Blog Entry

Conger impressed manager Scioscia

Posted on: October 4, 2010 8:04 pm
 
Hank Conger Top prospect Hank Conger impressed Angels brass in his September callup, but it may not be enough to give him a roster spot next season.

Conger has long been known for his power potential, but his defense behind the plate was always in question. Well, so far so good as Conger's catcher's ERA is 1.91 in 80 innings, with two shutouts among the nine starts.

"He has plenty of arm strength to contain most major league running games, and on the offensive side he's ready for the challenge of the major leagues," manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times .
The Angels, who were stagnant on offense this season, could really use the 22-year-old's bat. In 34 major-league plate appearances, he hit .172/.294/.276, but impressed down in Triple-A. The switch-hitter cranked 11 home runs while batting .300/.385/.463 in 452 PA.

There's only one problem -- Scioscia isn't quite prepared to unleash Conger as a full-time catcher.

"The fly in the ointment is he's only caught about 200 [professional] games. He hasn't had enough experience to let experience be the great teacher it is," Scioscia said.

As a result, the Angels are likely to go with one more season of no-hit Jeff Mathis behind the plate. The team will likely have to bring in a backup catcher, as Mike Napoli's ever-rising salary plus 25-home run power dictates he shouldn't return to being Mathis' backup.

Although it's extremely unlikely for Conger to make the squad next season, Scioscia wouldn't rule out that happening.

"But if he's going to play 40 games in the big leagues compared to 120 in the minor leagues, he's better off in the minor leagues," Scioscia added. "If he can help us reach our goal, there will be a spot he can carve out on our roster."

-- Evan Brunell

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