After being taken in the ninth round of the 2012 Draft, Michael Roth wore a few different hats in the Angels organization this year with different results. The one he donned as the starting Solar Sox pitcher Thursday produced all positive returns.
The 23-year-old left-hander allowed just one run on four hits over four innings Thursday afternoon as Mesa defeated Scottsdale, 7-3, in Arizona Fall League action. He struck out one and did not issue a walk after giving up nine free passes in his first four starts.
The one run he gave up was in the third inning when Pirates prospect Alen Hanson singled to right field, moved to second on a wild pitch and crossed the plate on Jarrett Parker's line-drive single to center. Roth also allowed singles in the first and second, but worked out of further harm.
The ground-ball specialist, who recorded seven of his 12 outs on the ground, finished with 47 pitches, 33 for strikes. He lowered his Arizona Fall League ERA to 3.71 through five starts and owns a 1.35 WHIP. He has struck out nine and walked nine in 17 innings.
"It's not bad," Roth said of his AFL experience thus far. "My first two starts were more like just trying to get back in a midseason groove. Since then, it's been pretty solid. It's kind of frustrating when you only go four innings, but it's almost November, so our bodies are starting to get tired."
The South Carolina product made one start at the beginning of the year for Double-A Arkansas before quickly moving up to the Angels bullpen in April. He bounced back and forth between the two locations, returning to Los Angeles for separate relief stints in May and July before settling back into the Travelers rotation for the final month. He finished with a 7.20 ERA in 15 appearances for the Halos.
Roth won his final four starts with the Travs, concluding the regular season with a 6-3 record and a 4.20 ERA in 17 games (15 starts). He proved to be especially effective in the playoffs, winning both of his starts while giving up one earned run on nine hits in 14 innings.
The left-hander gladly accepted his AFL assignment at the end of the season.
"It's an honor they sent me out here," he said. "It's also good because I was up and down, so my innings were kind of cut short from last year. I understand the reasons for me to be out there, but it makes for a long year. It's a mental and physical grind more so than it was in August when the season was coming to an end. But it's been a lot of fun."
Angels' No. 2 prospect C.J. Cron led the Solar Sox offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. The first baseman is batting .400 in 12 AFL games. Cron's presence in the lineup is something Roth has grown accustomed to, although he's obviously a big fan of the offensive support.
"Whenever C.J. and [fellow Angels prospect and former Arkansas teammate Taylor] Lindsey are at the plate, I feel like they can do something special," Roth said. "They're both going to be great players."
A's catcher David Freitas went 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored from the bottom of the Mesa lineup. Top Nationals prospect Brian Goodwin connected on his first homer of the fall in the sixth.
Yankees catcher Peter O'Brien went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Scottsdale.