It is with great pleasure that AngelsWin.com presents another Hot Prospect List for the Angels. In our weekly column, we take a look at who has been hot down on the farm. Unlike our annual Top-50 Prospects, our Hot Prospects List is not ranked based on the ceiling of the prospect or the likelihood of him achieving that ceiling. Instead, it is weekly snapshot that reflects the players’ accomplishments based on their performances against their competition. This year, AngelsWin.com will be presenting the Hot Prospect List every Friday throughout the Minor League season.
1. Brandon Decker, 1B, Short Season Orem Owlz Past 10 Games: 19/35 (.543), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 6 HRs, 13 Runs, 19 RBIs, 0 SBs Overall: .347/.434/.669 with 10 HRs and 0 SBs
What’s Up: Brandon Decker has been crushing the Pioneer League in August. In his past 10 games, he has posted a monstrous 1.819 OPS! Drafted out of Valdosta State in Georgia in the 21st round this year, Decker has been converted from the outfield to first base. His footwork at first base needs some refinement, but he is making the plays and has posted a .990 Fielding % on the year. Listed at 6’3” and 235, he’s a big guy, but runs a bit better than most guys his size. On the season, he’s only grounded into 2 double plays. At 22, Decker is a bit old for the Pioneer League. And, with the surplus of Angels prospects at first base, it will be much harder for Decker to jump a level, especially over Casey Haerther. Still, Decker is a source of big power and someone that Angels fans should get to know as he works his way up the organizational ladder. Decker was a unanimous first-team All-America selection, receiving the honor from all three organizations. The left-handed hitting slugger batted .420 and belted 21 home runs during the 2010 season. He drove in 79 runs and scored 81 runs. He also had 21 doubles and two triples among his 87 hits. He finished the year with an .858 slugging percentage and a .560 on-base percentage. He was named the Gulf South Conference’s East Division Player of the Year.
2. Andrew Heid, OF, Single A Orem Owlz Past 10 Games: 19/42 (.364), 1 Double, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 11 Runs, 7 RBIs, 0 SBs Overall: .357/.431/.484 with 6 HRs and 7 SBs
What’s Up: Heid can hit. And if he can hit, hit, the Angels will have to find a way to get his bat into the lineup. Following on Dillon Baird’s batting title last year, Heid is presently third in the Pioneer League with a good shot to win another Batting Title for Orem. His On-Base Percentage is second in the League, and he has a remarkable plate discipline with 27 walks and 29 Ks on the season. Drafted as a fourth year senior out of college, Heid is a bit old for the Pioneer League. Just like the Angels did with Baird, AngelsWin.com won’t be surprised if the Angels have Heid skip Cedar Rapids next year and place him in Rancho where he can face more age-appropriate competition.
3. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
What’s Up: Chatwood is putting a strong finish on his Minor League season. He’s well positioned to be one of the Angels’ top pitching prospects and well positioned to be in line to be the highest Minor League pitcher on the Angels’ depth chart for 2011. With Joel Pineiro’s contract expiring at the end of 2011, Chatwood would seem to be the pitcher in line to take over that spot in the rotation and AngelsWin.com believes that he will do a good job when he arrives in Anaheim. While Chatwood’s strikeouts are down, he’s also pitching more efficiently, using fewer pitches to get more batters out. That will help him be more successful in the Majors as it will allow him to pitch deeper into games and earn more wins.
What’s Up: Jeremy Berg is another relief pitcher that Angels fans should keep an eye on. Signed as an undrafted free agent, Berg has been on the move this year, going from low Single-A Cedar Rapids all the way up to Double-A Arkansas (a total of 3 stops). Along the way, he’s gotten better, inducing nearly twice as many groundballs as he has air outs. He was just named the Texas League’s Pitcher of the Week for the week ending on August 15th, and should be in contention for Pitcher of the Month honors. At the rate he’s moving through the system, Berg could be a force in the Angels’ bullpen by the middle of 2011.
5. Jean Segura, 2B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 17/40 (.425), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 6 Runs, 7 RBIs, 1 SB Overall: .311/.359/.460 with 9 HRs and 41 SBs
What’s Up: For the first time in a few years, Segura has played healthy for the entire season to date. And, the Angels are liking what they are seeing from him. At 20 years old, Segura has power and speed. Abe Flores, Director of Player Development for the Angels has described him as a 5-tool player. He can hit anywhere in the lineup, from leading off to driving in runs in the heart of the order. With Amarista ahead of him at Double-A, and similar in nature (but smaller in stature), it will be interesting to see how the Angels decide to develop both players. Most likely one will get moved to the OF to get their bats into the Major Leagues, with Segura being the more likely of the two.
6. Andrew Romine, SS, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 17/39 (.436), 4 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 8 Runs, 1 RBI, 1 SB Overall: .286/.376/.365 with 2 HRs and 17 SBs
What’s Up: Romine is a local player out of Trabuco Hills High School. A plus-defender, Romine has worked hard to get his hitting to match his glove. Romine may not have the range of Aybar, but he makes all the plays that a team would want out of a shortstop with a solid arm. He’s posted a .973 Fielding % this year in Arkansas, which, given the condition of some of the fields in the Texas League is good. Offensively, Romine has improved his plate discipline a bit and is on pace to establish a new career high in walks. It would be interesting to see if the Angels give Romine some time at second base and/or third base to make him more valuable as a utility player.
