Monday, May 2, 2011

Hot Prospects May 2nd, 2011
By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

While the American story for the week is the death of Osama Bin Laden, the story for the week for the American pastime still continues to be the weather. Rain and snow continue to plague the Minor League, causing many games to be canceled and many doubleheaders to be played. For the week, Salt Lake went 1-5 with 1 postponement (snow) and 1 doubleheader played. Arkansas went 2-3 with 3 postponements (rain) and 1 doubleheader played. Inland Empire went 4-3 on the week with no postponements or doubleheaders (let’s face it, we pay through the nose to live in this weather). Finally, Cedar Rapids went 5-2 on the week, and didn’t have any postponements or doubleheaders. Wasn’t this supposed to be a dry La Nina year?

1. Jean Segura, SS, Single-A 66ers
Overall: .344/.398/.495 with 2 HRs and 13 SBs

What’s Up: It’s hard not to lead off with a guy who goes 11/32 on the week (.344) with 2 HRs and 7 SBs. Throw in his 2BBs versus 3 Ks, and you have the potential to be a great leadoff hitter. Luckily, that’s exactly what Segura wants to be for the Angels. He has the talent and tools to get there, especially if he continues his stellar play at SS. His best game of the week came April 27th when he went 3/6 with both HRs and 2 SBs. Segura has the ability to be a difference maker, and a future lineup with him, Trout and Bourjos will be fun to watch.

2. Steven Geltz, RHP, AA Arkansas Travelers
Overall: 0-0, 0 Saves, 1.29 ERA, 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 14 K, 0.57 WHIP, .188 BAA (in Double-A)

What’s Up: When the Angels demoted Jepsen and Kohn, they made a corresponding move to send Steven Geltz down from Triple-A to Double-A. fans will remember Steven as the shorter of the two pitchers who came and spoke to us at our Spring Training Fanfest. Ever since his demotion (which was made to guarantee work for him while Kohn and Jepsen played in Triple-A), Geltz has been on fire. In 7.0 IP, he has struck out 14 batters, or two per inning! He’s only allowed 2 hits and 2 walks in that time, for a paltry 0.57 WHIP! Geltz’s Triple-A numbers this season look horrid based on one bad appearance. But, with results like these, is confident that Geltz will get another shot soon at Triple-A, especially if or when Kohn or Jepsen return to the Majors. 

3. Matt Long, OF, Class Single-A 66ers
Overall: .352/.429/.604 with 4 HRs and 4 SBs

What’s Up: Long who hit just four home runs over 466 at bats in 2010 with the Kernels has already equaled that total with the 66'ers in High-A ball this season. The outfielder who the Angels drafted in the 30th round in the 2009 amateur draft has shown a solid OBP the past two seasons (.382 in 2010), currently sporting a .429 on base pct., so it's encouraging to see some power (.604 slugging pct. thus far) to go along with his good speed. Matt Long had a solid game on the 28th, hitting two home runs and hitting a double and triple, only to fall short of hitting for the cycle by not coming up with a lousy single in the contest. The 24-year old hits left-handed so there's a good chance he'll get a promotion soon to Arkansas as he'd be a solid fourth outfielder and left-handed bat off the bench that could provide the Angels with speed, on base ability and have the ability to drive the ball. 

4. Carlos Ramirez, C, Low A, CR Kernels
Overall: .316/.452/.474 with 2 HRs and 1 SB

What’s Up: Despite the continued rainouts, Ramirez has been hitting. He raised his BA by going 9/23 on the week (.391) with 2 doubles and 5 runs scored. For the season, he has more walks than strikeouts (13:10). Defensively, Ramirez has thrown out 7 out of 30 (23%) opposing baserunners. That’s a little bit below his career mark coming into the 2011 season of 39%, and probably due more to the low sample size. By other marks, he is still doing well behind the plate, posting right at his career average of a .993 Fielding percentage.

5. Orangel Arenas, RHP, AA, Arkansas Travelers
Overall: 3-0, 0 Saves, 2.35 ERA, 23.0 IP, 18 H, 9 BB, 11 K, 1.17 WHIP, .217 BAA

What’s Up: Arenas is a pitcher in the Angels’ organization who is flying a bit under the radar. He’s an extremely effective groundball pitcher, who has generated over twice as many groundouts to air outs for his career. He has also struck out over twice as many batters as he has walked in his career. Having just turned 22, he’s ahead of the curve being in Double-A. For the week, Arenas won his only start, pitching 6.0 innings, allowing only 3 hits, 2 walks, and 1 ER. With Richards and Reckling excelling, Arenas will have to push hard to fight for a promotion. But, with his ability to generate groundball outs, he should do well, especially in the higher altitude parks in Triple-A.

