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Will top prospect Newcomb join Angels' bullpen?

No. 15 pick in 2014 Draft may be desired lefty option for the club @Alden_Gonzalez

KANSAS CITY -- Could top prospect Sean Newcomb factor into a pennant race this year?

The Angels aren't ruling it out.

View Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- Could top prospect Sean Newcomb factor into a pennant race this year?

The Angels aren't ruling it out.

View Full Game Coverage

Newcomb -- the 15th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft -- has blown through three Minor League levels in his first full season of professional baseball, posting a 2.17 ERA while striking out 11.2 batters per nine innings.

When rosters expand in September, Newcomb could be called up as a dynamic, left-handed weapon out of the bullpen, a la David Price with the 2008 American League champion Rays.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that possibility has been discussed, but no decisions have been made.

"You definitely have to balance a young pitcher's development with their ability to help you win some games if you need them," Scioscia said.

"If you really look at our depth chart, of our starting rotation for our organization right now, Sean Newcomb is on that depth chart, even though he's not the finished product. It would obviously take some circumstances for him to come in and fill in here, but you're going to balance the ability to pitch out of the 'pen, which we don't know, with possibly putting him at risk that you don't want him to have."

Translation: Maybe, maybe not.

Newcomb has walked 64 batters in 116 innings through Class A Burlington, Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas this season -- so, five walks per nine innings -- and that kind of control doesn't necessarily play favorably in a bullpen role. He's also a 22-year-old without any experience as a reliever.

But then there's Newcomb's 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame, and the mid-90s fastball he throws with relative ease, and the Angels' long-held desire for a hard-throwing lefty out of their bullpen.

At the very least, Newcomb will continue to throw after the Arkansas Travelers' season ends in early September, in case the Angels need him as a spot starter.

"But there's been no decision on if he's going to come up here and pitch in our 'pen," Scioscia said. "I think there's probably a little more to it than a really simple, 'Of course he's going to come up here and pitch,' or, 'Definitely not.' There's a lot to look into."

Worth noting
• Shortstop Erick Aybar sat out a second straight game with stiffness in his lower back, but Scioscia said the ailment is "moving in the right direction" and doctors are "very encouraged." Taylor Featherston started at shortstop once again. Ryan Jackson would be promoted from Triple-A if Aybar has to go on the DL, and the Angels have to make a quick decision on that because Featherston is their only active shortstop.

Shane Victorino called news that John Farrell, his manager with the Red Sox, was diagnosed with lymphoma "saddening." "But if there's anyone who has the mentality and courage and strength, it's going to be him. It sounds like it's treatable and curable. It's good news they got it early. That's a positive, but you never want to hear that news. Cancer is one of those words that always scares you."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast.

Los Angeles Angels