October 2012

Santana talks Angels, Royals and moving on …

Ervin Santana took part in a conference call with Royals reporters. Here’s what he said about Wednesday’s trade from the Angels (thanks to Royals beat reporter Dick Kaegel for passing this along) …

“I’ve very excited and I can’t wait to be with you guys.”

Disappointed to be leaving contender and joining what has been a non-contending team? …

“It’s not because the Royals have a very good team. They’ve got very good young talent and they’ve got a good defense and it’s very exciting.”

Can you be a No. 1 pitcher in the rotation? …

“If they give me the opportunity, I’ll be ready for it. I’ll be 100 percent ready for it. . . . I have the tools for it. So I if they give me a chance, I just have to go out there and do the job.”

Can you come back from a poor season? …

“I have to keep my mind confident and throw a lot of strikes and everything will change.”

Any physical problems last year? …

“I don’t have any physical problem, everything was good, I just had bad luck.”

What do you know about the Royals? …

“I know they’re very aggressive, have a good defense and very good young talent. I’m going to go over there and prove that I can help the team win games.”

Tough leaving Angels? …

“A little bit but, at the same time, I have to realize that this is a business. They’re trying to get something out (of it). I was not ready for it, but they traded me and I just have to accept it and just move on. It’s going to be hard because I’ve known these teammates for a long time but now I’m going to have new teammates and I can’t wait to meet them and hang out with them.”

Interested in longer-term deal? …

“Yeah, I would be interested but I’ll see how it is first and we’ll go from there.”

Kauffman  Stadium?

“I like the stadium, it’s very nice, it’s one of my favorite stadiums.”


Angels deal Santana to the Royals …

Ervin Santana’s tenure with the Angels ended on Wednesday, but not in the manner many would’ve expected.

Rather than simply decline his $13 million club option for 2013, the Angels were able to deal the right-hander to the Royals in exchange for Minor League left-hander Brandon Sisk.

As part of the deal, which has been officially announced, the Angels will also be sending cash to Kansas City.

Santana, signed by the Angels out of the Dominican Republic in 2000, was better down the stretch but still finished 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA and a Major League-leading 39 homers in 30 starts.

The Angels had until 9 p.m. PT on Wednesday to make a decision on his option, which has a $1 million buyout, and were expected to decline it. Still, interest was there from teams who were willing to take a shot on the talented right-hander, who compiled 28 wins and posted a 3.65 ERA from 2010-11.

“We’ve stated all along that starting pitching was a priority this off-season and acquiring someone with the resume of Ervin Santana immediately upgrades our rotation,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement.  “At just 29 years old, he has 96 major league wins, is a proven innings eater and most importantly, he competes.  Ervin has been an All-Star, has pitched in the post-season and has at least 16 wins in three different years, all of which adds a winning mindset to our clubhouse.”

Sisk, 27, has spent his five-year pro career entirely in the Minors. With Triple-A Omaha last season, he posted a 2.54 ERA in 67 1/3 innings, with a 1.35 WHIP and a 2.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Angels have until 9 p.m. PT on Friday to decide on the $15.5 million club option on Dan Haren and, like with Santana, will try to trade him.

Alden Gonzalez

Scioscia, on prospects of resigning Greinke & Hunter

Angels manager Mike Scioscia joined the Mason and Ireland Show on ESPNLA 710 AM on Wednesday, and was asked about the possibility that the Angels can resign Zack Greinke and Torii Hunter. Here’s what he said …

Jerry [Dipoto] is working very hard on this and I think that he’s got some creative ways to try and make things work. He and Arte, I know, are going to make a great run at these guys. Right now, yes, it is up in the air. With Zack Greinke, it’s going to be a little later developing because of free agency and after the World Series. I know they’ve had some preliminary talks with Torii, but these things are probably going to take a little time to develop. We want those two guys back definitely. If we can, I think it gives us a much better base to work with going into Spring Training.”


