Michael Roth, LHP, Starter/Reliever
An American Band from the 70's called The Eagles (you may have heard of them) have a song called "Life In The Fast Lane" and that might be the best way to describe our next prospect.
Out of the 2012 draft, South Carolina Gamecock ace, Michael Roth was sent to Rookie Ball like most draft products. Right out of Spring Training is 2013, jumped him to Double-A. Also in 2013? A callup to the show not even a month in to the season. If you're thinking like we are, you're thinking... who the heck is this guy? Well we're going to tell you about this guy, and why the Angels like him so much.
Before we jump in to the scouting report and such, we just want to note the leader Roth is on and off the field. You will never see it in the box score, but Roth is always up beat, and all smiles, even on the not so good days. We give a tip of the cap to Mr. Roth for his outstanding character.
Michael Roth has one of the better changeups in the Angels farm system according to just about every scout/coach that has seen him in his short minor league career. He has nearly perfect command of it, and with good mechanics between the two, throws it from the identical arm slot as his fastball.
Roth has a pair of fastballs that both sit anywhere from 86-89, and has touched 90 a very limited amount of times. One is a sinking two-seam fastball that breaks away from right-handed batters, and a cutter that breaks away from left-handers. The sinking two-seam seems to be the better of the two, but it also helps that this left-handed pitcher has a pitch that breaks well against lefties at a "higher amount of speed" than his slider.
Roth's command on his slider and curveball are a little rough. He uses these pitches more just to throw batters off a tad, and just to show them something new from time to time. The best part about Roth and these pitches is that when he misses on command, they rarely hit the middle of the strike zone but instead break far and away or in the dirt and are non hit-able pitches.
Roth has had some trouble keeping a steady arm slot. He pitches from a sidearm slot against left-handed batters and a three-quarter arm slot against right-handed batters. This is something he HAS (notice that's all in caps?) to fix before taking his pitching to the next level.
As we said earlier, Roth went straight out of the ninth round of the 2012 draft and in to Rookie Ball. Roth that season was either perfect, or not so good in his performances. Roth had six appearances where he did not allow a run, three of those coming without a hit against, and three without any walks. In Roth's other five appearances, he allowed four runs twice. Combined at the end, Roth ended his first professional season with a 4.91 earned run average, and 1.545 WHIP.
Roth made the big jump out of his first Spring Training to Double-A where he started off flawless not allowing a run in his first three appearances (one start, two relief). Once he was turned in to a full time starter though, Roth allowed a minimum of one run every game. At the end of 2013, Roth posted a 4.20 earned run average and 1.424 WHIP with a six wins and three loss record.
Something you can't forget is that Roth saw Major League action in 2013 as well. In his first four appearances, Roth allowed a pair of runs on four hits while walking just one, and striking out seven. That's a mouth full, but in his first Major League appearance, Roth went two full innings, striking out four, and now allowing a hit. Roth's decline though was drastic, as over the next six games, he allowed 12 runs in ten innings. Roth finished the 2013 season in the Majors with spotless numbers again though. Over his last five appearances, he pitched five innings of relief, allowing just one, count it, ONE hit. The one big one for Roth was his loan start where he allowed five runs, bumping his season ERA to 7.20. However, the promise was shown both in the beginning and the end.
Roth was given the honor to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Angels, where he started six games before a cyst in his throwing wrist took him out of commission for the rest of the AFL. Over his time though, he posted a 3.43 earned run average and 1.33 WHIP while opposing holding batters to just a .237 batting average.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
Well, the Angels sure make it hard to give us an ETA on Roth's callups, but in a not so crazy world, we expect Roth to pitch in Triple-A next season, and work his way back to the Majors. Possibly another full year in the minors would do Roth good, just so he can learn a little bit more command on his pitches, and how to work on his arm slot problem. Other than that, Roth could earn himself a callup as early as late next season, but it is more likely that he'll be a full time Angel sometime in 2015. It is unspecified whether Roth would be a starter or reliever, but it makes much more sense for him to be a lefty in the bullpen, not just as a left-handed specialist, but also as a middle relief man against a strong left-handed lineup.
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