6. Garrett Richards, RHP, AA Arkansas Travelers
Overall: 2-0, 0 Saves, 3.91 ERA, 23.0 IP, 20 H, 10 BB, 18 K, 1.30 WHIP, .244 BAA

What’s Up: Ho hum! Another week with another strong outing from Richards. Richards won his only start on the week (thanks to the weather), going 6.0 innings, allowing only 3 hits, 3 walks and 2 earned runs. On the season, Richards has only allowed 2 HRs while still generating slightly more groundouts than air outs (1.10 GO:AO). The trio of Arenas, Reckling and Richards is turning into a formidable rotation for the Travelers. As they continue to push each other, they will all get a chance to prove themselves at Triple-A before earning a spot in the Angels’ rotation. They all have the tools to earn that spot.

7. Angel Castillo, OF, AA Arkansas Travelers
Overall: .273/.375/.345 with 0 HRs and 3 SBs

What’s Up: During Spring Training, Mike Scioscia gave Castillo a lot of playing time relative to his status as a 21 year-old who had spent the prior season in Single-A. Blessed with a strong arm (he has 4 Assists in 18 games), Castillo has some pop and some speed. Last year, in Single-A, he hit 21 HRs and stole 12 bases. For the week, Castillo went 5/14 (.357) with 2 walks and 2 Ks. His only extra-base hit was a triple, but we know that the power is there and will develop. It’s more interesting right now to see how he’s adjusting to the advanced competition and that he is getting comfortable at the plate. When he’s fully comfortable at the plate, watch out!

8. The Tandem, Class Low A, CR Kernels

Justin La Tempa RHP, Class Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Overall: 1-0, 0 Saves, 3.05 ERA, 20.2 IP, 21 H, 6 BB, 20 K, 1.31 WHIP, .266 BAA

Daniel Tillman RHP, Class Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Overall: 3-0, 0 Saves, 2.95 ERA, 21.1 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 24 K, 1.36 WHIP, .208 BAA

What’s Up: Since La Tempa and Tillman are piggybacking in their starts, they might as well piggy back on the Hot Prospect list. Both pitched very well this week, and combined went 1-0 in 18.0 IP, allowing just 4 ER on 14 Hits and 4 BB. They struck out 21 batters. Tillman struck out more batters (12) but allowed more hits (9), walks (4) and ER (3). He did, however, manage to generate a ton of ground balls and for the two games had a GO:AO ratio of 6:1. La Tempa did not earn a win on the week, but held the opposition scoreless in his two games. As the Angels continue to stretch out Tillman’s arm for the rotation, expect for this tandem to continue. It definitely seems to be working!

9. Luis Jimenez, 3B, AA Arkansas Travelers
Overall: .292/.342/.375 with 1 HR and 5 SBs

What’s Up: Don’t be surprised if Jimenez appears to “suffer” a setback to his power this year. That’s because the home field where he plays half his games is cavernous. As Abe Flores has told, the Angels will be pleased and surprised if they ever get a homerun champ out of Double-A. But, do be surprised if Jimenez doesn’t continue to develop and excel as a third baseman. He’s showing improved defense on the year (having only committed 2 errors), and has the range and arm to man the position in the Majors. For the week, Jimenez went 7/18 (.389) with 1 double and 9 RBIs. He also walked twice while striking out just one time, helping him to steal two bases on the week.

10. Tyson Auer, OF, AAA, Salt Lake Bees
Overall: .310/.368/.437 with 0 HRs and 7 SBs

What’s Up: While Willits struggles in Triple-A, Auer has been blossoming. He went 7/21 on the week (.333) with 2 SBs. So far he has yet to make an error in the OF, playing 20 out of 22 games in CF (2 games in RF). Auer doesn’t bring much power to the table (only 74 extra-base hits in 1315 plate appearances). But, as a 5th OFer and pinch runner, he’s more than serviceable with a career line of .296/.359/.393.
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