June 2007

Us Versus Them

Francisco Rodriguez pitches for Lake Elsinore at Rancho Cucamonga, June 2, 2000.

“They were once us. We were once them.”

That’s the opening line for an article I just turned in to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I’m busy writing a series of articles for the Play Ball magazine handed out at Quakes games.

The first article, about the 2007 Cedar Rapids Kernels, will be distributed during the Lancaster series July 1-3.

The next article was going to be about the Arkansas Travelers, but when I realized the magazine would be distributed during the July 7-9 series against Lake Elsinore, I suggested we push back the Travs article one issue and instead do a story about the rivalry between the Quakes and Storm.

The focus of the article is on September 15, 2000, the day the two teams switched parent club affiliations.

The Quakes had been with the San Diego Padres since 1993, yet filed to terminate their agreement because they were dissatisfied with the recent performance of the players sent to The Epicenter. The Angels, meanwhile, had heard that Lake Elsinore was going to file to terminate on them, so they filed themselves — only to learn that the Storm did not file to terminate.

Filing a termination doesn’t mean the two partners can’t renew vows. It just opens a window of a few weeks where the teams seeking partners can see who’s out there.

Rumor had it that the Quakes, who annually led the California League in attendance, were being courted by the Texas Rangers, the Cincinnati Reds, the Colorado Rockies, and others. The Angels, meanwhile, were rumored to be headed for San Bernardino (now Inland Empire). That franchise’s owner also owned San Antonio in the Double-A Texas League, and was looking for a parent club that would sign with both affiliates. The Angels seemed to fit the bill, because they’d just been booted from Erie, Pennsylvania, who wanted to sign with the nearby Detroit Tigers.

So it was a bit of a shock when the Angels and Quakes announced a two-year agreement that mid-September afternoon.

The Storm management drove down the I-15 to hold their press conference at the Padres’ ballpark, but Angels farm director Darrell Miller drove to The Epicenter to attend a simultaneous press conference in the Quakes’ locker room.

For those of us intimately involved at the time with the Lake Elsinore Storm, this was the rough equivalent of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush swapping wives.

In retrospect, the switch made all the sense in the world.

For Lake Elsinore, they were able to reorient their marketing towards north San Diego County, where the Padres were also expanding their marketing. Of course, the Padres were more than happy to have an affiliate 40 miles closer to San Diego.

For Rancho Cucamonga, they got a partner that competed with the Dodgers for the growing Inland Empire fan base, and located only 45 miles away. The Angels probably would have been happy staying at the Lake Elsinore Diamond, which is about 50 miles from Anaheim, but in the long run their increasing popularity in the Inland Empire helped encourage mutual promotional plans with the Quakes.

Seven years later, no doubt most of the fans who attend games at The Epicenter and The Diamond have no clue about the early history of the rivalry between these two successful operations. But the few of us who were around at the time still marvel at how we became them, and they became us.

The article will also look at Angels prospects who played for both teams. The most famous is Francisco Rodriguez, who pitched for Lake Elsinore in 2000 and Rancho Cucamonga in 2001. I sent Rancho photos of Frankie pitching for the Storm on the road at The Epicenter on June 2, 2000 and pitching for the Quakes on the road at The Diamond on June 11, 2001.

I mentioned a few weeks back that I’d invested in a digital photo scanner. The photos for this article were mostly scanned from negatives I’d shot from 2000 through 2002. The scanner really paid off for this project, because it was able to resurrect the quality of the images. A little cleanup was required in Adobe PhotoShop, but still it’s nice to know that these negatives can be digitized and saved from slow degradation.

The above image is one example.

Click Here to listen to the September 15, 2000 press conference announcing the Angels’ affiliation with Rancho Cucamonga. Windows Media Player required.

Writer Blocked

Rancho Cucamonga asked me to write a series of articles for their Play Ball magazine about the Angels’ other affiliates, so I’ve been busy wordsmithing. The magazine is handed out to fans as they enter The Epicenter. It changes every homestand.

