Halos' Bullpen Depth

For those of you who've looked at the screen recently and thought, "where did this guy come from?", you're not alone.  I've been following the Angels' minor league system religiously for two years now, and I'm having a tough time keeping all of the Halos' arms straight. So, in an effort to impose some order on the chaos, I put together an organizational depth chart reaching down to AA. All links go to player pages on www.thebaseballcube.com, which I like because they include college stats. Hope this helps.

Angels

Brian Fuentes - 5 IP, 7.20 ERA, 6 K/2 BB
Scot Shields - 5 IP. 7.20 ERA, 2 K/5 BB
Jose Arredondo - 6 IP, 6.00 ERA, 7 K/2 BB
Kevin Jepsen - 4.2 IP, 19.29 ERA, 1 K/5 BB
Justin Speier - 3.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 6 K/1 BB
Jason Bulger - 3.0 IP, 18.00 ERA, 3 K/3 BB
Rafael Rodriguez - 3.0 IP, 6.00 ERA, 1 K/2 BB
Rich Thompson - 1.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 K/1 BB
Daniel Davidson - 1.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 K/1 BB

You know the story - as a unit they're underperforming and therefore overworked. The new blood has helped. Davidson pitched well in his debut, though his peripherals in AAA don't inspire a ton of confidence. Thompson looks good so far, so he may survive the next roster shakeup. They're giving the old guard a chance to pull it together: Arredondo's peripherals are ok, so he should be fine, but Fuentes', Shields' and Jepsen's ability to regain their command may be the key to the Halos' season.

AAA Bees

Fernando Rodriguez - Age, 23 - 10.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 5 K/6 BB
Francisco Rodriguez - Age, 26 - 8.2 IP, 1.04 ERA, 6 K/4 BB
Matt Wilhite - Age, 27 - 7.2 IP, 4.70 ERA, 4 K/ 1 BB
Jeremy Hill - Age, 31 - 4.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 4 K/ 3 BB
Jailen Peguero - Age, 28 - 4.2 IP, 13.50 ERA, 7 K/3 BB
Robert Mosebach - Age, 24 - 2.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 K/ 0 BB
Eddie McKiernan - Age, 20 - 4.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1 K/1 BB
Sammy Leon - Age, 23 - 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 K/0 BB

Francisco Rodriguez made his first start last night since 2007, going 3 strong innings for the Bees. It looks like he's getting stretched out for more starting work either with Salt Lake or the Halos. I'm only guardedly optimistic about him because his K/BB ratio is weak and he shows just moderate groundball tendencies; that said, he's also recorded outs consistently over the past two years, so he could be ok.

Fernando Rodriguez has a great April ERA, but still looks very raw. The same can be said for Jeremy Hill, who struggled in AA before last week's promotion.

Mosebach, McKiernan and Leon cruised through their first couple of of AAA innings after being called up when the Halos poached Thompson, Davidson and Wood. Mosebach is a pitch to contact guy who  gets his outs on the ground - he might make a decent long man. McKiernan is a live-armed prospect who just turned 20 and jumped all the way from Rancho. He had a great spring training and start with the Quakes. It's doubtful he'll help the big league club any time soon, but he's one to keep an eye on. Leon shined with the Quakes earlier this month, with 6 K's in 5.2 innings, and looked real good getting his first AAA win last night. He's battled control problems in the past, so he still has something to prove in the minors before he can make the jump.

AA Travs

Bobby Cassevah - Age, 23 - 7.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 5 K/5 BB, 4.33 GO/AO
Bryan Rembisz - Age, 23 - 6.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 K/1 BB, 6.50 GO/AO
Chad Blackwell - Age, 26 - 5.2 IP, 17.47 ERA, 7 K/1 BB
Marco Albano - Age, 25 - 5.1 IP, 8.44 ERA, 6 K/3 BB
David Herndon - Age, 23 - 7.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 K/1 BB, 1.83 GO/AO
Barrett Browning - Age, 24 - 7.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 9 K/3 BB, 1.20 GO/AO
Ryan Brasier - Age, 21 - 1.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 K/2 BB
Jordan Walden - Age, 21 - 13.2 IP, 3.95 ERA, 12 K/8 BB, .79 GO/AO

The Trav's relief corp has had a fine April with the exception of a couple of disastrous outings from Blackwell and Albano. Cassevah, Rembisz, Herndon and Browning have all done a good job at keeping the ball on the ground. Browning has the K-rate and K/BB ratio to really be interesting, but he also has a history of leaving a lot of cookies over the plate, so it would be prudent to give him some time in AAA to see if he can keep the ball in the park. Ryan Brasier just came up to replace Mosebach - he's 21 and looks good so far, so he might be interesting. While none of these guys have attracted a lot of attention, they all have the potential to be usable filler this year at the big league level, and possibly more in the future.

I'd like to address one hypothetical currently making it's way around the web: Jordan Walden has the stuff to make a dynamite reliever right now, so there's been some talk of bumping him to the pen in order to get him to the majors this year; but I think that could be a disaster. This is a critical development year for Walden, and denying him the opportunity to work on his slider, change and general command could hurt his ability to return to the rotation next year. The Halos will be desperate through 2010 for high-upside starting pitching in the upper minors, so removing Walden from that pool, even temporarily, would all-to-likely hurt the organization's ability to graduate a big-league starting pitcher for years to come.

What's the take away? We have decent arms at the upper levels, but no true impact guys on the immediate horizon. Prospects who match that profile are still in A-ball - hopefully I'll get a chance to take a look at them later this week. I think our bullpen's best bet is to give Jepsen, Fuentes, Shields, Arredondo, and Bulger some time to clear their heads and straighten out their mechanics in time for May.

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