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Observations of the Burlington Bees

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It has been a tough season for the Burlington Bees in the Midwest League. The Low-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels lacks impact talent, but there are still a few players of interest.

It has been a tough season for the Burlington Bees. The Midwest League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels is tied for last place in the Western Division with a 52-76 record, 29.5 games behind the division leading Cedar Rapids Kernels. This is no accident; the team lacks impact prospects and even most of the organization player types are quite marginal. Nevertheless, there are some players who caught my eye this past weekend who have a chance to do something at higher levels.

GENERAL TEAM IMPRESSION: This team looks tired, depressed, and bored. It is hot as hell in the Midwest, they are playing out the string on a bad season, and were clearly fighting the ennui. There were several mental mistakes, and while nobody was obviously dogging it, it was also obvious that nobody was having a good time out there.

Austin Adams, RHP: Not to be confused with the Austin Adams who pitches in the Cleveland Indians system, although they have some similarities. An 8th round pick in 2012 from South Florida, this Adams has a 93-95 MPH fastball and a breaking ball with bite, but his command needs a lot of work. He has a 4.55 ERA with a 29/17 K/BB in 28 innings, and he looks in person exactly how you would expect from the numbers: good stuff, doesn't use it well yet. Middle relief potential if his command comes around.

Alex Blackford, RHP: 37th round pick this year out of Arizona State as a senior, threw two innings of scoreless relief. Doesn't throw hard, just upper 80s, but kept hitters off balance because he could hit his spots and change speeds. Has a 31/6 K/BB in 26 innings with a 2.81 ERA. Oddly enough, he had problems doing this in college: he posted an ugly 36/24 K/BB in 35 innings for the Sun Devils this spring. Organization pitcher, but useful to have around.

Chevy Clarke, OF: First round draft pick in 2010. Very athletic, good speed, strong arm, played effective defense in center field. He can't hit though; his swing has too many holes and he seemed to have a lot of problems distinguishing pitches. Hitting .225/.315/.319 with 131 whiffs in 408 at-bats. He'll be around for awhile due to his pedigree and tools, but I think his chances of success at higher levels are remote.

Tyler DeLoach, LHP:
26th round pick last year out of UNC Wilmington, he's been one of the highlights for the Bees with a 3.44 ERA and a 76/20 K/BB in 65 innings. He fanned eight but gave up five runs in 4.2 innings Sunday. Upper 80s fastball, so-so breaking ball, decent changeup, has an unusual arm angle that looks like it would be tough on lefties. I'm told he looked much sharper in previous outings but his command was off in this game.

Wade Hinkle, 1B: Old for the level at age 23, has some pop in his bat but also had trouble catching up with good fastballs. Hitting .270/.360/.433 on the season with 12 homers. Did a better job working counts than most of the Bees hitters. Organization slugger type.

Eswarlin Jimenez, LHP:
21 year old lefty from Dominican Republic, recently sent here after a difficult year for High-A Inland Empire. Athletic, low-90s fastball, didn't have great command in one inning of work but escaped with just one walk and no runs given up. Hard to tell much in the brief look, other than he has a good arm and looks like a pitcher with an easy delivery. 

Sherman Johnson, 3B-OF:
Promoted to Inland Empire today after hitting .271/.361/.372 on the season with 14 steals and 66 walks. Lefty hitter, has spent most of the season at third base but was used as a left fielder in these two games. He looked pretty terrible out there with an error and other poor reads on fly balls, but his defensive reputation at third base is very good. 14th round pick in 2012 out of Florida State. Undersized lefty hitter with good strike zone judgment and some speed, but lacks power. Possible utility guy.

Joey Krehbiel, RHP:
12th round pick in 2011 out of high school in Seminole, Florida. I didn't get a velocity reading on him. He came in late and by this point I was sitting down the first base line, not behind home plate, plus Burlington doesn't have a scoreboard gun, but it looked like low-90s and he has a deceptive delivery that looks very tough on right-handed hitters. He's had a good season statistically (2.92 ERA, 65/28 K/BB in 62 innings, 48 hits). I don't know much about him, but according to this article he was a two-way player in high school. Looks athletic, listed at 6-2 but looks shorter on the field. He's interesting and I'm going to find out more about him.

Angel Rosa, SS
: 13th round pick out of Alcorn State this June. Originally from Puerto Rico and he did a lot of talking with Carlos Correa while Correa was standing at second base during a pitching change. Rosa is listed at 6-2, 185, but looks a little shorter. He's athletic though, above average speed, good throwing arm. Aggressive hitter, looked vulnerable to breaking pitches, but he got a good swing on a fastball and hit a long home run down the left field line. Good defensive tools but very error-prone with 14 in just 30 games at this level. If he can tone down the errors and keep the strike zone under control, he has a chance to be valuable.