Report Card: Starting rotation …

Jered Weaver, RH

2012: 20-5, 2.81 ERA, 188 2/3 IP, 142 SO, 45 BB
2007-11: 14-9, 3.40 ERA, 202 IP, 174 SO, 55 BB

In the end, Weaver’s 2012 may have paled in comparison to 2011, when he posted a career-low 2.41 ERA in a career-high 235 2/3 innings. But despite a short stint on the DL with lower back tightness, and some biceps tendinitis down the stretch, the 30-year-old right-hander put together another Cy Young-caliber performance in a year decorated with personal milestones. He threw his first no-hitter (against the Twins on May 2), notched his first 20-win season and surpassed 100 career victories. Most importantly, when the rotation struggled early in the second half, Weaver kept the Angels afloat by continuing to be the one constant. Mike Scioscia will point to that as the biggest reason why he should beat out the likes of Justin Verlander, David Price and Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young. We’ll see.

Grade: A

Zack Greinke, RH

2012 (overall): 15-5, 3.48 ERA, 212 1/3 IP, 200 SO, 54 BB
2008-11: 14-10, 3.37 ERA, 206 IP, 202 SO, 52 BB

Greinke ran into a little funk early in his tenure with the Angels, giving up 20 runs in his first 25 innings of August. But he got it together down the stretch, with a 2.04 ERA in his final eight starts of the season, and showed why he’ll be so highly coveted as a free agent this offseason. The Angels are hopeful that being with the organization for a couple months will give them an upper-hand this winter. It certainly won’t hurt, but they’ll have plenty of competition, most notably from the Rangers. He’s got great stuff, he fields his position well, and he’ll probably be worth a five-year deal around $120 million.

Grade: B

C.J. Wilson, LH

2012: 13-10, 3.83 ERA, 202 1/3 IP, 173 SO, 91 BB
2010-11: 16-8, 3.14 ERA, 214 IP, 188 SO, 84 BB

Wilson was as advertised in the first half, posting a 2.43 ERA en route to a second straight All-Star Game invite. But while pitching with bone spurs in his left elbow, which he recently fixed with arthroscopic surgery, the 31-year-old struggled through a 5.54 ERA in the second half. The most frustrating thing about Wilson is his walks, especially when handed a lead. Wilson walked 91 batters this year, fourth-most in the Majors and two off his career high in 2010. He also came up small in several important starts down the stretch. But he gets somewhat of a pass, considering the elbow discomfort he was nursing over the last couple of months.

Grade: C

Dan Haren, RH

2012: 12-13, 4.33 ERA, 176 2/3 IP, 142 SO, 38 BB
2005-11: 14-11, 3.49 ERA, 226 IP, 195 SO, 45 BB

Pretty stunning when you put Haren’s career averages right next to his 2012 season. This really was his only bad year, but with a $15.5 million club option for 2013, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Haren had a fantastic spring, with a 2.05 ER, 25 strikeouts and two walks. Then, right before things got real, his lower back started barking, and he was never really the same since. Haren went on the DL for the first time in his career, lost another tick or two off his fastball, was getting pulled out of games before even hitting 90 pitches — a clear sign that Scioscia had lost trust in him — and most of the time took the mound with very little. But Haren did turn it around a bit towards the end, finishing the season with a 2.81 ERA in his last eight starts after he stopped trying to add velocity and focused on location. Was that an indication that Haren learned how to pitch with his limited repertoire and can be effective again? Perhaps. But he’s definitely not a $15 million pitcher anymore.

Grade: D+

Ervin Santana, RH

2012: 9-13, 5.16 ERA, 178 IP, 133 SO, 61 BB
2006-11: 12-10, 4.17 ERA, 194 IP, 156 SO, 61 BB

Like Haren, Santana pitched better towards the end of the year, with a 3.76 ERA in his last 11 starts. But by that point, the damage had been done. Santana had a 6.00 ERA when that stretch began, finished giving up a Major League-high 39 homers and had three starts in which he lasted less than three innings and gave up at least six runs. Two of them came in the same month (July) and the other was his final start of the season, when he gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings in the second of a doubleheader in Texas on Sept. 30, all but mathematically eliminating the Angels from postseason contention. Considering his $13 million club option, that could very well have been the final start of his Angels career.

