Results tagged ‘ Kaleb Cowart ’
The Angels are in desperate need of high-ceiling pitching talent for their barren farm system, and that’s exactly where they went with their first pick of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday night, taking high school left-hander Hunter Green with the 59th overall selection in the second round.
Green, 6-foot-4 and lanky, is from Warren East High School in Bowling Green, Ken. The Angels see him as a starter, and many considered him to be a first-round talent heading into the Draft, with a low-90s fastball, curveball and sinking changeup.
The Angels had gone away from high-school talent in recent Drafts, taking only a combined 12 the last two years after drafting at least 15 each year from 2006-10. But they were happy to see Green fall to their laps, even though they were once again left without a first-round pick.
Green, who doesn’t turn 18 until July 12, went 3-1 with a 0.14 ERA in 10 starts as a senior, striking out 110 batters and walking 37 in 51 2/3 innings.
He’s athletic but still raw, with some delivery issues he has to iron out. Some, including Baseball America editor John Manuel, believe he has instantly become the top prospect in the Angels’ system (that distinction currently belongs to third baseman Kaleb Cowart).
Several win-now trades, lucrative free-agent signings tied to compensation, a two-year absence in Latin America and, of course, the rapid graduation of top-tier prospects — i.e., Mike Trout — prompted ESPN and Baseball America to label the Angels with baseball’s worst farm system in 2013.
The Angels have been left without a first- or second-round Draft choice – and sometimes both – in six of the last eight years.
The reason is very, very simple: They’re still waiting for Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to get going.
The starting pitching (particularly Jason Vargas) has been much better. The bullpen (minus Ryan Madson) has some depth again. Mike Trout (.327/.409/.664 in May) has rounded into form. And several guys (Jered Weaver, Tommy Hanson, Kevin Jepsen, Sean Burnett, Peter Bourjos) have either made their way back or are seemingly on the brink.
But Pujols and Hamilton still haven’t hit full stride just yet. There have been times — Pujols’ four-hit, two-homer, 19-inning game on April 29; Hamilton’s four-hit game on April 22 — when you thought, “OK, here it comes.” And then they just go back to being, well, quite average.
When will it finally happen? And when it does — if it does — will it be too late?
Right now, neither Pujols (105th) nor Hamilton (141st) even rank in the top 100 in OPS in the Majors through the team’s first 57 games.
Pujols, with a .248/.320/.416 slash line, isn’t healthy. The plantar faciitis in his left foot and his surgically repaired right knee have prompted him to start 28 of his 55 starts at designated hitter and forced him out of the lineup on Friday. It’s a testament to his toughness that he’s even out there, frankly. But it’s hard to drive the ball with much force when your lower body ails like that, and we’re seeing it.
Hamilton, .216/.277/.380,can’t use injuries as an excuse. He just isn’t right; hasn’t been since the start of the season. He’s already struck out 61 times –on pace for a career-high 173 — and has yet to establish any sort of consistent rhythm.
You can lament the starting pitching acquisitions the Angels didn’t make, or pray Madson’s elbow fully heals, or even curse Mike Scioscia. But this is a team built around Pujols and Hamilton, the two big-ticket signings that brought with them championship aspirations.
Without them at their best, the Angels will go nowhere.
“Those two guys are critical for us,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re seeing Albert hopefully start to get more comfortable. As his base, when he hits, feels stronger, you’re going to see him get where he needs to be. And Josh is really important to what we need to do. You have to keep playing ball, though. We just won eight in a row without those guys doing what they can do, so it’s not that your whole season is contingent on what those two guys can do. But they are really important to us, no doubt about that.”
