Monday, April 20, 2015

 

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.

Saturday, April 18, 2015



By Glen McKee, AngelsWin.com Patriot-in-Residence -

Before we get to the meat of this article, I would like to pause for the playing of “God Bless America,” followed by the National Anthem and “Baby Got Back.”  Please rise, remove your hat or wig/weave if you’re wearing one, put your right hand over your heart, and choke an illegal immigrant while these songs play…

OK, back.  Everybody feeling good and patriotic?  Now that we have that out of the way, we need to address whether concession sales should stop during the playing of the National Anthem.  Before offering my impeccable opinion, I need to offer my unimpeachable credential for speaking out on this subject.  First off, I occasionally attend baseball games and therefore have to stand in lines at baseball games.  Secondly, I was in the Navy for 20 goddamned years and I spent plenty of time in what the Navy calls a combat zone, so technically speaking (the best kind of speaking) I’m a combat veteran.

Finally, I now work for the Air Force.  What could be more patriotic than a retired vet still suckling on the government teat?  Therefore, I am obviously qualified to blather on about this, so let’s get to blathering.

Some people are upset (I stole that intro line from Fox News and I’m not paying them a dime for it.   ‘Murica!) that at a recent game, concession stand workers were ordered to keep working while the National Anthem played.  This created a minor upset, for some reason.  It’s been a bad few weeks for Arte Moreno.  First, his handling of the Josh Hamilton situation has been widely questioned.  Now, he has to face the question of whether his workforce is patriotic, and all of this while Arte is still quite obviously Mexican.  Put another log on the fire!

Before I get into whether the non-stoppage for the anthem was right or wrong, let me first offer an amazingly simple solution to the problem:
 
That’s right, a flag lapel pin.  It deflects questions of patriotism like Captain America’s shield deflects bullets.  Have each concessions employee wear two of those (in case one falls off) and it will be impossible to question their patriotism no matter what they do.

OK, back to the question at hand: was it wrong for the workers to be ordered to keep working during the National Anthem?  Short answer: yes.  After the flag pin, nothing is more patriotic in America than commerce.  If I was to make a list of patriotic things in descending order, it would look like this:

1. Flag pins
2. Commerce
3. The actual flag
4. The National Anthem
5. Bacon
6. Boobs
7. Baseball

And so on.  The list is long and quite frankly it gets boring after the three Bs.  Point is, commerce is two whole places above the National Anthem, so commerce obviously overrules it.  That’s preschool math right there, people.  It’s also now on the internet so it has to be true.  If you disagree, you’re a nitwit.  Come at me, bro!

Disrespect to those who disagree aside, take a line-of-sight perspective.  If you can’t see the flag you can’t properly render respect to it.  Now this is patently untrue, but it helps my argument.  If you’re not in sight of the flag and in a business environment, business is more patriotic than the flag.  Look at it from a practical perspective: if they keep serving the customers there’s a chance some of them could get to their seats in time to catch the end of the anthem, and more anthem watchers = more patriotism.  Again, preschool math.

Finally, I should address the excuse proffered by the Angels for keeping them working, that it had to do with safety.  That’s weaksauce, but still a bit true.  The longer the lines get, the more agitated the people in the line get and the harder it is for people to maneuver around them.  It’s a potential hazard and it needs to be mitigated.  Potential hazards decrease patriotism.

Without a doubt, the workers need to keep working during the National Anthem.  Lord knows they don’t need a legitimate reason to slow down in any way.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


By Glen McKee and Nate Trop, AngelsWin.com Columnists - 

The first week of baseball 2015 is in the books and as always, there are several questions facing the Angels:  Will Cron snap out of it?  Will Joyce snap out of it?  How does an opposing pitcher walk Iannetta (do they even scout him)?  And let’s not even get into the questions about Josh Hamilton.
  
All of these are legitimate questions and best left for people who feel like continuing to beat a dead horse.  We PCPers like to focus on more important issues, and right now no issue is more important than whether the bat-flip is an acceptable baseball move, and if so when is it acceptable. 

This question is especially relevant now that Yasiel Puig has announced that he will be cutting back on the bat-flips this year.  Puig said “I want to show American baseball that I’m not disrespecting the game.”  Okey dokey.  With that in mind, what’s up with the bat-flip?  Is it an acceptable part of the game?

Bring on the bat-flips – by Glen McKee

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting somebody complaining about the ever-increasing hypersensitivity (they often use a word that evokes a particular female organ but I’m classier than that) of America.  This is manifest in many ways: trophies for participation, being called out for saying something stupid, calls for more inclusiveness, and myriad other expressions.  Some of those I agree with, some I don’t.  Participation trophies and third-grade graduation ceremonies are the devil, but being a bit more sensitive to other people isn’t a bad thing.  That said, and I can’t believe I’m gonna take the side of (last year) Yasiel Puig, bring on more bat flips.  I love them.

