It is with great pleasure that AngelsWin.com 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, AngelsWin.com will be presenting the Hot Prospect List every Friday throughout the Minor League season.
1. Randal Grichuk, OF, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 16/38 (.421), 7 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 6 Runs, 5 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .286/.325/.556 with 10 HRs and 4 SBs
What’s Up: After missing more than two months with an injury, Grichuk is back and mashing. He’s pounded out 37 extra base hits in just 60 games. Adjusted for the course of a 162-game season, that’s a pace for 57 doubles, 16 triples, and 27 HRs. That’s some power! Plate discipline is still a concern for Grichuk. With 58 Ks and 12 BBs in 234 ABs, he needs to improve the discipline as he moves up to the higher levels. However, considering he turned 19 just two weeks ago, he has plenty of time to work on his plate discipline. What is more impressive to see is that he has fully recovered from his injury earlier in the season and hitting with authority. AngelsWin.com expects big numbers out of him next year in Rancho.
2. Jeremy Moore, OF, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 17/37 (.459), 2 Doubles, 2 Triples, 1 HR, 11 Runs, 7 RBIs, 4 SBs
Overall: .310/.366/.471 with 12 HRs and 24 SBs
What’s Up: Jeremy Moore hasn’t let up his assault on Texas League pitchers. After being named Player of the Week for the Texas League last week (the first Travelers’ position player to earn that honor this year), Moore has continued his torrid hitting. Currently riding a 12-game hitting streak, Moore is pushing his way up the ladder as a dark horse candidate for a 4th outfielder spot or as a valuable trade chip this offseason.
3. Ariel Pena, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.50 ERA, 15.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 20 K, 0.67 WHIP
Overall: 7-6, 0 Saves, 4.16 ERA, 110.1 IP, 98 H, 70 BB, 92 K, 1.52 WHIP, .241 BAA
What’s Up: Prior to the 2010 season, AngelsWin.com ranked Ariel Pena as the 336 Top Prospect in the organization. We described him as a “[y]oung Dominican with a lively arm. Could add more velocity as he matures. Needs to refine secondary pitches. Worked as both a starter and reliever last year, but should stick as a starter.” When Pena has control of his stuff, he is an effective starter. When he doesn’t he walks his way into big trouble. The walks clearly need to come down if he’s going to have success at the higher levels. But, at age 21, Pena has time to gain that control and become an effective pitcher.
4. Brandon Decker, 1B, Single A Orem Owlz
Past 10 Games: 18/38 (.474), 3 Doubles, 0 Triples, 6 HRs, 11 Runs, 17 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .345/.435/.676 with 12 HRs and 0 SBs
What’s Up: For the second week in a row, Brandon Decker is on the Hot Prospect List. Both Decker and Heid have been a big reason why the Owlz have powered their way up to within a half-game of first place in the Pioneer League. Manager Tom Kotchman knows how to get the most out of his players and has regularly taken his teams to the playoffs. This year should prove to be no exception with the way that Decker is pounding the ball. While AngelsWin.com would like to see a slight improvement out of Decker in his plate discipline, his numbers (13 BBs: 31 Ks in 42 games) are not horrible for a power hitter. His 12 HRs on the season place him second in the league for that stat. And, his 1.111 OPS would be tops in the league if he had enough ABs to qualify.
5. Tyler Kehrer, LHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 1-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 12.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 18 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 5-4, 0 Saves, 4.61 ERA, 105.1 IP, 97 H, 63 BB, 100 K, 1.00 WHIP, .247 BAA
What’s Up: Tyler Kehrer has shown some peculiar development this season. In the first half, he walked 44 batters in 45.2 IP. In the second half, he’s dropped that number to 19 BBs in 59.2 IP. In both halves he struck out nearly one batter per IP. But, even though he’s dropped his rate for giving up walks by one third, his BAA has shot up from .221 in the first half to .266 in the second half. And, the rate at which he’s inducing ground balls has dropped from 1.75 GO: AO to 1.36. Who says player development is a linear process? Part of this is most likely the result of the Angels’ trade for Dan Haren which sent Tyler Skaggs to Arizona because Skaggs and Kehrer split games to keep Skaggs’ pitch counts down. Since the Dan Haren trade, Kehrer has been starting all games and going deeper into the games, which would affect his numbers later in the game as he’s pitching more tired and as the batters have batted once or twice against him. Still, Kehrer is showing have plenty of depth in left-handed pitching, even after all their trades this year.
