By Adrian Noche, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter -
1.) Sean Newcomb, Starting Pitcher, Burlington Bees
Since Opening Day: 3 Starts 1-0 16.0 IP 1.69 ERA 9 H 5 BB 20 SO 0.88 WHIP .161 BAA
The Angels jumped at the opportunity when Sean Newcomb fell to them with the 15th pick of the 2014 draft. Newcomb is an imposing figure on the mound, standing tall at 6’5 and 245 pounds. The lefty possesses easy velocity with his fastball sitting in the mid-90s and the potential for three plus-pitches with his fastball, slider and change-up. So far this season, Newcomb has dominated the opposition, striking out 20 batters in 16.0 innings with a WHIP of 0.88. If Newcomb keeps this up, a call up to High-A Inland Empire or Double-A Arkansas within the next month or two is not out of the question.
2.) Kyle Kubitza, Third Baseman, Salt Lake Bees
Since Opening Day: .417 AVG 20 H 7 Doubles 2 Triple 0 HR 1 SB
The acquisition of Kyle Kubitza came at the cost of losing the high-ceiling potential of pitcher Ricardo Sanchez. Originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft, Kubitza has steadily improved his numbers year after year in the minors. Last year, he finished with a slash line of .295/.405/.470 for Atlanta’s Double-A Affiliate. Out of the gate Kubitza has done nothing but hit the ball. Slugging .646 so far this year, almost half of Kubitza’s hits have been for extra bases (9 out of 20 hits). Kubitza posted an impressive OBP last year of .405, and his tendency to work deep in the count has equated to a high number of walks and strikeouts. Kubitza has been getting the walk going for him the past two games as he reached base via base on balls 3 times (his first three times of the season). With Freese’s contract up at this years end, a strong showing from Kubitza at the hot corner will slate him nicely as the Angels' starting third baseman come Opening Day 2016.
3.) Carlos Perez, Catcher, Salt Lake Bees
Since Opening Day: .361 AVG 13 H 4 Doubles 0 Triple 2 HR 1 SB
Perez is yet another new addition to the Angels' prospect family within the past year. Acquired from the Houston Astros along with Nick Tropeano in exchange for Hank Conger, Perez was already receiving calls of interest from his play in Winter Ball. Perez can already be seen as the Angels top catcher defensively in the organization, but what he has been doing with the bat is icing on the cake. Perez is hitting to the tune of a .361/.378/.639 line in 8 games so far this season. With the struggles from the catching position up in the majors, Carlos Perez is a name that should be brought up often as a potential solution to catching dilemma.
4.) Tyler DeLoach, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
Since Opening Day: 2 Starts 1-1 12.0 IP 1.50 ERA 10 H 2 BB 13 SO 1.00 WHIP .250 BAA
Tyler DeLoach is yet another imposing lefty on the mound. Tyler stands tall at 6’6 and 240 pounds. However, DeLoach uses deception rather than a huge fastball like Newcomb’s. Despite the lack of "overpowering stuff”, the southpaw has managed to pitch extremely well in the minors. Last year, DeLoach posted a 2.99 ERA while striking out 161 batters over 147.2 innings pitched across two levels in the minor leagues. DeLoach has started doing more of the same this season, only allowing 2 earned runs in 2 starts so far. The strikeout ball has carried over as well, with 13 strikeouts over 12.0 innings pitched. Depth has been a huge issue for the Angels over the past couple of years. Today, the Angels’ starting pitching depth is as strong as ever with the likes of Heaney, Rucinski, Tropeano, Smith, DeLoach, McGowan and many more in the minors.
5.) Cam Bedrosian, Relief Pitcher, Salt Lake Bees
Since Opening Day: 4 Appearances 0-0 8.0 IP 0.00 ERA 6 H 0 BB 13 SO 0.75 WHIP .214 BAA
Bedrosian’s numbers in the minors last year were downright nasty. Cam struck out 16.4 batters per nine innings with a WHIP of 0.756. Bedrock has come a long way from Tommy John and it is easy to forget that he started the year barely at High-A last season. Bedrock has been a regular on these prospect hotlists and it is only fitting that he starts the year on it as well. Bedrock has yet to give up a run in 8.0 innings pitched so far and has struck out 13 batters. The most important statistic to look at is how he has yet to give up a walk as well. Cam will surely get the call to the big club at some point this year and let’s hope he pitches well enough to stay, as he has the stuff to become the next closer for the Angels.