Grade: D-

Week 1: Infield.
Week 2: Outfield.


Angel Stadium to become ‘Field of Dreams’ …

The following is a release sent out by the team about an upcoming charitable game at the ballpark …

More than 900 children with physical and mental disabilities from 30 Challenger Division Little League teams throughout Orange County will experience the thrill of playing baseball at Angel Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the seventh annual Bank of America Orange County Little League “Challenger Classic.” The Challenger Classic, created through a partnership between the Angels Baseball Foundation and Bank of America, provides young players with the joy of playing America’s pastime alongside their baseball heroes and coaches, right on the field at Angels Stadium.  The event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Four sets of games will be played starting at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with each age division playing a two-inning, one-hour game on designated diamonds on the outfield grass at Angel Stadium. Scheduled to participate in this year’s Orange County Little League Challenger Classic are Angels pitcher Jerome Williams, Angels Third Base Coach Dino Ebel, Angels Bullpen Coach Steve Soliz, former Angels players Bobby Grich, Clyde Wright, Justin Speier and Rex Hudler and Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl.

In addition to the current and former Angels, 200 Bank of America volunteers and local Little League “Buddies” will help make it a day to remember, including video display of the games on the Jumbotron, a team photo with an Angel player, special medal award ceremony near home plate and lunch.

Families, friends and baseball fans are invited to join Bank of America, the Angels Baseball Foundation at the Orange County Little League Challenger Classic.  Enter at Angels Stadium at Gate 1.  Seating is open.

Media planning to attend the day’s events are asked to contact the Angels’ Communications Department prior to their arrival.


Report Card: Outfield/DH …

Mark Trumbo, LF

2012: .268/.317/.491, 32 HR, 95 RBI
2011: .254/.291/.477, 29 HR, 87 RBI

In keeping with the theme here, Trumbo aced the mid-term, but failed the non-cumulative final exam. He hit .306/.358/.608 in the first half, but .227/.271/.359 in the second half — dropping all the way down to eighth in the order and occasionally getting benched for Vernon Wells. Was it an uncharacteristically long slump that he’ll shake off and won’t happen again? Or did he rapidly digress towards the mean after hitting outside of himself in the first half? The sample size may not be big enough to know for sure just yet. But one thing we do know: Trumbo’s power is real.

Grade: B-

Mike Trout, CF

2012: .326/.399/.564, 30 HR, 49 SB

Trout is like that brainy kid in your pre-calc class who constantly screws up the curve. You can’t do any better than Trout did after coming up on April 28, putting up one of the greatest offensive seasons in baseball history while making a tremendous impact in center field and on the basepaths. Yeah, he struck out 139 times. So what? He also led the team in walks. Oh, and by the way, Alex Rodriguez struck out 121 times per season from 1996 to 2008. He did pretty well in that span. Question is: Long-term, is Trout a leadoff hitter or a three-hole hitter?

“For the foreseeable future, I see Mike as a leadoff hitter,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said, “but that being said, I think Mike transcends any position of the lineup. He can hit wherever you want him to hit. He’s got middle-of-the-order power, he’s got top-of-the-order speed, he’s got top-of-the-order ability to get on base. Frankly, it’s a very good package of skills.”

Um, yeah it is.

Grade: A+

Torii Hunter, RF

2012: .313/.365/.451, 16 HR, 92 RBI
1999-2011: .274/.332/.468, 22 HR, 81 RBI

Was 2012, his age-37 season and his 16th in the big leagues, Hunter’s best yet? It’s at least debatable. Thanks to a monstrous second half, Hunter hit .300 for the first time in his decorated career and may end up with his first Gold Glove as a right fielder (10th overall). Not only that, Hunter was as clutch as can be for the Angels down the stretch, when they were scratching and crawling for a spot in the playoffs, and continued to be the veteran and emotional leader of this team. If he departs via free agency, he will be gravely missed.

