2014 Top 10 Prospects: Los Angeles Angels

The loss of draft picks due to free agent compensation has hurt the organization over the past few years. The Angels have one of the weaker systems in baseball — both in terms of depth and impact prospects. The pitching depth is much more sparse than the hitting.

 

#1 Taylor Lindsey | 60/AA (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 655 157 25 19 54 108 4 .267 .330 .430 .338

The Year in Review: Lindsey produced solid numbers in 2013 at the Double-A level — including a .780 OPS — after he made some changes to his approach from previous seasons. He also played in the Arizona Fall League but was noticeably worn down and produced an OPS of just .632.

The Scouting Report: An offensive-minded second baseman, Lindsey saw his home run total jump from nine in both 2011 and 2012 to 17 last year in the Texas League. The Arizona native tweaked his approach at the plate to sacrifice some contact for the increased home run pop. Although he didn’t hit for as high of an average, his on-base percentage improved because he became more patient. He’ll likely never be anything special at the keystone but he should be an average defender.

The Year Ahead: Angels incumbent second baseman Howie Kendrick is signed through 2015 and the development of Lindsey could allow the organization to save some money by committing to the 22 year old after a season of development in Triple-A while looking to trade the veteran.

The Career Outlook: Lindsey should be a slightly-above-average second baseman at the plate and average-ish on defence.

 

#2 C.J. Cron | AA/60 (1B/DH)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
23 657 175 42 19 31 94 8 .292 .339 .464 .354

The Year in Review: Cron produced respectable overall numbers at the Double-A level in 2013 but he regressed in the power department and his on-base percentage was a disappointment. His home run total dropped from 27 in 2012 to 14 in ’13. He headed to the Arizona Fall League at the end of the regular season and produced outstanding numbers with a 1.167 OPS in 20 games.

The Scouting Report: Cron has more raw power than any other player in the Angels system but he struggled to consistently utilize it in 2013. The hulking first baseman needs to become more selective at the plate, which will give him better pitches to drive and will also (hopefully) increase his on-base percentages. I don’t expect him to hit for an overly high batting average in the Majors so the power tool is by far his most attractive asset. Defensively, he should be fringe-average to average at first base and may end up in the designated hitter role before he turns 30.

The Year Ahead: Cron will move up to Triple-A in 2014 where he look to find a more consistent power stroke and try to add some polish to his defensive game.

The Career Outlook: The native of Arizona will likely develop into a bat-only player with the raw power to hit 25+ home runs per season but his lack of patience at the plate will hinder his overall effectiveness as a hitter.

Additional Notes

 

#3 Hunter Green | 60/R (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
17 8 7 16.2 16 0 5.94 8.64 4.32 4.94

The Year in Review: Lacking a first round draft pick in 2013, the Angels were no doubt thrilled to find fringe-first rounder Green available with the 59th overall pick. After signing, he made seven starts in rookie ball but walked 16 batters in 16.2 innings of work. Brought along slowly, the southpaw never pitched more than 3.1 innings in any appearance.

The Scouting Report: Green has a projectable frame and a three-pitch repertoire that could feature three above-average offerings in his low-to-mid-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. The big knock on Green, though, is inconsistent mechanics that lead to both command and control problems. He has a lot of talent but he may need a lot of seasoning.

The Year Ahead: Green, 18, will almost certainly repeat short-season rookie ball for a second time while he looks to smooth out his delivery and show more consistency.

The Career Outlook: Green has the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter if he can learn to command his impressive repertoire. Given his frame, he may eventually work more consistently in the mid-90s with consistent mechanics and more experience.

 

#4 Kaleb Cowart | 55/AA (3B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 546 110 20 6 38 124 14 .221 .279 .301 .266

The Year in Review: No two ways about it, Cowart had a dismal season at Double-A in 2013. The raw but promising prospect posted an OPS of just .580 and wasn’t far off from striking out at a rate of once a game.

The Scouting Report: Cowart is an athletic player with a strong arm and good actions in the field but he’s struggled with his consistency at the plate despite impressive bat speed. After beginning to tap into his raw power potential in 2012, the Georgia native regressed in 2013 and managed just 27 extra base hits. He needs to improve his approach and also his pitch recognition, which could help combat the strikeout issues. A former two-way player, Cowart could eventually make his way back to the mound if the bat can’t hack the upper levels of the minors.

The Year Ahead: Cowart should return to Double-A in 2014 and may spend the entire season there while trying to learn from his 2013 mistakes. 

