Results tagged ‘ Salt Lake Bees ’

Bees Announce Opening Day Roster

The Salt Lake Bees have issued a press release announcing their roster.

The roster doesn’t appear to be on-line yet, so here’s the one that was part of the e-mail press release. The only mild surprise is Brad Coon making the leap to Triple-A; he split 2007 between Rancho Cucamonga and Arkansas.

PITCHERS (12)                    B-T      HT       WT      AGE    BORN

Adenhart, Nick                       R-R     6’3       185      21        8/24/1986

Alvarado, Giancarlo               R-R     6’4       210      30        1/24/1978       

Arredondo, Jose                    R-R     6’0       170      24        3/20/1984

Bonilla, Henry                        R-R     6’0       190      29        8/16/1978

Green, Nick                           R-R     6’4       200      23        8/20/1984

Kennard, Jeff                         R-R     6’2       220      26        7/26/1981

Loux, Shane                          R-R     6’2       210      28        8/31/1979

Olenberger, Kasey                R-R     6’4       235      30        3/18/1978

Pullin, Aaron                          R-R     6’3       200      27        2/17/1981

Rodriguez, Rafael                 R-R     6’1       170      23        9/24/1984

Serrano, Alex                         R-R     6’1       200      26        2/18/1981

Wilhite, Matt                           R-R     6’1       185      25        7/3/1981


CATCHERS (2)                    B-T      HT       WT      AGE    BORN

Budde, Ryan                         R-R     5’11     200      28        8/15/1979

Wilson, Bobby                       R-R     6’0       220      24        4/8/1983


INFIELDERS (7)                   B-T      HT       WT      AGE    BORN

Brown, Matt                           R-R     6’0       200      25        8/8/1982

Morales, Kendry                    B-R      6’1       225      24        6/20/1983

Patchett, Gary                       R-R     6’2       180      29        9/25/1978

Pavkovich, Adam                  R-R     6’2       185      26        12/31/1981

Rodriguez, Sean                   R-R     6’0       190      22        4/26/1985

Sandoval, Freddy                  B-R      6’1       200      25        8/16/1982

Wood, Brandon                     R-R     6’3       185      23        3/2/1985


OUTFIELDERS (3)              B-T      HT       WT      AGE    BORN

Brown, Dermal                      L-R      6’0       215      30        3/27/1978

Coon, Bradley                       L-L       6’1       175      25        12/11/1982

Evans, Terry                          R-R     6’3       205      26        1/19/1982


Brandon Wood Returns

Brandon Wood has blossomed since his last callup.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Howie Kendrick is back on the disabled list due to a small fracture on his left index finger, suffered July 3 while swinging the bat.

Brandon Wood was recalled from Salt Lake, and it’s implied that should he play third base Chone Figgins will move over to 2B.

Wood, 22, wasn’t ready for prime time when he was called up in late April while Figgins and infielder Maicer Izturis were on the DL. He appeared in three games, had only a single in 11 AB, and struck out five times while not taking a walk.

Brandon got off to a slow start with Salt Lake, which led the instant gratification crowd to dismiss him as a "bust" and demand the Angels trade him "while he still has value."

Thank goodness Angels GM Bill Stoneman ignored that advice.

Twenty-two is a very young age for Triple-A. If you watched the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, many of those players were in their mid-20s to even early 30s. Those guys aren’t necessarily top prospects, but they were seasoned veterans, some of whom have played in the majors.

So when a 22-year old comes up to Triple-A for the first time and faces experienced pitchers with borderline major-league stuff, it’s only natural that he’ll struggle.

In April, Wood’s AVG/OBP/SLG were .262/.351/.440 (.791 OPS) which isn’t bad for a start, but then he went up to Anaheim and missed some development time. When he returned to Salt Lake on May 9, he had a horrific month, posting a line of .205/.313/.361 (.674 OPS).

Some make a big fuss about Brandon’s strikeout rate. As I’ve written many times before, if you look at Mike Schmidt’s development, he had a lot of strikeouts too at Wood’s age and he wound up in the Hall of Fame. In any case, if you look at Wood’s strikeout rate over April and May in Triple-A, he struck out once every 3.4 AB.

But that’s changed.

Brandon’s performance picked up in June. Since June 1, his strikeout rate is once every 4.7 AB. Compare that to his minor league career rate of 3.7 and his 2006 rate of 3.0, and you see a marked improvement.

Since June 1, he has a .295 AVG, a .356 OBP, 10 HR, 8 2B and a triple.

