The Texas League announced their All-Star rosters today, Tuesday, June 11th, and on that roster included eight Angels players from the Arkansas Travelers. Four pitching prospects, and four offensive prospects (two reserves) will be representing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization in the 77th Texas League All-Star Game presented by Castrol on June 25th, 2013, in Springdale, Arkansas, at Arvest Ballpark. (all statistics accurate as of All-Star Team announcement on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013)
Jett Bandy, C
A few professionals have projected Jett to be the Angels catcher of the future. From what I saw of Jett while he was in the California League, he needed some improvements on his game calling, and also had to cool his temper quite a bit. However, that was a year ago, the kid is a gifted player and has improved not only behind the plate, but also in the batter’s box. It’s great seeing that Bandy is being rewarded for his improvements with his soon to be, All-Star appearance.
C.J. Cron, 1B (3rd ranked Angels prospect)
This 2011 1st rounder out of of the University of Utah is one of the better hitters I’ve seen come through the Angels system. Seems a little obvious to say that since he lead the Angels system in home runs (27), RBIs (123), and slugging percentage (.516) last season, even with a terrible start to the season, but you don’t have to watch the kid long to realize he’s a talented hitter. Cron only strikes out 12.5% of his plate appearances which is INCREDIBLE, but his walks are also an incredible stat in the opposite direction as he only has seven in 247 plate appearances this season which means he’s reaching base on balls every 35.2 plate appearances, which needs to be improved on. Even with that said though, Cron will be loved by the Angels as he puts the ball in play the majority of at bats, which will be great as a hitter at Angel Stadium. Cron could possibly be the next Mark Trumbo type player the Angels have, and he may be in Anaheim very soon.
Taylor Lindsey, IF (4th ranked Angels prospect)
I was a big fan of Lindsey at a utility infielder, as he was my vote in that position for last years California League All-Star team, and I’m glad to see him on the reserves list for the Texas League All-Star team. He looks a lot smaller than he is (6 foot 0, 190 lbs), but he hits the ball well. His numbers are slightly down this season, but he is consistently under the radar in a good way. His numbers are All-Star numbers, but not the top of the league numbers, just solid, quality statistics. His defensive play is good in the four slot.
Randal Grichuk, OF (7th ranked Angels prospect)
Grichuk is also on the reserves list for the Texas League All-Star team, and I understand this. Grichuk has had some injury issues in the past that kept the 2009, 1st rounder, down in the lower minor league levels over the past few seasons. Grichuk is a good fastball hitter, but has had issues with off-speed pitches, and it’s showing in his strikeout numbers as he does so 21.6% of his at bats. Grichuk is a possible Major League starter though, as he can hit the ball well and with power. He was drafted one pick ahead of a different Angels prospect named Mike Trout, you may have heard of him, and is expected to be playing in the same outfield as Trout soon, with hopefully similar numbers.
Lay Batista, RHP
Batista is an outstanding pitcher if you ask me. He has all the tools of a future Major League starter. His statistics are mediocre right now, with a 4.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 3-5 record, which are the worst of his professional career, but I have high hopes for this Dominican pitcher, and love that he was voted into the All-Star game. Possibly the best stat on Batista’s line currently is that batters are only batting .243 against him this season.
Brandon Hynick, RHP
I really enjoy this kid. Hynick’s numbers are consistent, as are his outings, which are quality outings. What you see is what you get with this kid, and I know I started out with this, but I’ll say it again, “I really enjoy this kid.” Hynick has a 3.40 ERA, with a 4-3 record, and also, has a 1.19 WHIP. Brandon throws a lot of strikes, but doesn’t seem to have the strikeout numbers to match that note.
Kevin Johnson, RHP
Kevin is an outstanding bullpen weapon, which as many of us know, is what the Angels could use nowadays. Johnson has a 2.70 ERA, which is tied for the Travelers best in 2013. Johnson is improving on control problems, but is one of the better closers coming up in the Angels system with eight saves in nine opportunities. He lets a lot of batters reach base on hits, but gets the job done while under pressure, which is a great quality you’d like to see from a young relief pitcher, the allowed hits can be improved with good coaching.
Mike Piazza, RHP
Now I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too, and no, it’s not THE Mike Piazza, it’s his cousin. Either way, the kid has a great head on him, and he knows how to be a good pitcher, and he’s a great personality. Piazza can handle long relief efforts as 8 of Piazza’s 14 appearances this season have been starts, but none have lasted longer than 5.2 innings. With that being said, Piazza has good numbers, with a 4.13 ERA, 2-2 record, and is striking out 10.3 per nine innings. He does need to cut down on his hits and walks with a 1.42 WHIP, but I completly understand why he was voted to the Texas League All-Star Roster.
The eight Angels prospects will join another three prospects, who were voted on to the California League All-Star Roster, which you can read about here (http://www.valleybaynews.com/2013/06/08/three-angels-prospects-going-to-california-league-all-star-game/) as Minor League All-Stars. The Texas League All-Star game will be on June 25th, 2013, in Springdale, Arkansas, at Arvest Ballpark. If you’re around the area, go check out what the future has to hold. You have to remember, these guys are only two steps away from being in the Majors.
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