The first article will be about Cedar Rapids, and will be handed out during the Lancaster series July 1-3. It will include many photos of the Kernels I shot during my visit in mid-May. Since Chris Pettit and Doug Brandt were recently promoted to Rancho Cucamonga, this is rather timely.

Future articles will be about Arkansas, Orem and Tempe. I visit Orem July 7-9 and Tempe July 20-22.

Once the articles are published, I’ll put the original drafts on-line in this blog.

The “Big Bat”

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It’s time for another poll.

Should the Angels trade their top prospects for a “big bat”?

The options are to the right.

The results of the last poll … Which affiliate would you most like to visit?

  • Rancho Cucamonga 25%
  • Cedar Rapids 24%
  • Salt Lake 23%
  • Orem 16%
  • Arkansas 11%
  • Tempe 1%

There were 190 votes cast.

This ‘N That

John Lackey has never missed a start in the minors or majors.

Various items of interest …

As reported in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Joe Saunders will start tonight for Jered Weaver, who jammed his shoulder sliding into second base last Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Personally, I loathe the DH, one reason being that on the rare occasions when A.L. pitchers have to bat and run the bases, they’re even more awkward than they used to be before the DH was implemented. I have a vague memory of Andy Messersmith injuring his shoulder on a slide into second base when he was called up to the Angels in 1968. Some would argue that pitcher injuries are a justification to make the DH universal, but then injuries happen to other players too while running the bases. The game was originally intended to have all players both bat and field, with no exceptions for the less athletic. That was its beauty. I fear that, as the game evolves, one day we’ll see offensive and defensive platoons like in football. But I’ll be long in the grave before it happens.

Anyway …

Another ailing Angel is John Lackey. The Angels are talking about pushing back his scheduled start on Sunday a day or two to rest a sore shoulder. I frequently remind people that Lackey never missed a start in the minor leagues, nor has he in the majors. He’s had a couple setbacks in spring training, when it doesn’t matter, but up to now he’s been a workhorse.

The Arkansas Travelers’ post-game press release last night reported that top pitching prospect Nick Adenhart has gone on the seven-day disabled list with a sore shoulder.

If you listen to Episode 4 for FutureAngels.com Radio, analyst John Sickels and I discussed the possibility this might happen, as Adenhart pitched 158.1 IP last year in his first full season after recovering from "Tommy John" surgery, then went off to pitch for Team USA. Minor league baseball has a 7-day DL, unlike the big leagues, so hopefully this is just to skip one start and he’ll be fine.

I wrote on Monday that Kernels outfielder Chris Pettit should be promoted to Rancho Cucamonga after the Midwest League All-Star Game, and that happened yesterday. Quakes closer Darren O’Day was promoted to Double-A Arkansas, essentially completing the swap that began when Travs closer Jose Arredondo was demoted to the Cal League for insubordination.

As reported yesterday on FutureAngels.com, Terry Evans homered for the Angels Wednesday night for his first major league hit. The Angels acquired Evans in July 2006 from St. Louis for Jeff Weaver. Evans was a non-prospect who suddenly bloomed last year in the Cardinals’ minor league system. Whether it was for real, analysts debated all winter, and the jury is still out. He took only ten walks with Salt Lake in the first half, and only one of those on the road, but overall he was still productive. Garret Anderson was productive despite his low walk rate. So we’ll have to see how Evans progresses, although most likely he’ll shortly return to Salt Lake.

I’ll be in Orem for the July 7-9 games, and Tempe for the July 20-22 games. Tempe starts play this morning, but you won’t find any webcasts, "gameday" coverage or newspaper articles. The camp games in the Arizona League are official in that they play by formal rules and the statistics are reported, but otherwise they get no coverage. So about all you can do is look at the final box score on MiLB.com.