Still want to "trade him while he has value"?

The most encouraging sign is that the Franklin Covey Syndrome seems to have little effect on his overall numbers. Salt Lake’s park is at 4,500 feet, which means home numbers are often inflated over road numbers. But Wood’s home OPS (.821) and road OPS (.822) are virtually identical.

A better analysis would be to factor out all of the PCL’s high altitude parks — Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque and Colorado Springs — which I don’t have the time to do that right now. But for what it’s worth, I broke down those 10 HR since June 1 and found that five were in "normal" parks, five were in high-altitude parks.

Brandon still has room to grow, but he’s a lot closer than he was when called up in late April. It’s clear that the Angels’ decision to expose him to major league pitching for a few days worked, because he was able to take that knowledge back with him to Salt Lake and work on what he needed to improve to make the leap for good in 2008, if not sooner.

While in Orem earlier this week, I interviewed Jeff Scholzen, the Angels scout who found and signed Wood. They stay in touch, so Jeff has a unique insight into Brandon’s development. Click Here to listen to the interview. You need Windows Media Player.

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 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.

Nathan Haynes Gets the Call

Nathan Haynes got his first call to the big leagues.

The Salt Lake Bees’ web site reports that Nathan Haynes has been called up to the major leagues for the first time. Tommy Murphy returned to Salt Lake.

UPDATE May 28, 2007 9:00 PM PDT — Nathan Haynes made his major league debut tonight, a late-inning substitution for Reggie Willits after the game got out of hand. In the bottom of the 9th, Haynes singled, went to third on a single by Erick Aybar, and scored on a fielder’s choice.

Oh, Haynes is wearing #13. Given the history of injuries in his career, that’s gotta be someone’s idea of a joke.

Just Like Old Times

Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick together at Rancho Cucamonga in 2005.

It was deja vu all over again last night in Fresno.

Howie Kendrick was playing second base for the Salt Lake Bees, on rehab assignment from Anaheim.

Brandon Wood was back at shortstop for the game, getting a night off from his internship at third base.

Kendrick and Wood were the best of friends in the minors, rising through the system together, starting at Provo in 2003. Howie’s bat moved him ahead of Brandon, reaching the majors in 2006, and the Angels’ starting second base job was his to lose in spring training. Kendrick was hitting .327 when his hand was broken April 17 by a pitch thrown by A’s pitcher Chad Gaudin.

Wood had two brief callups this year while third baseman Chone Figgins mended, but still has work to do. Kendrick was already on the DL when Brandon arrived in Anaheim, so there was no opportunity for them to be in the lineup together.

Last night at Fresno, they were in the lineup together, back-to-back, with Kendrick batting third and Wood in the cleanup slot.

In the top of the 2nd, Howie hit a three-run homer, and then Wood followed with a solo shot. They homered back-to-back.

Hopefully it was a moment that Angels fans will see repeated in the big leagues in the near future.

Nathan Haynes!

Nathan Haynes in spring training, March 2007.

“A man can’t swing if his underwear doesn’t.”

— Hanes Underwear advertising slogan

There isn’t much left in pro ball that makes me go “gasp” but Nathan Haynes just did it.

After going 4-for-6 Wednesday night at home against Memphis, Nathan Haynes was 4-for-5 Thursday night to raise his batting average over the magic .400 mark to .409. His on-base percentage is .492 and his slugging percentage is .618. In 28 games, he’s stolen 11 bases out of 15 attempts.

All this from a guy whose career was on the trash pile in 2004.

After a series of injuries derailed his top prospect status, Haynes took his six-year minor league free agency in October 2003 and signed with the San Francisco Giants. He played one game for Triple-A Fresno, and seven games for their summer league camp, then disappeared off the baseball radar.

Nathan re-emerged in 2006 with the independent Northern League team in Gary, Indiana. appearing in 31 games, he posted a lackluster AVG/OBP/SLG of .263/.323/.447. But the Angels brought him home in June 2006, and sent him to Double-A Arkansas for 52 games before finishing the year with Triple-A Salt Lake. His numbers with the Bees in 16 games: .228/.286/.368.

In short, there was no reason to think that at age 27 Haynes would suddenly turn the PCL on its ear.

If you’re looking for a vulnerability, look at his splits.

Against lefties, his AVG/OBP/SLG are .273/.385/.485. Against righties, the numbers are .468/.539/.675.

