This past weekend, I decided to attend a couple AAA games for the Angels, mostly due to the convenience of only having to travel two hours to see them play in Sacramento, but also to get a better idea as to what they have to offer in terms of pitching and hitting. I can’t say I was terribly surprised by the results, but they were considerably less optimistic than even I could have imagined. Let’s start with offense:
Catcher – Chris Snyder. So far, the newly acquired Snyder (and since dealt) has been the best offensive player for the Angels AAA affiliate. But one look at his swing and it is painfully obvious that Snyder had pre-tailored his swing to succeed in this environment. He was swinging for the fences and even when he didn’t great contact, the light air compensated and helped him accumulate extra base hits. Quite a bit more likely was a strikeout and infield pop-up.
Outfielder – Brad Hawpe. Hawpe used to have a quirky pre-pitch timing and loading mechanism that allowed him to hit the long ball in Colorado. But comparing his swing now to what it was then, it almost looks like he’s completely overdoing it. His hands are all over the place and the only pitch he can do anything with is the inside fastball. Granted, he can murder that pitch, but I don’t see any reason why pitchers would ever give that pitch to him.
Infielder – Bill Hall. I really liked what I saw from Hall this Spring, but after seeing him in Sacramento this weekend, it’s clear he’s either not 100% healthy or he isn’t playing at 100%. He made some fine defensive grabs at third base, but his quickness and range of motion made it all but impossible for him to play second base or shortstop as he did earlier in his career. He looked strong, but slow. At the plate, his timing isn’t back yet like it was in Spring Training, but it seems like he’ll get there. He’s doing a very good job at keeping his weight back on the pitch and isn’t fooled by much.