Monday, July 6, 2015

By Adrian Noche, Minor League Reporter - 

1.) Austin Robichaux, Starting Pitcher, Burlington Bees
Last two starts: 1-0  13.0 IP  0.00 ERA  10 H  2 BB  6 SO  0.92 WHIP
Overall: 7-2  80.1 IP  3.02 ERA  71 H  23 BB  56 SO  1.17 WHIP  .237 BAA

In Robichaux’s last 4 starts, he has only allowed 1 earned run in 25.2 innings pitched (0.35 ERA). You can stretch that two more games and his ERA is still a solid 1.72 in 36.2 innings pitched. Robichaux has thrown 19.2 consecutive scoreless innings. He continued that stretch in his start on Wednesday. Austin threw 7 shutout innings and only gave up 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 batters. Overall, Robichaux lowered his ERA to 3.02 with a WHIP of 1.17 in 80.1 innings pitched this season.

2.) Nate Smith, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
Last two starts: 2-0  14.0 IP  0.64 ERA  6 H  3 BB  9 SO  0.64 WHIP
Overall: 7-4  88.2 IP  2.74 ERA  73 H  25 BB  71 SO  1.11 WHIP  .221 BAA

Although Nate Smith did not have a start this week, he has been on a strong stretch of starts dating back to May 27th. In 6 starts since then (37.2 IP), Smith has an ERA of 1.43 to go along with 25 strikeouts, 9 walks and just 25 hits allowed. Smith’s last start on the 25th saw him go 7.0 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks with 5 strikeouts. Smith has posted great numbers so far this season. His ERA stands at 2.74 with a 1.11 WHIP. He has also posted solid strikeout and walk numbers with a BB9 of 2.5 and SO9 of 7.2. Nate Smith was placed on the temporary inactive list as he will be a part of the USA baseball team in the 2015 Pan-American Games.

3.) Andrew Daniel, 2nd Baseman, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 games: .350 AVG  14 H  5 Doubles  1 Triple  2 HR  0 SB
Overall: .273/.335/.460

Andrew Daniel got a fresh start to the week with a new team. The 2nd baseman from the University of San Diego was promoted from Low-A Burlington to High-A Inland Empire on Monday. Since then, Daniel has been on an absolute tear. In 26 at-bats, Daniel has 9 hits (.346 AVG) with 6 of them going for extra bases ( 4 doubles, 1 triple and a home run). Although Daniel is listed as a second baseman, 5 of Daniels 6 starts with the 66ers came at 3rd base.

4.) Eric Aguilera, 1st Baseman, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 games: .400 AVG  14 H  2 Doubles  0 Triple  1 HR  1 SB
Overall: .314/.368/.491

Eric Aguilera continued to be the best hitter for the 66ers. Aguilera logged 5 multi-hit games this week (.454 AVG) and also slugged 2 doubles (19) and his 9th home run of the season. In 71 games played, Aguilera has a .314/.368/.491 slash line with 20 BBs and 67 SOs in 283 at-bats.

Minor League Affiliate Report

Triple-A Salt-Lake Bees

The Bees went 1-5 since our last prospect report and now have an overall record of 33-51 (14.0 GB). Tyler DeLoach gave up 1 earned run in 6.0 innings (4 H  5 BB  5 SO) on his start Friday before being placed on the temporary inactive list. Drew Rucinski tossed his 6th straight quality start on Wednesday, with 5.0 shutout innings with 7 hits, no walks and 4 strikeouts. Josh Rutledge has a home run in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, with the latter being a part of a 4-hit game. Outfielder, Alfredo Marte, posted his 5th straight multi-hit performance and is batting .442 in his last 10 games (.364 season average).

Double-A Arkansas Travelers

The Travelers opened up the second half of their with a split of a 4-game series with Midland. Chris Ellis pitched a quality start on Saturday, going 5.2 innings with 3 earned runs and 7 strikeouts (8 H  2 BB). 1st baseman, Wade Hinkle, hit 2 home runs this week and has 3 in his last 10 games. His season total stands at 6.

