2013 Angels Prospects Countdown #20: Steve Geltz

The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with a relief prospect who developed a bit of a cult following last season, but couldn't translate it into a spot in the big league bullpen.

Steve Geltz
Position: Relief Pitcher  Highest Level: Majors
Throws: Right  Height: 5'10" Weight: 170 lbs.
Age: 25  Born: 11/1/87

2012 Season Stats
Double-A: 25.1 IP, 3-0, 6 SV, 0.36 ERA, 13 H, 6 BB, 0 HR, 37 SO, 0.41 GO/AO, 1.11 FIP, .255 BABIP
Triple-A: 33.2 IP, 0-1, 5 SV, 5.02 ERA, 29 H, 14 BB, 4 HR, 33 SO, 0.58 GO/AO, 4.21 FIP, .284 BABIP
Majors: 2.0 IP, 0-0, 0 SV, 4.50 ERA, 2 H, 3 BB, 0 HR, 1 SO, 0.50 GO/AO, 6.59 FIP, .286 BABIP

Fastball – B+.  Geltz’s fastball sits in the 93-95 range, which is enough to generate plenty of swings and misses.  But what really makes Geltz’s heater considerably better than average is his deceptive delivery.  Hitters have a difficult time picking up the ball until after it has left Geltz’s hand.

Off-speed Pitches – B-.  As a reliever, Geltz is your typical fastball-slider pitcher.  His slider really isn’t that great, but it’s certainly above average and he throws it hard (85 mph).

Control – C+.  As a reliever, a BB/9 in the high 3’s is actually pretty decent.  Overall, it’s nothing worth bragging about.  But Geltz has the ability to sit in the zone safely because of the quality of pitches he throws.              

Command – D.  This is where Geltz really struggles as a reliever.  He throws strikes, but he has the unfortunate tendency of missing his spots.  He’ll leave the ball out over the plate or leave it up.  In the minors up to AA, he got away with this.  But in the hitter friendly PCL and against advanced major league hitters, this will lead to a lot more contact than a strikeout pitcher like Geltz would prefer. 

Mechanics – B.  Geltz’s delivery is rather simple.  He shows very good balance, isn’t rushed, hides the ball and fires it hard.       

Performance – B.  Geltz posted a 3.05 ERA and high K/9 at the highest levels of minor league baseball and made his major league debut.  All in all, I’d say he had a good year, despite a shaky performance in AAA. 

Projection – C+.  Geltz can be a pretty solid middle reliever if he develops more command. 

Estimated MLB Arrival Date – Now.  Should spend time in AAA though.

(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)

Season Summary: It should never have happened, but Steve Geltz become something of a cult hero amongst Angel fans in 2012.  With the big league bullpen falling apart, desperate eyes found their way to the stat sheet of the Arkansas Travelers where they found Geltz posting video game numbers in relief.  Exactly what the Angels needed!  Or so went the belief.  Even with his ridiculous performance for the Travs and the Angels' obvious need for bullpen help, the organization resisted promoting Geltz to the bigs, instead moving him to Triple-A where he did not find the same kind of success.  Given Geltz's extreme flyball tendencies, it shouldn't have been a big surprise that he'd get hit harder in Salt Lake, but what was curious was that his control regressed when he arrived there.  Steve's walk rate has been a bit erratic throughout his career, but having his walk rate nearly double in Triple-A seemed to be what really hurt him, especially with his strikeout rate declining to a more mortal level.

Still, Geltz did get a brief call-up to the majors in August, but more out of necessity than merit as the Angel bullpen was taxed by injury at the time.  Even with that, Geltz never really got a chance to show what he could do, working just two innings in his week on the active roster.  Perhaps more telling than that though was that Geltz was not recalled when rosters expanded in September.  That just goes to show that as logical as it would seem to fans that a guy should be called up, that the organization may have a completely different perception of the player and what should be done with him.

What to Expect in 2013: Before the Angels rebuilt their entire pitching staff, Geltz probably was a dark horse to grab the final bullpen spot for Opening Day, however, that seems highly improbable now.  Instead, he'll be returning to Salt Lake to see if he can't get his command issues straightened out.  There is actually a pretty good chance that will happen.  For whatever reason, Geltz has needed a half season or so to readjust his command after a promotion.  Back in 2010, he got a mid-season promotion to Double-A after decimating the Cal League but walked nearly a better per inning upon his arrival in Arkansas.  It wasn't until he started fresh in 2011 that he started obliterating batters in the Texas League.  If he stays true to his pattern this season, then I feel sorry for the opposing batters in the PCL and even sorrier for the front office who will face yet another season of fans demanding Geltz be promoted because of his gaudy strikeout numbers.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.