The Career Outlook: Cowart has all the skill in the world… He just needs to figure out how to unlock his full potential. Another dismal season could cause the organization to reconsider his future as a hitter and tempt them to move him back to the mound.

 

#5 Mark Sappington | 55/AA (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 27 27 156.1 126 11 7.83 4.72 3.45 4.08

The Year in Review: Sappington’s ability to keep the ball on the ground helped him survive a 22-game stretch in the California League. His control was noticeably off (82 walks) but he allowed just 126 hits in 156.1 combined innings. He received five starts at the Double-A level to finish the year.

The Scouting Report: Sappington is a durable sinker/slider pitcher who should be good for 200+ innings a year as a No. 4 starter for the Angels. His fastball works in the low 90s with solid movement, and both his slider and changeup have the chance to develop into average offerings. The biggest issue with Sappington is his lack of command and control stemming from issues with his delivery. There is a potential for the right-hander to find success in the bullpen where he might be able to add a couple ticks to his fastball while sticking the changeup in his back pocket and focusing on a two-pitch mix.

The Year Ahead: The right-hander will likely open 2014 in Double-A but he could reach Triple-A by mid-season if he makes some improvements with his command.

The Career Outlook: Sappington looks like a future innings-eater in the latter half of a big league rotation.

 

#6 Jose Rondon | 55/R+ (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
19 316 81 22 1 30 31 13 .293 .359 .399 .347

The Year in Review: Last year saw Rondon spend a third season in short-season ball (his second in North America). He put on a little more weight and stepped into a few more extra base hits in 2013. He walked almost as much as he struck out.

The Scouting Report: Just 19, Rondon put forth a solid season in advanced rookie ball in 2013 and looks like a future No. 2 hole hitter. He makes outstanding contact — almost to a fault — because of his solid hand-eye coordination. He doesn’t have a ton of over-the-fence pop but he got stronger last year and hit more balls into the gap. He doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s a solid base runner capable of stealing bases in the double digits. Defensively, Rondon has a chance to be an above-average fielding shortstop with a strong arm and good actions.

The Year Ahead: Rondon should receive his first taste of full-season ball in 2014 but he’s not expected to move overly quickly. He’ll likely establish himself in the Majors in late 2016 or 2017.

The Career Outlook: The young Venezuelan may not be more than an average hitter with the bat but his defensive work could earn him a regular gig.

 

#7 Alex Yarbrough | 50/A+ (2B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 615 182 32 11 27 106 14 .313 .341 .459 .350

The Year in Review: Yarbrough’s league-leading 182 hits (27 more than the next closest hitter) helped make up for his allergic reaction to the free pass. Curiously, he spent the entire year in the California League despite coming from a solid college baseball program in 2012.

The Scouting Report: Yarbrough may have only one plus tool but the hit tool could help the switch-hitter force his way into a big league lineup, at least for a few seasons before settling into more of a platoon or bench role. He traditionally makes good contact and uses the whole field but he’s become an aggressive hitter in pro ball and walked just 27 times in 136 games in 2013. He also has surprising pop in his bat. Defensively, Yarbrough’s arm and range are both average at best but he has sure hands and solid foot work.

The Year Ahead: The second baseman will move up to Double-A in 2014 and it will be interesting to see if the more advanced pitching exploits his aggressive nature.

The Career Outlook: Yarbourgh will never be an above-average defender but he might hit enough to earn some regular playing time at the big league level. More likely than not, though, he’ll spend the majority of his career in a part-time role.

 

#8 R.J. Alvarez | 50/A- (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 47 2 58.2 46 2 13.96 4.45 3.53 2.18

The Year in Review: Alvarez spent the 2013 in the potent California League but he survived to tell about it. He displayed his above-average potential by striking out 79 batters in just 48.2 innings. Despite his lack of downward plane on his fastball and fly-ball tendencies, the Florida native allowed just two home runs on the year. After the completion of the regular season, Alvarez appeared in 10 games in the Arizona Fall League.

The Scouting Report: Alvarez strength as a pitcher is his mid-90s fastball that can touch the upper 90s. He throws with a lot of effort and a low three-quarter arm slot. His slider has its moments but it’s too inconsistent to be considered an above-average offering at this point. It will be interesting to see if he commands the ball well enough to dominate Double-A hitters.