High-A Inland Empire 66ers

The 66ers are 4-2 to since our last prospect hotlist and boast a second-half record of 5-5 (1.0 GB). Victor Alcanta threw 6.0 of 2-run ball on Saturday and only allowed 4 hits and no walks with 7 strikeouts. Sean Newcomb only allowed 1 earned run in his start on Sunday. The southpaw struck out 5 batters while allowing 4 hits, 4 walks and hasn't allowed more than a run in each of his last three starts. Roberto Baldoquin had himself a 4-hit game with 2 doubles on Thursday. Kody Eaves hit his 6th home run of the season this week, and is batting .333 in his past 10 games. Caleb Adams hit his first home run as a 66er on Tuesday.

Low-A Burlington Bees

The Bees of Burlington are currently 4-7 in the second half of their season and sit 6.0 GB first place. Jeremy Rhoades had a two-start week this week. He pitched a total of 12.0 innings and gave up a combined 3 earned runs, 8 hits, 1 walk and struck out 5 batters. 34th round draft pick, Nick Flair, hit his professional home run on Sunday and is currently batting .318 in his first 6 games with the Bees. Zachary Houchins hit his 7th home run of the season on Thursday.

Class-A Short Season Orem Owlz

The Orem Owlz went 5-1 since our last prospect hotlist and currently sit in 1st place with an overall record of 13-5. 3rd round draft pick, Grayson Long, threw 3.0 shutout innings on Thursday and allowed 1 hit and 2 walks with 2 strikeouts. Joe Gatto gave up 3 earned runs, 6 hits and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts in his start on Friday. Taylor Ward hit his second homer of the year on Wednesday. 5th round draft pick, Jared Foster (2nd baseman), is batting .371 with 10 RBIs and 3 stolen bases in his first 8 games of professional baseball. 7th round draft pick, Hutton Moyer (2nd baseman), hit his 2nd home run of the season on Sunday in a 3-hit effort that raised his batting average to .274.

AZL Angels

The AZL Angels are currently in first place with a record of 7-6. 39th round draft pick, Jared Walsh, currently leads the team in batting average at .429 to go along with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run and 11 RBIs. Connor Lillis-White is off to a strong start to the season. The 32nd round draft pick has allowed 2 earned runs, 9 hits and 1 walk with 11 strikeouts in 9.0 innings pitched.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Now that the 2015 Draft is complete, AngelsWin,com is thrilled to catch up with Ric Wilson, the Angels Director of Scouting, to gain greater insights into the most recent group of players to don the Halos uniform. 

Chuck Richter: First off, how do you and your team feel you did in the draft?

Ric Wilson: Well, we feel like we got just what we were looking for.

Chuck Richter: Were you guys zeroing in on Taylor Ward or just a catcher in general for your first pick in the draft?

Ric Wilson: We liked Taylor since last summer. We saw a majority of his games this year.

Chuck Richter: Who do you think was the steal of the draft for you guys?

Ric Wilson: Well, we have a number of guys we are excited about, but Jared Foster from LSU we feel has a chance to impact a game on both sides of the ball.

Chuck Richter: Very good! Who do you feel is the closest to the majors from this draft?

Ric Wilson: Taylor Ward I believe will take off and maneuver through our system fairly quickly. Grayson Long could advance fairly quickly as well.

Chuck Richter: Many question the Angels selection of Ward since they see him as being an all glove, no bat type of guy. He's off to a nice start in Orem with the bat however. Your thoughts on those critics?

Ric Wilson: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And we have ours. We did our work on him, scouted him well we do believe he will hit some and with some power—he controls the zone well. Doesn't punch out a lot. There is more to an offensive player than his batting average. I guess we just look at them a little different than others

Chuck Richter: Kyle Survance Jr. is also off to a nice start in Orem. What can you tell us about this kid?

Ric Wilson: He is very athletic a good combination of speed, hit ability and defense. We do feel he will grow into some power as he matures. He is versatile in the outfield with the ability to play all 3 positions. And he can steal bases.

SlappyUtilityGuy: Hey Ric, I've got a question. I watched the entire draft and wondered if you could advise us on the process with so many young players available. How do you go through your board and say this is our guy at this round with so much talent available? Do you add in the additional background information after the 5-9th rounds by your area scouts? Or, is it by feel and the players you like as a group?

Ric Wilson: We have a process that we use throughout the draft. What we are trying to do is separate players. We use evaluations, medical, psychological, make-up, statistical analysis—it all comes into play as well as the feel that the scout has. It's a long process.

SlappyUtilityGuy: Awesome Thanks!

