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Pipeline preview: Cowart, Kelly on the rebound

Angels' top prospect starting to heat up; Padres' No. 4 makes first start since 2012

Pipeline preview: Cowart, Kelly on the rebound

After a disappointing 2013 season at Double-A Arkansas, Angels third-base prospect Kaleb Cowart was sent back to the Travelers to start this season. The club's No. 1 prospect began the year with a bang, collecting five hits on Opening Day, but he soon fell into a slump, hitting .164 with just one extra-base hit over the next 18 games.

Recently, however, Cowart has begun to get back on track. He has a modest five-game hitting streak and has homered in back-to-back games, ending a month-long drought.

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Cowart will try to keep both those streaks going Saturday as Arkansas opens a four-game series against in-state rival Northwest Arkansas. Fans can watch the game, which begins at 8:05 p.m. ET, on MiLB.TV.

Further west, right-hander Casey Kelly is also trying to overcome a disappointing 2013. After making his Major League debut in 2012, he appeared to be on the cusp of earning a full-time spot in the Padres rotation. Instead, his season never got started. He underwent Tommy John surgery last April and missed the whole year.

Kelly, the Padres' No. 4 prospect and No. 81 overall, is scheduled to start Saturday for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. He is expected to throw four innings in what will be his first start since Sept. 27, 2012.

Kelly isn't the only pitcher ranked on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list who will be in action Saturday. Also slated to start are Jon Gray (13), Aaron Sanchez (21), Henry Owens (28), Kyle Crick (30), Trevor Bauer (68), Justin Nicolino (75), Trey Ball (90) and Pierce Johnson (94). Fans can watch Gray, Sanchez, Crick, Bauer and Nicolino on MiLB.TV.

Top prospect probables
Jeff Ames (Rays' No. 15), Charlotte vs. Jupiter
Alec Asher (Rangers' No. 11), Frisco vs. Midland
Trey Ball (Red Sox No. 7), Greenville at Augusta
Trevor Bauer (Indians' No. 3), Columbus at Durham
Christian Binford (Royals' No. 12), Wilmington at Carolina
Aaron Blair (D-backs' No. 3), South Bend at Fort Wayne
Parker Bridwell (Orioles' No. 17), Frederick at Myrtle Beach
Kyle Crick (Giants' No. 1), Richmond at Trenton
Rafael De Paula (Yankees' No. 16), Tampa at Brevard County
Edwin Diaz (Mariners' No. 4), Clinton at Wisconsin
Alex Gonzalez (Rangers' No. 7), Myrtle Beach vs. Frederick
Jon Gray (Rockies' No. 1), Tulsa at Springfield
Ismael Guillon (Reds' No. 10), Dayton at Lake County
Kyle Hendricks (Cubs' No. 15), Iowa at Nashville
Brian Johnson (Red Sox No. 12), Portland at Binghamton
Pierce Johnson (Cubs' No. 7), Tennessee at Chattanooga
Casey Kelly (Padres' No. 4), Lake Elsinore at Inland Empire
Michael Lorenzen (Reds' No. 5), Pensacola at Jackson
Justin Nicolino (Marlins' No. 4), Jacksonville at Mississippi
Henry Owens (Red Sox No. 1), Portland at Binghamton
Carlos Salazar (Braves' No. 14), Rome at Savannah
Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays' No. 1), New Hampshire at New Britain
Zeke Spruill (D-backs' No. 10), Reno at Salt Lake
Chris Stratton (Giants' No. 7), San Jose at Lancaster
Domingo Tapia (Mets' No. 14), St. Lucie at Bradenton
Drew VerHagen (Tigers' No. 13), Toledo at Syracuse
Kevin Ziomek (Tigers' 14), West Michigan at Lansing

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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