By Adrian Noche, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter -
1. Cam Bedrosian, Relief PItcher, Salt Lake Bees
2014 Minors: 2-1 2.00 ERA 18 SV 45.0 IP 16 H 18 BB 82 SO 0.75 WHIP .109 AVG
Cam Bedrosian might have had one of the most dominant seasons as a reliever in minor league history. You could play a baseball video game on the easiest difficulty and still struggle to put up the numbers Cam has put up this year. In 45.0 IP, Cam was able to strike out 82 batters which is good for a SO9 of 16.4. Cam also kept his walks overall at a decent level with a 3.6 BB9. Opponents hit for a .109 average against him this season. Despite the struggles in short stints with the big club, people have to keep in mind that Cam was barely converted to his relief role a little over a year ago. His stuff is too good to not play a major role in the Angels' bullpen as soon as next season or even this September.
2. Michael Roth, Starting Pitchers, Arkansas Travelers
2014 Minors: 11-7 2.62 ERA 140.2 IP 121 H 54 BB 79 SO 1.24 WHIP .238 AVG
Michael Roth finally put it all together this season for the Arkansas Travelers. Roth was one of the Texas League’s finest, placing himself among the leaders in numerous pitching categories: Wins (T-3rd), ERA (2nd), WHIP (8th). Roth has also induced almost twice as many ground balls as fly balls this season (26% FB-rate: 51 GB-rate). These numbers could be a product of Roth deciding to pitch to contact more this season, something that made Roth one of the most dominant pitchers in college. It’s hard to get a gauge on if the Angels ultimately see Roth as a starter or reliever, but it would be hard to stick him in the pen if he continues to put up seasons like this.
3. Dennis Raben, 1st Baseman, Inland Empire 66ers
2014 Minors: .292/.362/.579 116 H 15 Doubles 3 Triples 31 HR 94 RBI 38 BB 96 SO 4 SB 63 R
Although many may be quick to point at that Dennis Raben is a 27 year old in High-A Ball, it’s hard to argue that Raben made a mockery of the Cal League this season. Despite an extremely slow start that saw him batting below .200, Raben still managed to hit .292 this season. Raben also flashed his plus-power with 31 home runs and an .ISO of .287. Raben was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 Amateur Draft by the Mariners but eventually saw himself playing for Independent Ball until the Angels signed him this season.
4. Drew Rucinski, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
2014 Minors: 10-6 3.15 ERA 148.2 IP 142 H 41 BB 140 SO 1.23 ERA .257 AVG
Drew Rucinski is another former Indy League ball player rising from the ashes with the Angels organization. If you missed one of my earlier articles, this is an excerpt of Ruciknski’s path back to the Majors:
"Drew Rucinski was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Indians in 2011 and was released after just one season. Rucinski eventually found himself as one of the best pitchers in Indy-Ball, posting a 3.13 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 103.2 innings with the Rockford Aviators in 2012. After another successful season in 2013, Rucinski signed a minor league contract to join the 66ers in the latter half of their season. Rucinski immediately established himself as a key component of the Inland Empire 66ers strong season and postseason run, posting a 1.86 ERA in 5 starts for the Angels’ High-A affiliate.“
Rucinski and Roth were a great 1-2 punch for the Travelers this season. Rucinski won 10 games this season while boasting a 3.15 ERA. Drew also posted strong strikeout and walk numbers with a SO9 of 8.5 along with a BB9 of 2.5. Rucinski should help eat innings out of the pen for the Angels this September and should vie for the 5th rotation spot for the big league club next season.
5. Tyler DeLoach, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
2014 Minors: 14-4 2.99 ERA 147.1 IP 104 H 66 BB 161 SO 1.15 WHIP .198 AVG
Tyler DeLoach put himself on the radar this year with strong years in both Inland Empire (High-A) and Arkansas (Double-A). In both levels, DeLoach struck out near 10 batters per 9 innings but faced some control problems with 66 BB in 147.1 IP. Nonetheless, the southpaw was arguably dominant this season as he held batters to an average of .198. Tyler also helped bolster a Travs rotation which led them to the playoffs. Tyler started 6 games (all quality starts) for the Travelers since a mid-season call up and had a record of 4-0 with a 2.29 ERA.
6. Harrison Cooney, Starting Pitcher, Burlington Bees
2014 Minors: 9-8 2.65 ERA 1 SV 129.0 IP 108 H 51 BB 91 SO 1.23 WHIP .227 AVG
Harrison Cooney was the ace of the Bees staff this season. Cooney led Bees’ starters with 9 wins, an ERA of 2.65 and 1.23 WHIP. There were questions as to whether Cooney would be a reliever or starter after being drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft. Cooney might have helped answer those questions this season, leading the team with 22 starts and 129.0 innings pitched. Cooney’s arsenal mainly consists of a low-90s fastball with huge “arm-side” run and a plus slider. Despite this arsenal, Cooney only struck out 6.3 batters per nine innings.
