|Former Angels prospect Steven Shell made his major league debut Sunday with the Washington Nationals.|
Taking a break from Cedar Rapids to talk about happenings elsewhere in the Angels universe …
So I’m driving home from work today and turn on the Angels radiocast to hear the Angels have a comfortable 8-1 lead in Washington. Cool. Then I hear Steve Physioc say that the Nationals have brought in Steven Shell to pitch.
Steven was a third-round pick by the Angels in the June 2001 draft, an original Provo Angel, pitched in the 2003 California League All-Star Game for Rancho Cucamonga, and was considered a top pitching prospect until he falted at upper levels in the Angels system. During 2007, his final year with the Angels, Steven was moved to the bullpen. He wasn’t on the 40-man roster at season’s end, so he took his six-year minor league free agency and signed with D.C.
The Nationals sent him to Triple-A Columbus to start 2008. He began the year in the bullpen, made four starts, then went back to relief. When he was called up, Steven had a 2.62 ERA in 58 1/3 innings with a 54:14 SO:BB ratio and a 1.08 WHIP.
Shell is only 25 years old. Some guys take longer to develop than others. Organizations as deep in talent as the Angels lose more prospects to six-year minor-league free agency because they can only protect 40 players at a time (including the 25 major leaguers). I wish Steven nothing but the best — except against us.
Some other performances of note:
- Quakes outfielder Anthony Norman has 29 stolen bases in 30 attempts. He also has 12 homers. An afterthought at UCLA and a non-drafted free agent who was finally brought to the Angels’ attention, Anthony is becoming this year’s feel-good story. His AVG/OBP/SLG are .266/.390/.528. I was skeptical last year when he was the Rookie-A Arizona League’s MVP at age 22, which is very old for that league, but at age 23 in the Cal League that puts him on the fringe of the age range for top prospects.
- Mark Trumbo is sticking it to the fan board critics who last winter wrote him off as a “bust” and insisted he be returned to the mound as a pitcher. Mark has 17 HR so far and a line of .293/.334/.558. Here’s a positive statistic — in 294 AB, he has only 43 strikeouts, or one every 6.8 AB. That’s an excellent rate for a power hitter.
- Peter Bourjos is another early candidate for Angels’ minor league player of the year. Impressed by Norman’s 29 for 30 SB rate? Bourjos is 37 for 39. His line is .331/.366/.470. The question is whether Pete will develop enough power to one day step into the Angels’ lineup as a starting center fielder, but as Chone Figgins has shown you don’t need a lot of pop to lead off a lineup. Borujos also makes excellent contract, striking out once every 6.38 AB.
- Kernels pitcher Trevor Reckling’s scoreless inning streak ended Saturday at 29 innings, but he made up for it by striking out ten in 7 IP. In 13 starts (79.2 IP), Reck has a 2.37 ERA and a 60:40 SO:BB ratio. He’s given up only three dingers. Not bad for a 19-year old in the Midwest League.
- And let’s close with top prospect Jordan Walden, who has a 2.57 ERA with the Kernels in 14 starts (80.2 IP). J-Wal has a 64:23 SO:BB ratio and 1.04 WHIP.
On deck … I fly to Utah on Friday for three days with the Orem Owlz. Friday night is at Ogden against their rivals, the Raptors (a Dodgers affiliate). The Owlz have won six straight against Ogden, so their fans should be good ‘n riled up. Saturday and Sunday, we’re at home against the Casper Ghosts, formerly known as the Casper Rockies. Sunday’s game is a doubleheader.
As always, I’ll try to post game summaries, videos, the traditional Tom Kotchman interview, and whatnot.