Sunday, June 16, 2013

By Scott Stedman, Staff Writer - 

1. Luis Jimenez, 3B, Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 17/40 (.425), 1 Double, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 9 Runs, 11 RBIs, 5 SB
Overall: .297/.343/.422 with 3 HRs and 8 SBs

What’s Up: As Alberto Callaspo continues to struggle mightily with the Angels, posting a -0.4 WAR, Luis Jimenez has begun to really swing the bat well for the Bees.  In April, Angels' fans got a taste of what Jimenez brings to the table when he is on: A spark to any team's dugout, good hands at third base, and a solid gap-to-gap stroke at the plate.  His production tailed off when his playing time decreased with the big club, but in Salt Lake with consistent at-bats, Jimenez has been red hot.  In addition to the offensive production, Jimenez has been playing both third and first-base which gives him more versatility in the long-run.  He also has been successful at stealing bases (8/10), which adds another dynamic to his game.  I would not be surprised if Lucho was recalled to platoon with the struggling Callaspo.  At this point, it wouldn't hurt much.

2. Eric Stamets, SS, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 Games: 15/41 (366), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 10 Runs, 3 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .299/.377/.384 with 1 HR and 8 SBs

What’s Up:  Eric Stamets has put up an extremely consistent 2013 campaign and solidified his position as one of the Angels' better prospects.  The 21-year-old shortstop has 3 plus tools - hitting, speed, and fielding.  In fact, his fielding has often been characterized as having Gold Glove potential, and from what I have seen, this is no exaggeration.  At the plate, Stamets is a slap-hitter who can occasionally barrel-up a ball into the gap.  He is also a hitter that hardly strikes out and walks a ton, which is often a good predictor for long-term success with hitters that don't have a ton of power.  As a 6th round pick in 2012, Stamets looks like a complete steal and could potentially be the replacement for Erick Aybar when his contract is up.

3. R.J. Alvarez, RP/SP, Inland Empire 66ers 
Past 10 Games: 3-0, 0 Saves, 1.13 ERA, 16 IP, 9 H, 6 BB, 30 K, 0.94 WHIP
Overall: 3-1, 0 Saves, 2.54 ERA, 28.1 IP, 20 H, 16 BB, 40 K, 1.27 WHIP, .194 BAA

What’s Up: R.J. Alvarez was the first selection for the Halos in the 2012 draft (3rd round), but has continued to fly somewhat under-the-radar in his first full season of pro ball.  If his basic numbers (2.54 ERA, .194 BAA) don't grab your attention, check out these other stats - 14.93 K/9, 2.13 FIP, 81.5 % LOB - they tell the true story of the incredible season that Alvarez is having.  On Thursday, Alvarez surprisingly made a start for the 66ers, the first his first career.  While it's unclear if this is going to be a regular occurrence, Alvarez certainly has the repertoire to be a starter - fastball in the mid 90s, tight slider and serviceable change-up.  The only thing that holds R.J. back is his command which can be spotty at times.  As a reliever, Alvarez profiles as a closer or 8th inning guy, and as a starter it is too early to tell.

4. Mike Morin, RP, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 Games: 0-0, 6 Saves, 1.59 ERA, 11.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 14 K, 0.97 WHIP
Overall: 3-1, 7 Saves, 1.78 ERA, 35.1 IP, 27 H, 5 BB, 40 K, 0.91 WHIP, .218 BAA

What’s Up:  Mike Morin is now a veteran of the AngelsWin Prospect Hotlist, but at this point, I am having a hard time leaving him off! By now, most of you know the deal with Morin, but let's recap.  He possesses a low 90s fastball that he controls very well, a decent overhand curve and the best changeup in the system.  A truly devastating pitch.  Morin was another pick in the 2012 draft, in the 13th round.  With picks such as Morin, Yarbrough, Sappington, Stamets and others, the 2012 draft is shaping up to be an incredible one for the Angels.  The 22-year-old Morin could move up with Alvarez and combine to make a lock-down back-end of the bullpen, dare I say like Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez.  

5. Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Arkansas Travelers 
Past 10 Games: 11/36 (.306), 2 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 HRs, 7 Runs, 5 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .275/.336/.472 with 10 HR and 2 SBs

What’s Up:  Taylor Lindsey was one of those high-risk, high-reward high-school picks by the Angels back in 2010 and it looks like the risk in that decision is slowly diminishing.  Lindsey's hitting style is not orthodox - he starts with his hands next to his chest and whips the bat with an Ichiro style approach.  However, he is able to maintain plus hand-eye-coordination and now his power is beginning to develop.  Lindsey is putting up a SLG% of more than 60 points over last season and in a much tougher hitting environment in Arkansas.  Lindsey's potential is as a #2 hitter, potentially hitting .300 with 15 HRs and either scoring or driving in gobs of runs depending on where Mike Trout hits in the lineup.  After Kendrick and Aybar, the Angels have plenty of viable options in the minor leagues including Yarbrough, Stamets, and Sherman Johnson.  But, Lindsey may have the best career out of all of them.  

Affiliate Reports:

Salt Lake Bees:  The Bees went 4-3 this week bringing them right up to .500 on the season, 35-35.  Kole Calhoun and Efren Navarro continue to kill it offensively, hitting .346 and .339 respectively.  In the rotation, Matt Shoemaker leads the staff with 92 innings pitched and 74 strikeouts.  Jeremy Berg is getting it done in the bullpen with a 2.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

Arkansas Travelers: Arkansas had a 3-4 week dropping below .500, 34-35.  Top prospect Kaleb Cowart is still struggling heavily with his OPS dropping well below .600.  Randal Grichuk, however, has been heating up of late bringing his OPS to near .800.  On the pitching side, the only true prospect that is holding his own is Michael Roth with an ERA of 3.38.

Inland Empire 66ers: The 66ers have really turned it on lately culminating with a 5-1 week.  They were eliminated from winning the 1st half in their division, but they will stay in 2nd place.  IE's offense has been scorching, led by Yarbrough, Stamets, Borenstein and Snyder.  As profiled, Morin and Alvarez have formed a lock down bullpen.

Burlington Bees: Burlington had a mediocre week, going 3-3 and remaining last in their division.  Kyle Johnson continues to hit (.314) and steal plenty of bases (30).  He also has a .416 OBP.  Alex Keudell and Ryan Crowley have carried the rotation but it has been too little too late.  Reid Scoggins was placed on the 7-day-DL

AZL Angels: The AZL Angels start next week.  Most of the 2013 draft picks will start here, along with Dominican signees Nataneal Delgado and Ricky Martinez.

DSL Angels:  The Dominican Summer League Angels have begun their season 8-4 in just 2nd place behind the 12-1 Rangers.  The Angels are coming off back-to-back championships.  One of the big signees, 18-year-old Jose Mendoza tossed 6 no-hit innings on Saturday.  He has a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 IP.  The 2nd largest bonus last year was given to 16-year-old Mario Martinez, who has hit .213 thus far.

Love to hear what you think!

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