Cam Bedrosian & R.J. Alvarez: Top April Prospect Performances

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kurt Spomer, Cam Bedrosian, and R.J. Alvarez put up strong April performances, providing Halos' fans with a glimpse of a potential future bullpen.

(5)  Kurt Spomer - .9 WAR. 20.1 IP, 0.00 ERA. 13 hits and 16K/6BB

As a side-armed reliever with three legit pitches, Spomer is a rare commodity.  He's excelled as the primary high-leverage arm for Inland Empire, and handled a brief, 3.2-inning promotion to Triple A beautifully, putting up nothing but 0's and getting 3 K's against the minor's most advanced hitters. While no strikeout machine, he gets righties to fan at a 23% clip. When they do put the ball in play, they pound it into the ground 69% of the time.  That doesn't leave many opportunities for opposing righties to do any damage.

Like most side-armers, Spomer has to watch himself against lefties. He fans them at a less-than-average 17% rate, and gives up a lot of flyballs to the outfield (32% of balls in play).  So far, only one of those has turned into an extra base hit - an ultimately harmless double - but baseball won't leave that tendency unpunished for long.

(6)  Cam Bedrosian - .9 WAR (FIP). 13.2 IP, 1.98 ERA. 5 hits and 28 K/4 BB

I'm cheating here: after years of disparaging FIP-based WAR as an inferior measure of pitcher value, I'm going to cherry pick the numbers and put Bedrosian here based "not on what really happened," but on what should have happened given his unbelievable 56% k-rate for 2014.  The man is on fire.

Even in his worst outing of the year back on the 24th, it took a lot of bad luck to cough up two runs. Bedrosian missed - barely - five times low with fastballs to the first two batters. The camera angle was from the press box, so I couldn't identify the exact location of each pitch, but judging from how little the catcher moved, I suspect that he just didn't get the called low strike. Not getting ahead of hitters with mid to upper 90's heat at the knees threw off his game plan, so he yielded and put the ball up in the zone. Even after doing that - after coughing up two weak groundballs, a flair and a walk - he could have escaped with a scoreless inning had not the Travs infield made a rare miscue behind him that cost a double play.

He's still looking pretty good, even if it only comes out to a "runs allowed" WAR of .44.

(7)  R.J. Alvarez - .8 WAR. 13.1 IP, 0.00 ERA.  7 hits and 19K /4 BB

Bedrosian fanning half the minor leagues has overshadowed Alvarez' own hot start. The thing to note about our top 2012 draft pick has been improved command, manifesting in the lowest walk rate of his career.  I've only seen him pitch one inning this year, but came away enthusiastic about his ability to alternate sides of the plate with his plus fastball.  The breaking ball usually gets plenty of swings and misses, but in this outing Alvarez had to settle for a couple of weak groundouts.  Don't take the following as gospel -- I didn't do a rigorous side-by-side comparison -- but his delivery looked somewhat toned-down and less effortful this April than when I'd seen him in previous years. Maybe cleaned-up mechanics is behind the improved control?

Barring catastrophe, he'll be up with the Angels, potentially for good, at some point this summer.

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