The crackpots who’ve been campaigning for Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia to be fired will be irate to learn that the Angels have the best record in baseball since July 1 of last year, according to the Orange County Register. They’ve gone 100-56, nearly a full season, and that would be good enough for the playoffs pretty much any year. But some still campaign for Stoneman’s dismissal because he won’t flush the farm system for an aging "name" player.

One of those "names" is Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, who the Angels once sought to play third base. Tejada made it clear he would refuse to play 3B for the Angels, and Orioles owner Peter Angelos nixed the deal, but the cranks still fantasize about Tejada despite the reality of the situation, or non-situation. Well, Tejada has a broken wrist and will miss at least two months, so hopefully that will sink in with the people who want to send Ervin Santana, Erick Aybar, and "whatever it takes" to get him.

At the Half – Salt Lake

Joe Saunders pitching for Rancho Cucamonga in May 2004.

Once upon a time, the National Football League allowed its teams to carry taxi squads, a small group of extra players who were ineligible to play but were nonetheless under contract. A player could be activated from the taxi squad for the next game if need be.

The Salt Lake Bees, the Angels’ affiliate in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, are the Angels’ equivalent of a taxi squad. So far this year, seven Bees have made token appearances in the big leagues with Anaheim (excluding Angels players rehabbing with Salt Lake). Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and GM Bill Stoneman give these youngsters a basic exposure to big-league life (and pressures), then send them back to Salt Lake for further seasoning.

In the case of LHP Joe Saunders, he’s the "sixth pitcher" in the Angels rotation. Many organizations would stash a top prospect pitcher in the bullpen, where he’d work long relief. The Angels, though, realize the value of keeping Saunders in a starting pitcher mentality, so they have him starting for Salt Lake every five days. Most of the time, his starts coincided with start days for Bartolo Colon, whose health has been the most questionable of the five pitchers in the Angels’ rotation. Saunders has come up for spot starts when Colon has been unavailable, and will start tomorrow night for the Angels as Jered Weaver skips a start due to a shoulder injury suffered last weekend while running the bases at Dodger Stadium.

So Saunders’ Triple-A record (5.22 ERA) really doesn’t mean much, because he hasn’t been working in a stable environment. His major league record in four starts is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA, although his 11:12 SO:BB ratio in 24.1 IP is worrisome. In the long run, he’ll be an Angels regular, no later than 2008 as Colon is a free agent after the current season.

The Angels traded infield prospect Alberto Callaspo to Arizona for RHP reliever Jason Bulger in February 2006. Many observers condemned the trade, believing Callaspo to be a top prospect while Bulger at age 27 was unfilled potential, just another power arm. Callaspo had been on the FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects list at one time, but I’d dropped him off the list because his numbers had dropped precipitously when he reached Salt Lake with the Angels. I warned at the time that Callaspo would probably post misleading numbers at Triple-A Tucson, and sure enough he went on to a banner 2006 that ended with his major league debut. Bulger, meanwhile, suffered from arm injuries and the Angels let him take his minor league free agency at year’s end.

But time has once again vindicated Bill Stoneman. Callaspo was arrested by Phoenix police for allegedly assaulting his wife, and was eventually sent back to Tucson. Bulger, meanwhile, chose to sign a minor league contract with the Angels, moving him off the 40-man roster. Bulger at the halfway point of the season had a 2.96 ERA in 27.1 relief innings, posting a 44:15 SO:BB ratio and a groundout-to-all-out (GO/AO) ratio of 1.24. Away from hitter-friendly Franklin Covey Field, his ERA is 1.64 and his GO/AO is a sick 3.00. With Justin Speier still a question mark in Anaheim due to an intestinal ailment, Bulger may find himself in Anaheim before season’s end, proving yet again that Stoneman’s patience is a virtue.