6. Luis Jimenez, 3B, Class A RC Quakes
Past 10 Games: 14/40 (.350), 7 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 5 Runs, 7 RBIs, 5 SBs
Overall: .288/.3292/.500 with 12 HRs and 19 SBs
What’s Up: After missing all of the 2009 with an injury, Jimenez is back. Not only did he play in the Futures Game in Anaheim, he’s posted 64 extra base hits in 117 games. While 43 of those extra base hits have been doubles, AngelsWin.com expects that more of them will turn into HRs as he matures and still recovers from his injury. Already he has hit more HRs in the second half than he did in the first half. Walks still are a concern with Jimenez (only 24 on the season), but he’s only struck out 66 times. With 9 triples and 19 SBs, Jimenez has some speed. He’s only hit into 10 DPs. Defensively he’s very solid and improved from 2008, with the potential to be a plus defender. The Angels have been splitting time at 3B in Rancho between Jimenez and Dillon Baird. Both have done well at 3B, and it will be interesting to see how both develop over the next two years.
7. Garrett Richards, RHP, Class A RC Quakes
Past 10 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 10.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 11 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 11-5, 0 Saves, 3.59 ERA, 133.0 IP, 122 H, 40 BB, 138 K, 1.22 WHIP, .244 BAA
What’s Up: Garrett Richards is moving his way up to the top of the AngelsWin.com Top Prospect List. Considering that he started the season at #6 on the list, he’s showing why he’s the top pitching prospect in the organization. Richards has 4 quality pitches which he commands well in the zone. His 3.45 K/BB ratio and 9.34 K/9IP are very good numbers. He’s able to generate plenty of ground balls (2.04 GO:AO ratio for the season). In both cases, he’s improved on those numbers since his promotion to Rancho, generating a 5.0 K/BB ratio and a 2.31 GO:AO ratio. The only concern with Richards since his promotion to Rancho has been the increased BAA (.303 in Rancho versus .229 in Cedar Rapids). But, looking at the number of hits he’s allowed, most of the damage was done in his first three games at Rancho. Hopefully this past week shows that Richards is adjusting to the League and will build on this success for the remainder of the season.
8. Andrew Heid, OF, Single A Orem Owlz
Past 10 Games: 13/40 (.325), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 7 Runs, 2 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .351/.423/.485 with 7 HRs and 8 SBs
What’s Up: Six walks. That’s one of the key differences between Andrew Heid, who is in third place for the Pioneer League in Batting Average and fourth place for OB% and the League leader. Heid leads the League in hits and is in 8th place for OPS, but, he is old for the League. AngelsWin.com would like to see the Angels have Heid jump over Cedar Rapids next year to Rancho Cucamonga and see how he could do against more age-appropriate competition. With Cedar Rapids going to the playoffs this year, the Angels may wish to promote Heid to get some post-season experience. However, like with many of the players at Triple-A, the experience of playing meaningful games in a race towards the finish is also very valuable. So, the Angels may not promote him at all this year, depending on how things work out for the Owlz.
9. Hank Conger, C, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 11/34 (.324), 4 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 3 Runs, 6 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .287/.378/.436 with 9 HRs and 0 SBs
What’s Up: A quick glance at the stats would suggest that Conger’s power hasn’t manifested itself as one would expect in Salt Lake. But, a more detailed analysis shows that in the second half, Conger has seen a bit of a power surge boosting his SLG from .413 before the All-Star Break to .486 after the break. That boost in power has not come at the expense of his OB% which has remained nearly identical (.378 before versus .377 after). Like Trumbo, Conger is caught up in the pennant race in Salt Lake, and probably will be held down there until their season finishes. But, he should get a call-up afterward and should see some time in games for the Major League club this year.
10. Mark Trumbo, RF/1B, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 12/39 (.308), 4 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 6 Runs, 8 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .297/.364/.558 with 30 HRs and 3 SBs
What’s Up: Let’s see, Trumbo has career highs in RBIs, walks, BA, SLG, and OPS. He’s 2 HRs shy of his career high in that category too. All that should merit a callup. But, with the Bees in a pennant race, and his bat playing a major role in the pennant chase, he may not get called up right away as giving him the experience of playing meaningful games late in the season and potentially playing in a playoff environment may prove more valuable to him than a few games with the parent club early in September. Look for him to get called up once the Bees’ season is over, and then get regular playing time once called up.