Monday, July 11, 2011

  Mike Trout #27 Of The
Getty Images (Mike Trout the night of his Major League Debut)

By David Saltzer - Senior Writer

Rather than giving a traditional update on the Top Prospects during the All-Star Break, we decided to take a different approach to looking at the Angels players in the Minor League system. For our mid-season update, we imagined what a 25-man roster would look like using just the players in the Minor League system right now. We further limited this imaginary roster to just those players who have been playing a full season so far, so, players in Orem and Arizona were excluded from the list. At the end of the season, we will redo the roster to include those players, but for now, we want to see more from them over the course of their season. By doing this, we tried to get a bit more of an understanding about the Angels’ depth charts that fans have often heard about.

In trying to make this hypothetical roster, some of the reasons why the Angels may have been making certain changes throughout the organization became easier to understand. For example, this year, the Angels have tried to convert several of their relievers into starters. This makes sense as there were plenty of relievers to choose from to make this roster (with several good choices not quite making the cut), but trying to make a 5-man rotation was more challenging.

Two holes that emerged in the system were at 1B and OF. While first base may be filled long-term with C.J. Cron, at the upper levels of the organization, the Angels are woefully thin. The same is true for the OF where the injury to Jeremy Moore meant that fielding an entire OF became challenging. Since Mike Trout is expected to return back to the Minors after this brief stint, we included him in our roster even though he is presently on the Major League roster.

In no way should this roster should be interpreted as a Top-Prospect List. It’s not. Some players are on the team because they are necessary to make a complete a lineup. No effort has been made to rank the players. Some players, such as Andrew Taylor, are not on here because he has been alternating between starting and relieving—per the organization’s needs—and have yet to demonstrate mastery of the new position. However, this is a fun and interesting exercise to ponder over the All-Star Break, and a good way to kick off the second half.


Arenas, Orangel, SP, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 22
First Half Stats: 7-4, 0 Saves, 3.84 ERA, 30Ks, 1.34 WHIP in 91.1 IP

Notes: An extreme groundball pitcher (1.75 GO:AO rate), Arenas has struggled on the road this season. On the road, he has allowed 4 HRs and 55 hits in 42.0 IP, whereas at home he’s only allowed 1 HR and 39 hits in 41.1 IP. This explains why his road ERA (4.71) is more than 1.5 runs above his home ERA (3.10). When he pitches on the road like he does at home, he’ll earn a promotion to Triple-A.

Berg, Jeremy, RP, AAA Salt Lake Bees
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: 1-1, 3 Saves, 4.30 ERA, 35Ks, 1.33 WHIP in 46.0 IP

Notes: Two things have hurt Berg this season so far: an increased number of walks and an increased number of hits. Compared to last year, his WHIP has jumped by about 50% and he’s dropped to below 1 K per IP. Still, Berg offers a different look for the bullpen, throwing lots of submarine breaking pitches, and, if he can improve, should get a shot in the Majors at some point. With Berg, it would be all about adjusting the hitters’ sightlines going from a hard-throwing starter to Walden’s heat at the back of the rotation.

Carpenter, David, RP, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23
First Half Stats: 1-1, 11 Saves, 0.78 ERA, 40 Ks, 1.07 WHIP in 34.2 IP

Notes: David Carpenter has been dominating this entire season. Starting off in Single-A Inland Empire, he blew away the competition there posting a 0.93 ERA in 29.0 IP. He has continued that dominance in Double-A where he has yet to allow a run in 5.2 IP. At this rate, he looks like he may be ready for a shot in the bullpen sometime in 2012.

Geltz, Steven, RP, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23
First Half Stats: 1-2, 0 Saves, 4.15 ERA, 36 Ks, 1.25 WHIP in 26.0 IP

Notes: Don’t let Geltz’s ERA for the season deceive you. It is artificially inflated by 2 rough appearances in Triple-A. His ERA in Double-A much better at 2.96 in 24.1 IP. An extreme flyball pitcher (0.20 GO:AO rate this year), Geltz will need to maintain elite command to continue to have success at the Triple-A or Major League level. With nearly 1.5 Ks per IP at Double-A this season (35 Ks in 24.1 Double-A innings), his command so far this season has been up to that level.

