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Friday, June 24, 2005

WILD MAN
The rosters for the 2005 Futures Game have been announced. Two Angels -- the max any organization is allowed to produce for the game is two -- are involved: Brandon Wood for Team USA and Kendry Morales for Team Rest of Earth. One former Angel farmhand is also playing: Bobby Jenks.

This might sound ridiculous, but I had nearly forgotten Jenks existed, and hadn't looked up his numbers at all this season. So here's Jenks at AA Birmingham in the White Sox organization:
W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
1 2 16 31 0 35.7 31 1 40 18 2.78
The Sox, as you can see, have gone ahead and converted the 25-year-old Jenks to the bullpen, which is a place where wild hard-throwers with a history of arm trouble often find themselves. He's still wild, as 18 walks in nearly 36 innings will attest, but still has his strikeout power and is keeping home runs to a minimum. Not bad -- though he has allowed 4 unearned runs in addition to his 11 earned runs.

The Angels lost Jenks because they wanted to keep, amongst others, Tim Bittner on the 40-man roster. Bittner is nine months older than Jenks, and is also at AA:
W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
1 6 0 12 12 49.3 65 4 37 24 6.75
There were rumors, while he was in the Halo fold, of Jenks having a detrimental attitude, though I know nothing about that. I raised an eyebrow when we lost Jenks this winter, concluding that the Angels didn't have any confidence in his coming back from injury. That was a guess; I suppose off-the-field issues might have also been involved, but I don't know.

On a performance/potential basis, the move still mystifies me. I don't want to hate on Tim Bittner, who has had some solid production in prior minor league seasons. But the Angels are already his second organization (he started, ironically enough, as a White Sox farmhand), and it doesn't seem like he needed to be protected in order to be kept around.

Chris Bootcheck was also kept around, who is older than the other two and has settled into a groove of unexceptionality at AAA Salt Lake. He has pitched nine scoreless innings with the big club, but his 4.73 ERA in over 50 AAA innings, along with some mediocre peripherals, doesn't really inspire confidence.

It will be quite interesting to see how Jenks continues to develop. His set of skills and weaknesses are such that he could dominate or be a catastrophe. Did you ever see The Apprentice when it started? In the first season, there was this contestant named Sam, who was a little nuts. "Sam is a wild man," Donald Trump constantly intoned. "He'll either bring a company up to heights it never imagined, or he'll run it into the ground." Trump would offer a variation of this every episode, as well as whenever he made a late-night TV appearance. "Sam is a wild man; he'll either raise a company to the biggest heights or bring it down to the gutter." However, after a few weeks, Trump & Co. tired of Sam, and he was fired.

Bobby Jenks is the Sam of pitching prospects.

Maybe the Angels were just sick of the headache. I wish him well, while simultaneously hoping that letting him go doesn't come back to bite us.

Comments:
Jenks was reportedly suspended for drinking on the team bus - seems like a minor infraction, probably the icing on the cake, sort of a low-level Jose Guilelen.

Bittner was the dealbreaker for Stoneman int he Schoenweis trade - Stoneman HAD to have him. So he is a pet prroject for the forseeable future.
 
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