Ric Wilson: Good question

Chuck Richter: Ric, how close is Dipoto and Scioscia to the decision making during the draft or even prior to the draft in wanting certain kinds of players? Or do they just let you and your staff draft and are hands off?

Ric Wilson: Jerry is in all of our meetings listening to all of our scouts. Mike is a little busy that time of the year and doesn't get involved, but I do speak to him periodically. We have developed the type of player or pitcher that we are looking for and everyone in the room has input, but Jerry ultimately trusts me to make the right decision.

Chuck Richter: Very good. Thank you for that inside info.

Chuck Richter: How excited were you to see Jahmai Jones where you were picking in the 2nd round? What type of player do you see him becoming down the road?

Ric Wilson: I am very excited to have Jam. He is an exciting young player with a huge upside. Strong tools on both sides of the ball. He is very young, 17 years old, and mature beyond his years. He comes from a great family and has tremendous make-up. It will be fun to watch him grow up. He plays very hard and has great energy.

Chuck Richter: How big of a role do analytics play in your draft process? Because it seems you targeted guys with specific tendencies.

Ric Wilson: We definitely use them like many other tools it just helps us separate the players, but it does give us some insight on what type of player we are getting. Most tend to bring whatever they do into the pro game.

Mancini79: How do you evaluate the psychology of a player? Is there a standard process like the NFL Wunderlic test or a formula unique to the Angels?

Ric Wilson: We use various techniques but nothing standard.

Chuck Richter: Ric, give us a few sleepers from this amateur draft. Players that weren't drafted high but you think have a good chance to become solid major leaguers.

Ric Wilson: Jimmy Barnes, Ryan Vega, Sam Pastrone, Kenny Towns, Aaron Rhoades.

Inside Pitch: Ric, what are you feelings on MLB creating a universal world draft? Would that make your work, easier . . . or harder . . . ?

Ric Wilson: I'm not really sure how I feel but if it did it would surely make my job tougher. The United States Canada and Puerto Rico are big enough I couldn't imagine the whole earth wow, but I'm sure we would figure it out.

Chuck Richter: Before we move on to a few questions aside from this past draft, let's get your picks for the following categories from this past 2015 amateur draft.

Chuck Richter: Best Power: Best Contact: Best On-Base Skills: Best Speed: Highest Upside: Best Defender: Best Throwing Arm:--Best Fastball: Best Curveball: Best Slider: Best Changeup: Best Command: Closest to the big leagues:

Ric Wilson: David Fletcher / Kyle Survance , Jared Foster / Jam Jones / Taylor Ward / Nic Flair..... ... Grayson Long, Sam Pastrone, Aaron Rhoades / Grayson Long, Adam Hofacket / Grayson Long and Taylor Ward and Grayson Long

Chuck Richter: Very good, thank you Ric!

Ric Wilson: Missed a few.

Chuck Richter: I can send it to you in email format and you send back. It'll be easier.

Ric Wilson: Nic Flair most power with Jared Foster / contact Fletcher

Ric Wilson: No problem

(Note: we will edit and reformat this with any updates from Ric Wilson)

Chuck Richter: Last draft question. What is your favorite story from the draft, whether this year or since you've been a scouting director that you can share with us? Funny story or heart warming story.

Ric Wilson: I have so many but one that stands out this year getting to know Jam Jones and his family this year and getting him into our system is very special. To know what he has overcome and his ability to deal with it is amazing. To add to that his little sister is 12 and was at the signing at the stadium, she is an equestrian jumper and the triple crown winning jockey was there and she got to me him and take pictures. She was in more awe of him than Trout or Pujols it was pretty funny.

Chuck Richter: Awesome!

Chuck Richter: Just a couple more questions and we'll wrap this up, Ric.

Ric Wilson: Sounds good.

Chuck Richter: Nate Smith -- what do you think of his upside and if the velocity he has shown will play out moving forward?

Ric Wilson: He has starting pitching qualities that are hard to find. Velocity helps but is not the end all. At the end of the day they need to throw multiple pitches for strikes and have the ability to execute them consistently.

Chuck Richter: Which player drafted last year or just in our system (not from this draft class) is one you've been getting great reports on from your scouting/coaching staff?

Ric Wilson: Obviously Newcomb but Chris Ellis RHP from last years draft has had a great year so far.

SlappyUtilityGuy: Ric, with Andrew Heaney stepping up and showing well over his first two major league starts, who else is close to making the jump as a starting pitcher if we were to trade a current starter for a bat?