7. Jeremy Moore, OF, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 13/37 (.352), 3 Doubles, 3 Triples, 1 HR, 7 Runs, 7 RBIs, 2 SBs
Overall: .303/.359/.469 with 12 HRs and 20 SBs
What’s Up: Jeremy Moore has a lot of tools. He has a good mix of speed and power and has a good arm. He can play all three OF positions. Since the All-Star Break, he has been on fire, posting a .351/.394/.571 line in 41 games. He’s hit as many HRs and stolen nearly as many bases as he did in the first half but in far fewer games. Strikeouts are still a big concern for him, but he is getting better at that year by year. Next year, Moore is poised to post some big offensive numbers in the PCL. Whether he projects as a good 4th outfielder or a solid corner like GA (with a bit more speed and a better arm) will depend a lot on his ability to master plate discipline.
8. Orangel Arenas, RHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
What’s Up: On August 17th, Orangel took a hard-luck loss giving up 1 unearned run when the Quakes were shutout. But, fore the month, he’s posted a 0.45 ERA in 20.0 IP. Orangel is an extreme ground ball pitcher, in the mold of Joel Pineiro, generating a 2:1 groundball ratio on the season. The walks are a bit of a concern—he’s giving up over 4 walks per 9 IP, but, as with his other stats, that number is trending down this month. Arenas doesn’t project as a top of the order starter, but, he does project as a more than serviceable #4 or #5 if he improves his control and maintains his ability to generate ground balls.
9. Mark Trumbo, RF/1B, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees Past 10 Games: 12/39 (.308), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HRs, 13 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs Overall: .292/.359/.553 with 26 HRs and 3 SBs
What’s Up: Trumbo in August has been playing like a Major Leaguer. He’s drawn nearly as many walks as strikeouts for the month (16:19) and established a new career high in walks with 50. If the season ended today, he’d have his highest career on-base percentage (.363), slugging percentage (.557) and OPS (.917). AngelsWin.com is not sure how much more Trumbo has left to prove, but at this point, it’s looking like Trumbo won’t get any time in Anaheim until September. Hopefully he will get the majority of starts when he arrives so that he can get as much out of the limited opportunity as he can.
10. Michael Wing, 3B, Single A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 12/33 (.364), 4 Doubles, 0 Triples, 1 HR, 3 Runs, 4 RBIs, 0 SBs Overall: .277/.323/.426 with 6 HRs and 2 SBs
What’s Up: Wing’s best asset may be his versatility. Although he is listed as a third baseman, this year he has seen time at first base, second base, shortstop, third base, right field and as the team’s DH. While his range is not as great as an elite prospect at any of the positions, he’s only committed 9 errors on the season and makes all the routine plays. His versatility will be used as he moves up the ranks and adjusts to other prospects coming through the system and could be a useful role player for the Angels long-term.
There were a lot of great performances this week worth talking about—far more than just a Top-10 list could accommodate. Here are some other notable performances for the week:
1. John Hellweg, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
What’s Up: Walks are a problem, but the low number of hits and high number of strikeouts are promising. As Hellweg master’s the zone more, the walks should go down and the Ks should increase. At 6’9”, Hellweg attacks the zone with a downward angle and has only allowed 1 HR the entire season.
2. Tyler Kehrer, LHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 0.84 ERA, 10.2 IP, 5 H, 8 BB, 13 K, 1.22 WHIP Overall: 5-4, 0 Saves, 4.62 ERA, 99.1 IP, 90 H, 63 BB, 90 K, 1.54 WHIP, .244 BAA
What’s Up: Even with all left-handers traded in July, the Angels still have several quality left-handed arms in the system. While walks are a bit of a concern for Kehrer for the season overall, since the All-Star Break, he’s only allowed 19 walks in 53.2 IP while striking out 47.
3. Jose Jimenez, C, Single A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 15/34 (.441), 3 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 6 Runs, 8 RBIs, 0 SBs Overall: .238/.324/.349 with 5 HRs and 2 SBs
What’s Up: A left-handed hitting catcher (throws right), Jimenez is working his way up the depth chart. This season, he’s thrown out 26% of opposing base runners. He’s shown good plate discipline, posting a 50:36 K:BB ratio.
What’s Up: Since being converted from a starter to a reliever at the end of July, Diemer has been pitching much better. He’s been able to throw with more power in shorter bursts, which has helped him generate a lot of Ks. As a reliever, the Angels’ 6th round draft pick in 2010 has been able to go 1 or 2 innings at a time, but will need to refine his secondary pitches as he faces tougher competition.
What’s Up: But for one bad inning on August 18th, Scholl would have made the Top-10 Hot Prospect List this week. Still, like most relievers, it’s better to see their numbers by looking at their past 10 games. And, even with that bad inning, Scholl is generating some impressive numbers. He is walking far fewer batters than he has in the past. And, in the hitter friendly Cal League, he has only allowed 1 HR on the season.