The Year Ahead: Taken with the club’s first pick of the 2012 draft (third round), Alvarez is expected to be a quick mover through the system and will open the 2014 season — his second full year as a professional — in Double-A. There is a chance that he could reach the Majors by the end of the year but don’t expect him to nail down a regular gig until the 2015 season.

The Career Outlook: The lack of reliable secondary pitches could limit Alvarez is a set up role. However, should his slider become an above-average offering, he could develop into a ninth-inning man.

 

#9 Austin Wood | 50/A+ (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 7 7 26.0 29 1 7.62 5.54 3.81 3.85

The Year in Review: The right-hander suffered through an arm injury last year and appeared in just seven games — none after July 23.

The Scouting Report: Wood has worked as a starter in pro ball but he’s likely going to reach the Majors as a high-leverage reliever. He has a mid-to-upper-90s fastball but it gets too straight at times and his secondary stuff lacks consistency although his slider should be average in time. He utilizes his height to generate a strong downward plane on his offerings — leading to above-average ground-ball rates. Despite his solid frame, questions remain about Wood’s durability.

The Year Ahead: If healthy, Wood should open the year back in the California League but could quickly move up to Double-A if his command is average or better.

The Career Outlook: Despite his background as a starter, Wood projects to develop into a high-leverage reliever if he can avoid repeated trips to the disabled list.

 

#10 Eric Stamets | 50/A+ (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 571 142 28 4 34 66 16 .281 .335 .375 .321

The Year in Review: Stamets produced decent numbers in the California League but it was his glove that really caught observers’ attentions. At the plate, he was much more successful against left-handed pitchers than righties (.914 vs .639 OPS).

The Scouting Report: The young shortstop has plus range, good hands and a strong arm. At the plate, though, he doesn’t swing the bat with much authority and he comes too aggressive for his own good. He’ll likely develop into a bottom-of-the-order hitter in the Majors but his defensive contributions could earn him a starting gig with the right organization.

The Year Ahead: Double-A should be a real test for Stamets in 2014. Will the more advanced pitchers be able to knock the bat out of his hands? Only time will tell…

The Career Outlook: Stamets should develop into a glove-first shortstop who might earn a few years of regular playing time before shifting back into more of a back-up role.

The Next Five:

11.Nick Maronde: Maronde began his professional career as a starter but moved into the more appropriate role of reliever in 2013 and reached the Majors. His lack of consistent command and control, as well as so-so secondary stuff will likely keep him in the bullpen as a big leaguer.

12. Reid Scoggins: The right-hander throws in the mid-to-upper 90s with his heater and flashes an inconsistent slider. As a result, Scoggins projects as a future middle reliever or set-up man even though he started 17 games in 2013. If he’s allowed to stick in the ‘pen full time in 2014 he could move quickly.

13. Natanael Delgado: Just 18 years old, the left-handed hitting Delgado is years away from realizing his full potential but he has the skill set to develop into an average or better right-fielder for the Angels. He needs to temper his aggressive nature, which might help him tap into his raw power potential by giving him better pitches to drive.

14. Michael Clevinger: Tommy John surgery ruined Clevenger’s 2013 season. When healthy, he shows a solid four-pitch repertoire and low-90s velocity on his heater that could eventually help him nail down a fourth starter’s role with the Angels.

15. Zach Borenstein, OF: Borenstein benefitted significantly from playing in a hitter’s league in 2013 and will likely develop into more of a platoon hitter at the big league level. He shows flashes of decent pop from the left-hand side of the plate but is probably more of a line-drive hitter than the home run threat he was last year. He’s nothing special in the field but he should be able to play a respectable left field.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


35 Responses to “2014 Top 10 Prospects: Los Angeles Angels”

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  1. Vlad the Impaler says:

    This is, without a doubt, the worst farm system out of 30. Maybe the Brewers could contend for that claim, but it’s pretty much the Angels.

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    • Jay29 says:

      “without a doubt”

      “Maybe the Brewers”

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    • Timmy says:

      I’d prefer the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson, Tyrone Taylor, Mitch Haniger, Devin Williams, Victor Roache, and Orlando Arcia over this group.

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    • Balthazar says:

      Y-e-a-h. This is what happens when you punt your 1st round pick several years in a bunch, and trade what prospects you have to plug holes on the 25-man. Oh, and the drafting has been lousy too.

      Is there a _single_ player in the system who projects as a major league regular? I don’t see him (although guys can break out). This system needs a complete re-build from the owner on down and the area-scouts on up.