Below is a statistical comparison between the Angels in April and May. As you’ll notice, it’s just the offense that basically stayed the same …
April: 5.26 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 1.62 SO/BB, 5.73 IP/GS
May: 3.85 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.63 SO/BB, 6.13 IP/GS
April: 4.26 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 1.88 SO/BB, 3-8 SV
May: 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.30 SO/BB, 11-12 SV
April: .262/.321/.402/.723, 4.27 R/G, .92 HR/G, 10-16 SB
May: .259/.326/.443/.769, 4.69 R/G, 1.28 HR/G, 13-23 SB
April: .81 E/G
May: .48 E/G
Times using the DL
Here’s a quick look at who’s hot, and who’s not, in the Minor Leagues …
1B/OF Brad Hawpe (AAA): .303/.336/.422, 6 HR, 26 RBI
1B C.J. Cron (AA): .314/.356/.479, 5 HR, 30 RBI
SP Mark Sappington (A+): 5-2, 3.97 ERA, 12 GS
SP A.J. Schugel (AAA): 2-4, 7.46 ERA, 12 GS
3B Kaleb Cowart (AA): .218/.283/.330, 3 HR, 14 RBI
RP Nick Maronde (AA): 5.12 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 14 G
The plantar fasciitis on his left foot, which has only grown worse as the season has progressed, has prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to start Pujols at DH in four straight games and six of the last seven. He’s tolerating the pain enough to not miss a single start and continue to produce at the plate, posting a .317/.436/.508 slash line in his first 17 games.
But it’s hard for Pujols’ foot to get any better when he’s having to leg out doubles.
It may be even harder to put him on the disabled list.
“You’re always picking at scabs a little bit when you’re out there and you’re trying to play and trying to run,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully, taking the load off of having to go out there and move around first base might be something that might get where it needs to be a little quicker than if he was grinding. Certainly we don’t want it to regress because he’s swinging the bat so well.”
Here’s a look at who’s shining, and who isn’t, in the Angels’ system so far …
C Chris Snyder (AAA): .358/.424/.698, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 15 G
OF Matt Long (AA): .390/.439/.576, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 16 G
SP Mark Sappington (A): 3-0, 1.59 ERA, 22 2/3 IP, 23 SO, 9 BB
3B Kaleb Cowart (AA): .179/.281/.232, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 16 G
SP Barry Enright (AAA): 1-2, 9.61 ERA, 19 2/3 IP, 20 SO, 8 BB
2B Taylor Lindsey (AA): .122/.214/.163, 15 G
This was the second straight tie for the Angels (0-4-2), and the third straight for the Giants (1-1-3).
Welcome to Spring Training.
Another thing about Spring Training: The lack of star power. Especially this year, especially in this camp. The early start has prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to wait until March 1 before using any of his Major League starters or relievers. Of the 47 times a new pitcher has taken the mound so far this spring, only four times — Jerome Williams, Garrett Richards and Michael Kohn (twice) — has that guy had a realistic chance of being on the Opening Day roster. And no everyday position player has received more than eight plate appearances.
In other words: Take zero wins and a 7.57 ERA with a grain of salt.
“We feel very strongly with our guys that if they start to fire it up early, by March 18 they’re going to be stir-crazy,” Scioscia said. “There’s only a certain amount of at-bats they need. We’re going to have plenty of time for that.”
Here’s more from Wednesday’s game …
Mike Trout, playing center field, went 1-for-2, with a single and a walk — just like he did in Monday’s debut. He ripped a base hit to right field in the first inning, then drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.
Kaleb Cowart looks like he’s starting to come along from the left side of the plate, notching a single and an RBI double and getting robbed of extra bases in three plate appearances there — all against quality right-handed pitchers.
Brandon Sisk, the lefty reliever acquired from the Royals for Ervin Santana, pitched a clean inning in his spring debut.
Nick Maronde, who will be stretched out this spring despite having an outside chance at a bullpen spot, had a rough first couple innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk while only getting four outs.
He wasn’t helped by catcher Hank Conger, whose first-inning throw to third base on an attempted steal sailed wide of Bill Hall, allowing a run to score. Scioscia said pregame that Conger’s throwing is “getting much better,” but added that it’s “always a work in progress.
Hall, trying to make the Angels’ Opening Day roster as a utility player, left in the third inning with a tight right quad. He initially hurt it while running up the first-base line in his first at-bat in the second inning, then aggravated it while charging a slow roller the next half-inning. “Nothing serious,” he said. “Hopefully only a couple days.”
Best play (that I saw)
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Giants center fielder Juan Perez ran a long way towards the gap in deep left-center field and stole a sure double away from Cowart just before crashing into the wall, drawing a standing ovation from the Giants fans seated on the third-base side.
