Friday, May 21, 2010

Hot Prospects May 21, 2010

It is with great pleasure that presents another Hot Prospect List for the Angels.  In our weekly column, we take a look at who has been hot down on the farm.  Unlike our annual Top-50 Prospects, our Hot Prospects List is not ranked based on the ceiling of the prospect or the likelihood of him achieving that ceiling.  Instead, it is weekly snapshot that reflects the players’ accomplishments based on their performances against their competition.  This year, will be presenting the Hot Prospect List every Friday throughout the Minor League season.

1. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 2 Starts: 2-0, 12 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 K's
Overall: 5-2, 1.79 ERA, .246 BAA, 1.35 WHIP, 51.1 IP, 53 K's

What’s Up: Abe Flores told us this about Chatwood last November ... Power arm. Power arm in a short package. Downhill 92-95 in May, 92-95 in August. Power curveball. Good changeup. What he has to continue to harness and improve on is his command of his pitches. Not necessarily strike one, but being efficient in finishing hitters off and not letting counts get away from him.  Chatwood has taken heed to the advice this season by sporting a California League's second best ERA (1.79) and doing a better job finishing off hitters with 53 strikeouts in 51.1 innings, including back to back seven strikeout games, giving up just 2 runs last night and no runs in the start before that against the very good hitting Inland Empire Dodgers affiliate. The most encouraging stat that tells the whole story is that Chatwood walked just one batter in each of his last two starts.

2. Orangel Arenas, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 2 Starts: 2-0, 13 IP, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K's
Overall: 4-4, 2.03 ERA, .213 BAA, 1.05 WHIP, 48.2 IP, 32 K's

What’s Up: The life on Arenas fastball has jumped a couple MPH this season, now sitting in the 92-93 range throughout the game, enabling the Venezuelan to keep opposing MWL hitters off balance with his solid breaking ball and improved offspeed pitch. Arenas leads the talented Kernels pitching staff with a 2.03 ERA, coming off two starts in which he gave up just two runs over 13 innings to earn a win in both contests. Arenas has an impressive 1.05 WHIP on the season.

3. Mike Trout, OF, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: .378, 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 9 Runs, 7 RBIs, 2 SBs
Overall: .363/.436/.561 with 5 HRs and 20 SBs

What’s Up: If it wasn't for Trout's last two games in which he went 1-8 with two strikeouts and no walks, Trout would have given Chatwood a run for his money for the top spot in this week's prospect hotlist. Though to be fair, on Wednesday, he did face the Cardinals #1 pick last year and top prospect Shelby Miller who Trout said was throwing in the high 90's and just tough to hit. Regardless, Trout has hit .378 in his last ten games, including five multi-hit contests.

Coming into the season Mike Trout ranked as our #4 prospect for the 2010 season, ranking only behind Trevor Reckling, Hank Conger and Peter Bourjos. Drafted in the first round (#25 overall), Trout has been taking the Midwest League by storm this season.  Trout presently ranks in the Top-10 for the Midwest League in SB (#1), BA (#2), OB% (#2), OPS (#2), Runs (#2), Triples (#3), and OB% (#10).  He is doing that all while facing competition two to three years older than him.  At age 18, Trout has already become a fixture on our weekly Hot Prospect lists as he continues to develop and refine his game.

4. Patrick Corbin, LHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 2 Starts: 2-0, 14 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K's
Overall: 7-0, 4.13 ERA, .242 BAA, 1.07 WHIP, 52.1 IP, 36 K's

What’s Up: SEVEN AND O. Yep! You read it correctly, the southpaw has started the season with seven wins and no losses. Corbin has had back to back quality starts, including his start before his last in which he went eight innings, giving up just one run against a good Burlington club.

Corbin is projectable with loose arm action which should provide more velocity as he gets stronger. Currently his fastball sits in the 89-93 mph range with natural sink and good action into right-handed hitters. He commands it around the plate, but doesn't always know where it's going because of the movement. The slider is more of a slurve with good tilt to it. The changeup is a work in progress, but it showed flashes of being a solid offering as the season went on last season, which has carried over to this season. The improved changeup which Corbin can throw with more confidence is the reason for much of his success this season and his 7-0 start.

5. Fabio Martinez Mesa, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Last Start: 7 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 12 K's
Overall:1-1 , 4.58 ERA, .207 BAA, 1.45 WHIP, 37.1 IP, 59 K's

What’s Up: FMM showed off all of his pitches in his last start against Clinton, going seven strong innings, giving up just two runs, while striking out 12. The best part of his performance was that he walked none. Martinez-Mesa was hitting 94-96 MPH in the sixth and seventh innings against Clinton, while flashing a true swing-and-miss slider and a changeup in the 81-83 range that had opposing hitters looking clueless on what to expect. There's no doubt that if FMM has more of these types of starts in 2010 -- he'll be a sure bet to crack the Top 5 Angels Prospects heading into 2011.