Minor League Affiliate Report
Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Despite boasting the most talent Salt Lake has seen in a while, the Bees have struggled out of the gate with only 1 win in their first 11 games. Top prospect Andrew Heaney pitched well in his Salt Lake debut with 7.0 shutout innings while giving up just two hits and no walks. However, Heaney failed to make it out of the first inning in his last start, ending his day with 6 hits and 4 earned runs in 0.2 innings pitched. The Angels have another talented catcher in Salt Lake other than the aforementioned Carlos Perez. Jett Bandy has been playing well while splitting time with Carlos Perez. In 4 games played (16 at-bats), Bandy is hitting .375 along with a home run and a double. Spending most of his time at left field, Grant Green continues to prove that he has nothing left to accomplish in the minors, batting .362 in 11 games (47 at-bats) this season. Texas League MVP Alex Yarbrough has struggled out of the gate. The second baseman is batting .190 with 11 strikeouts for the Bees so far. The same goes for Josh Rutledge, who is batting .213 with 9 strikeouts.
Double-A Arkansas Travelers
The Travs have started the season with 9 wins and only 2 losses, sitting atop the Texas League North. Nate Smith pitched well in his last start on Tuesday, striking out 5 and giving up just 3 hits (1 walk) in 5.2 shutout innings. In two starts, Smith boasts a 2.31 ERA (0.94 WHIP) and 11 strikeouts in 11.2 innings pitched. After closing games for the Burlington Bees last season, the Angels are trying Alan Busenitz as a starter to begin this season. The results have been encouraging, as Busenitz has only given up 3 earned runs in 2 starts (10 innings pitched) for the Travs. Austin Wood is pitching at Double-A for the first time in his professional career. Wood has a 2.08 ERA with 4 strikeouts in 4.1 innings (3 appearances) pitched. 1st baseman Brian Hernandez continues to be the most consistent hitter on any team he plays for, batting .324 in 9 games (34 at-bats) for the Travs so far. Sherman Johnson and Chad Hinshaw have been impressive at the top of the Travs lineup. Sherman Johnson boasts an OBP of .410 with 3 stolen bases, 5 doubles and a home run while Chad Hinshaw has a slash line of .296/.441/.407 with 2 stolen bases.
High-A Inland Empire 66ers
As of today, the High-A Inland Empire 66ers sit 1 game back of 1st place with a record of 7-4. 3rd round draft pick Christopher Ellis has struggled some so far this season but continues to impress with his “stuff”. Despite the 6.14 ERA, Ellis has struck out 19 batters in 14.2 innings pitched. Top prospect Victor Alcantara has struck out 11 batters in 11.0 innings pitched while allowing 4 earned runs, 10 hits and 5 walks in two starts this season. Relief pitcher Greg Mahle has been dominant in 5 appearances for the 66ers. The southpaw has given up just 1 earned run (1.80 ERA), 4 hits and no walks (0.80 WHIP) while striking 10 batters in 5.0 innings pitched. After a very slow start to the season, top international signing Roberto Baldoquin is currently riding a three-game hit streak and has posted back to back multi-hit games. Kaleb Cowart continued his struggles in the minors with a .182 batting average.
Low-A Burlington Bees
The Low-A Bees are currently 2 games behind first place with a record of 7-4. 2014 draft members Jeremy Rhoades (Round 4) and Jake Jewell (Round 5) have pitched well to start the season. Jeremy Rhoades has struck out 14 batters in 9.0 innings pitched while only giving up one earned run, 10 hits and 3 walks. Jake Jewell has given up 2 earned runs in 7.2 innings pitched along with 9 strikeouts, 4 hits and no walks allowed. Natanael Delgado had himself a 4-hit game on Sunday, bringing his average up to .282 on the season. 10th round draft pick Caleb Adams has himself a strong line of .364/.500/.545 in 10 games (33 at-bats). Third baseman Zachary Houchins has 2 home runs this week and is now batting .275 to start the season.