Chad Cordero, on being promoted to Major League camp: “It threw me back a little bit. I was surprised, but at the same time, I was excited, to be able to come up here and go through big league camp and just get used to the whole thing again. I’m looking forward to that. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m very thankful that it’s happened.”
As part of winning the Player’s Choice Award for the American League’s Outstanding Rookie, the Major League Baseball Players Association offered to reward $20,000 to a foundation of his choice. Trout chose the Millville High School baseball program, where he starred as a Thunderbolt before being the Angels’ first-round pick in 2009.
Millville baseball coach Roy Hallenbeck said he’s going to “try to make it stretch as long as we can,” but the team has already purchased new gray uniforms and alternate tops, and on Friday, they finished sodding the field in anticipation for the start of practice in March.
Don’t worry, there’s more coming.
In January, BODYARMOR SuperDrink, the company that signed Trout to its first major endorsement deal, decided to get involved, too.
“Mike was on board from the beginning,” Hallenbeck said, “and every time I talk to those guys [at BODYARMOR], they say he brings it up all the time. He’s really excited about that project working out and helping us out.”
BODYARMOR hasn’t said exactly how much they plan to contribute, but their involvement — which could include sprucing up the press box, adding a big net behind home plate, providing “L” screens and, most importantly, renovating the batting cages — was recently approved by the board of education.
By the end of March, Hallenbeck believes, everything will be finished.
And by early June, the field will be rededicated to bear Trout’s name.
“There’s no major construction differences,” Hallenbeck said, “but it’s just going to be adding a lot of really nice bells and whistles to what we already have.”
With Cactus League games starting on Saturday, here are some notes to get you caught up on the first 11 days of camp …
- Ryan Madson had a setback after a Feb. 1 bullpen session and is taking it slow. He won’t be ready by Opening Day and there’s a chance he won’t pitch in any Spring Training games in March, but the Angels are hopeful they’ll have him at some point in the early portion of the season.
- Albert Pujols is still working his way back from arthroscopic right knee surgery. Don’t expect him to appear in games until mid-March.
- The early start of camp has prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to change things up a bit, with no intrasquad games, very little live batting practice and plenty of rest for the regulars. The starting pitchers won’t start until March 1, which makes it even harder to find bodies for the split-squad opener. The elimination of the third-to-first move has also forced Scioscia to tinker.
- Josh Hamilton came in lighter than normal, maintaining his end-of-season weight of 225 thanks to a healthier diet. Trout did the opposite.
- Hamilton can expect to hear loud boos when he returns to Texas on April 5, thanks to some comments he made on TV.
- Here’s what we know about the lineup: Trout will lead off, Pujols will bat third, Hamilton will bat fourth and Trumbo — at least at the start — will bat fifth. It may be a revolving door between Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo and Erick Aybar in the No. 2 spot, with Chris Iannetta and Peter Bourjos hitting lower in the lineup.
- Scioscia doesn’t sound like a man who’s ready to fully commit to Bourjos as his starting center fielder, continuing to leave the door open for Vernon Wells to get some playing time in left field, which would move Trout to center. But some of that may be the Angels’ skipper trying to be sensitive to Wells’ situation. Scioscia has also said Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams are fighting for spots in the rotation, even though the five are already set.
- The Angels have two big lingering free agents in Jason Vargas and Scott Downs.
- Ernesto Frieri is trying to add a cutter, and thinks it can do wonders.
- Sean Burnett is dealing with a back ailment, but it isn’t expected to hinder him much. Michael Kohn is looking great after Tommy John surgery. Veteran relievers Tony Pena (setback after Tommy John) and Mitch Stetter (bulging disk) are working themselves back slowly, currently throwing off flat ground. First base prospect C.J. Cron (shoulder surgery) is doing everything but throwing and is targeting Opening Day, in Double-A.
- Kendrick and C.J. Wilson don’t expect to be hindered by offseason elbow surgery.
- Two reclamation projects are currently working out in Minor League camp — former Nationals closer Chad Cordero and former A’s first-round pick Ben Fritz.
