Friday, July 20, 2012

By Scott Stedman - Prospect Reporter

Salt Lake Bees - Salt Lake has dropped 7 out of their last 10.  However, catcher Hank Conger has really begun to swing the stick well.  In his last 10 games, Conger is hitting .350 with a .920 OPS in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.  But his defense behind the plate has remained average at best.  With Scioscia at the helm, I don't think Hank Conger is in the long-term plans.  In the 'pen, Steve Geltz and Jeremy Berg have continued to shine.  The 26-year-old submarine pitcher Berg has a 2.89 ERA in his last 10 appearances with just 5 walks.  When he is on, he has a slider that dives away from righties and a moving fastball.  Steve Geltz has pitched 7 scoreless innings in a row with 4 punch-outs.  Geltz features a mid 90s fastball and is working on keeping the ball down in the zone.  The veteran Greg Smith will start for the Bees tomorrow.

Arkansas Travelers - The Travs' have slowly started to turn it on, winning 5 out of their last 8.  Shortstop Jean Segura has really picked it up, hitting .317 with a .404 OBP in his last 10 games.  More impressively however, is the style in which Segura plays.  You could say he plays "hard" but that doesn't do it justice.  I have yet to see him jog down the line on a routine grounder, and with his speed he usually makes it interesting.  At shortstop, he sacrifices his body regularly.  If the Angels decide to deal Segura at the deadline they better get a hefty return, however I would advise against doing so.  Lefty reliever Drew Taylor has put together 4 great appearances in a row after fixing a mechanical problem.  Overall, the 25-year-old has 39 Ks in 41 innings pitched.  Outfielder Travis Witherspoon is still on the DL with a strained quad.  Johnny Hellweg, who has been brilliant in his last 2 starts will go for Arkansas tomorrow.

Inland Empire 66ers - The 66ers have won 6 out of their last 9 and are beginning to roll.  Third-baseman Kaleb Cowart is still a man-child tearing up A+ ball.  The 20-year-old is hitting .292 with a .940 OPS and as many walks as strikeouts.  His defensive reports have been just as impressive to go along with his extremely strong arm.  Look for Cowart to possibly be atop the list of Angels prospects for the 2013 season.  Outfielder Randal Grichuk is hitting .409 (9-22) in his last 5 games, including his 11th home run.  The 20-year-old former first round pick has + defense in the outfield and can play all 3 positions.  Starting pitcher Nick Maronde has returned from the DL and tossed 12 straight shutout innings, including a 7 inning no-hit performance with 10 Ks on Tuesday.  In 47 innings for the 66ers, Maronde has a 2.11 ERA in a hitter-friendly league.  The former University of Florida closer will turn 23-years-old in September and could see the major leagues next year.  Fabio Martinez who is struggling to throw strikes, will be on the bump Friday. Last years' 1st round pick C.J. Cron leads the 66ers and the entire CAL League in RBI's with 81.

Cedar Rapids Kernels - The Kernels have dropped 5 in a row and 7 of their last 8.  Offensively, 6th-rounder shortstop Eric Stamets is hitting .314 in 118 ABs.  His .377 OBP also shows intrigue.  At the plate, Stamets reminds me of a right-handed Reggie Willits with little pop but perhaps a better hit tool.  The catcher Zach Wright is still having a great year, hitting .312 with a whopping .995 OPS.  He has 1 more BB (16) than he does K (15).  The 22-year-old Wright has the tools to move through the system quickly.  In the bullpen, closer Ty Kelley is still getting the job done.  His 0.91 WHIP and 39 Ks in 43 innings show just how good of a season Kelley is having.  Tomorrow, Austin Wood will toe the slab for Cedar Rapids.

Orem Owlz - The Owlz have a 4 game winning streak and they are being carried by their offense.  Michael Snyder, a 22-year-old third-baseman has been unreal this season.  The 23rd rounder has a .398 average with 1.177 OPS, racking up 78 total bases in just 108 ABs.  As we saw with C.J. Cron and Taylor Lindsey, Snyder could skip Cedar Rapids and head straight to Inland Empire next year.  First baseman Wade Hinkle, a 22-year-old out of Kansas St. University has 6 home runs and 21 BBs in under 100 at-bats in Orem.  In fact, 8 hitters in Orem have an OBP above .400 which is very encouraging.  In the rotation, Gabriel Perez has led the way.  The 21-year-old Dominican righty has a 4.55 ERA and 31 Ks in 30 innings.  He leads the league with 5 wins and is holding batters to a .250 average.

AZL Angels notes: 

- Dominican Shortstop Jose Rondon is still holding his own, hitting .287 with a .789 OPS.  He is just 18-years-old with a great hit tool and developing defense.

- Reliever Eduard Santos has a 1.00 ERA and 17 Ks but he is 22-years-old.
- 20-year-old catcher Sandy Martinez is hitting .313 with a .389 OBP

DSL Angels notes: 

- Outfielder Ayendy Perez has a .413 OBP and a solid hit tool.  Also has 10 stolen bases.  He is 18 years-old.

- Lefty starting pitcher Ivan Melo has a 1.30 ERA with 31 Ks in 35 innings.  He turns 18 today and should see the States next year.
- 17-year-old Reliever Eduardo Paredes has 27 Ks in 23 innings.  He also has a 1.99 ERA.

Prospect of the week: SP Nick Maronde
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