It is with great pleasure that AngelsWin.com brings back its weekly Hot Prospect lists. In our weekly column, we will be providing a look at whose been hot down on the farm. Unlike our annual Top-50 Prospects, our Hot Prospects column is not ranked based on the ceiling of the prospect, and instead is just a snapshot of the week that just past on the farm. This year, AngelsWin.com will be presenting the Hot Prospect reports every Friday throughout the season.
1. Casey Haerther, 1B, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
What’s Up: The Kernels have a 650 win percentage (39 Wins, 21 Losses). It’s not hard to see why they’ve played so well. The Kernels have a magic number of 6 to qualify for the MWL first-half playoff spot and 7 to win the first half champs. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 draft, Haerther was just recently named as a reserve to the MWL All-Star Summer Classic. He has been torching the ball, having had at least one hit in every game since May 30th, and 7 multi-hit games in that span. Switched to 1B, Haerther has been posting solid defensive number (.988 FLD%). Offensively, we would like to see a bit more patience at the plate (only 9 BBs on the season so far), he hasn’t been fooled too badly, with only 31 Ks. Haerther isn’t the most powerful 1B, he has more gap power, but, with his experience playing 3B at UCLA, Haerther could become an excellent corner infield backup for the Angels.
2. Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 15/40 (.375), 2 Double, 1 Triple, 3 HRs, 8 Runs, 8 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .294/.336/.560 with 14 HRs and 2 SBs
What’s Up: Trumbo has had hits in 8 out of his last 10 games, including one game where he had two HRs and another where he went 4 for 4. He’s mostly been playing 1B, but he has logged two games in Right Field this past week (where he has yet to have an error this season) and one as the team’s DH. Trumbo is now 2nd in the PCL in HRs, RBIs and total bases and has the 7th best SLG in the league. Typically, when promoted to a new league, it has taken Trumbo a while to adjust to the higher competition. But, once he did, he made the adjustments and posted very strong numbers for the whole season. This year, it looks like Trumbo has made his adjustments to the PCL a bit earlier and is on pace for a banner year. With the revelation that the Angels don’t expect Kendry Morales to return this year, and with the Angels still looking internally to fill the position, they might not have to go far to find their 1B solution.
3. Gabriel Jacobo, 1B, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 15/36 (.417), 1 Double, 2 Triples, 3 HRs, 7 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .308/.346/.489 with 7 HRs and 4 SBs
What’s Up: First base has been a hot spot for the Angels this past week, capturing all three of the top spots. At Rancho, first base is occupied by Gabriel Jacobo. In Thursday night’s game, Jacobo put on a show for the fans. He went 3/5 with 3 HRs on the night! But, he’s been more than a one-night special. He’s had hits in 8 of his past 10 games, with 5 of them being multi-hit games. Defensively, Jacobo is showing excellent range and fielding (.996 FLD%). While there is no need to rush him, we at AngelsWin.com wouldn’t be surprised to see Jacobo see some playing time later in the season at Double-A.
4. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
What’s Up: Chatwood ranks 1st in the CAL League in wins. His ERA ranks 2nd. He’s 5th overall in Ks. And the guys who rank ahead of him in any of those categories are 2-4 years older than him. In our last chat with Eddie Bane, we had a poll as to who has been the best prospect so far. With Chatwood only receiving 9% of the vote at the time in the poll, Eddie Bane said the following “Chat deserves more than 9 percent of the vote fellas and ladies. Last time out he was 90-97 with his knee buckling curveball in Rancho.” Chatwood still needs to work on his control. The walks are a problem. But, he’s also limiting the damage from them. As he matures and turns more of those walks into strikeouts, he will be a dominant pitcher for the front of the Angels’ rotation.
5. Mike Trout, OF, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 14/35 (.400), 1 Double, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 10 Runs, 5 RBIs, 6 SBs
Overall: .366/.442/.551 with 6 HRs and 31 SBs
What’s Up: Ho hum. Another week, another time to pencil Trout in the Hot Prospect list. Trout’s numbers are just unreal for an 18 year old. He’s showing advanced knowledge of the zone, a great ability to read the pitcher for jumps, and great fielding. Trout has yet to allow an error and has 5 OF assists on the season. He has only grounded into 1 DP for the season. Trout was recently selected to be the starting CF for the MWL Summer All-Star Classic, an honor he richly deserves. So far, the Angels have not been rushing him through the system. They’ve waited to see how the league has adapted to him and how he has continued to adjust. But, we, at AngelsWin.com believe that a mid-season promotion is in order for Trout and then local fans can have a chance to see him at Rancho.
6. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
What’s Up: The combination of the 2009 draft and the 2010 draft is going to leave the Angels with a plethora of young talent that will fill up the parent club. At the lower levels, the Angels are filled with very young but very talented players. Skaggs is one of those players. Still only 18, the left-hander is dominating the opposition, most of who are several years older than him. He is showing outstanding control with just 10 walks on the season and over 1K per IP. Recently named a reserve player for the MWL Summer All-Star Classic, the Angels are still being cautious with him in terms of his pitch count. There is no need to rush him. And, the Angels want to build up his arm strength to handle the duties of pitching across a whole season. But, Skaggs, along with Chatwood, Martinez-Mesa, and Richards, are part of a wave of young pitching talent that will produce at the Major League level.
7. Luis Jimenez, 3B, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
What’s Up: Recently promoted to Rancho, Jimenez was leading the MWL in several categories. After missing all of 2009 with an injury, we weren’t surprised to see him promoted after showing that he had recovered. At Rancho, Jimenez has been batting 5th, behind Gabriel Jacobo, which has given him plenty of good pitches to hit. He’s adjusting to the new league very well. Defensively, he’s committed only 1 error at Rancho, and 8 overall between both leagues. He’s turned 15 DPs. Offensively, we would like to see more power develop, and, we believe it will as he continues to recover from last year and as he continues to get his rhythm back. The interesting question will be, though, what happens if or when Dillon Baird recovers from his injury. Prior to his injury, Baird was converting into a 3B at Rancho. With both Jimenez and Baird playing well there, an interesting positional battle may develop.
8. Jean Segura, 2B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 13/38 (.342), 0 Doubles, 2 Triples, 0 HR, 6 Runs, 10 RBIs, 5 SBs
Overall: .293/.346/.396 with 2 HRs and 24 SBs
What’s Up: Segura got off to a slow start on the season, but has really been coming on as of late. The speed is there; he’s only been caught twice on the season and is third in the league for SBs. The power is developing, and he’s been driving in runs. Defensively, he’s only committed 6 errors and has turned 31 DPs while posting a .978 FLD%. Offensively, Segura is walking a bit more than last year, which is an improvement. And, it hasn’t come at the expense of too many strikeouts (he has a 32:20 K:BB ratio). While we would like to see an improvement in that, we believe that it will continue to happen as he matures as a hitter and adjusts more to the league. Recently named as a reserve player to the MWL All-Star Summer Classic, Segura is definitely part of the next wave of Angels MIF star prospects.
9. Hank Conger, C, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 10/31 (.323), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 5 Runs, 5 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: .278/.368/.424 with 4 HRs and 0 SBs
What’s Up: The power isn’t where we’d like to see it with Conger, but, the plate discipline is. Conger has a perfect 1:1 ratio for K:BB (both at 23 a piece). This season he is torching right-handers to the tune of an 875 OPS, but, in 41 ABs is struggling against southpaws, posting a measly 559 OPs. Defensively, he has a 981 Fielding Percentage and has thrown out 15 of 51 base runners (29%). He has yet to allow any passed balls on the season in 33 games behind the dish. Overall, Conger is on track developmentally, and still rates as a highly desirable switch hitting catcher.
10.*(tie) Michael Kohn, RHP, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
What’s Up: When making the Hot Prospect List, it’s hard to give a lot of consideration to relievers on a week-to-week basis. That’s because one bad game can greatly skew their stats. But, as fans of the parent club can attest, relievers play an integral role in determining the outcome of the game. So, to give some relievers a more proper context, when we present relievers in the Hot Prospect List, we will present their stats based on their past 10 games to give more context to their numbers.
Since joining the Bees, Kohn has appeared in 8 games. In 6 of those games, he’s been just filthy, shutting down the opposition. In 2 of those games, he has allowed solo shot homeruns—the first homeruns he’s allowed all season. Considering the offensive nature of the league, that’s not at all surprising—balls can really fly in the PCL. With the recent announcement that the Angels signed reliever Daniel Cabrera and assigned him to Double-A Arkansas, we at AngelsWin.com are left to wonder if a promotion could be in store for Kohn soon. We believe that he is more than capable of being a Major League reliever this year and that the Angels could use a pitcher like Kohn who can generate high strikeout rates.
10.*(tie) Jordan Walden, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
What’s Up: As another reliever, Walden’s stats are presented based on his last 10 games. In order to find the last game where Walden has given up an earned run, we’d have to go back nearly a month to May 13th, when he gave up 2 earned runs in 2.0 IP. In that game, he gave up 5 hits, or more than half of all the hits he’s allowed in his past 10 games. Taking away that one poor performance, and Walden has been pitching on fire. With the recent announcement that the Angels signed Daniel Cabrera and assigned him to Double-A Arkansas, we at AngelsWin.com have to wonder if a promotion is in order for Walden, especially if Kohn is promoted as discussed above.