- Aybar (Dominican Republic), reliever Fernando Cabrera (Puerto Rico) and first baseman Efren Navarro (Mexico) will leave camp early to take part in the World Baseball Classic.
- The Angels have a new partnership with Ticketmaster. Individual tickets go on sale tomorrow.
- In case you missed them, here are stories on Trout, Pujols, Wells, Bourjos, Jered Weaver, the new rotation trio, The Big Three, Trumbo, Hamilton, Omar Vizquel, Chris Iannetta, Hank Conger, Scott Cousins, Bill Hall, Randal Grichuk, Kaleb Cowart, Kole Calhoun, Bobby Cassevah, Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Travis Witherspoon.
- For a breakdown of the Angels’ Spring Training roster, click here. … For the videos we’ve put together, click here. … For photos, click here.
The Angels announced 21 non-roster invitees who will be joining those on the 40-man roster in Spring Training. Here’s a look at who’s coming to camp …
Pitchers: Billy Buckner, Kevin Johnson, Tony Pena, Jo-Jo Reyes, A.J. Schugel, Mitch Stetter
Catchers: Jett Bandy, Luke Carlin, Carlos Ramirez, Zach Wright
Infielders: Kaleb Cowart, Brendan Harris, Taylor Lindsey, Efren Navarro, Luis Rodriguez, Eric Stamets, Alex Yarbrough
Outfielders: Randal Grichuk, Trent Oeltjen, J.B. Shuck, Matt Young
* Note that veteran reliever Fernando Cabrera will also be in big league camp when his contract his official.
Here’s the 40-man roster, in case you’re wondering who else is joining them.
Pitchers report Feb. 11, position players report Feb. 14.
The Scottsdale Scorpions, made up partly of Angels prospects, finished the Arizona Fall League 15-16 — not good enough to qualify for the championship game — and top prospect Kaleb Cowart (pictured) struggled. The 20-year-old, switch-hitting, former first-round pick, who rose to No. 1 in the Angels’ system by the end of the season, posted a .200/.265/.283 slash line with one home run in 17 AFL games. As one scout said, he was simply “out of gas.” The same thing happened to Mike Trout in 2011, playing a lot in September with the Angels and scuffling big time while on the same team as Bryce Harper in the AFL. So, what do you make of Cowart’s fall? Nothing. He’s still a talented prospect the Angels hope can be their everyday third baseman by 2014 (though 2015 may be a safer bet). Below are how the rest of the Angels prospects did in the AFL. For more info on the league, go here, and for more info on these guys, click here …
LHRP Buddy Boshers: 4 R (3 ER), 3 SO, 3 BB, 2 2/3 IP
RHRP Bobby Cassevah: 2-0, 3.13 ERA, 6 GS, 23 IP, 18 SO, 8 BB
RHRP Ryan Chaffee: 8 R, 9 SO, 6 BB, 6 1/3 IP
RHRP Kevin Johnson: 3.75 ERA, 7 SO, 1 BB, 12 IP
C Carlos Ramirez: 6-for-24, 4 RBI
OF Randal Grichuk: .228/.297/.351, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 16 G
CF Travis Witherspoon: .219/.288/.411, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 21 G
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
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
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
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
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
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 report: Ramirez 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
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 report: Cowart 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
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 report: Grichuk 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
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 report: Witherspoon 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.
Red Sox (62-68)
Pitching: RH Zach Stewart (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.83 ERA)
- C.J. Cron came into Wednesday with 123 RBIs for Class A Inland Empire, one shy of the Angels’ Minor League record. And it’ll stay that way. Cron decided to undergo season-ending labrum surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday. Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais expects him to return early next season, but his timeline is still very much uncertain.
- Still no word on when Scott Downs will return from his stint on the family medical emergency list, manager Mike Scioscia said.
- Arizona Fall League rosters were announced. Representing the Angels will be infielder Kaleb Cowart, outfielders Randal Grichuk and Travis Witherspoon, catcher Carlos Ramirez (taxi squad), and pitchers Buddy Boshers, Ryan Chaffee, Kevin Johnson and Nick Maronde. They’ll play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.