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      • Timmy says:

        Yeah, I’m not even sure what to make of Cowart anymore. Cron and Lindsey could both become regulars, but they don’t have a single prospect who projects to be above average at the major league level.

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        • Ryan W Krol says:

          If you’re always looking for great players/stars in your team’s minor league system then you’ll be a very unhappy fan. Most baseball players are average to good. You can fill an entire roster with average to above average players and be a winning team every time. The Angels proved that late last season because they brought up a bunch of young players who were average to above average at best, and the accumulation of production from those average to above average players resulted in a much more consistent team that plowed through the final 8 weeks of their schedule. And when you have Mike Trout as your center piece, you can actually get a away with building around him with the Grant Greens, the Kole Calhouns, the Alex Yarbroughs, etc of the world.

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      • I. P. Freely says:

        The steamer projections for a few of the guys are promising. Funny thing about the Angels is that while they tend to be dimissed, they keep graduating guys to the majors. This has been true since the Bavasi days when the farm teams were never highly ranked by Angels draftees were very well represented around MLB. The Stoneman era saw the farm system really rise, but it’s interesting that while the high profile guys flamed out — the secondary prospects all forged MLB careers.

        Wood flamed out but Aybar became a regular. Callaspo flamed out/was traded but Kendrick made it. Casey Kotchman flamed out but Kendrys Morales forged a decent career. Mathis never morphed into the catcher he seemed to be in Low A, but Napoli surprised all of his detractors. Currently, Kole Calhoun and Hank Conger seem poised to be regular contributors, Conger got some praise as a prospect but Calhoun was essentially written off for all the same reasons Borenstein is being written off.

        In some ways it seems the Angels are expert at producing system players that can contribute. It may also be that the Angels farm teams are positioned in such a way that players are being underrated a bit. The Cal League has a reputation for being an extreme hitters league but the Angels farm team is a bit of a pitchers park, even more so in years when the Santa Anas are blowing. Ditto their AA park in Arkansas, as severe a pitchers park as there is in MiLB. Conversely, their AAA park seems to massively favor hitters and so, a lot of their pitching seems to crater there.

        IMO, that’s where the failings are — there isn’t a lot of help pitching wise. The Adenhart tragedy and the Kazmir, Haren deals costs the Angels some arms, yes they got one of them back via the Trumbo deal but as a whole, they lack projectable pitching.

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    • Ryan W Krol says:

      And yet somehow in 2013 the Angels were still able to get a big impact out of their so-called terrible prospects. They plowed through the final 2 months of their schedule, and the young players they brought up from AAA were a part of that. Successul major leaguers can come from anywhere. The Angels just don’t have top 100 prospects, which is basically what farm system rankings are based on, and is a bit of a farce in itself, because most top prospects don’t pan out any way.

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  2. Dave says:

    I look forward to see what Borenstein can do in AA next year. Sure, we all know that the Cal League is a hitters league, but Borenstein played in arguably the most pitching friendly park in the league, and outslugged every other Cal League hitter by 50 points, and out-OPSed everyone else by 84 points. Last year was his age 22 season, so he wasn’t especially old for the league. He led the league in HR despite missing 3-4 weeks at midseason (which is also likely why he wasn’t promoted)

    He certainly won’t slug .631 ever again, but the videos of his HR’s that I saw seemed to indicate legitimate power. At least he made your list, though.
    Very interesting prospect…I am not sure if he is being discounted simply because of his low draft position and playing in a hitters league.

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  3. Old Mother Hubbard says:

    Yikes.

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  4. Red says:

    Where would Randall Grichuk have been in this list had he not been traded to the Cardinals?

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  5. Marc Hulet says:

    I’m not a huge believer in Grichuk… he’d probably be in the 6/7 range, off the top of my head.

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  6. Josh Borenstein says:

    So if Grichuk were still in the organization, fair to say that my brother would have missed your cut for the top 15, which he barely made as it is.

    Ridiculous.

    Also, the fact that you left off Mike Morin and Michael Snyder shows that you know as much about baseball as I know about quantum mechanics.

    Way to be on the ball, Fangraphs.

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    • Dave says:

      Well, in all fairness, the Angels organization is pretty weak, and only an Angels fan would probably know what players should fill out the back of the top 15. I do think your brother should have been in the top 5.

