Tuesday, April 05, 2011

SPORTS >> Travs toting Trout into season’s start

Leader sports editor

The Arkansas Travelers have prospects in the outfield and prospects on the mound.

It remains to be seen if that translates to success.

As expected, Arkansas will open its Class AA Texas League season at Midland Thursday with Los Angeles Angels prospect Mike Trout in center field.

Trout, 19, one of the most highly regarded young talents in the minor leagues, played for new Travelers Manager Bill Mosiello at Class A Cedar Rapids last year and is one player Mosiello said he would lobby to get during Angels spring training.

Trout batted .341 between Cedar Rapids and Class Rancho Cucamonga and hit 10 home runs. He was a non-roster invitee to the Angels’ big league spring training camp.

The Travelers will also feature Los Angeles pitching prospects in right-handers Garrett Richards and Orangel Arenas and 2009 Texas League all-star Trevor Reckling, a left-hander.

Richards, the Angels’ No. 7 prospect, led all Los Angeles minor leaguers with 149 strikeouts last year and posted a 3.52 ERA, second lowest among the Angels affiliates. Orenas was third in the organization with a 3.64 ERA and Reckling is back to smooth out his game after he was promoted to Class AAA Salt Lake and struggled there in 2010.

The Travs have eight Class AA newcomers on this year’s roster, 12 who spent time at Arkansas last season and 16 who have Class AA experience.

Outfielder Angel Castillo hit 21 home runs last year and is one of the new faces while Clay Fuller returns after a 2010 season in which he was demoted to Rancho Cucamonga but had a solid run in the second half of the California League season.

Alberto Rosario returns at catcher and first baseman Jay Brossman and second baseman Ryan Mount are back after battling injuries last year. Angels No. 22 prospect Luis Jimenez takes over at third and slick fielding Darwin Perez is up from Class A to play shortstop.

The rest of the pitching rotation features right-hander Kyle Hurst and the duo of righty Eddie McKiernan and left-hander Andrew Taylor, who will combine to fill the fifth spot. McKiernan was a closer last year and led all Angels minor leaguers with 28 saves and Taylor is the club’s No. 28 prospect.

Ryan Brasier, who pitched a no-hitter last season, moves into the bullpen and the closer’s role after 23 starts last season.