Ric Wilson: We have some depth. Tropeano with Newcomb and Ellis coming pretty fast along with Nate Smith and Tyler Skaggs will be ready to go next year.

SlappyUtilityGuy: Thanks Ric!

Ric Wilson: You bet.

Chuck Richter: Last question.

Ric Wilson: Ok.

Chuck Richter: Ric, what adjustment has Kaleb Cowart made to have some success in the minors after his promotion to Triple-A? He's hitting exceptionally well there while struggling in High-A and Double-A over the last couple seasons. Was it a coaching change, what has clicked for the young man?

Chuck Richter: His current slash line in Triple-A over 18 games is .321/.409/.554.

Ric Wilson: I'm not sure you can pin it down to one thing—probably a combination of all those things along with maturity but it sure looks like it is starting to click for him. I am glad for him and very proud of him. He is a great young man and no one works harder than he does. We will all take that line. Trust is a big thing for Kaleb.

SlappyUtilityGuy: Very True Ric! That last sentence is huge!

Chuck Richter: Great! Well thank you so much for your time this evening Ric. It is greatly appreciated! We love this kind of first hand information.

SlappyUtilityGuy: Thanks Ric! Have a great evening!

Chuck Richter: Please tell Eddie Bane if you see him or talk to him that we at say hello. He's a great old friend of ours.

Ric Wilson: Thanks to you. I really like to share what we have going on in Halo land. Thanks to everyone, have a great rest of the evening.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

By Adrian Noche, Minor League Reporter - 

1.) Taylor Ward, Catcher, Orem Owlz

Taylor Ward was the Angels top draft pick in 2015, having been chosen 26th overall in what the vast majority has called a reach for the catcher. Ward is known for his defense, being given a plus-plus rating for his glove and arm by numerous scouting reports. His bat is what will make or break the Angels justification in their first round selection. In Ward’s final year with Fresno State, the catcher had 7 homeuns 14 doubles and 42 RBIs to go along with a batting average of .304. Ward also walked (35) more times than he struck out (34) in 59 games played. After a slow 0-8 start with Orem, Ward has been scorching hot. In his last 5 games, Ward is 13-for-21 (.619) with a double, triple and a home run. Ward has also walked 4 times with only 1 strikeout. Ward has also thrown out 5-of-13 base stealers and has stolen 2 bases himself. So far in the Owlz game against Ogden, Ward has reached base 4 times (3 walks and 1 hit).

2.) Kyle Survance Jr., Outfielder, Orem Owlz

Kyle Survance Jr. was taken by the Angels in the 8th round of the 2015 draft. In three seasons with The University of Houston, Survance stole 82 bases to go along with a .302/.389/.382 slash line in 176 collegiate games. Survance has been arguable the best hitter thus far among the entire 2015 draft class. Survance is currently batting .457 to go along with 5 doubles, 1 triple and 2 home runs (.739 SLG). Survance has a SO:BB ratio of 4:3 and 9 stolen bases in 12 attempts.

3.) David Fletcher, Shortstop, Orem Owlz

David Fletcher was drafted in the 6th round out of Loyola Marymount. Fletcher is seen as a glove first shortstop but managed to swing the bat well during his two years at Loyola. In 111 collegiate games, Fletcher hit for a slash line of .318/.374/.395 with 31 stolen bases in 38 attempts. In those 111 games, Fletcher struck out just 40 times and walked 36. Fletcher has been on fire since being drafted by the Angels. So far in Orem, Fletcher is .353 with 4 stolen bases. You can expect that average to climb as he is currently 4-for-6 with two doubles in Orem’z 20-2 romping over Ogden.

Minor League Affiliate Report

Triple-A Salt-Lake Bees

The Salt Lake Bees went 3-3 since our last prospect hotlist and own an overall record of 32-46 (13.5 GB). Drew Rucinski threw his 5th straight quality start on Friday, giving up 2 earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched with 8 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. Alex Yarbrough logged 3rd multi-hit game in games, going 2-for-4 with a double on Monday. Yarbrough is batting .366 in his last 8 games. Kaleb Cowart has refused to cool off since his call-up to Salt Lake. Despite Kubitza’s return to the Bees, Cowart remained on the roster and got the start at designated hitter on Monday. Cowart went 2-for-4 and 2 RBIs in the Bees 7-2 win for Albuquerque. Cowart is now has a slash line of .321/.409/.554 in 18 games with Salt Lake.

