Minor League Report: Sean Rodriguez. Mashing. Waiting.

AAA Salt Lake Bees, 62 and 66

Sean Rodriguez, 2B, SS, OF - (32 AB's) .375/.512/.813 with 3 Dbls, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 2 SBs

The stat line above really boils down to three unbelievable games, where S-Rod went a combined 10 for 11 (.909) and accumulated every double, HR, RBI and SB of the period. His other 7 games were notable only for the 7 walks he accrued. He remains a talented but very streaky player, difficult for both scouts and sabermetricians to value.

Freddy Sandoval, 3B - (29 AB's) .448/.543/.621 with 2 Dbls, 1 HRs, 6 BBs, and 1 SB

Sandoval raked in his AAA return, despite managing only a paltry .263/.417/.316 in his ASL rehab stint.  He continues to put up great numbers - he's compiled a 129 and 136 OPS+ over the past two years while batting third on offensively-talented Bees clubs - but is still awaiting a legitimate big league opportunity. 

Rich Thompson, rhrp - (5 appearances) 1 W, 8 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 9 K/3 BB

It's just a matter of time before Thompson and his blogging wife, Ashley, are back in So Cal. I know the man's put up an unpromising 8.17 ERA in 25 big league innings so far, but his fastball/curve combo is reportedly as legit as Jason Bulger's stuff, so hopefully the 25-year-old Thompson gets another chance to stick.

Tommy Mendoza, rhsp - (2 starts) 10 IP, 12 hits, 4.50 ERA, 6 K/2 BB

The shellacking Mendoza received in his August 18 Pacific Coast League debut - which took place on his 22nd birthday - was not as bad as the boxscore reads: he coasted through four innings, yielding just a walk and a knock before getting hammered for 5 hits, including an HR, without recording an out in the fifth. Maybe we can chalk it up to the New Orleans heat and humidity? At any rate, Mendoza put together a season in AA broadly similar to Trevor Bell's, who provides a good comp in terms of stuff and ceiling.

AA Arkansas 24 and 30 (second half)

Here's one blogger's frustrated summation of the Travs' season.

Marco Albano, rhsp - (3 starts) 1 W, 19 IP, 10 hits, 1.89 ERA, 19 K/8 BB

A L B A N O. Remember this name, because the buzz around him may start soon. He was an all-but-forgotten 33rd round pick out of Boston College in 2005, who at best looked like a marginal utility player, but then the guy spent the past two years reinventing himself as a pitcher. His '08 High A stats were unimpressive - he had some control issues in addition to being hittable, a nasty combination - but this year he pitched well enough out of the Travs' pen to earn a rotation slot. He's been nails ever since his conversion to starting, throwing 4 quality starts in 7 tries, despite tight pitch counts, while sporting a 3.22 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 36 innings. He's only 5'11", so his future may still be in the pen, but he's a guy to watch. I'm still waiting for a decent scouting report on him.

Mark Trumbo, 1B - (50 AB's) .352/.375/.481 with 4 Dbls and 1 HR

Is Trumbo's .318/.351/.497 second half, which includes 6 homeruns, impressive enough to make the 23-year-old a top Halos prospect? You be the judge.

Alex Torres, lhsp - (3 starts) 1 W, 1 L, 14.1 IP, 16 hits, 3.77 ERA, 14 K/10 BB

Torres has found the going tougher in the Texas League. He continues to battle his command - his 14 walks in 20 AA innings is a huge red flag - and his GO/AO ratio has declined from an effective 2.66 in High A to a less dominant 1.50 in AA. As a result, his BA against has risen all the way to .280. His past two starts have been strong, however, so he appears to be making the necessary adjustments.

High A Rancho Cucamonga, 26 and 30 (second half)

Mike Kohn, rhrp - (4 appearances) 1 W, 6 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 10 K/4 BB

                   Pitcher A          Pitcher B

IP                   86.2                 84.2

ERA              3.12                  1.81

Hits/9            7.37                  4.57

Walks/9        5.19                  3.72

K/9               12.36               14.88

Pitcher A is Troy Percival in his age 21-23 minor league seasons, and Pitcher B is Mike Kohn in his age 22-23 minor league seasons. While Percival was getting most of his outs in the upper minors and Kohn has only made it to High A, I think the comparison is indicative of Kohn's potential, to say the least.

PJ Phillips, CF, SS - (38 AB's) .342/.419/.477 with 1 Dbl, 1 HR, and 3 SB's

Just when you're ready to give up on the guy, he goes out and earns another look. Brandon Phillips' little brother and the Halos' second round ‘05 draft pick has hit .291/.333/.457 since the allstar break, quite possibly salvaging his career. His strikezone judgment remains abysmal - his second half 40 K's to 12 BB's representing an improvement over his first half numbers - but the power/speed tools are still there, tantalizing enough for the Halos to try Phillips in the outfield.

Abel Nieves, 2B - (38 AB's) .368/.478/.605 with 1 Dbl, 1 Trpl, and 2 HRs

Our 2005 50th round draft pick continues to mash in his third stint at High A. He's a minor league vet at this point, though he did hold his own reasonably well at AAA in a brief look early in the season.

A Cedar Rapids, 24 and 18 (second half)

Roberto Lopez - (62 AB's) .371/.391/.597 with 5 Dbls, 3 HR and 14 RBI's

Lopez hit .341 in August, looking more and more like the guy who raked .400 last year in the Pioneer League. He battled through injuries and defensive experiments this spring, so his .798 OPS in a half season worth of A ball doesn't wholly reflect what he's capable of, but at nearly 24 he's got to keep hitting.

Andrew Taylor, lhsp - (4 appearances) 3 Svs, 5 IP, 1 hits, 0 ERs, 10 K/2 BB

Taylor has a 24 inning scoreless streak that goes all the way back to June 21st. He's fanned the side in his last two appearances, while his last outing without recording a k was way back on July 5th. His track record before this year isn't amazing: he's been relieving with only intermittent success in the minors and at North Carolina State since 2006, but his 14.8 K/9 for the Kernels just screams out for the lefty to get a look at the higher levels. 

Tyler Chatwood, rhsp - (3 starts) 3 W's, 17.2 IP, 8 hits, 1.53 ERA, 18 K/7 BB

The opposition mashed Chatwood at a .338 clip in June and a .314 clip in July as his groundball percentages fell to 43% and 41% respectively. He's recovered in August, inducing groundballs on 60% of the balls in play while getting his K-rate back up to a batter an inning. He's still just 19 and he's making adjustments, so I'd say he's progressing reasonably well.

Darwin Perez, ss - .370/.431/.522 with 4 Dbls, 1 HR, and 3 SB's

The 20-year-old Perez endured an abysmal first half, hitting just .196/.307/.239 and very nearly losing his starting job. Since the allstar break, he's rebounded with a solid .297/.377/.392 line, basically replicating what he did last year in the Pioneer League. His main problem appears to be hitting right-handed pitching, which is a tough blemish to have if you make your living as a switch-hitter. He's still young enough to improve, but is just as likely to see the wheels come off entirely against tougher High A righties. 

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