A quick note about RHP reliever Chris Resop, acquired in a winter trade for RHP reliever Kevin Gregg. Although his overall 5.40 ERA may look disappointing, look at his numbers away from Franklin Covey — a 3.32 ERA in 19.0 IP (38.1 IP overall), a 17:7 SO:BB ratio, and opponents’ average of only .205. Hmmm …

Nathan Haynes made his major league debut on May 28.

The feel-good story of the year is outfielder Nathan Haynes, whose professional career was given up for dead when the Angels let him take his six-year minor league free agency after the 2003 season, his talent a sad parody of his potential due to a series of career-threatening injuries. Haynes played briefly with the Giants’ minor league system in 2004-2005 and resurfaced in independent ball in 2006.

The Angels re-acquired Haynes in June 2006 as an outfielder for Double-A Arkansas, and he came to spring training camp projected to report to Salt Lake at the best, Arkansas the more likely. Yet an impressive spring found him in Salt Lake for Opening Night.

Now 27, it was probably his last shot at a big league career, and by late May he’d posted an incredible AVG/OBP/SLG of .386/.462/.579 with 14 SB in 21 attempts. He made his major league debut on May 28, and as of this writing remains in Anaheim where he’s been reunited with best buddy Chone Figgins. Chone credited Nathan with the advice that brought him out of a funk and sent Figgins on an incredible hot streak that included a 6-for-6 night on Monday.

Outfielder Terry Evans, now 25, was acquired in July 2006 from the St. Louis Cardinals for RHP Jeff Weaver. Evans was a non-prospect until an improbable awakening as the 2006 season unfolded. Most analysts figured Evans’ surge was a fluke, but his numbers continued to impress after he reported to Double-A Arkansas and posted a .309/.385/.553 line for the Travs.

Evans posted a line of .327/.352/.556 with the Bees this year, including 13 SB. One worrisome stat was his 60:10 SO:BB ratio in 257 AB. Nine of those walks came at home, and only one walk on the road where his line was .317/.317/.569. Evans made his major league debut last weekend at Dodger Stadium and struck out in a pinch-hit appearance, but last night in his first start he homered to left in his first at-bat, becoming the first Angels rookie since Mike Napoli in 2006 to homer for his first big-league hit.

Brandon Wood, 22, was ranked the Angels’ top prospect by Baseball America. The Angels moved him from SS to 3B after Dallas McPherson underwent another back surgery. Brandon’s defense has been fine, but the youngster has struggled against experienced Triple-A pitching. His overall AVG/OBP/SLG are .249/.342/.450, although in June to date his numbers are much better — .288/.365/.591. Wood made his major league debut on April 26 and was 1 for 11 in three games before returning to Salt Lake.

The Bees’ record through 72 games was 38-34, good enough for first place in the PCL Pacific North Division. Unlike the other full-season leagues in the system, the PCL doesn’t divide their 144-game sechedule into two halves, so no fresh start with Game #73. Bees Manager Brian Harper has managed to keep his team competitive despite losing so much talent to Anaheim. Which is, after all, the point of having a minor league system.

At the Half – Arkansas

Nick Adenhart’s 3.44 ERA is fifth in the Texas League.

The Arkansas Travelers of North Little Rock (yes, that’s their name) began 2007 with only two top prospects, and an outfielder in the twilight of his career. As you might suspect, the team lived up to expectations, if the expectation was mediocrity.

The Travs were 31-39 in the first half, although they heated up in the last two weeks after reliever Jose Arredondo was first disciplined and then demoted for insubordination towards manager Bobby Magallanes and an altercation with veteran outfielder Curtis Pride. Since then, the team is 10-6, and have won seven of their last nine games.

Right-handed pitcher Nick Adenhart, 20, was listed the Angels’ #2 prospect this year by Baseball America. Although his numbers weren’t as dominant as last season, nonetheless Nick was one of the best pitchers in the Texas League. His 3.44 ERA was fifth best in the league, fifth in innings pitched (83.2 IP), and sixth in strikeouts (61). But he was more generous with walks; his 37 passes were second highest in the league. Nonetheless, he gave up only four homers, and his ratio of groundouts to all other outs (GO/AO) was an impressive 1.73. It’s important to remember he’s a 20-year old in a league where most legit prospects are three or four years older than him.