      Here’s something interesting…Mac Williamson is considered a very good hitting prospect for the Giants, and rightly so. He played in the Cal League last year, too, AND he’s older than your brother. Your brother plays in more of a pitchers park and still out-OPS’ed Mac by 150 points.

      Oh well, your brother will suddenly start to be taken very seriously next year at AA as long as he keeps hitting.

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    • Ivdown says:

      LOL. I’ve heard about you, you look like a tool lashing out at people who don’t think your brother is great.

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    • Balthazar says:

      So Josh, I’m sure that you know your brother’s profile as a hitter much better than we do. What we have, however, is context. 1) Your brother is not young for the Cali League. 2) It is the Cali League, and so while Zach may get a tiny little boost for hitting in a comparative pitcher’s park, the _league_ effects are so massive and distorting that they have to be regressed heavily. I’ve seen plenty of guys hit a line not dissimilar to your brother’s who crater in AA. 3) We don’t get to throw out Zach’s performance at prior levels, and these do fit into projections. His results were good, but they in no way support 2013 as a normative performance going forward. 4) We’re speaking of 450 ABs. They were pretty good, but that’s not a large number. 5) If Zach’s swing is line-drive oriented, I would regress his slugging even more after leaving the hot air zone to places where the ball just doesn’t carry like that. 6) Your brother doesn’t appear to bring plus defense, so that puts him deeper into a pile of a LOT of other guys who do some things well. Maybe Zach’s the one who claws his way to the roster spots, but the situation figures into projections as well. 7) I invite you to take a look at the career thus far of Stefen Romero. Zach has a ways to go to be that good, and Romero has no real angle on a 25-man assignment.

      I’m not saying this to harsh on you. I hope Zach outperforms and makes it, I have nothing against him. The only minor league I ever knew personally never made it out of A ball; he was a helluv a good guy, and I rooted for him too. And btw, Joshua and Zachary Borenstein are a pair of names with great ring to them, so my congratulations to your parents.

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      • Josh Borenstein says:

        This is a well-reasoned post, although I disagree with much of it.

        While he wasn’t particularly young for the Cal League, he wasn’t old for it, either. The league’s average age for hitters was 22.8. Zach was 22 for most of the season and would have been called up to AA mid-season had he not strained his hip flexor.

        It is obviously a hitter’s league, but I don’t see guys who were drafted in the top 5 rounds get knocked for this. Cron, for instance, is still rated very high in this list and most other lists, and quite frankly Zach had a much better season than him at the same age.

        Although Zach did pretty well, his performance at other levels was not on par with what he did this year, true, and I would in part attribute that to his hitting environment. But the primary factors behind his success this year were the strides/adjustments he made as a hitter. He has always had the ability. He finally put it all together this year.

        He added a toe tap as a timing mechanism and shortened his swing significantly. He has always had excellent bat speed. In the past, he would sometimes be out in front as a result of this. But once he got his timing down, he trusted his hands more and let the ball get deeper in the zone. If you look at his line drive rate this year compared to last year (you can find this on Minor League Central), you’ll notice a huge difference. In 2012, his LD% was 10.3. In 2013, his LD% jumped to 20.5. He squared up the ball a lot more and made much better contact.

        Zach’s swing is very compact. If you had watched him play this year, you would have observed that few of his HRs were wind-aided or park-aided. They were crushed to all fields. The power he displayed is real.

        His defense isn’t his calling card, yes, but he certainly doesn’t hurt his pitchers out in left field. He has a strong and accurate arm and makes the plays that need to be made. He is more athletic than most baseball players. He was told by a baseball trainer that he could play in the NFL on special teams right now if he wanted to. And he never played football at any level.

        I’m actually familiar with Stefen Romero and have seen him play – and no offense to him – but Zach is definitely the better player between the two. Romero is also 2+ years older than Zach.

        At any rate, there is a considerable amount of prospect prejudice that late round picks have to deal with, and Zach is no different in this regard. I am confident that he will once again defy the “experts” next season and in the many seasons to come.

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        • Dave says:

          Very good post…obviously, you are biased in your brother’s favor (which is a good thing) but you brought facts to the table to support your contention. I agree with you. Fangraphs is actually doing better than BB Prospectus, who didn’t have them on their list at all!

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      • I. P. Freely says:

        Right now, Angels fans should be hoping than Borenstein is Kole Calhoun Version 2.0

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        • LaLoosh says:

          yeah Calhoun never got any prospect respect either. seems like there could be something to the Angels negative bias.

