Angels' Carmona's Fastball Gets Him Noticed

ANAHEIM—The Angels cast a favorable eye on righthanded relievers with the fastest of fastballs. The harder you throw, the better your chances, generally speaking.

When you hit 99 mph, your chances are pretty good. Ysmael Carmona touched 99 this season, and the Angels added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. It's not that simple, to be sure. Carmona also made great strides beyond the radar gun.

The Angels signed Carmona, 25, out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. He tried shortstop first, but he batted .127 and lasted 24 games. It was not until 2008 that he advanced to the Class A level, when he went 2-4, 5.37 with 47 strikeouts and 47 walks in 54 innings out of the low Class A Cedar Rapids bullpen. The Angels promoted him to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga the following season and Carmona went 0-8, 5.74 with 55 strikeouts and 26 walks. He was available in the Rule 5 draft following each of those seasons.

The Angels promoted him to Double-A Arkansas this season, and the results improved dramatically. Carmona went 4-2, 2.60 with 52 strikeouts and 34 walks in 55 innings before earning a late-season promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake, where he yielded two runs in six innings.

Carmona has consistently struck out better than a batter an inning through his career. And a fastball that sits comfortably in the 93-96 mph range "jumped up," according to farm director Abe Flores.

"He's got nasty stuff," Flores said. "He's continuing to inch along and improve his control and command. He's got a plus-plus fastball, a plus-plus slider. It's all about controlling his emotions and repeating his delivery."

The Angels sent Carmona to the Dominican League this winter, and he had yet to yield a run in five apperances for Estrellas. He had six strikeouts and three walks in six innings.


• Righthander Eddie McKiernan and shortstop Andrew Romine represented the Angels in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. McKiernan, 21, had a 3.40 ERA and 28 saves at Rancho Cucamonga. Romine, 24, batted .282/.370/.366 with 21 stolen bases at Arkansas, then played in five games with the Angels in September.

• Cedar Rapids selected Angels catcher Jeff Mathis for its franchise hall of fame. Mathis, 27, hit .287/.346/.444 in his sole season at Cedar Rapids in 2002.