RHP Nick Green, who turns 23 in August, is considered a sleeper prospect by many. He has a “plus” changeup and perhaps room to grow his velocity consistently into the low 90s. Green actually worked more innings than Adenhart; his 89.0 IP was second-best in the league. Nick posted a 4.15 ERA in 14 starts. His SO:BB ratio was 58:14 and his GO/AO was 0.79, which along with the 8 HR he surrenders suggest he’ll be more of a fly-ball pitcher. Lefties have a better AVG/OBP/SLG line against him than righties — .272/.307/.414 vs. .223/.253/.358. If Nick can expand his repertoire, he might project as a major league starter, otherwise his changeup will get him a big-league relief role one day.

In the bullpen, RHP Jose Arredondo was moved to the bullpen to start the year and projected as another possible Francisco Rodriguez. But Arredondo, 23, had “issues” as detailed above and finds himself wedged quite firmly in the Angels doghouse. Before his demise, Jose had a 2.52 ERA in 23 relief appearances, notching 10 saves. In 25.0 IP, his SO:BB ratio was 28:12 and his GO/AO was 0.85. Opponents hit only .184 against him.

Aussie RHP Rich Thompson, 23 on July 1, has the potential to step into the Travs’ “hammer” role. Known as “Chopper” or just “Chop” for his biting curveball, Rich has a 2.27 ERA with a 43:10 SO:BB ratio in 39.2 IP. His OBA is .193 and his GO/AO is 0.63.

Sean Rodriguez has a .552 slugging percentage on the road but only .312 in pitcher-friendly Dickey-Stephens Park.

Among the position players, only infielder Sean Rodriguez appears on the Baseball America Top 10 list for Angels prospects, listed at #8. Projected as a major league utility player, Sean has played mostly at shortstop although he’s had a couple games in center field. His first-half AVG/OBP/SLG were .256/.352/.425. Last year at age 21, Sean hit 29 HR between Rancho Cucamonga (24) and Arkansas (5), but this year he had only 8 HR in the first half. The compensating factor is that all but one dinger was on the road, not surprising since the new Dickey-Stephens Park is quickly developing a reputation as a pitcher’s paradise. In fact, his SLG at home is .312, but .552 on the road. Talk about context.

Catcher Bobby Wilson, 24, was ranked #19 on the Angels’ prospect list by Baseball America. He finished the half with a respectable line of .284/.366/468. But a lower back injury kept Bobby out from May 5 through May 26.

Veteran outfielder Curtis Pride, 38, was sent to Arkansas to start 2007 because the Angels had young outfield talent at Triple-A Salt Lake they wanted to play every day. The thinking was that by sending Pride to Arkansas he could play every day too and keep his bat fresh. Pride had a miserable first half, with his AVG dropping to .202 on May 13. He finished the half at .239/.335/.358, and was sent to Salt Lake when Terry Evans was promoted to Anaheim and Tommy Murphy became ill.

Next time … we look at Salt Lake’s first half.

At The Half – Rancho Cucamonga

Brok Butcher had a 2.10 ERA in the first half with 54 strikeouts.

Despite a roster largely devoid of “name” prospects, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Manager Bobby Mitchell kept his team in the California League’s South Division first half title race until the last week, and finished the half with a 33-37 mark.

The Quakes had the league’s worst offense in the first half — a .236 AVG, only 35 HR, and only 281 runs scored. All league worsts.

To compensate, Mitchell went to the Angels organization’s favorite weapon — the stolen base. The Quakes led the league with 95 SB in 131 attempts. Unfortunately, they had the fewest walks in the league (196) and the second most strikeouts (560).

