Monday, August 6, 2012

By Scott Stedman - Prospect Reporter

Salt Lake Bees - The Bees are on fire, winning 7 out of their last 8 games.  This is due in large part to the offense which has scored 5 or more runs in all 7 of those victories.  Third-baseman Luis "Lucho" Jimenez has really turned it on after the All-Star break, slugging .600 in the 2nd half.  Overall, his line sits at .312/.338/.508.  Obviously, the concern with Jimenez is that he hardly draws the walk.  In my opinion, the bat will play enough for the patience not to be a big issue.  Catcher Hank Conger has also been hitting the ball well, with a .861 OPS in his last 10 games.  Conger is hitting .333 as a lefty but just .222 as a righty, so perhaps he should scrap the switch hitting idea.  In the bullpen, Steve Geltz and Drew Taylor have led the way. Since being promoted to Salt Lake, Geltz has posted a 1.18 WHIP and 3.91 ERA.  Overall this year, Geltz has recorded 57 strikeouts in 51 innings.  Taylor, a 6'2" lefty, has held opponents to a .167 avg since joining the Bees.  Both of these relievers are candidates for September call-ups.

Arkansas Travelers -
Arkansas has lost 6 of 7 and is struggling to find any offense whatsoever.  One positive piece of the offense has been 23-year-old outfielder Travis Witherspoon.  After slumping for a couple weeks, Witherspoon has put up a 1.015 OPS in his last 10 games.  Defensively, Witherspoon is outstanding in center-field, constantly making highlight reel plays.  If his bat continues to progress, Witherspoon may be more than just a 4th outfielder.  Reliever/spot starter Mike Piazza is quietly having a great year.  The 25-year-old's 2.28 ERA leads the league, and he is only getting better.  The former non-drafted free agent deserves a chance to move up in the system.  Another reliever helping the Travs' is Caleb Graham.  The 6'3" righty has 51 strikeouts in 46 innings and is maintaining an ERA in the mid 2's.

Inland Empire 66ers -
The 66ers have also been struggling, dropping 4 in a row.  However, the offense has been doing its part.  C.J. Cron, the 2011 first round pick, has 20 HRs and 103 RBIs for Inland Empire.  But, he only has 15 walks which is cause for some worry.  Taylor Lindsey, the 20-year-old second baseman, is hitting .364 in his last 10 games with a 1.090 OPS.  The 2010 first round pick is now hitting .287 on the season.  Another 2010 first round pick, third baseman Kaleb Cowart, has cooled off some but is still regarded as the Angels top prospect.  His .403 OBP leads the team.  Finally, 2009 first round pick Randal Grichuk has been absolutely tearing the cover off the ball.  The 20-year-old outfielder is hitting .452 in his last 10 games, and has a .952 OPS since the All Star break.  The highly touted prospect is finally showing his potential.

Cedar Rapids Kernels - Cedar Rapids has been in a long slump, losing 10 of 12.  Starter Austin Wood has put together 2 great outings in a row, combining for 15 innings, a 1.21 ERA and 9 strikeouts.  Overall this season, the 22-year-old has a 4.12 ERA with 99 strikeouts and 65 walks.  If he can cut down on the walks given up, he could become a top prospect for the Angels.  Shortstop Eric Stamets is hitting .306/.363 for the Kernels in his first year in pro ball.  The 20-year-old was selected in the 6th round of the 2012 draft, and profiles as a solid lead-off man.  Another 2012 draft selection, 22-year-old catcher Zach Wright, has an .893 OPS in just over 110 ABs.  His .406 OBP leads the team by a wide margin, and reports are that his defense is very advanced for his age.

Orem Owlz - The Owlz have won 8 of 10 and are clicking on all cylinders offensively.  Non-drafted outfielder Joel Capote is hitting .396 for Orem with a 1.134 OPS.  The 22-year-old has 6 more walks than strikeouts, so needless to say, he has an idea of what he is doing at the plate.  Third-baseman Michael Snyder, the 23rd round pick of the 2012 draft for the Angels, is hitting .327 with 7 HRs and 17 doubles.  The 22-year-old has an advanced approach at the plate.  Jonathan Walsh, a 21-year-old switch-hitting outfielder is posting a .425 OBP with 62 total bases.  There is definitely a theme of very patient hitters in Orem this year, and hopefully that continues all throughout the system.  Reliever Austin Adams is leading the team with a 1.06 WHIPs and a .200 batting average against.  The 6'2" righty has a very project-able frame for the future.

AZL Angels Notes - 22-year-old shortstop Pedro Toribio is hitting .377, however his OBP is just .381.
- Reliever Eduard Santos has a 0.75 ERA and 24 strikeouts
- Catcher Sandy Martinez, 20, is hitting .317 with a .403 OBP

DSL Angels Notes -  Pitcher Angel Guerra, 19, leads the staff with a 2.12 ERA.  Expect to see him in the States next year
- Eduar Lopez, a 17-year-old, has 57 (!!) strikeouts in 34 innings.
- A six-figure bonus baby, Alfonso Alcantara, 19, has a 2.73 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 53 innings.
- Closer Eduardo Paredes, 17-years-old, has a 1.98 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 27 innings.

Prospect of the week:  Randal Grichuk OF
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