie Orem)
Gomez: 2-5, double, single, K (.316) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 1-4, double, 2 K (.369) (AZL Angels)
Grichuk: 2-4, 2 singles (.324) (AZL Angels)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

By David Saltzer - Columnist

When I’ve talked to major league pitchers about how they pitched their best games, they usually give similar answers. I’ve had some tell me “Get the ball, throw the ball. Don’t sit around and think. Get into a good rhythm with your catcher and don’t slow down.” Basically, it’s what my dad would call KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

Apparently, Trevor Bell has learned the importance of those lessons and as a result has exploded onto the scene this year, jumping all the way from Double-A Arkansas up to his first Major League start today.

Originally drafted by the Angels in 2005 as a supplemental first-round pick for the loss of Troy Percival (37th overall), Bell was mostly putting up solid, yet unremarkable numbers prior to this year. Two of his main weaknesses were that he worked slowly on the mound and often over-relied on certain pitches, which gave the hitters a tremendous advantage. He had the stuff to pitch in the Majors (he sports a 91-95 mph heater, a good curve and a developing change up), just not the makeup to succeed.

Things might not have worked out for Bell if two changes didn’t happen in 2008. After initially trying Bell out of the pen, the Angels ultimately decided to demote him a level to work through his issues and gain some success on the mound. It worked.

Once demoted, Bell came back with a vengeance to show why he was the Angels' first pick in 2005. He pitched a complete game gem and reclaimed a spot in the starting rotation. He started attacking hitters in the zone and working faster. He mixed his speeds better and kept the hitters off balance. Basically, he got the ball and threw it; he KISSed.

Bell is the kind of pitcher who can pitch deep into games. So far he’s already pitched two complete games for Triple-A Salt Lake City, and has averaged almost 7 innings pitched per game for the year. He generates plenty of ground outs (he has a 1.36 GO/AO ratio) and has only given up 121 hits in 140 innings pitched.

Off the field, Bell has shown a remarkable awareness for the world outside of baseball. He is the only Angels pitcher, and one of the few minor leaguers, to participate in the Strikeouts for Troops charity created by Barry Zito. Strikeouts for Troops has raised more than $2 million so far to provide wounded soldiers and their families the “comforts of home” during their long rehabilitation.

Additionally, while regaining his form in Cedar Rapids last year, Bell took a tour of the region that had been affected by horrendous flooding and wrote a personal check for $2,500 to help with the flood-relief efforts. It’s amazing to see such generosity from anyone, let alone a 21-year-old pitcher trying to work his way up the organizational depth chart.

As the sixth rookie to start for the Angels this year, Bell has a lot of pressure riding on him. He’s coming to the team in the midst of a pennant run and facing a potential playoff opponent. His first start is against a powerful lineup in a day game — the kind of game where the ball could really fly out of Angel Stadium. Thankfully, it appears that manager Mike Scioscia has committed to giving Bell two starts at least to try and alleviate the pressure.

In our annual Top-50 Angels Prospects list for 2009, we ranked Bell as our 18th best prospect overall and said, “When everything is going right for Bell, he's working quickly on the mound and generates weak outs ... He has a chance to become a solid No. 2 if it all comes together for Trevor.” With the latest injury to Joe Saunders, the Angels desperately need a quality arm to come in during the stretch if they're going to fend off the Rangers. If the rookie pulls it all together on the mound today, the Angels' post season run this year might truly be saved by the Bell.

Terry Evans is a home run and stolen base away from having a 25/25 season

Evans: 2-5, HR (24), single, 2 RBI, 2 K (.291) (AAA)
Rodriguez: 3-3, HR (24), double, single, RBI, 2 BB (.287) (AAA)
Figueroa: 2-4, double, single (.269) (AAA)
Nieves: 3-3, double, 2 singles, BB (.271) (A+)
Phillips: 2-3, 2 singles, RBI, BB (.230) (A+)
Navarro: 2-4, 2 singles, K (.296) (A+)
Chatwood: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (4.32) (A)
Amarista: 2-3, double, single, HBP (.316) (A)
Lopez: 2-4, 2 singles, K (.254) (A)
Brooks: 3-4, 3 singles, RBI, K (.271) (A)
Ramos: 3-4, HR (2), 2 singles, 2 RBI, BB (.286) (Rookie Orem)
Wing: 2-4, HR (2), single, 3 RBI, K (.312) (Rookie Orem)
Karcich: 2-4, HR (3), single, 4 RBI, BB, K (.242) (Rookie Orem)
Grichuk: 2-5, 2 singles (.313) (AZL Angels)
Trout: 3-5, 3 singles, RBI (.374) (AZL Angels)
Bachanov: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 4 K (2.79) (AZL Angels)

Off-day: Arkansas

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

By Geoff Bilau - Senior Editor

To paraphrase LL Cool J, don't call it a comeback; he's been here for years.

An Angels fan base that has grown increasingly more fickle in recent years, however, seemed to need a reminder that Vladimir Guerrero is still, in fact, their daddy.

Whether due to the more frequent stints on the disabled list, the emergence of younger stars (Kendry Morales) and newer, more exciting faces (Bobby Abreu) or early emotional preparations for what could be Guerrero's final season at the Big A, Angels fans have most definitely distanced themselves from the man who arrived on their doorstep six years ago selling a brand of baseball dominance many had never before witnessed in person.

His freakish hitting skills and sheer jubilation at playing the game of baseball were at once captivating and infectious. You may not have watched every pitch of the game, but you certainly stopped whatever you were doing to watch Guerrero's at-bats.

Already a four-time All-Star during his first seven seasons in the baseball purgatory that was known as Montreal, Guerrero in 2004 unveiled his star into the bright Southern California sun, where all of baseball could finally see it. He led the Angels to their first Western Division title in 18 years and was rewarded with the American League MVP award.