Grade: A-

Kendrys Morales, DH

2012: .273/.320/.467, 22 HR, 73 RBI
2010: .306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 108 RBI

It’s hard to analyze Morales’ season in a vacuum because the real story lies in much he had to overcome. The switch-hitter missed almost two full seasons with a couple of left ankle surgeries — making the kind of comeback that’s quite unprecedented among position players — and not only stayed healthy and hit well, but played a pretty good first base while Albert Pujols was out. Everybody in the Angels organization would’ve been ecstatic if you told them in spring that they’d get a .787 OPS out of Morales this season. Next year, his walk year, he should be even better.

Grade: B

Week 1: Infield.


Angels in Winter Ball …

For now, center fielder Peter Bourjos will not be playing Winter Ball. He was planning on getting some reps for a Dominican team in December, but that fell through. Below are those in the Angels organization who currently are playing. The league in the Dominican Republic runs until Dec. 21, while the ones in Venezuela and Mexico go until Dec. 30. The Caribbean Series — pinning the league champs in the Dominican, Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico — gets going in early February …

AAA RP Ryan Brasier (Mexico)
AAA OF Kole Calhoun (Dominican Republic)
AAA 1B Efren Navarrro (Dominican Republic)
AAA SP Matt Shoemaker (Venezuela)
A+ RP Baudilio Lopez (Venezuela)
RK SP Jairo Diaz (Venezuela)
DOSL RP Alexis Campos (Venezuela)
DOSL C Gabriel Santana (Venezuela)
DOSL OF Luis Tovar (Venezuela)

For updates on the Arizona Fall League and Caribbean Leagues, click here.


Parting ways with Vernon Wells …

In honor of Paul Simon, who told you about the 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, below are Five Ways To Leave Vernon Wells. Not as catchy, I know. And it’s not as easy as slipping out the back (Jack), or making a new plan (Stan), or hopping off the bus (Gus) — OK, I’ll stop.

The best way to get it done may be a little bad-contract swapping.

Look, it’s no secret the Angels would prefer to part ways with Wells, who’s owed $42 million through the 2014 season. At this point, they can’t expect much salary relief (if any) in the process, but what they can do is create some breathing room in a clogged-up outfield and perhaps get a player back who can help them in an area of need. At the same time, they’d probably be helping Wells, sending him to a place where he can play more regularly. The best way to do it, perhaps, is to try and find a match with a team that has a similarly unfriendly contract. The Cubs did it in 2009, sending the volatile Milton Bradley to the Mariners in exchange for Carlos Silva. The Angels themselves tried to do it last offseason, with Bobby Abreu slated to return to the Yankees before A.J. Burnett evoked his limited no-trade clause.

Is there a similar partner for Wells this offseason? Below are some possibilities. Two things to keep in mind: 1. This is merely speculative — nothing more than my own opinion; 2. The Angels may consider the next two years of Wells’ contract a wash, so perhaps they’ll have little issue with paying the difference in a trade. The benefit for them is creating flexibility in the outfield — perhaps easing a return for Torii Hunter — while getting a player who may help them. If they can save a couple million dollars, too, even better.

BOS SP John Lackey ($30.5M thru ’14)

After winning 102 games, posting a 3.81 ERA and having a few memorable postseason moments in eight seasons with the Angels, Lackey put up a 4.40 ERA in his first year with the Red Sox, followed by a 6.41 ERA in 2011, followed by Tommy John surgery in October that knocked him out for all of this past season. But the soon-to-be 34-year-old progressed towards the end of the year, should have a normal offseason and is expected to be ready to go by the start of Spring Training. Would Boston go for it? They have Jacoby Ellsbury in center and there appears to be strong mutual interest in Cody Ross returning. Other than that, though, they have several uncertainties in Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney and Ryan Kalish. Wells, meanwhile, may be a nice fit for the Green Monster, and to them, Lackey may represent part of that toxic clubhouse they’re still trying to fumigate.

NYY 3B Alex Rodriguez ($114M thru ’17)

It’s an easy place to go these days, since A-Rod is getting benched in the playoffs while being booed mercifully by the home crowd and the Angels could use an upgrade at third base. But A-Rod’s deal extends three years longer than Wells’, at $61 million. I’m thinking one $200 million deal (Albert Pujols) is enough in Anaheim.

