This ‘N That

The Bees suffered a rare loss last night in Memphis. They’re now 24-3.

Center fielder Brad Coon has played in 25 games, and reached base in all of them. He did not have hits in five of those games. How did he reach base? He walked in three of them. The other two, he was hit by a pitch. The tough way to keep a streak going.

Coon was someone considered a sleeper when he was selected in the 15th round of the June 2005 draft. His speed and ability to reach base projected him as a prospect. At age 22+, he was quite old for Rookie-A Orem. He continued behind the age curve until this year. In 2007, he split the season between Rancho Cucamonga (.258/.344/.311 in 74 games) and Arkansas (.301/.372/.385 in 58 games). He figured to return to North Little Rock for 2008, but made the Salt Lake roster out of spring training. He’s now 25 (DOB 12/11/82), so he’s at a level more typical of his contemporaries.

Brad’s AVG/OBP/SLG so far are .340/.438/.388. I’m usually not much of a fan of guys whose on-base percentage is higher than their slugging percentage, because singles hitters went out of vogue with the 1960s. But if the player is a base stealer, he effectively turns those singles and walks into doubles. Coon had a SB/CS ratio of 55/21 with Cedar Rapids in 2006, and a combined 56/21 ratio in 2007. In 2008 to date, he’s at only 6:5, probably because he’s seeing not only experienced catchers but he’s also trying to swipe bags off pitchers who know how to hold a runner on base.

Of his 35 hits so far, only three are for extra bases — two doubles and a homer. But he’s also making contact — he has a SO:BB ratio of 17:16 in 103 AB.

With four veteran outfielders, Reggie Willits and Juan Rivera ahead of him in Anaheim, I don’t know how Brad projects into a future Anaheim roster. But you never know.

Quakes CF Peter Bourjos leads the Angels system in stolen bases this year with 17, with Kernels LF Jeremy Moore is right behind him at 15. Next is Kernels SS Andrew Romine at 13 and then Quakes LF Anthony Norman at 7.

John Lackey is still scheduled to make a rehab start Sunday at Rancho Cucamonga. Howie Kendrick’s rehab was pushed back a few days after he felt some soreness working out in Anaheim. The latest media reports have him at Rancho sometime next week. The Quakes have Monday off, then host Inland Empire for three May 6-8 at The Epicenter.

Unless fate intervenes, I’ll be at Rancho tomorrow to videotape Lackey’s start. Look for highlights on FutureAngels.com sometime Sunday night or Monday.

The Milwaukee Brewers have designated Derrick Turnbow for assignment. He’d have to pass through waivers and then accept a minor league assignment, or he could take his free agency. Personally, I’d like to see the Angels claim him if they get the chance. The bullpen has been a bit thin so far and Turnbow grew up in the system after being claimed from Philadelphia during the December 1999 Rule 5 Draft. But I suspect someone else will claim him before the Angels get a shot, as waivers go in reverse order of winning percentage.

If you’ve been reading this blog over the last year, you know my wife and I have long-range plans to move to the Space Coast of Florida in about four years. Our next real estate scouting trip is tentatively planned for late August. I want her to experience the worst of the weather to be sure she can handle the heat, humidity and hurricanes.

I checked the Florida State League schedule to see if the Brevard County Manatees or Daytona Cubs might be home, and noticed their regular season schedules end with the month of August. Almost all the other full-season leagues traditionally end Labor Day weekend. Maybe it’s because hurricane season starts around then. When Hurricane Frances blew through on September 5, 2004, it destroyed half the scoreboard at Space Coast Stadium and damaged the roof. Up the coast in Daytona, Frances and Hurricane Jeanne tore off the batting cage roof and most of the outfield wall signage, and collapsed the light towers.

Sure beats boring Southern California weather, doesn’t it?

Whenever I tell a Californian about our Florida plans, inevitably the first thing they ask is, “What about the hurricanes?” But when I travel back east and tell people where I live now, inevitably the first thing they ask is, “What about the earthquakes?”

In closing … As mentioned in earlier blogs, I’m busy this year with a political project so I don’t have as much free time as usual. I’m still working on spring training photos, which you’ll find in the FutureAngels.com digital photo gallery. Anyone can shoot an action shot; I prefer to capture images that have some sort of interesting subject.

Below are some images you’ll find in the gallery. You can order reprints of any image on the site.


Angels Manager Mike Scioscia visited the minor league complex on March 17. He watched the bullpen thrown by pitcher Tommy Mendoza and caught by Hank Conger.

 


Ben Johnson catches a warmup pitch from Shane Loux before the Double-A spring training game on March 17.

 


Pitchers participate in a fielding drill.

 


Catcher Brian Walker shows some hustle chasing after a loose ball.

 


The main entrance to the minor league complex office.

 


My guilty pleasure is photographing baseball gear in its natural habitat. Nothing is posed. This shot has everything — bat, glove, shoe, jacket with team logo.

 

1 Comment

“Brad’s AVG/OBP/SLG so far are .340/.438/.388. I’m usually not much of a fan of guys whose on-base percentage is higher than their slugging percentage, because singles hitters went out of vogue with the 1960s. But if the player is a base stealer, he effectively turns those singles and walks into doubles. Coon had a SB/CS ratio of 55/21 with Cedar Rapids in 2006, and a combined 56/21 ratio in 2007. In 2008 to date, he’s at only 6:5, probably because he’s seeing not only experienced catchers but he’s also trying to swipe bags off pitchers who know how to hold a runner on base.”

Hi Stephen,

Pure speculation on my part. . .I wonder if another factor (albeit small) is that our manager is a recent promotion to AAA as well. Prior to his two seasons managing at Rancho Cucamonga, Mitchell was a roving instructor so he probably didn’t get an extended look at any one league. By no means am I saying Mitch can or can’t manage–simply that instructing in individual skills is a whole different “ballgame” from coordinating game strategies.

Granted, the ultimate choice of whether to go or stay belongs with the baserunner, although it seems the third base coach can improve the odds of success by knowing pitcher/catcher combos or noticing an opportunity due to distraction, frustration injury report, etc. As I have conceded many times, I’m a lousy statistician. However, my impression has been that our running game could still use some more work.

Brad mentioned in a recent radio interview that his goal this year is to end the season with more walks than strikeouts. Maybe he’s just trying to throw a taunt out to opposing pitchers so he’ll see more pitches in the strike zone. OK, so that was some pretty wild speculation, but it’s kind of funny to imagine. :-D

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