Sunday, May 5, 2013

By Scott Stedman, Minor League Reporter - 

1. Zach Borenstein, OF/1B, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 Games: 12/36 (.333), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 5 HR, 9 Runs, 12 RBIs, 3 SB
Overall: .287/.330/.638 with 9 HRs and 4 SB

What’s Up: Zach Borenstein has been on a complete tear lately for the Angels High-A ball affiliate, the Inland Empire 66ers.  The 22-year-old outfielder blasted his 9th home-run of the season on Sunday, putting him tied atop the list of home-run leaders in the California League.  His .638 slugging pct. is also good for 1st in all of High-A ball.  In 2012, Borenstein went largely unnoticed even though he put up a .824 OPS in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League.  Borenstein bats from the left-side and although his swing can become long at some times, he produces an incredible amount of torque.  Defensively, Borenstein makes the routine plays and covers a decent amount of ground.  With players such as Randal Grichuk, Travis Witherspoon, Peter Bourjos, and Mike Trout ahead of him on the depth chart, it will be tough for Borenstein to make his way into the Angels' plans, but if his power continues to wow on-lookers, it might not seem as impossible as it once was.

2. Alex Keudell, SP, Burlington Bees
Past 10 Days: 2-0, 0 Save, 0.64 ERA, 14 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 0.79 WHIP
Overall: 3-1, 0 Save, 1.72 ERA, 31.1 IP, 20 H, 9 BB, 21 K, 0.93 WHIP, .179 BAA

What’s Up: Alex Keudell was selected in the 27th round of the 2012 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but after a solid season in Rookie ball, was released in March of 2013.  The 23-year-old righty was picked up by the Angels and was assigned to the Burlington Bees where he has dominated hitters in his 30+ innings of work.  On the mound, Keudell relies on the deception from his side-armed delivery to get outs.  With a delivery similar to Darren O'Day, Keudell has shown the ability to keep the ball in the yard, allowing just 1 home-run this year.  At the age of 23, Keudell will have to continue to shine to be considered a true prospect.

3. A.J. Schugel, SP, Salt Lake Bees 
Past 10 Days: 0-0, 0 Save, 2.92 ERA, 12.1 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 10 K, 1.14 WHIP
Overall: 0-1, 0 Save, 6.21 ERA, 29 IP, 35 H, 14 BB, 30 K, 1.69 WHIP, .307 BAA

What’s Up: Coming into the season, A.J. Schugel was ranked as the Angels 8th best prospect according to  However after being assigned to the extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Schugel struggled mightily.  However, his last two starts have been quality and his stuff is beginning to look sharp again.  Schugel's fastball sits in the 89-93 range with some heavy sink to go along with his plus change-up and a decent curve-ball.  The curve-ball can become flat on occasion which is a recipe for disaster in the PCL.  Look for Schugel to get a cup of coffee with the Angels sometime this season, most likely in September.

4. Jett Bandy, C, Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 8/27 (.297), 3 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 4 Runs, 2 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .238/.333/.333 with 0 HRs and 0 SB

What’s Up:  Jett Bandy.  What could go wrong with a name like that? Bandy is a 23-year-old catcher for the Arkansas Travelers whose value lies in his defense and patience at the plate.  Bandy who stands 6'4" tall, has just one passed ball this year and is throwing out a solid 30% of would-be base-stealers. At the plate, Bandy struggles to regularly square up balls but he rarely strikes out and has shown the knack for laying off pitches outside of the zone.  In 62 at-bats this year, Bandy has just two strikeouts.

5. Abel Baker, C, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 Games: 10/34 (.294), 2 Doubles, 0 Triple, 0 HR, 3 Runs, 3 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .294/.342/.412 with 0 HR and 0 SB

What’s Up: A notch below Jett Bandy on the depth chart is Abel Baker.  Like Bandy, Baker is known more for his defense than he is for his offense.  The 22-year-old Baker, who was a 7th round pick in 2011, moves freely behind the plate and has been praised for his work with the pitchers.  Consistently, I have seen Baker with a pop time around 1.8, which is extremely advanced.  Offensively, Baker is a left-handed hitter who has worked in some DH games lately, as he is swinging a hot bat. 

Affiliate Reports:

Salt Lake Bees:  The Bees went 3-4 this week, dropping to 3rd place in the Pacific Coast League Northern division.  First-baseman Efren Navarro is swinging a hot bat, as is utility infielder Luis Rodriguez. The pitching remains a concern, as the current crop of veterans isn't getting the job done.

Arkansas Travelers:  The Travs' are currently tied 2nd place the Texas League North division after a 3-3 week.  Their overall record is 14-15.  The big bats of Cowart, Grichuk, Lindsey, and Witherspoon have yet to break out of their combined slump.  C.J. Cron is hitting nearly .300 but has just 2 walks.  Michael Roth threw 3 scoreless innings in his return to Arkansas.

Inland Empire 66ers: The 66ers are now in 2nd place after a very good 4-2 week.  Mark Sappington is still dominating hitters, lowering his ERA to 1.73.  A promotion to Double-A seems to be in the cards.  Eric Stamets is still swinging a hot stick, as is 1B/DH Michael Snyder.  Mike Morin and Eric Cendejas are holding down the fort in the bullpen.

Burlington Bees: Burlington had a tough week, going 2-4 and consequently drop into last place with a record of 10-15.  Middle infielder Pedro Toribio is hitting .345 and Jairo Diaz has found his role as the closer, with 5 saves.  Of note: AngelsWin's #17 prospect, outfielder Jonathan Walsh joined the team Friday after rehabbing from an injury.

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