Sean Newcomb, the team’s first-round pick in 2014, was among a group of seven Angels players reassigned to minor league camp on Sunday, which came as no surprise. Minor league exhibition games begin Thursday, and the 6-foot-5, 245-pound left-hander needs to get stretched out to be ready for the season.
The former University of Hartford (Conn.) star made quite an impression in three weeks with his smooth, effortless delivery, 95-mph fastball, curve and changeup, his physique and repertoire drawing comparisons to Jon Lester.
“He’s a big talent, obviously,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think he’s very confident. I think he became more comfortable in this environment as the spring went on. I think he’s going to figure this out. In terms of stuff, he has a chance to be really special.”
There has been speculation that Newcomb could be ready to pitch in the big leagues this season as a reliever, but the Angels don’t seem inclined to rush him.
“He needs some refinement,” Scioscia said. “He has to find his release point. Part of it is how do you get back in sync when you lose it? There’s a lot of things in a pitcher’s progression that he needs to figure out.”
The other players reassigned to minor league camp were pitchers Trevor Gott, Atahualpa Severino and Nate Smith, catchers Stephen McGee and Jackson Williams and shortstop Eric Stamets.