Sitting second in the American League West, the Los Angeles Angels are off to their best start in recent memory. Some preseason prospects have graduated to the major leagues, providing the necessary spark to keep the team afloat in a tough division. CJ Cron, Mike Morin, Luis Jiminez and Efren Navarro have all spent time in Anaheim. The following players could receive the call soon and make immediate contributions at the big league level.
Kaleb Cowart, third base
Georgia native Kaleb Cowart was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft. He experienced success at the Rookie and Single-A levels before experiencing a setback at Double-A. Last season with the Arkansas Travellers, he batted .221 with a .301 slugging percentage. Consequently, he dropped off of the top-100 prospects list for the 2014 season. Cowart worked during the offseason to increase his muscle mass, but forty-five games into the season, his numbers are still low.
Despite this extended slump, Cowart has the skills to be a starting third baseman. During his time in the Angel organization, he has shown great range and athleticism at the hot corner. He has above average speed and arm strength for his position, making him a valuable prospect. If current Angel third baseman David Freese gets injured later this season, and if Cowart improves his offensive numbers in the meantime, the minor leaguer could make an immediate impact with his glove.
RJ Alvarez, right-handed pitcher
The Angels drafted RJ Alvarez out of Florida Atlantic University in 2012. Just two years later, many people are referring to the young hurler as the Angels’ future closer. Alvarez is currently on the seven-day disabled list, bringing his impressive 2014 campaign with the Double-A Arkansas Travellers to a halt. He has not given up a run this season during nineteen innings pitched.
Alvarez is coming off an impressive 2013 season with the Inland Empire 66ers. In his 48.2 innings of work, he struck out a remarkable 79 batters. His fastball rests at 95-97 miles per hour, although he can get up to 100. The movement on his fastball makes it difficult to hit. He couples this pitch with a plus slider with plenty of side-to-side movement. Although Alvarez primarily relies on these two pitches, he developed an effective changeup last season. With this third pitch, Alvarez could earn a spot in the Angel bullpen this season, especially with several relievers struggling.
Cam Bedrosian, right-handed pitcher
Former first round pick Cam Bedrosian could also make an appearance in the Angel bullpen this season. He started last season in the Burlington Bees’ rotation, which was ultimately disastrous for the young pitcher. He made just two starts before the team moved him to the bullpen, where he flourished. He eventually became the Bees’ closer and then a reliever for the Inland Empire 66ers. He started this season in San Bernardino before being promoted to Double-A.
Like Alvarez, Bedrosian throws a 95-97 mile per hour fastball, although Bedrosian’s pitch tends to rise as it moves toward the plate. His best pitch is a slider that hits the high 80s. He has also been working on a cutter that has been effective against left-handed batters. With several plus pitches, Bedrosian could have an immediate impact on the Angel bullpen.