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Randal Grichuk Tops This Week's AngelsWin.com Prospect Hotlist (May 19, 2013)

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By Scott Stedman, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter - 

1. Randal Grichuk, OF, Arkansas Travelers 

Past 10 Games: 13/39 (.333), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 3 HRs, 9 Runs, 9 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .228/.281/.463 with 6 HRs and 1 SB
What’s Up:  Randal Grichuk is single-handedly proving that the pitcher-friendly Double-A does not always damper power hitter's numbers.  Though it took Grichuk a month or so before the average started to climb, his power remained consistent, leading the team in extra-base hits with 19.  His 1.042 OPS in the last 10 games shows that this extraordinary power does not displays signs of slowing anytime soon.  Grichuk continues to draw parallels to Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur - tremendous power, a plus-plus arm and above average defense, with both of their downfalls being plate discipline.  However, Grichuk's walk rate has increased 1.6% from last season and has much more time to improve as Grichuk is still only 21-years-old.  Of note:  Grichuk's 69 total bases are good for 10th in the Texas League, a testament to his power-speed combination.  The 6'1" outfielder definitely has a chance at getting a look on the Angels in September if he can keep this play up.
2. Zach Borenstein, OF, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 Games: 17/39 (.436), 4 Doubles, 1 Triples, 2 HRs, 6 Runs, 6 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .345/.380/.690 with 12 HRs and 4 SB
What’s Up: Zach Borenstein just will not cool down.  This is Borenstein's 3rd consecutive week on the AngelsWin prospect hotlist - and for good reason.  This week, the 22-year-old's OPS was 1.207, bringing his total OPS to 1.070; incredible.  Borenstein leads the California League in home runs, total bases, slugging percentage, among others.  When he is going right, Borenstein has quick hands from the left side and drives the ball with authority to all fields, similar to that of Kole Calhoun.  On the bases and in the outfield, Borenstein is average to slightly above average, but his potential with the bat makes up for any shortcomings he may have.  Breaking from the Angels' norms, Borenstein actually thrives with runners in scoring position - hitting .410.  That is a true breath of fresh air.  However, only 2 home runs in the past 5 games? Unacceptable.  
3. Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 12/36 (.333), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 3 HRs, 6 Runs, 6 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .236/.292/.414 with 6 HRs and 2 SB
What’s Up: Raise your hand if you thought Taylor Lindsey would be leading the Arkansas Travelers in home runs in mid-May.  And not only is Lindsey showing some serious power, his walk rate has increased by over 3%.  The 21-year-old second baseman has an unorthodox coil/spring-like swing but he encompasses some of the best hand-eye coordination in the organization.  Former Angels Scouting Director Eddie Bane goes so far as to say that Lindsey is the best hitter in the Angels minor leagues - above Cowart and Cron.  Defensively, Lindsey has some question marks, just as Howie Kendrick did coming up through the system, but he figures to get better as he gets more playing time under his belt.  Lindsey is also in that group of players who may get some playing time with the Angels in September if his numbers with the Travs' continue to improve. 
4. Michael Snyder, 1B/3B, Inland Empire 66ers
Past 10 Games: 11/37 (.297), 1 Double, 1 Triple, 4 HR, 8 Runs, 7 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .276/.327/.506 with 8 HR and 0 SB
What’s Up:  Borenstein and Snyder have proved to be a helluva 4-5 punch in the 66ers lineup this season.  Snyder, a big-bodied former third-baseman was selected by the Halos in the 23rd round of the 2012 draft and immediately had a solid season with the Orem Owlz which earned him the 22nd spot on AngelsWin's prospect list.  Snyder's most impressive tool is his power which could potentially be as high as a 60-65 on the 20-80 scouting scale as seen by his 10 doubles and 8 home runs already this season.  Snyder is very quiet at the plate and has a natural gap to gap stroke.  Defensively, Snyder is currently below average at first and profiles to be a future DH.  With his bat, though, Snyder could be attractive to many teams if he can't find his way passed the glut of first basemen on the Angels.
5. Abel Baker, C, Inland Empire 66ers 
Past 10 Games: 14/34 (.412), 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 4 Runs, 5 RBIs, 0 SB
Overall: .316/.359/.491 with 1 HR and 0 SB
What’s Up:  Abel Baker just continues to hit.  He came into the year as simply the backup catcher to Zach Wright, but because of his stick, Baker has thrust himself into the lineup on a regular basis.  Coming into the year, defense was supposed to be the 22-year-old's strong suit, and it still is, but the emergence of the bat is exciting to say the least.  Personally, I have had Baker at a 1.81 pop time, which is very advanced.  He also moves freely behind the plate and is quick on his feet.  He is definitely the type of catcher that Mike Scioscia prefers.  Although Baker does not produce much power at the plate, he is patient as could one day be a .270-.280 hitter in the big leagues. 
Affiliate Reports:
Salt Lake Bees:  The Bees went 4-2 this week staying in 3rd place in their division.  Veteran Brad Hawpe continues to swing a very hot bat, getting on base about 41% of the time.  Efren Navarro is also having a great season, with an OPS well above .900.  Of note: Kole Calhoun was activated off the DL on Sunday, going 2-5 in his first game back.  Reliever Ty Kelley is joining the squad after an impressive season with the 66ers thus far.  
Arkansas Travelers:  Arkansas had an incredible week, going 6-1 and catapulting them into first place.  This is due in the large part to the big hitters, Grichuk, Lindsey, Cron, etc. starting to actually hit.  Nick Maronde has a 2.70 ERA in his last 10 games with 23 strikeouts.  Catcher Jett Bandy was swinging an extremely hot bat before going on the DL with a bruised elbow.  
Inland Empire 66ers: Just like the Bees, the 66ers went 4-2 this week.  They currently lead their division by a game and a half.  Reliever Mike Morin is stupid good.  29 Ks/2BBs with a 1.80 ERA and WHIP well below 1.  I highly doubt he is in IE much longer.  Mark Sappington continues to plug away, with his ERA hovering around 2 and K/9 around 9.  
Burlington Bees: Burlington endured a tough week with a 3-5 record and playing a doubleheader, falling to the cellar in the division at 15-24. Eduard Santon, a 23-year-old pitcher has 32 Ks in just 26 innings.  1B/3B Michael Bolaski is hitting .371 in his past 10 games.  He is just 21-years-old and has the potential to be a breakout prospect.  
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Good stuff, Scott.


Good to see Grichuk and Borenstein -- two young outfielders with power -- stepping it up during a time when our farm system is pretty thin. 


Also, Cron and Lindsey just keep on hitting. Loving it. 


We just need Witherspoon and Cowart to get going. 

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Nice job Scott.  


Nice to see Grichuk and Lindsey showing both power and improved discipline. 


I think there have been some solid pitching performances at the A and high A level.  There is more there than people think.  Especially on the reliever side. 

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A lot of that would also depend on whether or not Borenstein keeps it up and if he has anything left to gain from or work on in the Cal League.  Though it remains doubtful, it could be a hot streak.  More likely is the hitter friendly environment is suitable to a player his type, he's in a groove, he's progressed as a player, is making adjustments and has a fair amount of luck on his side.  When you see all of that come together, it's  beautiful thing.


In a larger sense I think the Angels want to see what happens if the league begins adjusting to him, can he still be successful.   

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