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Midseason Review of Halos Heaven's Top 30 Angels Prospects

20) Tyler Kehrer, 3/23/88 - LHSP, A-Ball.  Stock: Down.

3 Wins, 4 Losses. 66.2 IP, 60 hits, 5.26 ERA, 59 K/49 BB.  Key Stat: 6.6 BB per 9 IP

Kehrer has had a tough season, due mainly to erratic control that has resulted in nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Moreover, his stuff has taken a step back from when Tom Kotchman compared him to a young Jarod Washburn, but with a better (96 mph) fastball. Kehrer has changed his mechanics over the past year, smoothing his motion out and eliminating his spin-off follow through. The result is a more deliberate delivery that looks slower and has undercut his plus fastball/slider combo. On the other hand, his control is trending in the right direction - he's sporting an 18 K/5 BB ratio since the Allstar break - so maybe it's a question of giving him time to get comfortable with his new delivery.

19) Chris Pettit, 8/15/84 - OF, AAA  Stock: Down.

Key Stat: Missed 95 Bees Games

Pettit's injury cost him a shot at contributing this year, relegating him to a forgotten man. Skills the injury should not affect include his ability to make solid contact, especially against lefties; above average range in the outfield and the the ability to handle center in a pinch; good base running; and decent plate discipline. Skills that could be affected: arm strength, perhaps barring him from right field; and his power stroke, which may be slow to return. He still needs to prove he can hit righties if he's going to ever be a regular. He has the skillset of a solid fourth outfielder, especially if the guys ahead of him hit from the left side (sadly for Pettit, only Abreu currently matches that description for the Halos). 

18) Jon Bachanov, 1/30/89 - RHRP, A-Ball  Stock: Down

2 Wins, 0 Losses. 26.1 IP, 5.47 ERA, 23 K/14 BB   Key Stat: .385 BABIP

Two of the most important skills in pitching is hitting your spots and missing your ANYWHERE BUT THERE! spots.  Bachanov is struggling to do both of these things, and especially the latter, leading to high hit totals. I saw him pitch in April, and didn't see the plus command, velocity, or slider that vaulted him up the prospect rankings last year. The numbers support those observations. Still, he's just 21, is not that far removed from Tommy John surgery, and his 2010 sample size is small, so he could easily turn things around.  He's on the DL and hasn't pitched in a month, so there could also have been underlying injury issue.

17) Ryan Chaffee 5/18/88 - RHSP, High-A.  Stock: Down

4 Wins, 4 Losses. 58 IP, 79 hits, 6.98 ERA, 43 K/29 BB.  Key Stat: .333 Batting Average Against

Here's another guy whose mechanics have been in flux since the last time he flashed elite stuff. Following his command problems last season, Abe Flores reports that the Halos' coaches restricted him to just a three quarters arm slot, but Sam Miller at the Register saw him pitch last Tuesday and observed that he still dropped down to sidearm frequently - and often doing himself more arm than good.  The reason for restricting Chaffee to one arm slot was that it would make it easier for him to repeat his delivery and pound the strikezone more consistently, but so far in 2010, the mechanical tweaks have just made him easier to hit. Still, he's had moments of brilliance in the past, and remains a candidate to breakout.

16) Will Smith, 7/10/89 - LHSP, High A, AA, and AAAStock: Up

5 Wins, 8 Losses. 109 IP, 134 hits, 5.53 ERA, 79 K / 42 BB across High A, AA, and AAA.  Key Stat: It's not in the numbers

Here's a guy whose stock is way up. You won't see it in the ERA, since he's been pitching as high as AAA as a 21 year old, but his stuff has taken a big step forward and his intangibles and command have remained solid. I'll admit that he hasn't looked great in the two games I've seen him pitch - his fastball was flat and the curve didn't fool opposing hitters - but that's the curse of small sample sizes.  There's been a discernable jump in his velocity - he's around 90 most of the time, touching 94 - and Abe Flores reports that overall his curveball is significantly tighter than it was last year. Beyond the stuff though, Smith has excellent feel for pitching and even better composure.  He knows his craft.