Double-A Arkansas Travelers

The Travelers went 4-3 in their last 7 games and have a 3-3 record for the second half of the season (1.0 GB). Nate Smith continued to dominate the opposition with 7.0 shutout innings thrown on Thursday. Smith only allowed 3 hits and 2 walks to go along with 5 strikeouts. Smith’s season ERA now sits at 2.74 with a WHIP of 1.11 in 88.2 innings pitched. Wade Hinkle has 3 home runs in his last 10 games and leads the team with 6 on the season. Outfielder, Mike Fish, was called up to the Travelers on Saturday and is 1-for-2 with a run scored in his first 2 games in Double-A.

High-A Inland Empire 66ers

The 66ers are currently 1-3 in the second half of the season and 2.0 GB first place. Victor Alcantara struck out 8 batters in a start where he gave up just 2-earned runs in 5.0 innings pitched (4 H  1 BB). Alcantara now has 72 SO’s in 69.1 innings pitched this season (32 BB). Sean Newcomb pitched 5.0 innings on Sunday, striking out 6 batters while giving up just 1 earned runs, 5 hits and 2 walks. Newcomb has now eclipsed the 100 strikeout mark for the season with 101 in 77.1 innings pitched. Outfielder, Caleb Adams was called up to Inland Empire on Saturday. Adams is 2-for-6 with a triple in 2 games so far in High-A. Second baseman, Andrew Daniel, was called up to the 66ers on Monday.

Low-A Burlington Bees

The Bees of Burlington are currently 3-2 in the second half of their season and sit 1.0 GB first place. Austin Robichauz has been rolling as of late. In his start on Friday, the starter went 6.0 complete without giving up an earned run with 4 hits, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. Austin’s season ERA is now at 3.31 and has a record of 7-2 in 73.1 innings pitched this season. Jeremy Rhoades lowered his ERA to 2.80 on the season after tossing 6.0 shutout innings on Monday (4 H  1 BB  3 SO). For the second consecutive time, Jake Jewell pitched 5.0 shutout innings, only allowing 1 hit and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts. Jewell currently has 61 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 51.0 innings pitched.

Class-A Short Season Orem Owlz

The Orem Owlz are currently tied for first place with a record of 8-4 this season. The Angels’ 2nd round pick in 2014, Joe Gatto, pitched 5.0 solid innings on Sunday. Gatto only allowed 1 earned run, 2 hits and 1 walk with 2 strikeout against Ogden. The Angels 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft, Grayson Long, has yet to allow a hit in 3 innings pitched so far this season (1 BB 2 SO). 3rd baseman, Michael Pierson (Round 21 2015), is hitting .381 with 3 doubles and a home run in 10 games with the Owlz this season. Outfielder, Ranyelmy Mendoza, has 4 home runs in 10 games for the Owlz.

AZL Angels

The AZL Angels are currently in first place with a record of 5-3. Top prep high-schooler Dalton Blumenfeld (Round 12 2015) made his professional debut on Monday. The catcher went 1-for-4 with a triple and RBI. Crusito Mieses pitched well on Monday, with 5.0 scoreless innings while only giving up 3 hits, 2 walks with 2 strikeouts. 2nd rounder, Jahmai Jones, has cooled off after a 4-for-8 start to the season. The outfielder is now just 1 for his last 20 at-bats.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

By Robert Cunningham, Staff Writer - 

Author’s Note: Two weeks after this was written, Alden Gonzalez reported that the Angels are “dangling” C.J. Wilson in trade talks. This lends credence to the idea that the Angels believe Andrew Heaney is ready to handle a rotation spot and provide similar production to Wilson.

If Jerry Dipoto decides to go for a young power bat, he may be put in the position of having to take a current 25-man roster asset and use that to acquire one or more pieces that can then be used in trade for said hitter(s).

One such piece is C.J. Wilson.

C.J. has approximately $11MM remaining on his contract this year and $20MM in 2016. There is a high probability that the Angels will want to trade Wilson before next season (his walk year) anyway so it makes some sense to shop him.

If you believe in WAR’s general predictive value, of a player’s worth, and expect Wilson to be worth about 3 WAR over the remainder of his contract, that would put his total value at approximately $22MM-28MM.

