Each week we check out some of the best and worst performances in the Angels minor league system over the past couple weeks.
Collin Cowgill – OF – Salt Lake Bees – Is Cowgill the poster boy of a AAAA player? After batting .180 for the Mets in 63 plate appearances, Cowgill was traded to Angels for some right-handed outfield organizational depth and was immediately sent to Triple-A. In three games with the Bees, Cowgill has gone 7 for 12 with 2 home runs. Not a bad way to impress the new team.
C.J. Cron – 1B – Arkansas Travelers – The last time the Angels had a first-round pick they selected C.J. Cron. A bat-first prospect, Cron mashed through the lower rungs of the minor leagues despite dealing with injury issues. Entering the 2013 season at Double-A, Cron has done well in his biggest test yet hitting .296 with a .338 on-base percentage. However, Cron’s biggest asset — his power — has disappeared with only 7 home runs in 328 plate appearances. The Texas League is notorious for suppressing offense and with only 8 teams, the scouting reports get around quickly on hitters. That being said, Cron has heated up of late, hitting 2 home runs in his last 3 games and knocking in 12 RBI in the last 10 games. With Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo holding down first for now, Cron might be more of a intriguing trade-bait than anything else at this point. If not, there’s not currently any reason to rush his development.
Zach Borenstein – OF – Inland Empire 66ers - The 23rd round pick in the 2011 draft, left-handed hitting Borenstein has been on a tear all season in single-A with the Inland Empire 66ers. Before being sidelined last week with what is being called a “minor hip injury,” Borenstein had hit 16 home runs with an OPS of .970. This is a huge step from last year where in Low-A of last year Borenstein hit just 11 home runs and batted .266. Clearly, 2013 has been a break-out year in the minor for Borenstein. He’s a hacker, though, with 53 strike outs and just 16 base-on-balls in a little over 250 plate appearances. As a left-handed hitter with a bit of pop, Borenstein might be a sleeper but as 22 years-old already he’ll need to move quickly. Double-A will be a big test.
R.J. Alvarez – P – Inland Empire 66ers - Selected in the third round as the first selection for the Angels in 2012 draft, Alvarez has a lively fastball that is clocked between 95-97 MPH while his slider flashes plus potential. In 35 innings at High-A, Alvarez has been exceptional with 56 K’s in 35 innings with a 2.78 ERA. The biggest concern about Alvarez coming out of the draft was his command and consistency and despite the excellent K-rate, he is averaging 4.5 walks per nine. Regardless, Alvarez’s electric fastball could help him move quickly through the system. Baseball Prospectus has his ceiling is a front-line setup reliever. Don’t be surprised if Alvarez finishes the season in Double-A.
Jose Rondon – SS – Orem Owlz – After spending a couple years with the Angels Dominican team, Rondon was impressive in his first year stateside both with the bat and the glove. In his second year at the Rookie level, the 19-year old has started off where he left off with 10 RBI and 12 hits (including 4 doubles) in just 10 games. Rondon is young but if he continues to hit like this, a stint in single-A might be in the works for him before the 2013 season is through.