CWS DH Adam Dunn ($30M thru ’14)

Bringing him on board as a lefty middle-of-the-order hitter could free up a trade for Kendrys Morales, who’s heading into his final year before free agency. But Dunn turned it around in 2012, raising his OPS from .569 to .800, and may claim AL Comeback Player of the Year honors for it (Morales is also in the running). This no longer looks like a salary dump for the White Sox.

SEA UT Chone Figgins ($8M in ’13, $9M vesting option in ’14)

This is one that seems to make sense for both sides. Figgins has said he wants out of Seattle, and he’d probably embrace a return to the place he thrived from 2002-09. The Angels could use a utility man with Maicer Izturis expected to depart via free agency (though Figgins doesn’t help them at shortstop). The Mariners, meanwhile, are in desperate need of power and Wells may be a nice fit now that they’re moving the  fences in at Safeco Field. One problem: The money. In case you hadn’t noticed, Figgins’ deal is a lot friendlier than Wells’. But, hey, if the Angels see Wells’ contract as a wash, that may not be an issue. By the way, Figgins’ 2014 option automatically vests with 600 plate appearances in 2013 — meaning it probably won’t automatically vest.

SFG SP Barry Zito ($20M in ’13, $18M club option — and $7M buyout — in ’14)

Another one that may fill needs on both sides. Zito would move into the Angels’ rotation — a rotation that could lose up to three-fifths of the 2012 makeup — and Wells would go to a team that, like the Mariners, is perpetually looking for offense. Plus, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan will hit free agency this offseason. But do the Giants really benefit from this? Though obviously no longer the same pitcher, Zito had a descent year with a 4.15 ERA in 184 1/3 innings. And in their desire to upgrade the offense, the Giants, three wins away from the World Series, may have higher aspirations than Wells. Zito, by the way, has a full no-trade clause — but he is a SoCal product.

Not mentioned: CHC LF Alfonso Soriano ($36M thru ’14); NYM LF Jason Bay ($16M in ’13, $17M club option in ’14); NYM SP Johan Santana ($25.5M in ’13, $25M club option in ’14); LAD SP Josh Beckett and 3B Hanley Ramirez ($31.5M thru ’14 each); LAD LF Carl Crawford ($102.5M thru ’17); MIA RP Heath Bell ($18M thru ’14).


Report Card: Infield …

We’re in purgatory here. The Angels’ season is over, but the postseason is ongoing — and wow, what a postseason it’s been — while the offseason remains on hold. So, let’s look back, shall we? Through October, I’ll hand out individual letter grades from the 2012 regular season, starting with the infield, then the outfield, starting rotation and bullpen, respectively. 

Here goes … 

Chris Iannetta, C

2012: .240/.332/.398, 9 HR, 79 G
2007-11 avg: .234/.357/.433, 12 HR, 87 G

Jerry Dipoto said it perfectly as the season was winding down: “I think it’s an absolute shame that Chris had to deal with the injury he had to deal with, because what we’ve seen since Chris came back from the disabled list is Chris Iannetta.” Iannetta was sidelined from May 8 to July 29 due to right wrist surgery and a right forearm strain. But shortly after his return, he was, as Dipoto said, Chris Iannetta, batting .279 in his last 35 games, working deep counts in the No. 9 spot, building a good rappport with the pitching staff, catching almost every day and, shortly after the season’s end, earning a three-year, $15.55 million extension.

Grade: C+

Albert Pujols, 1B

2012: .285/.343/.516, 30 HR, 105 RBI
2001-11 avg: .328/.420/.617, 40 HR, 121 RBI

It seems there are two drastic perspectives you can have on Pujols’ season. (1) Positive … Pujols’ final numbers were very solid, and awfully close to that .300-30-100 threshold that was automatic for 10 straight years, despite a brutal first four weeks. Next year, he’ll be more comfortable with American League pitching and less desperate to make a good first impression, allowing him to get off to a good start and do even better. (2) Negative … For a third straight year now, Pujols’ numbers have dropped. And this year, while battling a sore right calf that prompted him to miss a week and played a big part in those 34 starts at DH, he seemed another step slower and a tad less athletic. In January, he’ll be 33, and he’s owed $228 million over the next nine seasons.