7. Bo Way, Outfielder, Burlington Bees
2014 Minors: .347/.410/.510 85 H 16 Doubles 6 Triples 4 HR 37 RBI 21 BB 29 SO 13 SB 50 R
Bo Way never stopped hitting after being drafted by the Angels in the 7th round of the 2014 Amateur Draft. His first stop: Rookie League Orem. Way had his way with the Pioneer League, hitting .354 and slugging .554. Next stop: Low-A Burlington. Way kept hitting despite the higher competition with a .354 batting average and .461 SLG. Across to levels this season, Way has a K:BB ratio of 29:21. Just for good measure, toss in 6 outfield assists for Bo as well. Way did as much as he possibly could with his limited time with the Angels organization this season and should be rewarded with some mentions in future top prospect lists.
8. Nate Smith, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
2014 Minors: 11-6 2.97 ERA 118.0 IP 89 H 44 BB 118 SO 1.13 WHIP .210 AVG
Nate Smith had himself a breakout year this season. After dominating hitters in the Cal League, Smith earned himself a promotion to Double-A Arkansas. For the Travs, Smith upped his strikeout numbers from a SO9 of 8.2 with the 66ers to 9.7 for the Double-A affiliation. On the other hand, the southpaw’s walks increased as well: from 2.3 to 4.3. An unlucky injury (broken pinky finger) has left Smith on the shelf for a little over a month but you can expect a strong return to the mound and possibly a Major League debut for Smith next season.
9. Jairo Diaz, Relief Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
2014 Minors: 4-4 3.48 ERA 15 SV 64.2 IP 61 H 22 BB 85 SO 1.25 WHIP .248 AVG
Lost in the organization limelight behind the Bedrosian’s and “formerly” Alvarez’s of the world is Jairo Diaz. Diaz cranks up his fastball in the high-90s and can even touch triple digits. Diaz started off the year in Inland Empire and pitched a lot better than his numbers would suggest. Diaz posted an ERA of 4.78 but his FIP was 3.28. The Angels noticed this and gave him a promotion to Arkansas. Jairo was lights out after his promotion, with a SO9 of 13.2 and BB9 of 2.8. A September call-up wouldn’t be out of the question this season for Diaz, and don’t be surprised to see him dominate Major League hitters with his deadly fastball-slider combo a la Francisco Rodriguez 2002.
10. CJ Cron, 1st Baseman, Salt Lake Bees
2014 Minors: .316/.385/.511 14 Doubles 1 Triple 7 HR 33 RBI 2 SB 30 Runs 19 BB 40 SO
Many expected a hitter like C.J. Cron to completely annihilate the PCL this season. Although he did not, Cron still managed to put up strong numbers in his time with the Salt Lake Bees. Cron managed to improve on every statistical category from 2013 to 2014. The main thing that stands out was Cron’s plate discipline: in 2013 Cron managed to walk only 23 times in 565 plate appearances, in 2014 Cron walked 18 times in just 213 plate appearances. 10 of those walks were in the 18 games that came after his demotion from the big club. Cron showed flashes of his plus-bat in his stint with the Angels and should be a huge help for the big league team this September.
11. Sherman Johnson, 2nd Baseman, Inland Empire 66ers
2014 Minors: .276/.382/.465 146 H 23 Doubles 13 Triples 17 HR 78 RBI 88 BB 104 SO 26 SB 107 R
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Sherman Johnson did it all for the Inland Empire 66ers this season. Did you need a table setter and leadoff hitter? Johnson had 88 BBs, stole 26 stolen bases and scored 107 runs for the 66ers, all of which led his team. Did you need a run-producer? Sherman slugged .465 while driving in 78 runs. Did you need defense? Johnson only committed 4 errors at 2nd base this season while also playing 3rd base, shortstop and outfield this year.
12. Alex Yarbrough, 2nd Baseman, Arkansas Travelers
2014 Minors: .285/.321/.397 155 H 38 Doubles 4 Triples 5 HR 77 RBI 33 BB 124 SO 6 SB 66 R
Alex Yarbrough was just named Texas League Player of the Year. Don’t think that Yarbrough had a huge breakout year but it was still a strong season for the second baseman. Yarbrough smacked a league leading 155 hits, 38 doubles and was second in the league with 77 RBIs. Yarbrough was also an ironman for the Travelers this season, playing in a league leading 136 games.
