It's been a nutty week for the Angels' farm system. The promotions of Anthony Ortega and Matt Palmer kicked off a conveyor-belt like series of transactions that landed Sean O'Sullivan in Salt Lake, Trevor Reckling in Arkansas (though he has yet to pitch), Jayson Miller in Rancho Cucamonga, and Tyler Chatwood and Ryan Chaffee in Cedar Rapids. Things may not be going so well at the MLB level, but there's a lot to root for in the minors.
AAA Salt Lake
If we needed a centerfield-capable player at the MLB level, who would be on the flight to Anaheim? Probably Willits, but Coon is making the choice interesting. Basically, he's Willits with a bit more pop but less speed and confined to hitting from the left side.
And get this - he's erased 64% of would-be base stealers (7 of 11). Free Bobby Wilson! Anyone else think it should be him in Anaheim right now instead of Wood? Bump Napoli to DH duty and let Wilson backup Mathis AND Morales (he plays 1st too)! Anyone? Anyone?
Sean leads all Halos minor leaguers with six - count them, six - homeruns, essentially picking up right where he left off last year in the minors. Those dingers come at a cost though - he k'd 11 times this week, or in more than a third of his plate appearances. Frankly, I'm not sure what to think about his projection.
The peripherals aren't great, but getting guys out in Salt Lake isn't easy. He could be next up in Anaheim if Ortega falters.
Coby keeps banging away in the leadoff slot for the Travelers. Not only does he continue to get on base, he leads the team with 6 extra-base hits.
Peter's hot start in AA has the Travs experimenting with him in the second and third slots of the lineup to boost RBI opportunities. That hasn't affected his running - he's up to eight swipes on the season.
Bell had a great week with Arkansas. His 1.59 ERA through three April starts appears to signal that the former first round draft pick now belongs in the rotation after his '08 exile to the bullpen. I'm not so sure though - his K/BB ratio is lousy, and his average against, especially with runners on base, screams luck on balls in play. Time will tell.
Jordan tossed 7 innings of shutout ball Tuesday night in a game that the Travs eventually lost to Texas-affiliated Frisco. It was especially good to see Jordan pitch such a strong game because he had left his previous start in the second inning after banging up his foot.
Hank Conger - He's thrown out 33% of would-be basestealers (5 of 15) on the season. I'm not going to mention what he's done at the plate, because it hasn't been pretty, but it's very good to see Hank getting the job done behind the dish.
High A Rancho Cucamonga
2008 30th round pick Jayson Miller pitched well in his Quakes debut, tossing six scoreless innings. He's 23 and quite polished, so if the Washington State University product keeps up the performance he could continue to advance quickly this year.
A Ball Cedar Rapids
Amarista has struck out once. Not once last week. Just one time this season in 50 AB's. Add a great batting eye, gap power, and some speed - he has 5 SB's on the season without being caught - to that kind of bat control, and there is a lot of reason to be excited about this guy.
A shutdown bullpen arm, plain and simple. Given the number of other promotions recently, it's surprising he's still in Cedar Rapids, but the Halos are likely wary of his lack of experience - remember, before the '08 college season and Orem, he pitched very little, playing primarily at first base.
Perez had a slow start, but raked this week. Cedar Rapids has him playing all over the diamond of late, so perhaps the Halos have already buttonholed him as a utility man.
Wish I had Been There
April 24, Clinton @ Cedar Rapids
Tyler Chatwood's first start in A ball was weirdly spectacular. He recorded six strikeouts over five innings, which by itself is impressive. But Chatwood was even better than that: Clinton's lone hit, a groundball up the middle, was the only ball to leave the infield in five frames. He recorded all eight remaining outs, including two double plays, on groundballs.
Then there were the 5 walks. We saw the same shaky command last year from Chatwood, so barring injury, it looks like it's the only thing that's going to hold him back.
April 25, Portland @ Salt Lake
Sean O'Sullivan notched his first AAA win, cruising through six and a third innings of two run ball. He did what he had to do at this level, which is to keep the ball on the ground, recording 12 groundouts against only 3 flyouts. He did give up one big fly - a solo shot to Portland's Chad Huffman in the 6th - but hell, what can we say: welcome to Salt Lake.
The Bee's offense turned in a good night in support of Sean, pushing nine runs across. Sean Rodriguez struck two of the biggest blows, knocking a 2 run double and a solo shot homerun, his sixth of the season. Gotta love that offense.