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Pat Corbin changing speeds: Angels A-Ball Report

High A Rancho Cucamonga: 39 wins, 31 losses

Tyson Auer, CF - (19 AB's) .368/.429/.579 with 1 dbl, 1 HR, 4 SB's, 1 K/2 BB

Auer has hit a scalding .431/.480/.615 this June, and consequently there's some talk of him emerging as a legitimate outfield option for the Halos down the road. He's boosted his game in two key ways in 2010, cutting his K-rate down to 14% (6% better than last year) and breaking the 40 SB barrier with a pair of swipes Friday night. If he brings this game to the higher levels, he'll earn a place on the depth chart, but I fear the K's will return against better pitching.  

Pat Corbin, lhsp - (1 start) 1 W, 6 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 7 K/2 BB

Corbin is striking out more than a batter an inning since his promotion to the Cal League, but his walk and HR rates are up as well, so his overall efficacy has remained about the same. One thing to watch is his pop-up rate, which is down from 15% in the Midwest league to 8%, indicating that the fly balls he's giving up are traveling a little further than they did in Cedar Rapids.  I missed him pitch on my last trip, but did get footage of a bullpen session, which you can see below. A scout I spoke with afterwards who'd seen the same session raved about Corbin's change-up, so I took a closer look at the video and parsed out the fastballs and offspeed stuff. You can see that the heater has plenty of life, riding in hard against lefties, and the change has some sink and fade to it.  Corbin throws a palm change as opposed to a circle change, making the grip a little tougher to pick up, even from behind, so I froze the video at some key points.

Eric Oliver, U/DH - (19 AB8's) .316/.409/.579 with 2 dbls, 1 HR, 9 RBI's, 3 K/3 BB


Since his promotion last month, the UCSB alum has hit a solid .317/.373/.450 while playing left field, first base and DH for the Quakes. His control of the strikezone has slipped a little, from 19 K/16 BB to 12 K/5 BB, but he's not K'ing overly much and his overall production is strong.   

Luis Jimenez, 3B- (31 AB's) .364/.417/.500 with 1 HR, 1 SB, 4 K/2 BB

Lucho is striking out less than 10% of the time in the Cal League, helping to mask his meager 5% walk rate. Jimenez has the hand-eye coordination and contact skills to support the low K-rate, but I also see a larger pattern of guys striking out less in the Cal League, which likely reflects a lack of quality pitching in the circuit (especially now the Chatwood has moved on to Arkansas).  Here's footage of his swing, which I think provides a good explanation for both his lack of a K's and HR's.

Cedar Rapids: 43 wins, 25 losses



Jeremy Cruz, U - (20 AB's) .400/.500/.750 with 2 dbls, 1 trpl, 1 HR, and 3 K/4 BB

The 23 year old Cruz has quickly become a fixture in the Kernels' lineup, picking up all the slack left in the wake of promoted Eric Oliver and Luis Jimenez. He and Haerther should be just fine anchoring the middle of the Kernels' lineup for the second half play-off run.

Jon Karcich, ss - (15 AB's) .400/.400/.733 with 3 dbls, 1 trpl, 1 SB, and 4 K/0 BB

Karcich was a seventh round pick, making him the Halos first four-year university selection in 2009. He was inconsistent in rookie ball, but won a most improved award in instructional league over the offseason. An injury prevented him from breaking camp with the Kernels. He's made a frightening 14 errors so far, and his fielding percentage is down at .892.  Karcich also struggles to make consistent, hard contact.  On the other hand, you have to love the 14% walk rate, rare for our guys.

Mike Trout, cf - (21 AB's) .429/.538/.571 with 3 dbls, 7 runs, 2 SB's, and 4 K/5 BB

Trout ended the first half with a .370/.449/.553 line, which comes to an OPS+ of 186, and that's without adding any adjustment for his home park (Fangraphs attributes a significant  bias towards pitching in Veterans' Memorial stadium). He hits in the Midwest League homerun derby today.

David Carpenter, rhsp - (2 appearances) 3 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 4 K/0 BB

Really, this was just another week for our 2009, ninth round draft pick, who hasn't given up an earned run since he gave up a homerun on April 29th