Kehrer, Tyler, RP, Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Bats: L Throws: L Age: 23
First Half Stats: 1-0, 2 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 32Ks, 1.22 WHIP in 25.1 IP

Notes: Working exclusively out of the bullpen this year, Kehrer has been slamming the door on hitters, holding all batters to a .159 BAA and limited them to just 1 HR. Against lefties, he’s been particularly brutal, allowing only 3 hits all season long (0.91 BAA against lefties). Kehrer needs to work on putting batters away, as his 18 BBs on the season are a bit high. When he refines that command he will move through the organization, as he has the stuff to pitch at the higher levels.

Pena, Ariel, SP, High A Inland Empire 66ers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 22
First Half Stats: 7-3, 0 Saves, 3.97 ERA, 108 Ks, 1.54 WHIP in 99.2 IP

Notes: Pena’s last start was a masterful display of dominance. In 6.0 IP, he struck out 14 batters. Unfortunately, Pena has not displayed that kind of command in all of his starts, having allowed 52 BBs so far. Like many young starters, Pena needs to refine that command in order to have success at the higher levels. On the plus side, Pena has only allowed 4 HRs this season. Considering the nature of the Cal League, that is a tremendous accomplishment. Pena has been generating plenty of ground balls (1.51 GO/AO rate) which is a big improvement on his career to date.

Piazza, Mike, RP, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: 0-2, 0 Saves, 2.72 ERA, 47 Ks, 1.12 WHIP in 43.0 IP

Notes: Yes, Piazza is related to a certain catcher with the same last name. No, he hasn’t gotten many pointers from his uncle as to how to play in the Majors. What this Piazza does have is a great presence on the mound and pitches with confidence. With a .188 BAA this season, and generating over 1K per IP, it’s easy to see why he can pitch with such confidence.

Reckling, Trevor, SP, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Bats: L Throws: L Age: 22
First Half Stats: 4-6, 0 Saves, 3.65 ERA, 62 Ks, 1.42 WHIP in 91.1 IP

Notes: What a difference a year makes. Instead of getting demoted to Double-A, Reckling is a Texas League All-Star and working on getting promoted back up to Triple-A this year. Compared to his numbers last year at Double-A, Reckling has lowered his ERA by nearly a full run (he posted a 4.56 ERA in Arkansas in 2010). The only concerns this year are the increased number of hits (96) and HRs allowed (11). He needs to improve upon keeping the ball down in the zone to generate more groundball outs as well as pound the zone more to reduce the number of walks (34).

Richards, Garrett, SP, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23
First Half Stats: 10-1, 0 Saves, 3.14 ERA, 79 Ks, 1.11 WHIP in 106.0 IP

Notes: If were to hand out an award for the Angels’ Minor League First Half Pitcher it would go to Richards. But, he’ll suffice with being a Texas League All-Star for 2011. With Chatwood in the Majors for good, Richards is the Angels’ top starting prospect. He mixes 4 plus pitches well and should be ready for the Majors sometime by the end of 2012. A future rotation of Weaver, Haren, Santana, Chatwood, and Ritchards will be really strong for years to come.

Scholl, Chris, RP, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23
First Half Stats: 1-2, 0 Saves, 2.38 ERA, 37 Ks, 1.00 WHIP in 41.2 IP

Notes: Consistency is an important part to Scholl’s game. At every level in which he’s pitched for the Angels, he consistently goes into games and makes outs. Versus righties in 2011 his ERA is 2.52, vs. lefties it is 2.16. With solid work like that, he’s earning his way up another rung on the organizational ladder. With one more rung to go, Scholl could get a look in the Majors sometime next year.