Outfielder Jordan Renz, who turns 24 on July 21, led the team with 9 HR but his overall numbers slipped badly as the year progressed, just as he did a year ago at Cedar Rapids. With the Kernels in 2006, his April AVG was .284, then .257 in May and just .171 in June. This year with the Quakes, he was .313 in April, but .187 in May and just .125 in June. Renz, a 4th round draft pick in 2002, is currently suffering from a shoulder injury and hasn’t played since June 4.

Outfielder Brad Coon, 24, was third in the league with 28 SB, the only Quakes player in the top five in any offensive category. His AVG/OBP/SLG were .276/.323/.371.

Shortstop Hainley Statia, 21, might be the closest thing to a legit prospect in the Quakes lineup. But his line for the first half was only .263/.326/.352. He stole 16 bases in 19 attempts. He committed 11 errors, but in the Cal League that’s actually pretty good for full-time shortstops. In a nod to the Angels’ philosophy of developing "Contactball" players, Statia struck out only 39 times in 281 AB, or once every 7.2 AB.

Hainley Statia, pictured with Orem in 2005, struck out only 39 times in 281 at-bats.

The story was much better on the mound.

Right-handed starter Brok Butcher, who turns 24 in October, had a spectacular first half. Although he was selected in the 25th round of the June 2005 draft and not considered a legit prospect, Butcher had a 2.10 ERA in 15 games (13 starts), pitching 94.1 IP. Batters hit only .238 against him, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 54:23. He was largely a groundout pitcher; Minor League Baseball keeps a stat called GO/AO, or groundouts to all other outs, and Butcher’s ratio was 1.79.

The #2 starter was RHP Anthony Ortega, who turns 22 in August. In 14 starts (82.2 IP), Ortega had a 57:36 SO:BB ratio and a .231 OBA. For those into WHIP (Walks + Hits / IP), Ortega’s was 1.28. (Butcher was 1.13.)

The bullpen ace was RHP Darren O’Day, who turns 25 in October. A submariner, he had a 0.75 ERA in 24.0 IP (24 games), a 26:6 SO:BB ratio, and a .120 OBA. His WHIP was 0.67 and his GO/AO was 1.56. As we talked about yesterday with Aaron Cook, submariners often have success against younger and inexperienced batters.

Three players quit during the first half. 3B Dallas Morris retired, and C Brett Martinez asked for his release. Reliever Kevin Lynch got promoted to Arkansas but then he too quit the game, reportedly for a full-time job.

If anyone moves up to Arkansas for the second half, the most deserving candidates are Butcher and O’Day. But Travs fans looking for a savior are unlikely to find one arriving from Rancho Cucamonga.

Next time … we look at Arkansas’ first half.

At The Half – Cedar Rapids

Chris Pettit hit .346 in the first half with 9 HR and a .429 OBP.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels finished 38-31 in the first half, good enough for a post-season slot in most leagues, but not in the Midwest League Western Division which has eight teams and two teams that finished ahead of the Kernels.

The Kernels lost one game due to weather, although many other games were postponed due to bad weather and made up as doubleheaders. How much of a toll that took is only speculation, but in any case the team showed enough talent to think their core prospects will move through the system similar to the famous group selected in the 2001 draft.

Topping the list is outfielder Chris Pettit, selected in the 19th round of the June 2006 draft. At age 22 (he turns 23 on August 15), Pettit is definitely old for the Midwest League, but you can’t argue his numbers — an AVG/OBP/SLG of .346/.429/.579, 9 HR, 24 SB, 17 SB in 21 attempts and a Midwest League All-Star berth. If anyone deserves to move up to Rancho Cucamonga after this week’s All-Star break, it’s Pettit, who lives in nearby San Dimas.

First baseman Mark Trumbo, who was in danger of dropping off the top prospect radar after starting the year repeating the Midwest League, got off to a slow start but has started to step it up after the Kernels coaching staff reportedly rebuilt his hitting mechanics. Trumbo’s AVG/OBP/SLG by month:

  • April: .204/.245/286
  • May: .252/.302/.421
  • June: .319/.351/.507

Trumbo is only 21, so it’s way too early to write him off as some people have on fan boards.