13. Eric Aguilera, 1st Baseman, Burlington Bees
2014 Minors: .291/.340/.438 149 H 25 Doubles 4 Triples 14 HR 73 RBI 39 BB 111 SO 17 SB 62 R
Eric Aguilera was rock solid for the Bees’ lineup this season, leading the Bees in offensive categories such as home runs (14) and RBIs (71). Eric also hit for a solid average of .291 while flashing his speed with 17 stolen bases. Aguilera should continue his steady climb up the organizational ladder as an above-average hitter from the left side of the plate next season.
Final Minor League Affiliate Report of 2014
Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
The Bees went 3-5 in their final 8 games of the season to give them a final record of 60-84. Grant Green collected 10 hits to go along with 3 doubles and a home run. Outfielder, Brennan Boesch added to his home run total of the season, smacking 3 and giving him a season total of 25. Brennan Boesch was also named the 2014 PCL Batting Champion after leading the league with a .332 batting average. Unfortunately, the Bees will not be playing in the playoffs this season and 11 players received the call up to Anaheim: Cam Bedrosian, Vinnie Pestano, Cory Rasmus, Wade LeBlanc, Brennan Boesch, Tony Campana, C.J. Cron, Luis Jimenez, Shawn O’Malley, Efren Navarro, John Buck.
Double-A Arkansas Travelers
The Travelers went 5-3 in their final 8 games of the season, giving them an overall record of 75-65. The Travelers will be facing Tulsa in the first round of the playoffs starting on Wednesday, September 3rd. 1st baseman, Brian Hernandez, was named the Texas League Player of the Month after slashing a line of .364/.458/.535 for the month of August. Hernandez also slugged 3 home runs and drove in 18 RBI’s for the Travs this past month. Eric Stamets, chipped in another 8 hits and 2 home runs, giving him a .330/.340/.515 slash line for the month of August. Buddy Boshers continued his strong pitching with 0 earned runs allowed in 5.1 innings pitched with 5 strikeouts this past week. Jairo Diaz saved 4 games, striking out 6 in 4.0 innings pitched (1 ER 1 BB). Drew Rucinski pitched 6.0 innings of one run ball, only allowing 6 hits and no walks while striking out 1.
High-A Inland Empire 66ers
The 66ers bounced back with a second half record of 37-33 and will be headed to the playoffs. Sherman Johnson was awarded Player of the Week Honors after hitting .469 this week (15-32) along with 5 home runs, a triple and a double. Johnson also scored 11 runs and drove in 9 himself. Dennis Raben hit another 3 home runs this week, giving him 31 on the season. Angel Rosa collected 12 hits this week, giving him a season average of .348. Outfielder, Mark Shannon, ended the season with a 6-game hitting streak where he had an average of .444 (12 for 27). Austin Wood continued to pitch well after his injury as he pitched 2.1 innings of shutout baseball while giving up 3 hits and no walks to go along with 3 strikeouts.
Low-A Burlington Bees
The Low-A Bees went 3-5 to give them an overall record of 68-71. However, they will be headed to the playoffs since they clinched a playoff spot in the first half of the season. Second baseman, Kody Eaves, has 13 home runs on the season after hitting 2 this week. Bo Way collected 9 hits in 27 at bats to go along with 4 walks. Sean Newcomb pitched brilliantly on the 27th, striking out 10 in 4.0 shutout innings while only giving up 2 hits and no walks.
Class-A Short Season Orem Owlz
The Owlz currently have 2 games left to be played this season but will face the Ogden Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Catcher, Michael Strentz, is currently on a 10-game hitting streak where he is hitting .410 to go along with 2 home runs and 5 doubles. Wade Wass is currently swinging a hot bat as well with a .419 average in his last 10 games. Second baseman, Andrew Daniel, is the current owner of an 8-game hitting streak where he has 13 hits in 32 at-bats. Keynan Middleton has been throwing the ball well, with just 3 earned runs and 0 walks allowed in his last 2 starts (10.0 IP 8 H 7 SO). Arjenis Fernandez has allowed just 3 earned runs in his last two starts as well (11.2 IP 12 H 3 BB 6 SO).
The AZL Angels went 2-3 in their final 5 games of the season. After clinching a spot in the first half, the Angels will be headed to the playoffs as well with an overall record of 30-25. Second baseman, Juan Moreno, collected 8 hits in 18 at-bats and was promoted to the Orem Owlz following the conclusion of AZL’s regular season. Ricardo Sanchez pitched 4.0 innings of shutout baseball on the 26th, giving up a pair of hits and walks while striking out 3.