The Salt Lake City Bees are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Triple-A affiliate. They play in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Last year the Bees finished with a record of 70-80, which isn’t impressive, but they were one of the few teams in their division with a positive run differential. (+43). The current roster does not have a lot of young star power yet but does have some names that baseball fans will recognize. Chris Devenski, Chad Wallach, and Jake Lamb have all spent time in the majors with solid levels of success.
Even though the Pacific Coast League is known as a league where hitters excel more than in most leagues, the Bees struggled at the plate as a team last season. They were 7th in the PCL, Pacific Coast League, in batting average, batting .260 as a team. The Bees OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) was last in the league at .769. From an offensive standpoint, the brightest spot on the Salt Lake City Bees was Dillion Thomas, who plays RF. In 108 games, his numbers were as follows:
Depending on how Spring training plays out, the Bees’ offense could get a substantial upgrade if the decision is made to send Logan O’Hoppe down to Salt Lake City so he can play every day. There is also the chance that some of the more developed players currently playing for Rocket City could get promoted to the triple-A level. Some names come to mind: Zach Neto, Jordyn Adams, and Jeremiah Jackson. These players would add offense and a level of excitement to the team.
On the pitching mound, the Bees were quite a bit better than with the bat. With the PCL’s reputation as a league for hitting, this makes the Bees pitching staff even more impressive. As a team, the Bees led the PCL in ERA at 4.70. They led in complete games with four total. The Bees had seven shutouts which was third in the PCL. They had the fifth most saves with the 2nd fewest save opportunities in the PCL. Bees’ pitchers gave up the fewest ERs, walks and had the best WHIP (Walks and Hits per innings pitched) in the league, which shows that the pitchers commanded the strike zone and avoided hard-hit balls very successfully. Angels’ fans should be pretty excited about what Salt Lake could provide, if needed, on the mound. Cesar Valdez was the Bees’ most effective starter last season, with a record of 10-5, with a 3.94 ERA over 146.1 IP. Valdez had a near 6:1 K to BB ratio and had a whopping 75% of the Bees’ complete games pitched. The only disadvantage to Cesar Valdez is he is a career journeyman who is also 37 years old. If he can pitch as well as he did for Salt Lake, he could, at worst, be an excellent long reliever with spot starts when needed.