Shoemaker, Matt, SP, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: 7-3, 0 Saves, 3.68 ERA, 92 Ks, 1.58 WHIP in 107.2 IP

Notes: The Angels’ Pitcher of the Month for June, 2011, and a 2011 Texas League All-Star, Shoemaker has quietly been putting together a solid season. Roughed up a bit in four starts in Triple-A at the start of the season, Shoemaker’s line in Double-A is 7-1 with a 2.60 ERA. He has held batters in Double-A to a .224 BAA and has posted a 1.02 WHIP in 86.2 IP. He hasn’t lost a game since early May, and has a 5:1 K:BB ratio. His next time in Triple-A should go a lot better.

Tillman, Daniel, Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 22
First Half Stats: 4-3, 6 Saves, 2.36 ERA, 57 Ks, 1.29 WHIP in 53.1 IP

Notes: Daniel Tillman was one of the relievers that the Angels tried to convert into a starter this year. That experiment didn’t work, and Tillman has gone back to the bullpen where he has posted a 1.80 ERA. Now that he is solidly back in the pen, Tillman could move more quickly through the organization. His 11.4 K/9.0 IP and 2.67 GO/AO rate will fit in nicely to the back end of the bullpen.


Ramirez, Carlos, C, High-A Inland Empire 66ers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23
First Half Stats: .293/.379/.413 with 3 HRs and 3 SBs

Notes: Ramirez has bounced through several levels this year ranging from Single-A Cedar Rapids all the way up to Double-A Arkansas to fill in for organizational need. The one thing he’s done at all levels is get on base. In three years with the Angels, his career .285/.393/.456 makes one yearn for the day when Conger and Ramirez make the catcher’s spot in the lineup more than an offensive liability.

Rosario, Alberto, C, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: L Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: .241/.293/.293 with 1 HRs and 5 SBs

Notes: One of the better defensive catchers in the Angels’ system, Rosario has thrown out 20 out of 56 attempted base runners (36%) and has a .995 FLD% so far. For his career he has thrown out 44% of all base runners and has a career .988 FLD%. Even with a manager who believes catching is a defense-first position, Rosario needs to improve on his career .247/.297/.318 line in order to be more than a backup catcher.


Amarista, Alexi, 2B, AAA Salt Lake Bees
Bats: L Throws: R Age: 22
First Half Stats: .286/.335/.405 with 2 HRs and 6 SBs

Notes: Rushed to the Majors to fill in for injuries, Amarista showcased some of his versatility and talent that makes him an upper level talent, playing both 2B and LF in the Majors. Since returning to the Minors, Amarista has been slumping, dropping his average to below .300 for the season. This could be part of the process of learning to hit to the entire field rather than trying to pull the ball. With more seasoning, he’ll get another shot in the Majors either with the Angels or as a part of a trade package.

Baisley, Jeff, 3B, AAA Salt Lake Bees
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 28
First Half Stats: .323/.371/.539 with 17 HRs and 2 SBs

Notes: A journeyman Minor Leaguer, Baisley has been putting together the finest season of his career for the Bees. He has been the main offensive threat for the team, and has factored into many of their wins. At 28, he’s not an ideal prospect. But, for this roster, he definitely belongs as his bat has been one of the most potent in the sytem.

Jacobo, Gabe, 1B, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: .278/.317/.415 with 5 HRs and 1 SB

Notes: Getting on base continues to be a problem for Jacobo as he has only walked 8 times in 176 ABs. Since he lacks the power of a traditional 1B, he needs to develop other aspects of his game to maintain his status above recently drafted C. J. Cron as the top 1B prospect in the system. One area that is still elite is his defense: of his 5 errors this season, 4 of them came when he played 3B. His FLD% as a 1B is .997 with only 1 error in 305 chances.

Jimenez, Luis, 3B, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23
First Half Stats: .297/.345/.515 with 12 HRs and 11 SBs

Notes: The Angels haven’t had a prototypical player at 3B since the departure of Troy Glaus. But, that may begin to change. Jimenez has the power typically seen from a corner infielder and the defensive ability to man the hot corner. Jimenez really turned on his production in June, posting a 1.016 OPS for the month, including 7 HRs, and has continued that into July, where he has a .918 OPS so far. With Cowart developing behind him, Angels fans will finally see a 3B return to a source of power in the coming years.

