This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Call them the second wave.
Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger are among the new batch of Los Angeles Angels who have played their way to the major leagues while wearing Salt Lake Bees uniforms.
The Angels, off to a surprising start in 2011, can only hope this next big group of home-grown talent performs at the same level as those who went up in the middle of the last decade, including Jered Weaver, Howard Kendrick and Kendrys Morales.
Although Los Angeles' 25-man active roster often changes at a moment's notice, as of Tuesday, no fewer than 17 Angels were home-grown products who came up through L.A.'s farm system.
That's not counting Torii Hunter, who was in the Minnesota organization when he played in Salt Lake City in 1998 and 2000.
Those familiar faces are a comfort for those trying to find their legs in the big leagues.
"I think it does help," said Trumbo, who had a solid spring at first base and may well have made the team anyway due to the absence of an injured Morales. "We've played together for three or four years. Sometimes we're our own best coaches. We've seen each other for four or five years and we can go to each other when one of us gets in a rut."
Trumbo, a notorious slow starter, had played in 25 of the Angels' first 29 games. He shook off an 0-for-20 stretch that saw his average dip to .225. He has since raised his batting average to .253 with five home runs and 15 runs driven in. Trumbo experienced the same start in 2010 for Salt Lake and finished at .301 with 36 homers and 122 RBIs. He's already made an impression, driving in four runs in a game twice, including April 29 at Tampa Bay.
"I've never seen these [pitchers] before," Trumbo said. "It takes a couple at-bats. The second time around you take what you've learned."
Trumbo believed he could open eyes with a good performance during the spring. Conger's inclusion on the Angels' 25-man roster was a bit of a long shot.
However, Conger, who grew up an Angels fan in Southern California, has made the most of his opportunity. The switch-hitter began the season as the third catcher, behind former Bees Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson. Conger played his way into a platoon system with Mathis.
"Right now I've just been trying to make the most of an opportunity," Conger told the Los Angeles Times. "One of the biggest things I've been doing is getting a lot of swings when I haven't been playing."
Trumbo and Conger weren't officially told they had made the Angels' roster.
"We found out when our travel bags were included [with the team's]," he said.
No former Salt Lake Bee entered the big leagues with as much pressure as outfielder Peter Bourjos.
The Pacific Coast League's 2010 Rookie of the Year played 51 games for Los Angeles last season and batted a paltry .204.
Yet, the Angels felt so strongly about the speedy center fielder's potential that they moved multiple Gold Glove winner Hunter to right field. Bourjos has responded this season with a quick start at the plate as well as in the field.
"I'm seeing the ball well and getting some good swings," said Bourjos on the Angels' website.
Bourjos also made one of the early season's great catches, sprinting to and then crashing into the wall at Texas.
"That was impressive," Hunter said later. "He was the one who made the play. I was the one with the chills, screaming like a little girl."
Bees in the bigs
• The Angels brought up Tyler Chatwood and Alexi Amarista during the first week of the Salt Lake season.
• Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo made the Angels' roster in the spring and have been starting.
• Two-thirds of the Los Angeles Angels' roster is comprised of former Salt Lake Bees.
Bees drafted by the Angels
PITCHERS Year drafted (Rd) Years in SLC
Note • F.A. = free agent
Trevor Bell 2005 (1st) 2010-11
Tyler Chatwood 2008 (2nd) 2011
Fr. Rodriguez 2005 (F.A./Mexican League) 2009-10
Ervin Santana 2001 (Amateur F.A.) 2005, 07, 09
Rich Thompson 2002 (Amateur F.A) 2007, 08-10
Jordan Walden 2008 (12th) 2010
Jered Weaver 2004 (1st) 2006
Hank Conger 2006 (1st) 2010
Jeff Mathis 2001 (1st) 2005-07, 10
Bobby Wilson 2002 (48th) 2007-10
Alexi Amarista 2007 (Amateur F.A.) 2010-11
Erick Aybar 2002 (Amateur F.A.) 2006-07
Alberto Callaspo 2001 (Amateur F.A.) 2005
Howard Kendrick 2002 (10th) 2006-09
Kendrys Morales 2005 (Amateur F.A.) 2006-08
Mark Trumbo 2004 (18th) 2010
Peter Bourjos 2005 (10th) 2010