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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Minor League Scorebook

News

Bryan Smith has his midseason grades up for the top 75 minor league prospects; here's part 1:

3. Howie Kendrick, 2b: Angels (AAA)
4. Brandon Wood, ss: Angels (AA)

Wood has done little for this order to be flip-flopped, continuing on a path to success after a ridiculous 2005. But this season it's Kendrick to take the full step forward, catapulting himself past Wood and into the top five.

Kendrick, I've said before, is a player with limited potential value. In other words, his ceiling has a roof. Confined by his own stature, there is a limit to the power Kendrick can develop in relation to Wood. However, Kendrick is nearly guaranteed to hit for a better average than Wood.

The ranking of these two players is a simple test of risk vs. reward. Kendrick offers no risk, but his reward is limited in comparison to Wood, whose ceiling is highest among current prospects.

17. Andy LaRoche, 3b: Dodgers (AAA)

Three straight Bryan Smith pre-2005 breakout selections, sweet! LaRoche answered a lot of questions this season when he turned his Southern League struggles from last season around, looking like a much more complete player. While in AA, the third baseman walked in about 15% of his plate appearances, rarely struck out, and showed some of the power he had in Vero Beach a year before. I wouldn't be surprised if LaRoche struggles a bit as a rookie in 2007, and in the same league as David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman he might not make many All-Star teams, but he's a big chip in the Dodgers reconstruction.

23. Nick Adenhart, sp: Angels (A+)

In a lot of ways, Adenhart is similar to Phil Hughes, a good blend of stuff and serious polish. Adenhart, for three months, has pitched far older than his age and level indicates. While he hasn't posted the double-digit-type K/9 numbers that many pitching prospects ranked higher and lower than him have, Adenhart offers poise that very few in the minors have ... for his age, only Hughes is close. The minor leagues continue to offer success story after success story for the Angels, who have quite the stable of young pitchers in Jered Weaver, Jose Arredondo and Adenhart to go with their accomplished pitching veterans.

From his part two list:

25. Joel Guzman, of/3b: Dodgers (AAA)

Slips out of the first tier because he hasn't taken the step forward that many others in the organization have. Guzman has a good future in baseball, but I believe his best development route would be the Major League school of hard knocks with a bad organization that could afford waiting him out.

26. Scott Elbert, lhsp: Dodgers (AA)

In contrast, Elbert has taken that step forward this season. Currently the best southpaw in the minor leagues, Elbert has electric stuff, as control is the only thing holding him back from elite status.

62. Jose Arredondo, sp: Angels (AA)

One of the most interesting stories on this list, Arredondo was an infielder just two seasons ago. While Carlos Marmol had a similar track catapult him to the big leagues, Arredondo is making his own push for Majors. Already on the 40-man, and as surprising as this is, a September call-up would no longer be too shocking.

69. James Loney, 1b: Dodgers (AAA)

It's been a long road back for Loney, who has been fantastic in the PCL this season. He's great defensively, and his contact skills are as good as it gets. But his lack of power is worrisome, not just with a future in Dodger Stadium, but a future in the Major Leagues.

Scores

2006-07-11: Salt Lake did not play
2006-07-11: San Antonio 1, Arkansas 7 #
Wood: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Brown: 2-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Porter: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Wilson: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Smith, J: (W, 6-8), 8.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 3 BB, 4.28 ERA
Travis Blackley took it in the shorts in this game, surrendering six runs, all earned, in two innings of work; he faced three Travs batters in the third and left without retiring any of them. Jesse Smith threw eight solid innings on his 26th birthday; Brandon Wood doubled and walked, while Bobby Wilson and Aaron Peel both drove in a pair. The Travs are now on a little four-game winning streak, and are 10-9 in the second half, in second place a game behind 11-8 Wichita.
2006-07-11: Rancho Cucamonga 4, Inland Empire 3 #
Sutton: 3-6, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Sandoval, F: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Rodriguez, S: 0-4, 2 BB, 3 K
Collins: 0-4, 1 BB, 3 K
Johnson: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Lopez: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 K
Rodriguez, F: 7.0 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 4.44 ERA
Jepsen: (BS, 3)(W, 1-2) (in relief), 2.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 3.34 ERA
Freddie Sandoval won this game in the top of the 11th with an RBI single. A much better than average outing for Fernando Rodriguez.
2006-07-11: Cedar Rapids did not play
2006-07-11: Missoula 4, Orem 2 #
Mount: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K
Rivera: 2-4, 1 K
Phillips: 1-4
Bourjos: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Bell: 6.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K, 0 BB, 1.95 ERA
Browning: (L, 1-1) (in relief), 1.2 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 4.50 ERA
Trevor Bell's lines remind me a bit of Stephen Marek: not really enough K's to overwhelm you (5.14 K/9 so far), yet he gets the job done by keeping his WHIP reasonable.

All the offense, for both sides, came in the ninth inning as John Hester hit a grand slam off Darren O'Day. Orem pasted together a two-out rally to bring the difference to wo, but that was as good as they'd get. DH Scott Knazek struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.

2006-07-11: AZL Padres 8, AZL Angels 3 #
Conger: 1-1, 1 3B
Loman: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K
Moore: 2-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Veras: (L, 2-1), 3.0 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 3.00 ERA
The Padres tore through Angels pitching in this one, getting runs off every pitcher save Dylan Peacock. Martin Maldonado replaced Hank Conger after Conger was unable to field a wild pitch by starter Vladimir Veras in the top of the third.
2006-07-11: Las Vegas did not play
2006-07-11: Jacksonville did not play
2006-07-11: Vero Beach did not play
2006-07-11: Columbus did not play
2006-07-11: Helena 9, Ogden 5 #
Rivera, J: 1-4, 1 RBI
Bell: 1-4, 1 K
Medero-Stullz: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 K
Castillo, J: 5.0 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 0.95 ERA
Gearhart: (L, 0-1) (in relief), 0.1 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 HR, 11.37 ERA
Fredy De La Cruz hit a three-run blast to break a 3-3 tie for the Brewers. Catcher Carlos Medero-Stullz went 3-4 with a two-run dinger and drove in two more beside to account for four of Ogden's five RBIs.
2006-07-11: GCL Mets 4, GCL Dodgers 3 #
Gutierrez, E: 3-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Mattingly: 1-4, 1 K
Mathews: 0-1, 3 BB
Guerra: 1.0 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA
Dutton: (L, 2-1) (in relief), 4.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 K, 4 BB, 4.42 ERA
Pujols: 2.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 HR, 3.86 ERA

Comments:
A September 2006 callup for Jose Arrendondo would be surprising, notwithstanding his success this year. When's the last time a guy started the year in A-ball and finished in the majors? It seems all the more unlikely if the Angels are in contention in September. Remember, they didn't even call up Howie Kendrick for a cup of joe last year.

But continued success at Arkansas this year could make things interesting in 2007. His 2nd start was not nearly as successful as his first; wildness did him in (4 walks in 5 IP, which was unusual for him).

What's Brendan Donnelly's contract status for '07?

And speaking of Arredondos, have you determined whether Felipe is related to Jose?
 

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