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        • Ryan W Krol says:

          That could easily happen too. It can happen with any prospect. Calhoun never got respect on the Angels’ prospect list because he’s not flashy like Trout. Fans get lost in the media hype and forget that farm systems are ranked by how many flashy top 100 prospects each organization has. Flashy doesn’t necessarily mean great player. Calhoun is a scrappy ballplayer who proved himself a valuable club control option that allowed the Angels to be comfortable with trading Trumbo and Bourjos. Calhoun is a perfect example of why I roll my eyes at all top prospect lists. Good major leaguers can come from anywhere.

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    • Aaron says:

      I didn’t know Zach went to my high school! Now I’ve got a new player to follow and root for.

      That being said, the .136/.321/.227 in the AFL worries me, despite the 10/9 BB/K ratio (which is very uncharacteristic over his career) – I tend to look at Cal League stats as throwouts when they don’t match a player’s career path – see, oh, just about every Mariner prospect ever.

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      • Dave says:

        The AFL is a major hitters league too. If 450 PA in the Cal League are suspect, then 50 in the AFL are not even worth mentioning. Seriously, I wouldn’t use 50 PA anywhere to evaluate anything. I read somewhere that he was hitting the ball well in Arizona, but right at people. I saw a similar stretch last year from Matt Carpenter, who got only 1 or 2 hits over 30-something PA just because he hit the ball at people for that stretch.

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        • Aaron says:

          As a projection: Of course not. However, it’s enough to put a red flag up for me. I saw him play in the AFL a bit, wasn’t totally impressed but he definitely didn’t look lost out there.

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  7. GT says:

    Notable snubs – Mike Morin, Pedro Toribio

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  8. Balthazar says:

    So Marc, I want to start off saying that I realy value your prospect Top 10 series and enjoy it. The detail on individuals is meaningful, and I stash it away for later reference. I’m also aware that producing this content takes a great deal of time, much of it spent evaluating marginal prospects which do not appear in these listings.

    That said, the number grades given for players here just don’t work well for the purpose. I don’t see anyway that Cron is a 60 player, for example, even on ceiling. A guy who’ll be a DH almost from the point he makes a 25-man (if he ever does), and doesn’t walk just doesn’t rate that number. And the number scale is far to insensitive. I haven’t seen a prospect rated a 75 so far; if I missed one, there was exactly one. I haven’t seen a guy rated a 45 in a Top 10 either, although surely some of the Next 5s would be that. If we are rating from 50-70, that’s 7 grades. It’s not enough, and the lack of distinction has seemed to me to push guys up a notch, so that using the Cron example, a 56+ gets a 60.

    I understand the 80 grade rankings were used here to carry over the impression from amateur scouting systems, even though the structure doesn’t work well. But the fact is, the structure doesn’t work well. I see guys getting 60s or 55s in different systems who don’t seem REMOTELY comparable in terms of mean probable outcome, ceiling, floor, or any of those characteristics. I realize that fine distinctions in prospect evals are likely ‘too fine’ given variance in outcomes, but still the lack of comparability of prospects here really limits the value of the ‘grade.’ There are two possible solutions that occur to me. 1) A larger scale, such as a 50-100 rating, where guys with a 50 still have potential to make a major league roster and contribute. 2) You really focus on cross-prospect comparability, where a 60 is really a ‘hard 60′ and any not sure goes down to a ’55′ and so on. You may be doing the latter already, but it’s not working for me is what I’m saying.

    Whatever you do, please keep putting this series out. I has real value, especially going back and looking at system depth and trades over time. But the series could go from ‘useful’ to ‘essential’ if I could place more confidence in that rating number. (As if that is really possibile given performance variability anyway, right?)

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  9. Gribo says:

    Why don’t teams make a guy like Cowart just hit right handed? If he is talented, and does in fact have tools, then why don’t they end his dream of switch hitting. Why not do what you do best? History is littered with guys that got better after dropping switch hitting… You only have to look as far as Shane Victorino last year, and that was after he was too hurt to swing from the other side.

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  10. Ryan W Krol says:

    There’s one thing this post dosen’t reveal… Mike Trout.

    Not as a prospect, but as a long-time franchise center piece the Angels could build around for the next 100 years.

    That being said, the Angels have more room to get away with developing average to above average at best prospects and build them around Trout.

    Of course, they’re still working on retooling their system, as they should.

    Still, Mike Trout allows the Angels a larger window of error and opportunity when it comes to building with a weaker farm system than they used to have.

