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Jean Segura Leads Off: Angels A-Ball Report

Cedar Rapids: 71 wins, 46 losses

Jean Segura, 2B - (29 AB's) .483/.531/.724 with 2 dbl, 1 trpl, 1 HR, 1 SB, 4 K/3 BB

Segura has caught fire in August, mashing .400/.464/.600 on the back of a 19% linedrive rate (up 5% over the rest of '10).  I suspect that he's pulling the ball more often, but haven't done the number crunching to prove it.  He murders right handers -- .332/.373/.509 on the season vs .275/.336/.333 against lefties -- which bodes well for his long term projection as a regular. Here's another interesting split: he's hitting .372/.410/.595 out of the leadoff spot, versus .292/.337/.407 in the three hole, where he spent most of his AB's before Trout's promotion. Has he simply adjusted to Midwest League pitching? Heated up with the Iowa summer? Or has a return to the leadoff spot set him free? 

Mike Wing, 2B - (20 AB's) .400/.478/.650 with 2 dbl, 1 HR, 3 K/3 BB

Wing has a good bat from the right side, comparable to Matt Brown's if the power develops, but his real value stems from flexibility in the field: he plays every infield position and even a little outfield. His fielding percentages are all up over last year, and his .927 fld% at shortstop bests regular Cedar Rapids' shortstop Jon Karcich by 8 points.  He's heated up since the Allstar Break, hitting .303/.350/.490 with 5 HR's over the last month and a half. 

Jose Jimenez, C - (16 AB's) .625/.684/.813 with 3 dbl, 1 K/3 BB

Jimenez' boasts a 48 K/36 BB ratio over 286 AB's with Cedar Rapids, making plate discipline the defining characteristic of his bat. He played mostly first base in college, so the Halos' decision to convert him into a catcher was ambitious.  Given the circumstances, he's done a good job behind the dish, committing only 3 errors and 5 passed balls over 46 games. His 26% caught stealing rate is slightly below average, but that might improve with better footwork.

Randal Grichuk, OF - (28 AB's) .286/.333/.714 with 2 dbl, 2 trpl, 2 HR, 1 SB, 8 K/2 BB

Grichuk celebrated his 19th birthday last Friday, so congrats to him.  Unsurprisingly, he's fanned in over a quarter of his plate appearances in Cedar Rapids, limiting his BA and OBP, but he's really hammering the ball when he connects, good for a .250 ISO. For a teenager in the Midwest League, that's phenomenal. I'm especially digging the triples and the stolen base -- he'll never be a speedster, but he's proving that the knocks against his athleticism last year were overblown. He's doing a lot of things well, though I'd like to see him rip up a few more right handers before the season's out.


High A Rancho Cucamonga: 64 wins, 55 losses

Manuel Flores, lhsp - (2 starts) 1 W, 15 IP, 11 hits, 2 ER, 8 K/3 BB

Flores' groundball rate spiked to over 60% through three August starts, key to his recent success. I really like Flores, not so much because he projects as a major leaguer, but because the 6'2" lefty is as dependable as they come: he throws strikes and keeps the ball in the park. Interestingly, his terrible 3.45 K per 9 IP in High A is down from the more tolerable 5.48 K/9 IP he put up earlier this season in AA, but the groundballs have led to better results.

Orangel Arenas, rhsp - (1 start) 1 W, 6 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 3 K/3 BB

Arenas' threw his third quality start of August last week, and fourth in his last five outings. As with Flores, his success correlates with a near 60% groundball rate. For good measure, Arenas has induced pop-ups at an excellent 13% rate over the past two weeks, key to limiting the damage when hitters make contact. 

Chris Scholl, rhrp - (1 appearance) 3 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER, 7 K/1 BB

Wow - no one is touching Scholl right now.  He's commanding his fastball well to both sides of the plate, and his curveball is effective against both lefties and righties. Changing eye-level seems key to his success - his hard dropping curve and chest high fastball make an unhittable combination. A good sign is that he's striking out lefties at an even higher rate than righties.