Steven Geltz, Still Up in the Air: Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2012

G E L T Z - Jeff Golden

Over the next month, we'll take a look at the best prospect performances of 2012. Keep in mind that this is not a traditional top prospect list because it focuses entirely on 2012 contributions. I rank guys according to advanced metrics which, for position players, include batting runs above average, positional adjustment, defense, and a replacement level calculation that scales the total to "Wins Above Replacement" (though the concept of replacement level doesn't really apply to minor leaguers). I use a standard "runs allowed based" WAR formula for pitchers. I also incorporate the "bullpen chaining" adjustment derived by the Halosphere's own rallymonkey5.

The Series Continues with #22 and 23...

22) Steven Geltz, 24, RHRP - 2.1 WAR, +12 runs saved. 59 IP, 3.05 ERA, 42 hits, 70 K/20 BB

Geltz is the only reliever to reach the 2 WAR threshold this year. He racked up almost all of that value with the Travs over the first two months of the season, when he gave up just one run over 25+ innings while fanning 37 batters versus just 6 walks and 13 hits. Geltz was more human with the Bees, coughing up 4 HR's in 33 2/3's innings, but he did continue to fan a batter an inning. He ended his season in the big leagues, where he avoided a rookie meltdown, but gave up some long fly balls.

Geltz' best pitch is a lively low 90's FB that he spots up in the zone with "rising action." Not only can he get guys to chase for swinging strikes, but it also helps him get a lot of weak contact in the air, and he led the Texas League, Pacific Coast League and American League with a 20.4% combined infield fly percentage according to minorleaguesplits.com. All of those pop-ups mean a very low BABIP, so he doesn't need to just fan people to be effective. He does, however, have to avoid the homerun, and it's unclear how successful he'll be living up in the zone against major leaguers. Mike Kohn is a similarly flyball-prone pitcher, and has had only mixed success in limiting the long ball once he got to the bigs. In Geltz' favor are his offspeed pitches, which are much better than Kohn's. He mixes in both a slider and change-up (which I always thought was a split due to sharp diving action, but Pitch F/X disagrees). Those offerings compliment the FB well and help him to remain effective against lefties. Of the current Angels' relief arms on the bubble, Geltz is the best fit for the Angels and their park, so could be a very effective middle innings guy in 2013.

23) Sherman Johnson, 21, 2b - 2.1 WAR, +10 bat, +2 glove. .271/.419/.409 w/ 3 HR and 8 SB

Before I adjusted for defense, Johnson's teammate and fellow 2012-draftee Jonathan Walsh occupied this spot in the rankings. They're both interesting, and John Sickles' ranked them the eighteenth and nineteenth best Angels' prospects respectively, so I'll go ahead and profile them both. Sherman was drafted in the 14th round out of Florida State following a solid amateur career. His 20% walk rate was tops in the Angels system, and he backed that up with solid defense and base running. I did see one AB where he looked too passive, taking four straight pitches to K looking. But in the next AB, he jumped all over a first pitch fastball and drilled it off the leftfield wall, so he's no doormat and can adjust his approach. He's not an HR guy, but I saw easy gap power to the opposite field that didn't look fluky due to a balanced, athletic cut. He looks like a good one, and should be at least a quality organizational player for the Halos (comp: Chone Figgins with just 15-20 SB?).

Walsh is a very different type: he's a hulking 6'2" switch-hitting masher who was a possible first rounder back in the 2008 draft as a prep catcher. At the time, some folks thought he might even be the first high school backstop off the board, and Baseball America listed him as the draft's 66th best overall prospect. Instead, he matriculated to the University of Texas, where he put up moderate production that never quite matched the hype. I don't know what the story is, but the Longhorns shifted him to the outfield at some point, so he lost his hold on the catching spot. He hasn't looked too good in his new position in pro ball so far, posting an .885 fielding percentage as an outfielder for the Owlz and drawing this review. At the plate, he showed good power and patience, especially against left-handed pitching, but struggled to handle anything on the outer half of the plate when I saw him, missing against offspeed stuff as both a lefty and a righty. He has an open stance, and looks to pull, so when he did get something on the inner half, he crushed it. While it's tempting to look at Walsh's Orem stat line and view him as a potential Calhoun type, I think he's a long ways off from polishing his game to the degree that Kole did in his first full pro season.

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