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  11. Dave says:

    Let me preface this post by saying that I am a Rangers fan and know very little about the Angels farm system, and have never seen any of the players actually play in games. With that said, I am inclined to agree with Josh about his brother. I think Zach’s most recent season statistics have far more bearing than any previous year, because prospects are constantly making adjustments and improvements to their game, and this could have been the season that Zach Borenstein finally put it all together. I believe a couple things bode well for his overall future success, none of which are the fact that he played in “pitcher friendly” park in a hitter’s league so his numbers cannot be viewed with the same bias that other hitters in this league face, since half of his games are played at the other stadiums in the league that have generally been very hitter friendly. A closer look at his splits does indeed corroborate this fact somewhat, as he hit much better away from his home park, hitting 21 of his 28 HRs at opponents’ parks opposed to his own park, proving that playing in this hitter friendly environment did in fact help him significantly. His home/road splits aren’t very different when it comes to BA and OBP, where his home numbers are only about 20 percentage points lower than his road numbers (Home/Road: BA .327/.346 OBP .388/.417), however his slugging percentage was 150 points higher on the road, with a ridiculous .705 put up at road parks. Despite this, there are other statistics that actually do bode well for his future success. First off, he was better against older pitchers last year than younger pitchers, with a higher BA, OBP, and SLUG against older pitchers, thus negating the argument that he was too old for the league. Secondly, his performance versus left handed pitchers (same handed pitchers) was still actually very good despite being worse than his performance against RHPs, with a .321/.391/.428 against LHPs. Yes, his power did significantly dissipate against LHPs, hitting only 2 of his 28 HRs against lefties, but luckily for him, he has faced and will continue to face way more RHPs than LHPs. Lastly, his performance throughout the year was very consistent and even, in that he did not have only one ridiculous month with a huge streak that boosted his overall numbers. Though hitting .438 in July certainly did not hurt his numbers, his monthly splits show that he had an OPS of over .850 for every month of the season, and hit over .298 in every month from May-September. All of these traits bode well for Zach to continue to perform well in the future seasons, and if he is able to continue to improve his defense, he should be able to become at least an average everyday MLB player. In fact, Oliver projects him to average 28 HRs and 3 WAR per season for the next five seasons, though this does include a negative defensive rating of -4.7 for each of them. Long story short, Zach should be ranked much higher on this list, and I would have to agree that his low draft slot probably accounts for the tempered enthusiasm regarding his future and his placement on these top prospects lists. Which brings me to my next point that I would have to agree with the notion that everyday MLB players come from anywhere, not just from these lists of the top 100 prospects, as players that have been drafted in the later rounds and were not ranked on of the top prospects list have gone on to compose a large percentage of the total MLB population. That doesn’t make these rankings useless though, as research done on these rankings do show that the players that have been ranked in the top 10 or 20 of these lists have gone on to have much more major league success than players ranked lower or not ranked at all. Moreover, these top prospects lists provide a great basis for discussion and entertainment, and allow fans to keep up with the up and coming players from teams other than the ones they follow. Minor league baseball isn’t like college football or basketball, where fans can watch and discern for themselves who the players with the most potential are, and then can see those players get drafted on national TV. Though the MLB draft is televised now, most of the fans who watch it have no idea who the players that are being drafted are, other than maybe seeing that player appear on a top draft prospect list, and most likely have never seen any of those players play in an actual game. For these reasons, top prospects lists are the main outlet for fans to learn who the current top players are in the minor leagues and the teams with which these players are affiliated.

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  12. cuscus85 says:

    I’m a little late to the show here but I thought I’d post my Top 20 for the Angels.

    RP RJ Alvarez
    1B CJ Cron
    RP Mike Morin
    2B Taylor Lindsey
    SP Mark Sappington
    SP Hunter Green
    3B Kaleb Cowart
    LF Zach Borenstein
    2B Alex Yarbrough
    SS Jose Rondon
    RP Ryan Chaffee
    OF Matt Long
    1B Michael Snyder
    RP Nick Maronde
    SP Nate Smith
    SP Drew Rucinski
    RP Kurt Spomer
    SS Eric Stamets
    RP Cam Bedrosian
    SP Mike Clevinger

    Honorable Mentions:
    Jeremy Berg
    Ryan Brasier
    Brandon Sisk
    Kody Eaves
    Reid Scoggins
    Austin Wood

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