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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

WATCH LIST UPDATE
A couple of weeks ago, I promised to follow up on a bunch of minor league guys every few weeks as the season went on. So here we go.

Obviously, it's very, very early in the season, so I don't want to make too much out of these numbers. It's just to show where they are now, and we can see how they develop when we come back to them in a few more weeks.

Erick Aybar
Playing short for the 9-2 Arkansas Travellers of the AA Texas League, Aybar is off to a pretty slow start with the bat.
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
43 10 3 1 0 3 2 233 292 349
This Aybar's first exposure to AA, so a slow couple of weeks is no big deal at this point.

Alberto Callaspo
Aybar's double-play partner is starting his second season at Arkansas. He struggled there last year, relatively, but is hot to begin this year. He's young enough that having to repeat AA isn't a terrible thing, especially if the hits keep falling in like this.
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
45 16 1 0 0 3 2 356 388 378
A few extra bases would be nice.

Nick Gorneault
Salt Lake is 7-4, but Gorneault has been pretty punchless so far, despite adding a few walks to his repertoire. That's kind of out of character for him, he's typically a free swinger; note that he's striking out quite a bit, too. Gorneault hasn't really amped up his game since reaching AA, which he's going to have to do to force himself into a crowded outfield situation or be desirable trade-bait.
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
39 11 4 0 0 4 9 282 349 385
Howie Kendrick
The California Leauge is made for hitters, and Kendrick is nothing if not a hitter. Read and weep (from joy):
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
58 23 2 1 4 1 10 397 407 672
The only thing to give pause there is the BB:SO rate; that doesn't really give a lot of hope in him being able to maintain this kind of production at higher levels. On the other hand, he's already 40% toward his career high in home runs, and Cal League or not, it's nice to see that kind of development.

Baltasar Lopez
Serving a suspension for drug use, Lopez has yet to play this year.

Warner Madrigal
He's coming off an injury and playing at Cedar Rapids. He does not have his stroke back yet:
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
33 6 1 0 1 0 11 182 182 303
As you can see, Madrigal swings freely, so if he's not hitting for average, he's not hitting. It's damn hard to be a good hitter when you strike out one-in-three at-bats.

Jeff Mathis
Despite a horrific season at AA last year, dragged down by a miserable second half, Mathis starts 2005 at AAA Salt Lake. So far, so good:
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
27 11 6 1 2 5 6 407 500 926
This is exactly the kind of start we wanted to see from Mathis after the collapse last year. He's obviously not going to keep that line up, but there's not more you can ask from him right now.

Mike Napoli
After a breakout year last year in the Cal League, Napoli moves up to AA.
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
32 9 5 0 1 9 11 281 442 531
Those are a lot of strikeouts, but also a lot of walks and some good extra-base power. All in all, a solid start for Napoli's first exposure to the high minors.

Sean Rodriguez
Rodriguez spent some time at Cedar Rapids last year, hitting 250/333/393 before going back to Rookie Ball to play full-time and hit 338/486/569. Now he's back in the Midwest League:
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
36 9 1 0 1 5 6 250 341 361
S-Rod has yet to find a lot of hits, but is maintaining some solid plate discipline.

BTW, am I the only bothered by the fact that Justin Baughman is the Cedar Rapids hitting coach?

Andrew Toussaint
Toussaint hasn't played yet this year; I can't imagine that he's going to start the season in Orem (which has replaced Provo in the Halo hierarcy), after he lit it up last year to a tune of 289/409/557. I haven't found any indication that he might be injured ...

Brandon Wood
With Sean Rodriguez hot on his tail, it would behoove Brandon Wood to knock up Cal League pitchers. So far:
 AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
51 15 0 0 5 6 12 294 368 588
It's good to see the power, and it will be interesting to see if he can get that average up. He hasn't been a high-average hitter in the past, however, so low-average slugger with some walks might just be what he's developing into.

Steve Andrade
Apparently, the Blue Jays also think that the purpose of Steve Andrade is to dominate AA. This is just getting ridiculous.
 W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
0 0 0 3 0 4.7 0 0 7 1 0.00
That seems like a good use of resources. Put the man in AAA. What else is he supposed to do to demonstrate he's earned the opportunity?

Daniel Davidson
The humungous finesse lefty is at Arkansas right now. Through two starts:
 W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
2 0 0 2 2 11.7 14 0 8 1 2.31
So that's encouraging.

Abel Moreno
I can't find any record of his pitching yet this year.

Ervin Santana
Also at AA, and part of a fine and promising rotation for that team:
 W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
2 0 0 2 2 13.0 8 0 5 5 0.69
That K:BB is not what we want to see, but of course it's early, and it's not like he's gotten burned yet.

Steve Shell
Also at Arkansas:
 W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
0 1 0 3 3 13.7 17 2 8 8 6.59
Well, I guess the whole rotation can't get off to a hot start. It's worth remembering that it took Shell a whole season to adjust to the Cal League, though there were also injury concerns at play. The above demonstrates that he's been struggling with control and command so far.

Von Stertzbach
The closer at Arkansas -- that team is just loaded with pitching prospects:
 W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
1 0 3 6 0 7.3 8 1 4 3 4.91
Those numbers are inflated by one bad outing, which can happen to relievers, as you well know; Stertzbach did manage to vulture his one win in that same game, where he allowed three runs.

Bob Zimmerman
Let's just say The Lonesome Hobo has not taken well to the Cal League so far:
 W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
1 2 1 5 0 4.7 8 1 8 3 11.57
Yikes!

UPDATE: Mathis and Kendrick make Baseball America's Hot Sheet today, and there are some honorable mentions for a couple other Angel youngsters.

Comments:
BTW, am I the only bothered by the fact that Justin Baughman is the Cedar Rapids hitting coach?

I noticed that too a couple of weeks ago. That is just ridiculous. Baughman couldn't hit in the big leagues and couldn't catch soft liners either, as he took one off his grill in his first stint in Anaheim subbing for Randy Velarde in 1998.
 
Since most of these guys will never make an impact in the major leagues (just the law of averages, you know) I'd like to note that Warner Madrigal is a great name.

And whoever thought up the idea of shortening Rodriguez to Rod and adding the first letter of the first name should be smacked really hard. See also: Lopez, J.
 
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