Subsequent seasons brought more division titles, more All-Star appearances, more hardware ... more happy Angels fans.

But then came May 2008. Guerrero was suddenly human, enduring a dreadful slump the likes of which Angels fans had never seen from "Super Vlad." He batted just .219 for the month and for the first time since he arrived in Anaheim was not elected to play in the All-Star Game. Guerrero suddenly looked old. Early critics said his bat had slowed down, that he was unable or unwilling to make adjustments; every third strike on a pitch a foot outside in the dirt further evidence of their claims.

Further compounding matters was a balky knee that made his already awkward running appear almost painful and limited the number of innings that he could play in the field. Was Guerrero's star burning out that quickly, his body doing to him what so many opposing pitchers could not?

Guerrero's second half of 2008, however, seemed to answer that question with a resounding no, as he came storming back with a .330 average and 41 RBI in 56 games.

Last November, Guerrero finally opted to have surgery to clean out scar tissue and debris in the right knee that had bothered him the previous few seasons. He vowed to be stronger and more durable back on two strong legs for 2009.

"I'm looking forward to it," Guerrero told the Los Angeles Times in February. "Everything feels so good, everything is clean now, but I don't want to predict any numbers for stolen bases or say how I'm going to run in the outfield. I prefer to wait."

Guerrero worked hard and was fit enough to return for Opening Day. It was a brief return, though, as a torn pectoral muscle limited him to one extra base hit through eight games and soon forced him back to the disabled list. When he returned in late May, his struggles came back, as well. He went 26 games without a home run and only four doubles. Meanwhile, Torii Hunter and Chone Figgins were carrying an offense that seemed to be dragging Guerrero along with it. Whispers about the end of his career returned — and grew louder with each game.

As the calendar turned to July, however, Guerrero started to find his groove once more, homering in consecutive games for the first time all season on July 4-5. He even felt good enough to make his first appearance back in the outfield. Two days later, he was back on the DL, this time after tweaking a muscle behind his left knee while fielding a ball in right field.

During the month Guerrero was sidelined (along with Hunter), the Angels offense exploded, averaging better than seven runs per game. Powered by Figgins, Abreu, Morales, Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis, the Angels lineup became so potent, many wondered if it even still had room for an aging, seemingly broken down former MVP. And when Mike Scioscia inserted Guerrero back in the clean up spot upon his return, the move was called everything from "unwise" to "ridiculous."

Which brings us back to our mislabeled "comeback." In the seven games since his return, Guerrero has batted .357 and clubbed four home runs, including No. 400 of his career, the eventual game-winner on Monday night.

And as the 37,388 fans at the Big A demanded — and received — a curtain call, it appeared that all was right again in Anaheim. Vlad was back. Angels fans not only remembered why they missed him, but perhaps realized for the first time that they really did miss him.

Just don't call it a comeback. It's more like "The Way We Were."

Mark Trumbo showing the home run power that was missing early on down the stretch

Evans: 3-4, 2 doubles, single, BB (.290) (AAA)
Rodriguez: 1-3, triple, BB, K (.280) (AAA)
Wilson: 2-5, double, single, 2 K (.281) (AAA)
Pavkovich: 2-4, HR (5), single, RBI, K (.246) (AAA)
Ortiz: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI (.241) (AA)
Trumbo: 2-4, HR (13), single, RBI (.284) (AA)
Conger: 2-3, double, single, BB (.303) (AA)
Contreras: 2-3, 2 singles, RBI, BB, K (.300) (AA)
Jacobo: 2-4, double, single (.246) (A)
Crawford: 1-3, double, RBI, BB, K (.289) (A)
Younger: 1-4, HR (3), RBI (.219) (A)
Arenas: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, BB, 4 K (4.54) (Rookie Orem)
Cates: 1-3, single, RBI (.305) (Rookie Orem)
Karcich: 1-3, single (.233) (Rookie Orem)
Ramirez: 1-3, single, RBI, BB (.377) (Rookie Orem)
Witherspoon: 1-3, single, K (.196) (Rookie Orem)
Sandoval: 1-3, double, RBI, BB (.273) (AZL Angels)
Alvarez: 1-3, single, BB, K (.278) (AZL Angels)

Off-day: Rancho Cucamonga

Monday, August 10, 2009

Texas Rangers again took 2 of 3 from the Angels this weekend and shaved 1 game off the Halos lead which currently stands at 3.5.

The Angels will now welcome Tampa Bay Rays to town for a three game series. Lyle Spencer takes a look at the similarities the teams have with each other. Namely speed. Lots of speed.

Erick Aybar has improved his game by leaps and bounds this season. Through Sunday, the shortstop was batting .396 over his previous 25 games, including 13 multi-hit efforts.

Kevin Baxter of the LA Times takes a look at how Garret Anderson has done with his new team the Atlanta Braves.

The Angels are leaning toward using Trevor Bell in place of Joe Saunders for Wednesday's game. Bell was drafted in the supplementary first round in 2005 amateur draft.

In case you missed it, Saunders was placed on the disabled list after Friday's nights game with a sore shoulder. Tony Reagins will have to adjust the 40 man roster to accommodate Bell. Moving RHP Anthony Ortega to the 60 day disabled list seems to be the most likely move.

Jose Arredondo is back with the team and hopes to contribute. With Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger stepping up the bullpen could become a strength again for the club.

Rays vs Angels

Mon : Matt Garza (7-8, 3.63) vs. Sean O'Sullivan (3-1, 4.24)
Tue : David Price (5-4, 4.91) vs. Ervin Santana (4-6, 7.20)
Wed : Jeff Niemann (10-5, 3.73) vs. Trevor Bell (0-0, 0.00)

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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