LA Angels News

LA Angels prospect Connor Higgins is intimidating on the mound

By David Rice
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - AUGUST 18: A general view of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes during a minor league game at Rancho Cucamonga Epicenter on August 8, 1994 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. (Photo by J.D. Cuban/Getty Images)
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - AUGUST 18: A general view of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes during a minor league game at Rancho Cucamonga Epicenter on August 8, 1994 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. (Photo by J.D. Cuban/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels have been building up its farm system with young live arms and Connor Higgins of the Inland Empire 66ers is one of those with some extra pop.

Connor Higgins was drafted in the 30th round out of Arizona State University in 2018 by the LA Angels and the Pennsylvania native is. A big dude.  Higgins is 6’5 and 240 pounds and when you see him on the mound he looks like someone who can bring it.

The left-handed reliever has hit as high as 96 on the radar gun this season and usually lies between 92 and 94 for his fastball.  In addition he also has a wicked slider and a change-up which has vastly improved. Higgins started the season in Low Single-A Burlington where he was lights out as a reliever for the Bees.

Higgins pitched in 12 games for Burlington and had a 0.46 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks in 19.2 innings of work. He has done pretty well with the exception of one outing at High Single-A Inland Empire. In six of his seven appearances for the Sixers his ERA was 3.48, but the one inning against Lancaster on June 15th where Higgins gave up five runs ballooned his ERA to 7.15.

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Higgins has 13 strikeouts in 11.1 innings, but his problem has been his control as he walked nine innings in those 11.1 innings. If Higgins can harness his stuff he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Recently I sat down with Connor Higgins to find out a little more about this young left-hander.

How did you make the adjustment from college at ASU to Burlington to Inland Empire?

“It was definitely an adjustment going from Arizona State to cold Iowa (Burlington). It took a few outings to get adjusted to the cold weather, but it’s good to be back to the warm weather here in California,” Higgins said. “It’s pretty comparable from ASU to here. I’ve known a lot of these hitters since college. The hitters are better here, but it’s still the same game, you have to throw strikes.”

How did it feel to get moved up to Inland Empire so quickly? 

“It was big for me being a late round pick last year. It’s only that the organization has faith in me to move me up here so quickly,” Higgins said. “The biggest difference is the way the ball flys out here compared to Iowa. I think the cold weather there has something to do with it. The guys have a lot more power here and hit the ball harder.”

How have the Angel players you have seen helped you?

“Kole Calhoun was awesome during Spring Training and he looked out for me being that we had the Arizona State connection. Calhoun has been nothing but nice,” Higgins said. “Seeing Luis Garcia and J.C. Ramirez pitch was amazing. They were nothing but nice to us, buying us nice spreads after the game and also letting us pick their brains about pitching. What I took away from them is that pitching is all about presence on the mound and the mental aspect of the game.”

What is your goals for this season and the future?

“I want average 11 strikeouts per nine innings and keep my walks down. I also want to develop a third pitch as I need to work on my change-up to get it better,” Higgins said. “I would love to be pitching in Anaheim one day, being a lefty out of the bullpen would be really cool.”

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From what I have seen Connor Higgins has a lot of potential and definitely has a body that could lead to him becoming a force out of the bullpen that will eventually be to throw in the high 90’s on a consistent basis.

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