Navarro, Efren, 1B, AA Salt Lake Bees
Bats: L Throws: L Age: 25
Stats: .331/.383/.448 with 2 HRs and 4 SBs

Notes: 2011 is proving to be the best year by far for Efren Navarro. His career line with the Angels is .286/.353/.388. Like Jacobo, Navarro doesn’t display the typical power that a 1B should display, so, he will need to maintain his elite BA and defense (.998 FLD% with 2 errors in 883 chances) in order to have a shot in the Majors.

Perez, Darwin, SS, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: S Throws: R Age: 21
Stats: .306/.409/.408 with 1 HR and 17 SBs

Notes: Currently ranked 6th in the Texas League for OB% and SBs, and 11th for BA Darwin Perez is quickly moving up the depth charts. Named to the Texas League All-Star team, he’s showing more patience at the plate and getting better leads and jumps on the basepaths. His 16 SBs so far are the most for his career so far, and his 77.3% success rate is also tops for his career. The Angels may start to give him some playing time at 2B to give him more versatility and opportunities to make the Major League club.

Romine, Andrew, SS, AAA Salt Lake Bees
Bats: S Throws: R Age: 25
Stats: .280/.352/.352 with 4 HRs and 20 SBs

Notes: There’s not much more that Andrew Romine can do other than be patient and maintain his elite defense as he awaits a call to the Majors. Romine has been splitting time about both 2B (where he has yet to make an error in 103 chances) and SS (where he has a .975 FLD%). Romine would fill in nicely on the bench, as he has plus speed and defense for the middle infield. If the Angels trade one of their MIFers off the Major League roster, Romine should get the call to backup the position.


Calhoun, Kole, High-A Inland Empire 66ers
Bats: L Throws: L Age: 23
First Half Stats: .304/.387/.524 with 14 HRs and 14 SBs

Notes: One of the main offensive threats for the 66ers, Calhoun has steadily been driving the ball with authority. With 39 extra base hits in just 84 games, Calhoun ranks 10th in the Cal League for SLG. More importantly, he sports a 43:56 BB:K rate so far, Calhoun ranks 8th in the league for walks. Unfortunately, Calhoun does not have much protection in the 66ers lineup, and he has been slumping since the Single-A All Star Break.

Long, Matt, High-A Inland Empire 66ers
Bats: L Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: .295/.370/.506 with 11 HRs and 15 SBs

Notes: Quietly putting together a solid season for the 66ers, Matt Long offers a good mix of power and speed on the bases. Like Calhoun, he’s a lefty, but unlike Calhoun, he throws righty. With 9 triples on the season, Long leads the Cal League. Long is capable of playing all three outfield positions. At 24, he’s a bit old for the league, so, it’s likely that either he or Calhoun could get a mid-season promotion to Double-A, especially if Trout gets sent to Triple-A for the rest of the season.

Lopez, Roberto, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 25
First Half Stats: .290/.377/.415 with 3 HRs and 1 SB

Notes: Another player flying under the radar, Lopez has been showing steady patience at the plate for the Travelers. A versatile defensive player, Lopez has seen time at 1B, both corner OF spots, and even as a catcher in his Minor League career. So far in Double-A, he’s mostly been a DH, although he has played in the OF and at 1B. Versatility may be the key to Lopez’s future success as he profiles more for a bench role down the line.

Trout, Mike, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 19
First Half Stats: .324/.415/.534 with 9 HRs and 28 SBs

Notes: We’ve just seen him in the Majors, but his time up there will be brief this season. When Bourjos is healthy, he will return to the minors, most likely Triple-A, Salt Lake. Trout really can do it all. He can run, throw, hit for average, hit for power. He just needs a little bit more experience in the Minors to work on some minor issues, so that when he returns to the Majors, it will be a permanent move.

