On Monday, June 18th 2012, I saw the Orem Owlz take on the Idaho Chukars (Royals) in the Pioneer League opener. It was a wild 16-14 game in which Idaho won.
Bryan Brickhouse is a 20 year old pitcher that was making his professional debut. He was drafted in the 3rd round in 2011 by the Royals. He looked sort of like a guy that was making his professional debut. He had very raw control that fluctuated between decent and awful. At one time in the game, he walked 3 in a row. It was a disastrous outing where he didn't make it out of the 2nd. He was throwing quite a bit of curves, and had some real problems with it. He wasn't throwing it for strikes, but he did end the 1st with some good ones. His fastball hit 94 MPH and in the first inning he was getting ahead with it, throwing a lot of strikes, but also giving up a lot of fouls. He gave up a homer in the first, but when he throws the fastball near the zone, he is too advanced for his league with that velocity. If he can gain fastball command, and throw it high consistently like he likes to, he can be really good (especially if he gains any kind of control over his curve).
Clayton Shulz was actually an undrafted left-handed relief pitcher. Last year with the Arizona Royals, Shulz threw 16.1 scoreless innings. He appears to be a soft tossing lefty, throwing a lot of breaking balls and giving up a lot of contact. He gave up a couple hard line drives, but he also got some ground-balls. His breaking ball gets all the way down to 73 MPH and he appears to be a decent athlete.
Alec Mills was the 22nd round pick in 2012 out of Tennessee-Martin. His professional career started out as a disaster, throwing 2 ugly pitches to start, then following it with a home run. After a couple hard hit balls, Mills settled down. His 69 MPH slow curve got him a couple whiffs.
Jack Lopez is the 19 year old shortstop drafted in the 16th round in 2011. He didn't show much range on defense. On offense, it looks like he likes to pull the ball. On an outside pitch, he had a weird reach hack, but he could put good swings on pitches that weren't on the outside part of the plate.
Adalberto Mondesi is the son of former MLBer Raul Mondesi and was signed for 2 million dollars by the Royals last year. He is just 16, so much younger than his competition. He DH'ed in the game I saw him. He got a pitch up and hit it well, and showed a surprising amount of discipline, although he did chase a couple pitches. As a switch hitter, his bat speed wasn't great and he got jammed in one at-bat and it left his bat in splinters. He showed off some really plus speed as well.
Nicholas Cuckovich is 21, but still raw looking at the plate. He has nice size and good speed to go along with it. He has a crouched stance, but he comes out of it a lot. Julio Aparicio is another guy with a lot of speed despite looking bigger than his listed weight of 6'2" 175. He chased a breaking pitch to ground-out, but has good looking contact skills with not a good looking approach.
Jin-Ho Shin looks like a good receiver and pitch blocker behind the plate, with a pretty good looking arm as well. However, he looked pretty ugly at the plate (although he did have a hit the other way).
Carlos Garcia is listed as a 3rd baseman but played 2nd. He did not look good at all defensively and really showed nothing at the plate either.
Elier Hernandez is 17 years old and played right field. He was signed in July of last year out of the Dominican Republic. He had a pretty weak arm and wasn't a very refined fielder, dropping an extremely easy fly-ball. He has good speed, but the ball doesn't really fly off his bat. It doesn't look like he has much power at all, especially for a corner outfielder. Ethan Chapman was a 30th round pick by the Royals in 2012. He has good speed, and a good defensive reputation as a centerfielder. He is sort of a slappy type hitter with some food contact skills. He was fooled on a breaking ball, but he could definitely get his share of line drives.
For the Orem Owlz, the Angels' Pioneer League affiliate, Drew Martinez played centerfield and made some good defensive plays. He has good range and can run down quite a bit of balls. The speed element is obviously key to his whole game, as he bunted himself on base, then stole 2nd. He played 48 games last year with two different low level affiliates and had a minuscule slugging of .281, but a .357 OBP. Wendell Soto is a small switch hitting shortstop with above average speed. This is his 3rd year and the minors, and his OPS has hovered around just .660 the whole time. He had a long at-bat with good contact on fouls before pulling a wind aided homer. Another long at-bat included a chase and whiff of a long fastball before popping out. Defensively, he booted a really easy play.
Jarrod Parks played 2nd, despite being listed as a 3rd baseman. He really didn't look like he had a good arm. He was picked in the 24th round in 2011. He hit a ball hard, but also was chasing at pitches and whiffing. Michael Bolaski played 3rd base, and was picked in the 23rd round in 2010. He has a pretty mediocre arm. So far, his minor league career has been pretty poor as far as offensive numbers. Jonathan Walsh out of the University of Texas had one of the worst defensive games I have ever seen in right field. He made 3 errors, but had at least 3 other misplays out there. He also has a mediocre arm, which didn't help him. Offensively, he chased the first breaking ball he saw and whiffed on another one.
Brandon Efferson was the starter for the Owlz, and he really had mixed results in the Arizona League last year. He struck out more than 3 times the amount he walked, but gave up more fly-balls than ground-balls and had an ERA over 5. He is really small for a potential starting pitcher (he pitched mainly in relief last year) at 5'11. He had okay looking velocity, and it looked like he had a moving fastball too. However, he was breaking ball heavy. His breaking pitch was 82 MPH and it wasn't really a put away pitch and it didn't have a whole lot of break. His control wasn't all that good and he was hit pretty hard.
Garrett Baker pitched 18 games with the Owlz last year and it went terrible. The lefty was getting a lot of soft grounders in the game. He has a curveball he can throw for strikes, but it flattens out at times. It is definitely his favorite pitch.
Joseph Krehbiel pitched in 5 games last year and was absolutely rocked. Monday was no different. He has a 90 MPH fastball with a slider, but he has a really weird delivery that seems like it would be hard to repeat.