The Angels made a few interesting minor league roster moves over the minor league all star break this week. Former first round pick Kaleb Cowart is coming to the California League as two 66ers get promoted to the Arkansas Travellers.
Angels Centerfield prospect Travis Witherspoon was promoted to AA Arkansas from High-A Inland Empire on Thursday, the conclusion of the minor league All Star Break. Witherspoon, 23, was a California League All-Star and got the starting nod for the California League team. He leaves the 66ers in the top five in the Cal League in stolen bases and hits, and ranked tenth in batting average hitting .319. Witherspoon was drafted in the 12th round of the 2009 draft (aka "The Mike Trout Draft").
In Arkansas, the Travs primary centerfielders, Ryan Kiniry and Angel Castillo, are batting .192 and .186 respectively so Witherspoon should have plenty of opportunities to shine.
Infielder Kaleb Cowart was Eddie Bane's final first pick as the head of Angels scouting. Cowart was the eighteenth overall pick of the 2010 draft out of high school. Baseball America rated him the best infield arm in the Angels system to start the season and penciled him into the projected lineup for the Angels in 2015. His promotion form the Angels Low-A Midwest League Cedar Rapids Kernels sees our children of the corn lose a big part of their offense.
Cowart turned 20 on June 2. He was draft compensation for the Angels losing Chone Figgins in free agency. You don't have to remind Seattle that when it rains, it pours.
An even better story might be the promotion to AA of 66ers 3B Brian Hernandez. Cowart seems assured of playing every day with the unheralded Hernandez moving up. 66ers press officer Sam Farber laid out the Hernandez saga this way:
Brian Hernandez was one of the top defensive players in the California League at the time of his promotion and was a 66ers offensive leader as well. He went from utility infielder to every day starter and number three hitter in the batting order in a matter of weeks. He leaves the 66ers hitting .292 with three home runs and 33 RBI.
Hernandez, 23, is a product of UC Irvine and was drafted last June in the 27th round.