ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 05: Pitcher Michael Kohn #58 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim talks with catcher Hank Conger #16 during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on April 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Our countdown continues, recorded live the day before the 2011 season began, our minor league analyst Ryan Ghan talks about a top prospect who has already logged in some time on the mound in Anaheim...
RYAN GHAN: Okay, at 17 we have Michael Kohn, a guy we all know, a guy we've seen a lot of. I don't have a ton to add. The things to like: he has a lot of deception. He has that short arm motion. His fastball jumps on hitters. It's got rising action, so, if it's up in the zone, hitter's have a tough time catching up with it. That's where he gets the swing and misses, his fastball high in the zone. The slider seems to be improving, and if he can use that to set up his fastball, to make that high fastball more effective, that's going to be an important pitch for him. It was not great in the minors and we're going to have to see some improvement. And his control wasn't great last year.
The shaky control never really did catch up to his numbers. His ERA was still solid, but the control is definitely an area we're going to need to see improvement. He did have a good start on that. I think he only walked a couple in 11 innings in spring training. Also, another thing to keep an eye on, he was hitting 94 consistently throughout his minor league career. This is a guy who lived in the mid-90s. We didn't see that last year. He was pitching mainly at 91 and that's a big difference. It's going to be easier for big leaguers to catch up with that fastball if he's at 91, which means there's all the more pressure on his command. He's got to improve his command.
REV HALOFAN: What do you attribute the loss of three miles per hour on his pitchers to?
RGHAN: Oh, he might have just been worn down. The Halos weren't shy about using him. He has had a lot of back-to-back appearances. We don't have any radar gun reading for him so far this Spring. I checked that last night. I don't think the radar gun got him; at least one that is publicly available. So I don't know where he is sitting right now, but that is something to look for once we get pitch f/x data, once the games start here this week.
REVHF: So do you think he'll be on the Angels roster for the entire season?
RGHAN: Yes. I am going to say yes.
REVHF: Right on.
RGHAN: I think Kohn has a good chance of staying healthy and I think he's going to be too valuable, too soon to take another trip to minor leagues. That said... he still has options remaining so, if there's a roster crunch, he is the candidate to go down but I don't see that.
Mike Kohn (whose BBRef page is sponsored by our own QuadFinRider) started the season in Anaheim. He had 3.2 lousy innings with 4 strikeouts but a tough loss in Kansas City. He was sent to AAA Salt Lake as relievers Jason Bulger and Rich Thompson were both out of options. Bulger later cleared waivers and is now a teammate on the Bees with Kohn. His numbers in Salt Lake thru June 13 this year:
25 Games, 36 K in 27.1 IP, 6 Saves, 16 Games Finished, 11.9 K/9, 3.2 K/BB ...worst thing is a 1.42 WHIP