And whenever you’re dealing with a Salt Lake player, you need to look at his home/road splits because Franklin Covey Field sits at 4,500 feet, one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the PCL. At home, Nathan’s line is .419/.500/.710. On the road, it’s .396/.482/.500.

So now the Angels have a ridiculous "deep depth" of center fielders. Behind Gary Matthews, Jr. — who’s proving last year was no fluke — the Angels have Reggie Willits, Tommy Murphy and now Haynes.

With most organizations, Nathan would be on his way to the big leagues with those numbers. But with the deep and talented Angels … he waits.

The Rematch

Randy Johnson faced the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on July 15, 2003.

It may be the most legendary game in the history of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

On July 15, 2003, Randy Johnson was assigned by the Arizona Diamondbacks to their California League affiliate, the Lancaster JetHawks, to make a rehab start. The JetHawks were in Rancho Cucamonga to play the Quakes.

Johnson’s opponent on the mound that night? Ervin Santana.

The Quakes won that night, 5-1. Johnson gave up five runs (four earned) on 11 hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

Several Quakes in the lineup that night will be in the lineup Thursday night when the Salt Lake Bees are in Tucson to face the Sidewinders, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. And once again, Randy Johnson will be on the mound.

Of course, Johnson took a side trip to the New York Yankees since the last encounter, and was traded back to Arizona last winter. But for several Bees, this will be another chance to test their mettle against a future Hall of Famer.

Jeff Mathis was the catcher that night. Mike Eylward was at first base. Nick Gorneault was in left field.

Missing the party this time will be Dallas McPherson, who homered off Johnson in his second at-bat. After singling off Randy in his third AB, in their fourth encounter he was nicked by the Unit with a fastball at the navel. Dallas took his base and promptly stole second.

If you have Windows Media Player and a fast Internet connection, click here to watch McPherson’s four at-bats against Johnson.

Dallas will be up the road in Tempe rehabbing after surgery to fix his bad back. He once told me (in jest) that he and Randy have "unfinished business," but it seems like every time there’s a chance they’ll cross paths again that one or the other has been on the DL.

But I’d pay serious money to see Dallas face Johnson one more time.

You’ll be able to listen to the game through the Bees webcast on the web site at 6:30 PM PDT on Thursday.

Salt Lake at Las Vegas — April 15

Bartolo Colon congratulated in the dugout after Sunday’s performance. Fellow Dominican Pedro Liriano charted the pitches.

A much larger turnout from Angels fandom Sunday, most likely to see Bartolo Colon pitch on rehab.  I’d guess about a hundred fans sitting behind the Salt Lake dugout on the third base side.

Colon was dominant.  The first 51s batter, Tony Abreu, took Bart to 13 pitches before finally taking a walk.  But after that, the only batter I can recall hitting hard Colon was Andy LaRoche, who hit a laser to center field but right at Nathan Haynes.

Bartolo’s fastball was consistently in the low 90s, and occasionally mid-90s.

Most of us thought he’d be gone after the 6th inning — the Angels fans behind the dugout gave him a standing ovation — but he came out and pitched the 7th too. So he got a louder standing ovation.

After Jonathon Rouwenhorst pitched the 8th, Chris Resop came in for the 9th. Resop was acquired from Florida during the winter for Kevin Gregg. Resop continued to struggle, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk. His mechanics are flawed, and he didn’t look like he was pitching with confidence, but his velocity got up to 97 MPH. Mechanics can be fixed. You don’t give up early on that kind of arm.

The predicted thunderstorms held off, other than for a stray raindrop or two, but driving home to O.C. it poured between Baker and Victorville. (I really have to wonder about the idiots who drive their SUVs 85 MPH on the freeway swerving in and out of traffic in a wind-driven downpour …)

Those of you who are longtime regulars at know about the legendary faceoff on July 15, 2003 between the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and a rehabbing Randy Johnson. Bees broadcaster Steve Klauke said it’s possible there might be a rematch on Wednesday, when Salt Lake is in Tucson for a 12 PM PDT contest. Among the current Bees who were in the lineup that day were Jeff Mathis, Nick Gorneault and Mike Eylward. Dallas McPherson homered off Johnson in that game, but he’s in Tempe on rehab. Randy nicked Dallas with a pitch in his final at-bat, but injuries to one or the other over the years have robbed them of another encounter.

Salt Lake at Las Vegas — April 14

My record for the season remains intact.

I’ve been to one Quakes game, and the two Bees games here in Las Vegas.