Disabled List

Fish, Robert, RP, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: L Throws: L Age: 23
First Half Stats: 1-0, 1 Save, 3.15 ERA, 30 Ks, 1.15 WHIP in 20.0 IP

Notes: Making the Majors doesn’t just depend on a player’s talent: it also depends a lot on a player’s health. Fish has impressive talent—he’s a hard throwing lefty who can just dominate when he’s healthy. The problem for Fish has been that throughout his careers, injuries have constantly limited his playing time. Moving to the pen has helped him, and hopefully his current stint on the DL won’t last that long.

Grichuk, Randal, OF, Rookie-A AZL Angels
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 19
Stats: .000/.500/.000 with 0 HRs and 0 SBs

Notes: Injured during Spring Training, Grichuk has finally began a rehab assignment with the AZL Angels. So far he’s 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored. Drafted one slot ahead of Trout, Grichuk should not be forgotten in the wake of Trout’s promotion. When healthy last year, he posted a .299/.335/.566 line. Once fully rehabbed, Grichuk should report to Cedar Rapids for the rest of the Minor League season.

Martinez-Mesa, Fabio SP
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 21
First Half Stats: Did Not Play

Notes: Weakness in his shoulder has cost Martinez-Mesa the entire 2011 season so far. With no timetable for his return, it could be a lost year. And, it could result in the Angels moving him to the bullpen going forward as he has a wicked fastball and slider combination that would be less stressed working out of the pen.

Mount, Ryan, 2B, AA Arkansas Travelers
Bats: L Throws: R Age: 24
Stats: .329/.401/.509 with 5 HRs and 9 SBs

Notes: Named as a Texas League All-Star for the second year in a row, injuries continue to be a problem for Ryan, as he hasn’t played since June 12th. Unfortunately, Mount has yet to play over 88 games in a season in his entire Minor League career, which has greatly hindered his development. When healthy, he displays a potent bat and improving defense.

Moore, Jeremy, AAA Salt Lake Bees
Bats: L Throws: R Age: 24
First Half Stats: .289/.326/.491 with 6 HRs and 10 SBs

Notes: Over his career, Moore has shown tremendous tools that need refinement at each level. Once he improves at each level, his talent explodes. His walks start to increase and his strikeouts drop. Hopefully that will happen again in Triple-A once he’s back from the 7-day DL so that he can prove himself to be a valuable 4th OFer in the Majors.

Segura, Jean, SS, High-A Inland Empire 66ers
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 21
First Half Stats: .276/.343/.428 with 3 HRs and 18 SBs

Notes: Once again the injury bug has deprived Segura of a good portion of a season. That’s too bad because he was on his way to becoming an elite leadoff hitter at SS. In 36 games he turned 18 double-plays, and had a .975 FLD% (4 errors in 152 chances). Out with a hamstring injury, hopefully Segura will return soon and reestablish himself as an elite SS. A future lineup of Segura and Trout at the top would be something fun to watch.

Witherspoon, Travis, Low-A CR Kernels
Bats: R Throws: R Age: 22
First Half Stats: .232/.289/.353 with 6 HRs and 31 SBs

Notes: Mostly known for his speed, Witherspoon proved that his power is legit as he won the MidWest League’s Homerun Derby. His 31 SBs place him 3rd in the league even though he hasn’t played since June 26th. With 73 Ks in 69 games, and only 20 BBs, Witherspoon needs to improve his plate discipline so that he can put his tremendous speed to work.

Richards, Garrett (R)
Shoemaker, Matt (R)
Reckling, Trevor (L)
Pena, Ariel (R)
Arenas, Orangel (R)

Carpenter, David (R)

1. Trout, Mike CF (R)
2. Perez, Darwin SS (S)
3. Calhoun, Kole RF (L)
4. Baisely, Jeff DH (R)
5. Long, Matt LF (L)
6. Jimenez, Luis 3B (R)
7. Ramirez, Carlos C (R)
8. Navarro, Efren 1B (L)
9. Amarista, Alexi 2B (S)
Love to hear what you think!

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