Catcher Hank Conger, the Angels’ #1 pick in the June 2006 draft, finished with a first-half line of .282/.336/.469. Conger, 19, was expected by me to show limited power in a pitcher’s league, and in April his SLG was only .426. But he improved to a .500 SLG in May and is at .472 to date for June. His OBP has steadily progressed — .306 in April, .320 in May, and .400 in June.

Third baseman Matt Sweeney, 19, has a line of .272/.329/.460. His 15 errors have to be taken in the context of a league where not all infields are created equal. Although the Cedar Rapids infield is one of the best in the league, Sweeney has 11 errors at home and four on the road. Go figure. Sweeney has 5 HR in June but his AVG for the month is only .232 and his OBP is .274, suggesting he’s become a bit homer-happy and needs to get back to basics, but that’s only speculation based on reading a line of numbers.

Tim Schoeninger has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 64:6 in 81 IP.

Looking at the pitching staff, Tim Schoeninger may not be a “name” prospect but like Pettit he’s an All-Star. Schoeninger, who turns 23 in September, has a 2.67 ERA, an opponents’ average of .265, and a mind-boggling SO:BB ratio of 64:6 in 81 IP. His ERA and OBA by month have actually dropped — he’s at 2.25 and .216 for June to date. Schoeninger, like Pettit, is the top pitching candidate to move up to Rancho after the break.

RHP Sean O’Sullivan was probably the best-performing pitching prospect in the rotation until he went on the disabled list June 4 with a back injury. O’Sullivan’s ERA was 2.82 in 71 IP with a .272 OBA and a 49:17 SO:BB ratio in 67 IP. He turns 20 in September.

RHP Trevor Bell, the Angels’ #1 pick in 2005, struggled with an injury and has pitched only 41.2 IP. His ERA is 3.46 with a 30:4 SO:BB ratio and a .297 OBA. He turns 21 in October.

In the bullpen, I’m intrigued by submariner Aaron Cook. In 19 relief appearances (26 IP), Aaron has a 1.04 ERA, a 17:1 SO:BB ratio, and a .253 OBA. Cook turns 24 so he’s obviously too old for this league, and his submarine delivery will confuse young and inexperienced hitters. Another submariner, Darren O’Day, is ahead of him in Rancho Cucamonga but there’s no law that says a team can’t have two submariners.

I continue to watch Warner Madrigal, the former slugger who was converted to the mound in 2006 after a series of hand injuries pretty much put an end to his hitting career. Madrigal, 23, has a 3.64 ERA in 29.2 relief innings, a 31:17 SO:BB ratio and a .265 OBA. Patience is usually a virtue when it comes to relievers, especially those converted from another position. Ask Troy Percival.

Next time … we look at Rancho Cucamonga’s first half.

Terry Evans Called Up to Anaheim

The Angels have promoted Terry Evans to Anaheim.

The Salt Lake Bees just issued a press release announcing that outfielder Terry Evans has been promoted to Anaheim. Evans replaces Garret Anderson, who went on the disabled list yesterday after aggravating the hip flexor strain that’s nagged him all year.

Visit an Angels Affiliate

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It’s time for another poll.

Which Angels minor league affiliate would you most like to visit?

I’d suggest you pick one not in your backyard, but then if you’ve never been to that one then feel free to vote for it.

The options are to the right.

The results of the last poll … Who is the Angels’ best #1 pick of all time?

  • John Lackey 21%
  • Chuck Finley 21%
  • Troy Glaus 15%
  • Frank Tanana 13%
  • Darin Erstad 8%
  • Jered Weaver 6%
  • Brandon Wood 5%
  • Casey Kotchman 4%
  • Andy Messersmith 4%
  • Jim Abbott 2%

There were 224 votes cast.