Puig talked about not disrespecting the game.  Cuban, please.  Baseball loves to put itself on a pedestal, but said pedestal in reality is no bigger than the last-place trophies for your kid’s t-ball team.  
Baseball is a grand old game, but it’s not some snooty debutante or a refined English butler (henceforth and forevermore, I shall refer to baseball as Jeeves, to render the respect it deserves).  No, Jeeves is dirty.  That’s why I like it.  It’s like a fart in the elevator or the vodka in the prom punch bowl.  Deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want that dirty Jeeves.  You need that dirty Jeeves.  Without it, baseball would be torture.  Look at how bad pro football is getting as the fun is slowly being siphoned away.  Jeeves shouldn’t go that way.  (And on that note, enough with the jeeves.)

A good bat-flip is one of the best taunts.  The pitcher can throw inside, brush somebody off the plate, and give the batter a frightful stare.  There isn’t much a batter can do, other than to celebrate a little after making the pitcher cry on the inside.  A well-executed bat-flip should be an essential part of a hitter’s repertoire, and I’d love to see Scioscia make practicing it part of the Angels’ daily routine; maybe he could cut out some of the bunt practice, since that’s not working.  (Except for Aybar’s RBI bunt yesterday.  But Aybar is the exception to any rule.)  We already have an expert bat-flipper in Pujols; he could spearhead the training.  Look at this bat-flip:

 photo batflip_zpsoadgxus8.jpg

“Hit me again, Ike, and this time put some stank on it!”  You don’t even have to see a gif to get the full picture.  He’s not even running or jogging, he’s just striding from home plate (not scampering) and he’s silently telling the pitcher that if they were to have a measuring contest (you know what I mean), it wouldn’t even be close.  That’s dirty baseball, and it’s part of what makes the game fun.  
Speaking of dicks, let’s get back to Puig. (I kid.  I don’t really mind him, but he does present an easy target).  Take a look at this bat-flip after a walk-off HR:



That’s pretty tame for him, but it’s a well-earned and well-executed flip.  Beautiful.  Winning the game isn’t enough; you have to rub it in a bit.  It’s like when Conan was asked what is best in life, and he replied (paraphrasing here): “to crush you enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their idiotic fans.”  Wounds heal, but putting a little salt in them will make them hurt for a bit longer.  Bat-flips are the salt in the wound.  I want more of them.  

Save the theatrics for the WWE – by Nathan Trop

Caucasian, please!  I am not one to get caught up in unwritten rules and political correctness.  I don’t mind bunts when a pitcher has a no hitter going, unless it is 10-0 in the 8th, then that’s a bit of a douche move.  It isn’t about showing up the other team’s pitcher as much as it is looking like a total tool bag on the field.  Nothing gives me more joy than when Puig or Pujols make complete asses out of themselves by bat flipping a fly out; serves them right for showboating instead of putting their head down and running.  Showing off just causes vitriol and screams of attention whore, which is exactly what people say about Puig, a famous overzealous bat flipper.  In the last decade of Angels baseball there have been a couple guys that hit monster home runs – Vlad, Trumbo and Torii.  They never sat there and admired their home runs.  They never tossed the bat.  They just started their trot.  

There is no better way to show up a team than blasting one out of the park then trotting around the bases and celebrating with your teammates in the dugout.  Hell, you can even whisper a sweet nothing to them on your way home.  All the showboating that happens in the NFL is absurd.  You could break up a pass or sack the quarterback while being down four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and roided out NFL guy is humping the air, giving a fist pump and giving a team mate a hearty smack on the rear, and I think it should be a penalty every time it happens.  Just get up and get back to work.  Think of hockey, they don’t go give each other hugs after every check in the corner; the goalies don’t do a dance after they make a clutch block.  The only time they celebrate is after a goal and after a win.  That is how baseball should be too.  Score a run, high five your teammates, huge, play a little butt patty cake and get back to the game.

Monday, April 6, 2015



Watch and listen to David Saltzer's interview held at our #AWFanfest15 event in Tempe, AZ, with Angels beat writers Alden Gonzalez (MLB.com), Jeff Fletcher (OC Register) and Mike DiGiovanna (LA Times) as they discuss the Angels, the upcoming 2015 season, their stiffest competition, projections and share behind the scenes stories of the Halos. 

Angels fans, this is a can't miss video you must see.

Enjoy! 



Media Round Table AngelsWin Spring Training Fanfest 2015 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.

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