But we’re not projecting forward just yet. Pujols was a big contributor this year. And that’s all we’re looking at right now.

Grade: A-

Howie Kendrick, 2B

2012: .282/.325/.400, 8 HR, 14 SB
2010-11: .282/.325/.434, 14 HR, 14 SB

Kendrick, in tune with practically the rest of the offense, struggled mightily at the start of the year, batting .257 through the first two months. But as the year ensued, Kendrick started to produce, and in the end — GIDP frustrations aside — he gave the Angels what they expected when they signed him to a four-year extension in January. It seemed to be a rather quiet production, though. Probably because Kendrick was a lot more comfortable batting sixth (.305 BA) and seventh (.322) than second (.273) and fifth (.242).

Grade: B

Alberto Callaspo, 3B

2012: .252/.331/.361, 10 HR, 53 RBI
2009-11: .285/.341/.404, 9 HR, 58 RBI

Callaspo was way down from his .288 batting average and .366 on-base percentage from last year. But on a team that gets its power from several other positions, and saw the MarkTrumbo-at-third-base experiment end rather quickly, Callaspo made himself serviceable by playing solid defense and working good at-bats, his 56 walks ranking second only to Mike Trout on the team. Down the stretch, with Trumbo relegated to the No. 8 spot, it was Callaspo who was counted on to bat fifth.

Grade: C+

Erick Aybar, SS

2012: .290/.324/.416, 8 HR, 20 SB
2009-11: .280/.327/.391, 7 HR, 22 SB

As Aybar struggled through the first couple of months of the season, batting below the Mendoza Line as late as May 18 while making an inordinate amount of errors, the 28-year-old switch-hitter seemed to keep cool. Asked if lingering contract talks — finally resolved via a four-year extension in April — or mechanics, or pressing was an issue? He shrugged. “I always struggle early,” he said. It’s not that he wanted to struggle, of course. It’s just that he’s been down this road before. In the second half, he showed why there was no reason to panic, batting .326 and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.

Grade: B+


Angels in the Arizona Fall League …

The 20th Arizona Fall League season starts Tuesday, with the Angels — along with the Giants, Nationals, Phillies and Red Sox — sending prospects to make up the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Rising Stars Game is Nov. 3 (Salt River Fields at Talking Stick) and the championship game for the six-team league will be Nov. 17 (Scottsdale Stadium).

Last year, Mike Trout played in this event. This year, Randal Grichuk — who’s known mostly for being drafted a spot before Trout but has quietly put together a nice season — is going. Nick Maronde was going to go, but since he missed the early part of the year with a strained lat muscle and he pitched through September, the Angels decided that he hold off. Veteran-ish reliever Bobby Cassevah is taking his place.

The one to watch here, though, will be 20-year-old third baseman Kaleb Cowart, who became the Angels’ top-ranked prospect after a solid A ball season. Below is the full slate of Angels representatives. Carlos Ramirez is on the taxi squad, which means he’ll only be activated Wednesdays and Saturdays. Brandon Emanuel, pitching coach for Class A Inland Empire, is part of the Scorpions’ coaching staff.

LHRP Buddy Boshers

Draft: 4th round, 2008
Age: 24
2012 (A+,AA): 2.98 ERA, 45 G (11 GF), 63 1/3 IP, 10.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP
Career (5 seasons): 3.81 ERA, 150 G (34 GS, 26 GF), 324 IP, 8.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 2.56 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

RHRP Bobby Cassevah

Draft: 34th round, 2004
Age: 27
2012 (A+, AAA): 5.79 ERA, 49 G (18 GF), 51 1/3 IP, 5.6 SO/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.66 WHIP
Career (8 seasons): 4.53 ERA, 268 G (14 GS, 96 GF), 401 2/3 IP, 6.1 SO/9, 4.5 BB/9, 1.59 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked
Cassevah isn’t what you would call a prospect, by any stretch, combining to make 46 appearances in the Majors from 2010-11 (posting a 2.87 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP). But he began the season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and never quite got right throughout the year — making four appearances in the Majors and struggling mightily in the PCL — which is probably why he wants to get more work in this fall.