Even if you don’t believe in WAR you can simply look at a player like Jake Peavy who is the same age as C.J. and notice that he received 2/$24MM last offseason in the free agent market.

Because Wilson is a lefty (slightly higher demand) his net value, over the remainder of his contract, would appear to be about negative $5MM ($26MM - $31MM).

It would appear that the Angels, in order to pick up a good prospect or two, might need to absorb some of C.J.’s salary (preferably from this year only) to facilitate a trade.

Wilson has been strong against left-handed hitters this year with a solid 18.2% K-BB% and a 0.87 WHIP. Against right-handed hitters he has not fared nearly as well with a 10.6% K-BB% and a 1.27 WHIP.

However the Nationals are one of several teams that have not fared well against LHH’s in 2015. So far this year the Nationals pitching staff has fared poorly with a K-BB% of 9.4% which ranks 21st in the Majors.

In fact only one of their starters, Gio Gonzalez, is a LHP and he hasn’t performed well at all this year against LHH’s.

This idea may be a non-starter simply because the Nationals currently have Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister on the DL. However both have been struggling and it is a real possibility that they trade or DFA Fister who has been abysmal versus LHP this year.

Acquiring Wilson would allow the Nationals to front a full, brand label rotation and would improve their overall numbers versus lefty hitters. It could literally put them head and shoulders above every other rotation in baseball.

Additionally the Nationals are flirting with the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2015 so if the Angels ate some, or all, of the remainder of C.J.’s salary this year ($11MM) they would be able to pull a good prospect in trade.

Please keep in mind that trade deadline prices are much higher than offseason prices for players. Hypothetically Wilson as a trade deadline move only, probably has somewhere between $5MM-$10MM in surplus value to a team in need.

So who would the Angels want from the Nationals?

If the Angels do use C.J. as part of a larger trade to net a young bat like Kyle Schwarber or Khris Davis, for instance, they would very likely want a good, young pitcher.

Fortunately the Nationals have a deep system of pitching, particularly RHP.

Any of the following might be available in the right deal/package: Reynaldo Lopez, A.J. Cole, Joe Ross, Austin Voth, Aaron Barrett, Jefry Rodriguez, Felipe Rivero, Nicholas Piveta, Sammy Solis, Jake Johansen, John Simms, and Taylor Jordan.

Out of that group a Wilson trade might, if packaged properly, net Reynaldo Lopez but it will likely take more than C.J.

Beyond that Joe Ross, Austin Voth, Aaron Barrett, Felipe Rivero (LHP), Sammy Solis, and John Simms seem like the most likely candidates for a Wilson trade.

If I had to place some money down I’d think that C.J. could net Joe Ross or Austin Voth with Sammy Solis as an added player, assuming the Angels eat some of Wilson’s 2015 salary.

Notably trading C.J. would almost certainly clear out close to $20MM (depending on the trade negotiations) for 2016 and might clear out a bit of cash this year in 2015.

Payroll, for this year, would likely stay relatively neutral or might decrease based on cash considerations involved with a Wilson trade.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

By Adrian Noche, Minor League Reporter - 

1.) Chris Ellis, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
Last two starts: 1-0  12.0 IP  0.75 ERA  10 H  3 BB  7  SO  1.08 WHIP
Overall: 5-5  74.2 IP  3.38 ERA  63 H  23 BB  77 SO  1.15 WHIP  .224 BAA

Chris Ellis was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 First Year Player Draft out of Mississippi. Ellis, who was converted to starting pitching his final year at Mississippi, saw his draft stock skyrocket after posting a strong 2014 campaign where he had a 10-3 record with an ERA of 2.55. Ellis struggled in his first taste of professional baseball with Orem but has been dominant his second time around. Ellis started out with Inland Empire and posted an ERA of 3.88, WHIP of 1.16 and 70 strikeouts in 62.2 IP (20 BB). This led to Ellis’ promotion to Arkansas and in his first two starts, Ellis has only allowed a single run in 12.0 innings pitched. Ellis is yet another member of the 2014 draft class that has been incredibly successful thus far.

