Minor League Report: No Hitters Abound

A Cedar Rapids: 12 wins, 12 losses

Fabio Martinez Mesa, rhsp - (1 start) 5 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER, 9 K/4 BB

Kyle Hurst, rhrp - (2 appearances) 1 W, 4 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 5 K/3 BB

Mike Kenney, rhrp - (2 appearances) 1 Sv, 2.2 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 4 K/0 BB

Mesa, Hurst, and Kenney combined to no-hit A's affiliate Kane Country Friday night, striking out 14 Cougars and walking 6.  Mesa has the proverbial million dollar arm - he throws a lively 93 to 97 mph fastball and a hard slider that hitters don't seem to pick up until it's too late. No word yet on his change, the control obviously needs a ton of work, and like any young pitcher he carries significant injury risk, but he's got a tremendous ceiling, so we'll be hearing a lot about him over the next few years. Future Angels should have video up on him shortly. The Halos plucked Hurst out of Dixie State College of Utah in the 36th round of the 2008 draft, and the hulking 6'4" righty has bounced around the system ever since. He and Jeremy Berg have been the most reliable arms in a leaky Cedar Rapids 'pen so far this year.  Mike Kenney, a Saddleback College and Loyola Marymount University alum, came to the Halos in the 28th round of the '08 draft.  He pitched inconsistently for the Quakes before getting sent to the Kernels, and has been nails through his first week and a half there.

Mike Trout - (23 AB's) .391/.440/.739 with 1 dbl, 2 trpls, 1 HR, 8 runs, 4 SB's, and 6 K/2 BB

Last week was the best of an already fine season for Trout. He hit his first homerun of the year, flashed plenty of speed, and scored over a run a game. About all I can find to nitpick are the 6 punch outs, but unsurprisingly, the K's are coming hand in hand with the power stroke. Enjoy the video below...

Randal Grichuk -(23 AB's) .261/.261/.609 with 2 dbls, 2 HR's, 8 RBI's,  4 K/0 BB

To be fair, Darin Oliver's 1.029 OPS (18 AB's) and Ivan Contreras' 1.167 OPS (6 AB's) were higher, but Grichuk hit the ball hard this week and deserves some credit for the progress. His 27 K/5 BB ratio is worrisome, sure, but he's working on a five game hit streak, and counting today, he's homered the last three straight.

High A Rancho Cucamonga: 13 wins, 12 losses

Roberto Lopez, OF, 1B, C - (16 AB's) .563/.611/.875 with 2 dbls, 1 HR, 5 RBI's, with 3 K/2 BB

Lopez followed up his spectacular 2008 .400 BA pro debut with a good-but-not-spectacular (especially for a 23-year old) 122 OPS+ in the Midwest League. He's a gifted hitter, is versatile in the field even if he hasn't yet found a defensive home, and remains an organizational favorite for eventually assuming the Shawn Wooten / Rob Quinlan lefty masher role, but we won't really know what he's got in the tank until he hits in the more difficult Arkansas park. 

Pil Joon Jang, rhsp - (1 start) 1 W, 5 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 3 K/1 BB

The ace of last year's AZL Angels (rookie ball) threw a pitch-count-limited gem in his High A debut.  The Halos handed the now 22-year old north of half a mil in 2008, so would really like to see a second consecutive healthy season out of him.

Manuarys Correa, rhsp - (1 start) 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 2 K/0 BB

How does he do it?  So far this season he is striking out just 2.3 batters per nine innings, an impossibly small number, yet every couple of starts he throws this kind of gem.  It was the same thing last year. I don't know how long he keeps performing without missing more bats, but the prototypical pitchers' frame and plus velocity are going to keep him in the organization for awhile yet.

Darwin Perez, SS - (19 AB's) .368/.429/.526 with 1 HR, 1 SB

He out-hit double play partner Alexia Amarista this week, an accomplishment that landed him on this list. The 30.5% K rate and .478 BABIP make it doubtful that he continues to hit for average, but he can put a charge in the ball and historically has brought some patience to the plate. 

AA Arkansas: 10 wins, 11 losses

Ryan Brasier, rhsp - (1 start) 1 W, 9 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER, 3 K's/2 BB's

Holy crap.  Here are my thoughts on Brasier.  

Julio Perez, OF - (19 AB's) .316/.409/.632 with 1 dbl, 1 trpl, 1 HR, 7 RBI's, 2 SB's with 3 K/3 BB 

The 24 year old Perez can do a little bit of everything. Historically it's been his strikezone judgment that's held him back, as he has a little bit of both power and speed.  Could he be heading towards Terry Evans-like breakout in the upper minors? 

Andrew Romine, SS - (19 AB's) .421/.500/.474 with 1 dbl, 4 runs, and 3 BB/2 K

Never mind teammate McAnulty's homeruns: Romine is the April MVP for the Travs. He's held down short, making only 2 errors last month, and provided on base skills at the top of the lineup.

 AAA Salt Lake Bees: 10 wins, 11 losses

They played only 4 games this week due to rain, so I'll fold last week into next Monday's minor league report. The skinny is this: Bell continues to settle in, O'Sully had a good outing, and the lineup is good but not nearly as good as it might soon be, once it get into a rhythm. 

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