Prospect Countdown #81 : Michael Strentz

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #81 : Catcher, Michael Strentz (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Michael Strentz, Catcher

HT : 6'1
WT : 210
DOB : November 10, 1991 (24), in Lafayette, Louisiana
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of Louisiana-Lafayette (Lafayette, LA)
Acquired : Signed as Undrafted Free Agent, June 2014
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked


Seeing undrafted free agents excel at the highest levels on the minors has become a more common occurrence in recent years. For the Los Angeles Angels, Michael Strentz may fit the part in becoming one of those undrafted free agents to show success and make strides towards the Major Leagues.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Skipping over an affiliate entirely is a challenge in itself, yet Strentz took it with ease this past season. Strentz is known as a grinding catcher, who has a strong mentality for the game. He refers to himself as part of the "Water Hoze Boys" from his time at Lafayette.

Strentz has a short stroke, and uses his legs for a large load of power. He has a solid frame, which also attributes to his power. He has the ability to let the ball go deep and turn balls inside out for opposite field power. Strentz saw changes to his swing throughout his collegiate career, but came to professional ball and found comfort in the swing he currently holds.

Strentz repeats his mechanics while swinging the bat, which results in few mistakes and a low strikeout ratio. He has a good eye for the strike zone, rarely chasing after anything out of the zone. This comes from a solid up-the-middle approach.

The former Cajon has a solid frame, which helps him block balls in the dirt with ease. He has good lateral movement behind the plate, which is backed by a strong and accurate arm. His numbers may not show the results from his arm, but it is nowhere near a liability.

Strentz takes a calmness to the plate and behind it every time he takes the field. His mental game may be his best asset. He's about as sure a thing as it could come.

VIDEO : Minor League Baseball

Scouting Report from Jerry Espinoza - Contributor/Photographer for Scout.com, and Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

At Comeaux High School in Lafayette, Strentz was a four-letter winner, and also a three-letter winner in football. Strentz split time between quarterbacking and catching, and hit .398 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs, 35 RBI and nine stolen bases his junior season. As a senior, Strentz hit .450 with 14 home runs - a single-season school record - while throwing out 70 percent of base stealers.

The Lafayette boy stayed home for college, going to UL-Lafayette. In his freshman season, Strentz hit just .216/.313/.353 with six doubles in 44 games. He followed this with an injury ridden season as a sophomore. In eight games in his second collegiate season, Strentz hit just ,167/.286/.235 in 32 plate appearances.

Strentz saw an offensive spark in his junior campaign, hitting .311/.421/.544. His slugging percentage was near ULL's leaders, helped by 23 doubles and seven home runs. As a senior, Strentz struggled at the plate again, batting ..231/.291/.422, but did manage to hit 11 doubles and 10 home runs.

After beginning his professional career at 3-for-18, Strentz went on a tear offensively for the next 14 games, reaching in each game and hitting .441 with a 1.179 OPS. Strentz finished his first professional season batting .330/.360/.506 with 15 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 29 runs scored. Strentz also held his own behind the the plate, throwing out 29% of runners.

Strentz served as a backup catcher last season at High-A Inland Empire. While there he hit .262/.326/.421 with six home runs and 26 RBI in 65 games. Strentz saw a pair of sparks in May and August, where he hit a combined .347/.420/.528, with eight extra-base hits.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

As you begin to look at the Angels depth chart at the catching position, it's hard to see where Strentz falls in order. He should return to High-A in 2016, possibly as the starting back stop. Depending on how he fairs in High-A at the beginning of the season, Strentz could make the move to Double-A by season's end.

The Angels have faired well with undrafted free agents, and Strentz could be the next guy to fall into that category and see Major League time. He's nearing the top, but has quite a bit of work to do. With guys like Bandy, McGee, and Bemboom ahead of him, he'll have to show he's the better option of the mix to reach that illustrious Major League level.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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