2.) Nate Smith, Starting Pitcher, Arkansas Travelers
Last two starts: 1-0  13.2 IP  2.04 ERA  8 H  1 BB  5 SO  0.65 WHIP
Overall: 6-4  81.2 IP  2.98 ERA  70 H  23 BB  66 SO  1.14 WHIP  .228 BAA

Nate Smith posted his 5th straight start in which he pitched at least 5 innings and gave up no more than 3 earned runs on Saturday. Smith went 7.0 complete innings while only allowing 1 earned run, 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. In this stretch of games, Smith has pitched 30.2 innings with an ERA of 1.76 and WHIP of 0.65. On the season, Smith’s ERA is down to 2.98 and a SO9 of 7.3 and BB9 of 2.5.

3.) Kaleb Cowart, 3rd Baseman, Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 games: .303 AVG  10 H  3 Doubles  2 Triples  1 HR  0 SB
Overall: .251/.335/.419

After Kaleb Cowart’s struggles in High-A, the Angels responded by promoting him all the way up to Triple-AAA. Cowart took the promotion and ran with it. So far with the Bees, Cowart is hitting a slash line of .303/.385/.606 in 33 at-bats with 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 1 home run. Cowart also has 5 walks in his last 4 games. Cowart always had all the tools and potential to be the all-star third baseman the Angels thought he would be. Let’s cross our fingers and hope he keeps it up.

Minor League Affiliate Report 

Triple-A Salt-Lake Bees

The Bees broke their 7 game losing streak with a win on Sunday and ended the week with a record of 1-6. The Bees have an overall record 28-43 and are 11.5 GB first place. Drew Rucinski posted a quality start on Saturday, pitching 5.0 innings while giving up 2 earned runs, 3 hits and 3 walks with 1 strikeout. Cory Rasmus gave up 2 hits, 2 earned runs and struck out 2 in his rehab appearance (0.2 IP). CJ Cron homered twice this week, and has a slash line of .323/.364/.613 in 62 at-bats with Salt Lake.

Double-A Arkansas Travelers

The Travelers went 4-2 and played 3 doubleheaders this week. Their record sits at 35-33 this season. Michael Brady started his 3rd consecutive game, giving up 5 hits, 1 earned run and no walks in 6.2 innings pitched with 4 strikeouts. Chris O’Grady continued to be dominant in the bullpen and has a season ERA of 1.61 in 28.0 innings pitched. Greg Mahle earned his second save of the season on Saturday. After a rough start after his promotion to Arkansas, Austin Adams has managed to lower his ERA to 3.18 and has struck out 19 batters in 11.1 innings pitched (8 BB).

High-A Inland Empire 66ers

The 66ers went 3-4 this week and have an overall record of 34-35. Ryan Etsell pitched a dominant game on the 13th, tossing 7.0 shutout innings while giving up 2 hits and no walks with 12 strikeouts. Sean Newcomb earned the victory on Sunday, pitching 5.0 shutout innings while giving up 3 hits and 2 walks with 8 strikeouts. Newcomb has 95 strikeouts in 72.1 innings pitched this season across Low-A and High-A. Roberto Baldoquin hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday.

Low-A Burlington Bees

The Burlington Bees went 2-4 this week and have an overall record of 35-34. Austin Robichaux pitched 6.2 shutout innings on Saturday, striking out 8 while allowing just 4 hits and no walks. Robichaux is unbeaten in his last 8 starts and has now won his last five decisions. His last loss came on May 5 against Beloit. The 22-year-old is tied for third in the Midwest League with six wins.. Jeremy Rhoades pitched just 2.0 innings on Sunday, allowing no runs and 3 hits while striking out 1. Jake Jewell pitched 5 shutout innings on Thursday, striking out 7 while only allowing 2 hits and no walks. Eduardo Paredes’ season ERA sits at 1.93 after a 1.1 inning scoreless outing on Saturday. Paredes has 40 strikeouts in 28.0 innings.

Class-A Short Season Orem Owlz

The Owlz started the season strong after taking 3 of 4 games in a 4-game series against Ogden. 2nd round draft pick, Joe Gatto, pitched the season opener for Orem and gave up 3 earned runs in 4.0 innings pitched (5 H  2 BB  5 SO). Eduar Lopez was strong in his start on Friday, striking out 6 in 5.1 innings pitched while allowing 1 earned run, 2 hits and 2 walks. 1st baseman, Steven Mateo, has a hit in each of the Owlz’s first four games and is batting .438 on the young season. Hutton Moyer, the Angels 7th round draft pick, is 3-for-9 in 3 games with 2 doubles, 2 RBI’s, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.

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