6. Robert Fish, LHP, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Past 2 Appearances: 0-1, 3 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K's
Overall: 2-1, 1.42 ERA, .154 BAA, 19 IP, 9 BB, 30 K's
What’s Up: The Angels moved Robert Fish to the bullpen to open this season and the move appears to be a good one. The southpaw earned a promotion to Double-A Arkansas after a 1.13 ERA in the CAL League, fanning 25 batters in just 16 innings, while opposing batters hit just .132 off him. Last season, Fish posted a 6.39 ERA in 16 games, 13 starts, while opposing batters hit .331 off him. Quite the turnaround for Fish as he seems to like his new role out of the pen where he can dial his fastball up to 96 MPH, using his breaking ball as a strikeout pitch.

7. Alexi Amarista, 2B, High-A RC Quakes 
Past 10 Games: .364, 3 Doubles, 2 Triples, 1 HR, 4 Runs, 3 SBs
Overall: .347/.385/.479 with 24 Runs and 9 SBs

What’s Up: Like Mike Trout, Amarista is usually on this list somewhere every week. The Venezuelan Mighty Mouse hit .364 this past week with 3 doubles, a triple and even clubbed his first home run of the season. Amarista reminds a lot of baseball folks of a left-handed hitting version of David Eckstein. Some speed, good contact hitter, extra base pop and he'll take his share of walks.

8. Andrew Taylor, LHP, High-A RC Quakes
Past 2 Appearances: 0-0, 3.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's
Overall: 5-2, 1.79 ERA, .246 BAA, 1.35 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 22 K's

What’s Up: Another southpaw reliever with good numbers this season, Taylor comes at hitters with a 90-95 mph fastball with late life and run. His slider is a true swing-and-miss pitch with a hard break that he keeps down in the strike zone. Shows a solid changeup at times too. Taylor commands his pitches well and is aggressive in the strike zone. Taylor went 3 innings this last week out of relief and did not give up a run or walk, striking out three to lower his ERA on the season to 1.79. Oh and how's this for a stat, in 77 innings dating back to last season with the Kernels and this season with the Quakes, Taylor has given up just three home runs. All three of his home runs have been given up in the CAL League (one this year, two last year) as Taylor denied the long ball to opposing batters when with the Kernels last year in 51 1/3 innings.

9. Jean Segura, 2B, Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels 
Past 10 Games: .351, 2 Doubles, 3 BBs/2 K's, 4 SB
Overall: .282/.341/.376 with 1 HR and 12 SBs, 1 CS

What’s Up: Segura is red hot of late after a slump to end the month of April and start of May. Segura hit .351 with two doubles and four stolen bases in his last ten games. He also walked three times vs. two strikeouts. Abe Flores told us this about Segura after the 2009 minor league season concluded: "One of our better minor league players. He has the potential to be another 5-tool guy. He’s missed parts of 2 seasons—one with a very significant leg injury. This year, with a broken pinky which also knocked him out of Instruction League. That was the frustrating part. But an exciting guy—built like a Raul Mondesi and plays 2nd base—physical."

10. Paul McAnulty, 1B, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: .365, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, 5 BBs
Overall: .320/.400/.584 with 10 HRs and 20 RBIs

What’s Up: The journeyman minor leaguer hit more home runs this past week than Reggie Willits has hit in five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. The left-handed hitting McAnulty has been really the only consistent offensive player on the Arkansas Travelers this season, posting a .320 average, .400 OBP and .585 Slugging Pct. McAnulty wouldn't be a bad option off the bench down the road, should the Angels choose to resign him with a minor league deal next season as he can play 1B and the outfield. McAnulty owns and runs his own batting cage company in Oxnard, Calif.

Minor League Notes: Michael Kohn was promoted to Triple-A to close games with Ryan Aldridge for the Salt Lake Bees. Second baseman Ryan Mount returned to the Travelers after a two-week stint on the and went 2-4 with an RBI double in last night's game. Jeremy Hill retired from the game of baseball. Hill, 32, appeared in 17 games of relief for the Bees in 2010, owning a 1-0 record with a 3.78 ERA, 13 strikeouts and three saves. Hill leaves Salt Lake after two seasons with 23 saves, fifth all-time in franchise history. Mark Trumbo hit his 8th home run of the season and Peter Bourjos clubbed his first last night for Salt Lake.

Love to hear what you think!


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