They’ve lost all of them.

So I’m sure the good folk in Cedar Rapids and Little Rock are urging me to stay far away from their towns.

The Bees’ bats finally awoke last night, scoring four runs in the top of the 4th to tie the score at 3-3.  They fell behind at 6-3, but tied it again in the top of the 7th 6-6.  No problem for the locals, who scored two in the bottom of the 7th and one in the bottom of the 8th to win 9-6.

I have video of much of the Bees’ offense, and will try to post it on in the next day or two.  (It’s not often you get to see a Brent Del Chiaro triple.)

As for Kendry Morales, per the Bees media folk Kendry was removed Friday night due to a stiff lower back.  He missed Saturday night but could be available today.

Bartolo Colon is scheduled to make his rehab start here today at 12:00 PM PDT.  The weather forecast for the afternoon is a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms with the temperature in the low 60s.  Right now (9 AM) it’s mostly sunny outside.

I recorded several interviews yesterday which will be in the next Radio podcast.  One was with Jim Gemma, the media guy for the Las Vegas 51s.  Yeah, I know, they’re a Dodgers affiliate, but I think Angels fans should give some thought to driving up here when Salt Lake is in town and make a good showing of Halo Red.  There are a lot of Dodgers fans in the stands.  I’ve seen a few people wearing Angels gear.  The Bees return for a four-game series July 12-15, so it would be nice to get a little Freeway Series rivalry going here in the town that never sleeps. 

Salt Lake at Las Vegas — April 13

Kendry Morales left Friday’s game in the bottom of the 5th inning.

Just got back from the Salt Lake Bees game at Las Vegas.  It was the home opener for the 51s.  Although currently a Dodgers affiliate, this franchise has some Angels history we’ll get to in a moment.

The Bees lost 5-1 and didn’t impress much with two exceptions.  Terry Evans hit a shot to left field his first at-bat to give the Bees a short-lived 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd.  In the bottom frame, Pedro Liriano gave up five runs, the critical hit a bases-loaded triple by James Loney.

Liriano was relieved by Steven Shell, just off the plane from Arkansas after being promoted to replace Greg Jones (who went to Anaheim after Kelvim Escobar was disabled).  Shell, converted to relief this year, did quite nicely.  He pitched from the stretch full-time, and pitched four scoreless innings.  Steven gave up two hits, struck out two, walked none, and induced a double-play to get out of his one jam.  He’s wearing glasses now.  According to the scoreboard, his velocity was in the high 80s with an occasional 90 MPH, but I’m not sure I buy that as he used to be in the low to mid-90s.  Shell was using his curve ball and changeup effectively.

Most curious was that Kendry Morales was lifted in the bottom half of the 5th, replaced at first base by Mike Eylward.  I’m not aware of any injury, so just speculating that maybe the Angels called him up after finally deciding to disable Shea Hillenbrand who’s been playing with a groin injury.  So far I haven’t seen any explanation on-line, so when I find something I’ll let you know.

Bartolo Colon, scheduled to make a rehab start here Sunday, was spotted briefly in the dugout during the game.  So he’s here.

As for the Las Vegas connection to Angels history … I pointed out to both the Bees broadcaster and the 51s media guy that the Las Vegas franchise originated long ago as the old Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels.  To move the Dodgers to L.A. from Brooklyn, Walter O’Malley had to acquire the territorial rights from the Cubs, who owned the PCL Angels.  The Dodgers moved the PCL franchise to Spokane, Washington in 1958, and there it stayed until 1982 when it moved to Las Vegas.

Just a little factoid for this Freeway Series, although it’s the I-15 Freeway Series, not the I-5 Freeway Series we Southern Californians have come to know.  Continue up the I-15 from Las Vegas about 375 miles and you’ll get to Salt Lake.  Franklin Covey Field is just a couple blocks off the I-15 in Salt Lake City.

Oh, driving up here along the I-15, gas seemed to be roughly in the $3.50-$3.60/gallon range.  Here in Vegas, gas seems to be about $2.95-$3.05/gallon.

When I get the time, I’m going to research a rumor I heard today.  The rumor has the PCL Nashville franchise looking to relocate to the West Coast, possibly somewhere in Southern California.  That rumor reminded me of past efforts by a guy in San Bernardino to bring a major league team to the Inland Empire.  I’m sure the Angels and Dodgers would have something to say about that, but so long as the PCL franchise is beyond a 45-mile radius from Angel or Dodger Stadium it would be okay.