SALT LAKE BEES

Bees Bullets: Previewing Salt Lake Vs. El Paso Chihuahuas

Apr 25, 2023, 4:33 PM | Updated: 4:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Bees head to the only part of Texas in the Mountain time zone as they take on the El Paso Chihuahuas for the first time in 2023.

The Salt Lake Bees (9-12, eighth in PCL) open a six-game series against El Paso (7-14, last in PCL) at Southwest University Park in a series beginning Tuesday, April 25.

The Bees enter this series starved for offensive success. Having dropped eight of their past nine games, Salt Lake managed just 11 runs and 24 hits while dropping five of six home games against the Reno Aces last week.

Jo Adell (10), Jordyn Adams (5), and Trey Cabbage (5) all sit in the Pacific Coast League’s top ten for home runs but the Bees have struggled to hit for average. Salt Lake’s .242 team batting average is ahead of only Round Rock and Sugar Land in the PCL.

RELATED: Bees Bullets: Trey Cabbage Launches Longest Home Run Of 2023

On the bump, Salt Lake’s pitching staff has the fifth-lowest earned run average in the league at 5.41. Though that doesn’t sound like a great number, it’s important to note that only one PCL team (Round Rock) has an ERA under four. The Bees also sit behind Tacoma (4.78 ERA), and Sugar Land (4.90 ERA).

Chase Silseth leads the squad with a sterling 0.90 ERA in 20 innings across four starts. Jake Lee (1.59 ERA in 17 innings) and Kenny Rosenberg (2.70 ERA in 20 innings) rank third and fifth in the PCL for the lowest earned run average.

All prospect rankings are from MLB.com.

RELATED: Bees Bullets: Salt Lake Bees Offensive Struggles Lead To Eighth Loss In Nine Games

El Paso Chihuahuas Top Prospects

Trades, such as the 6:2 player trade that netted the San Diego Padres Juan Soto last summer in exchange for five prospects, have decimated a once mighty farm system. Currently, eight of the Padres top ten prospects are with High-A or lower minor-league affiliates.

No. 9 Jay Groome – Starting Pitcher

Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

A 2016 first-round pick (12th overall), San Diego acquired Groome last summer from the Boston Red Sox as part of the trade return for Eric Hosmer.

The 6’6 lefthander made ten starts with El Paso last season, totaling a 3.16 ERA in 51.1 innings pitched. In four 2023 starts, Groome has been hit hard. He has a 7.45 ERA and has given up six earned runs twice. In his last start, Groome gave up eight hits and six runs in 4.2 innings before giving way to the bullpen.

With a four-seam fastball that sits 91-94, Groome depends on control over dominating ‘stuff’. A curveball has been replaced as his most effective strikeout pitch by a low-80s slider. He also mixes in a below-average changeup to keep batters guessing.

No. 29 Angel Felipe – Relief Pitcher

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 40 | Overall: 40

A 6’5 righty, Felipe signed with Tampa Bay out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. He signed with San Diego in 2022 and was added to the 40-man roster in August, though he has yet to make his MLB debut.

Felipe has two pitches, a four-seam fastball, and sinker, that average 99 MPH with a high of 101.2 MPH last September. His mid-80s slider ended 2022 with the highest Triple-A whiff rate.

Overall, Felipe has pitched well this season with one bad outing on April 11 leading to a ballooned 14.29 ERA. Outside of the five earned runs surrendered to Albuquerque that day, Felipe has not given up more than two earned runs all season. He has struck out at least one batter in all six of his appearances this year.

Up Next

Salt Lake faces El Paso in a six-game series from April 25-April 30. First pitch Tuesday-Saturday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (MT) with a Sunday matinee set for 12:05 p.m. (MT).

Listen to ‘Voice of the Bees’ Steve Klauke on KSL Sports Zone. All Salt Lake Bees games are featured on the KSL Sports app. Purchase tickets to see the Bees play at slbees.com.

KSL Sports coverage of  the Salt Lake Bees can be found here

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Bees Bullets: Previewing Salt Lake Vs. El Paso Chihuahuas