Update: Just heard Smith's been traded. My off-the-cuff is predictably negative: I hate when the guys I observe, record and begin to care about as a fan leave for another team. That said, I like it better than the Kazmir addition.  O'Sullivan could provide value to the Halos this year as a fifth starter, but in the long run, he's likely to get squeezed by the talent above and below him. Smith probably would have met the same fate, as he was just one ripple in the Reckling/Chatwood/Corbin/Richards/Skaggs/Martinez-Mesa wave of arms currently surging up through the system. Callaspo provides a multi-year third base fill-in that will allow Reagins to not overpay Beltre for his 2010 career year, presumably focussing the FO's offseason efforts on a Crawford-level acquisition. That's the only way this makes sense.

15) Carlos Ramirez, 3/19/88 - C, A-Ball. Stock: Ouch... But not quite as bad as it looks.

.226/.343/.359 with 6 HR.  Key Stat: 22% K rate in A-Ball

He's come alive this June and July, but in general his stock is down. The K-rate isn't awful, but it's unclear how much higher his .271 BABIP will climb, so further reducing the whiffs is key to boosting his production. Here's a case where Baseball America - which questioned his bat speed entering the season - comes out ahead of the number crunchers, who saw no reason to doubt Ramirez entering 2010. He  could still turn things around with the bat, and he's playing excellent defense (only 3 passed balls and he's catching 44% of base stealers), so Ramirez might again earn consideration as a possible future regular at some point down the road. 

14) Mike Kohn, 6/26/86 - RHRP, AA and AAAStock: Up

5 wins, 4 losses, 11 Saves. 45 IP, 28 hits, 2.20 ERA, 57 K/23 BB.  Key Stat: 11.4 K/9 IP

It's just a matter of time before he's in the big leagues, although I will say that, the longer he's in AAA, the more human he looks. The Halos also have a recent history of relievers who put up eye-popping numbers in Salt Lake - Bulger, Thompson, Mosebach, to name just a few - but don't see that success instantly translate to the MLB. His command and breaking ball could still use some work.

13) Tyler Chatwood 12/16/89 - RHSP, High A and AA. Stock: Up

9 wins, 7 losses. 115.2 IP, 107 hits, 2.41 ERA, 85 K/ 52 BB Key Stat: 4.0 BB/9 IP

Chatwood made High A look easy as a 20 year old, so we should see his name pop up on the national prospect lists following this season. Overall, his walk rate is down from 5.1 BB/9 last year, but is still cause for concern. Certainly, we've seen with Reckling (and before him, Adenhart) the developmental challenges that occur when young pitchers with good stuff but iffy command are rushed. I expect the Halos to be conservative with Chatwood from this point forward, giving him plenty of time to figure out AA. 

12) Alexia Amarista, 4/6/89 - 2B, High A, AA, and AAAStock: Up

.307/.349/.438 with 4 HR.  Key Stat: .989 Fielding %

This guy's just a stud. He's hitting over .300 and walking more than striking out in AA as a 21 year old, so he continues to hang with the bigger boys. We'll see if he ever gets to the point where the opposing pitcher can just knock the bat out of his hands, but we're nowhere near that yet. He's still gold in the field, rock solid on the routine play and flashing ultra quick actions around the keystone. He committed only one error in 68 Quakes games, but tracked up 4 errors in only 20 games with the Travs. Weird, but the overall result is still impressive. Of course, he still has some work to do stealing bases, succeeding in only 68% of 2010 attempts. While he probably won't make any top 100 prospect lists, Baseball America should show him a little more respect in their league rankings this offseason.

11) Trevor Bell, 10/12/86 - RHSP, AAA, Majors.  Stock:  Unchanged

2 Wins, 0 Losses. 30 IP, 30 hits, 3.00 ERA, and 19 K/6 BB.  Key stat:  Peaking at 96 MPH

He's racked up enough big league innings now to loose his eligibility on prospect lists.  More on him coming in a post this afternoon...