RHRP Ryan Chaffee

Drafted: 3rd round, 2008
Age: 24
2012 (A+, AA): 2.60 ERA, 55 G (21 GF), 65 2/3 IP, 11.5 SO/9, 4.9 BB/9, 1.17 WHIP
Career (4 seasons): 5.36 ERA, 132 G (58 GS, 27 GF), 393 IP, 8.8 SO/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.47 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

RHRP Kevin Johnson

Drafted: 20th round, 2010
Age: 24
2012 (AA, AAA): 3.69 ERA, 56 G (41 GF), 18 SV, 63 1/3 IP, 4.4 SO/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.39 WHIP
Career (3 seasons): 4.34 ERA, 121 IP (10 GS, 72 GF), 193 IP, 6 SO/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.48 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

C Carlos Ramirez

Drafted: 8th round, 2009
Age: 24
Bats: Right
2012 (AA): .204/.312/.276, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 85 G
Career (4 seasons): .269/.371/.416, 25 HR, 134 RBI, 291 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 19th on Angels
Prospect reportRamirez still has some things to work out offensively, as his numbers haven’t shown much consistency from league to league. Though he’s notched a very respectable average across four levels, the disparity between his performance in the hitter-friendly California League and each of his other stops leaves some room for concern. Ramirez is a strong defensive backstop, knows how to handle a pitching staff and has the makeup that should allow him to be an everyday catcher. If the bat doesn’t come around, his glove could land him a job as a backup at the highest level.

3B Kaleb Cowart

Drafted: 1st round (18th overall), 2010
Age: 20
Bats: Switch
2012 (A, A+): .276/.358/.452, 16 HR, 103 RBI, 14 SB, 135 G
Career (3 seasons): .275/.349/.437, 24 HR, 150 RBI, 25 SB, 214 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 1st on the Angels, 46th overall
Prospect reportCowart is a switch-hitter with a lot of bat speed that generates plus raw power from both sides of the plate. He started tapping into that power more consistently as he’s started to mature and learn the strike zone better. He’s athletic and has decent speed, which should help him stay at third long term. So will the plus arm that made him a legitimate pitching prospect in high school. He handled full-season ball well, earning a promotion from Class A to the Class A Advanced California League in June.

OF Randal Grichuk

Drafted: 1st round (24th overall), 2009
Age: 21
Bats: Right
2012 (A+): .298/.335/.488, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 16 SB, 135 G
Career (4 seasons): .296/.331/.507, 39 HR, 195 RBI, 26 SB, 305 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 12th on the Angels
Prospect reportGrichuk may forever be paired witih the other high school outfielder taken by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 Draft. What that outfielder, Mike Trout, has done, speaks for itself, but Grichuk has had a harder time moving up the ladder, largely because of injury issues. Grichuk was actually taken one slot above Trout, but 2012 was his first season with more than 300 at-bats. When he’s healthy, he’s shown glimpses of the pop that made him a first rounder along with some base-stealing acumen. He needs more time to work on the holes in his swing, but he’s still young enough to tap into that raw power and be a run-producing corner outfielder, taking a positive step forward in 2012.

CF Travis Witherspoon

Drafted: 12th round, 2009
Age: 23
Bats: Right
2012 (A+,AA): .268/.350/.418, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 34 SB (11 CS), 121 G
Career (4 seasons): .264/.332/.417, 42 HR, 171 RBI, 110 SB, 373 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 7th on the Angels
Prospect reportWitherspoon has lots of tools and the potential to be an above-average everyday player when everything comes together. He has a solid arm and plus speed, and he knows how to run a route, making him an excellent defender in the outfield. On the other side of the ball, he has the strength and bat speed to hit for power but still has work left to do in taming his aggressive approach. He’s also a plus runner with good instincts and can do some damage on the basepaths, especially if he continues to develop patience and makes more contact at the plate. Witherspoon was promoted to Double-A Arkansas on June 20. He was placed on the disabled list on July 3, with a left quad strain.

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