Jump to content
  • Welcome to AngelsWin.com

    AngelsWin.com - THE Internet Home for Angels fans! Unraveling Angels Baseball ... One Thread at a Time.

    Register today to join the most interactive online Angels community on the net!

    Once you're a member you'll see less advertisements. Become a Premium member and you won't see any ads! 

     

The 2019 Prospect Problem


Recommended Posts

The Angels have a unique opportunity in front of them in 2019. It'll be the first time in several years that the Angels have a collection of internal options to fill vacancies. 

I'm talking about major league ready prospects.

The Angels may find themselves in an uncomfortable position after 2018. They'll need to improve this team, and have the young, inexpensive pieces to do it, but it would've require the Angels to part ways with veterans, something they've been altogether unwilling to do.

If we assume that Ohtani will get 50% of the AB's at DH, and Albert Pujols pulling the other 50%, as well as 50% at 1B, that leaves only 250 or so AB's at 1B. There's also an expected opening at 2B, though Zack Cozart clearly hasn't hit like a 3B so a move to 2B could come. 

Catcher, shortstop, and likely all three outfield positions are spoken for. Calhoun is under contract in RF and even if the Angels do replace him, that replacement is likely to be a player from outside the organization.

So generally speaking we have a part team need at 1B and a full time opening at either 2B or 3B, whichever one Cozart isn't playing.

And now to the prospects. These are the guys that will be major league ready and almost certainly an upgrade in 2019.

Matt Thaiss - A left handed hitting 1B with pop, ability to hit for average and plate discipline. Between AA/AAA at age 23, he's hitting .296 with 18 DB and 11 HR. He's worthy of much more than part time play.

Taylor Ward - A right handed hitting 3B with pop and plate discipline as well. Moving away from catcher was the best thing that's happened to Ward in his career. As a 24 year old this year, he's hitting .327/.423 with 7 HR and 11 SB between AA/AAA. He'd have higher numbers if it weren't for an injury he sustained while packing his bags after a promotion to AAA. He's ready for a full time role.

Jose Miguel Fernandez - His work speaks for itself. While he's going to be 31 next year, he's clearly a better hitter than the likes of Cozart, Kinsler, Valbuena, Marte, Pujols, etc... While he's capable of playing 2B and 3B as well, Scioscia has only allowed him to log time at 1B. If the Angels limit him there, it could really limit how much damage he can offensively.

Michael Hermosillo - He'll be 23 next year, and assuming he continues to develop in AAA this year, he should be ready for 4th OF duty next year. He struggled in his first stint with the Angels, but the speed, power, athleticism, and patience are all evident.

David Fletcher - He has knack for making contact, and is gritty, which you know Scioscia and Angels like. He's also a good defender at 2B, 3B and SS, which you know Eppler likes.

Luis Rengifo - Nornally, I wouldn't include him in a list like this, but I think anyone that has watched what he's done to Advanced A Ball and now AA, knows that he's forced himself into the conversation. Not as gifted defensively as Fletcher, but with greater upside with the bat, Rengifo will almost certainly be ready for an MLB audition next year.

And so, we find ourselves in a strange situation, what to do with all these kids. 

Fernandez, Thaiss and Ward all deserve a full time gig in the majors. And Fletcher and Rengifo deserve heavy consideration for a spot too.

I'm not saying the Angels will cut ties with Albert and Cozart, but I am saying that the Angels are highly likely a better offensive force without them because of these prospects. 

Sticking them back in AAA or making them ride the bench in the majors isn't helpful for them or the Angels. 

Interesting decisions ahead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If they trade Cozart in the off-season, how much of the remaining $25+ million would they have to eat?

I think that Pujols is here at least through 2019.   I can see, as mentioned, a trio of Ohtani/Pujols/Thaiss sharing DH/1B in 2019.

Calhoun might still have RF for the 2019 season, if he has rediscovered hitting just enough.   Adell would likely be ready after that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, Angel Oracle said:

If they trade Cozart in the off-season, how much of the remaining $25+ million would they have to eat?

I think that Pujols is here at least through 2019.   I can see, as mentioned, a trio of Ohtani/Pujols/Thaiss sharing DH/1B in 2019.

Calhoun might still have RF for the 2019 season, if he has rediscovered hitting just enough.   Adell would likely be ready after that.

All of it. 

Zack Cozart is going to be 33 here in the next couple months, and is sporting an OBP below .300 with minimal power to speak of. 

He's a 30-something utility infielder that's making 12 million a year that the Angels will be rolling out there and pretending that he's a starting caliber 3B or 2B.  The guy has a career .251/.304 slash line and is playing at roughly replacement level and we're headed into July soon. 

I don't think any team is willing to pay more than the league minimum for a guy that's a late defensive replacement. 

If it weren't for the contract, Cozart, Calhoun and Pujols would not be in a major league starting lineup right now.  But the Angels intend to do just that.....and we wonder why the offense sucks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it'd be a bit kneejerk to cut Cozart so soon. He's adjusting to a new league, isn't grossly overpaid, and still good and versatile defensively. If his value really continues to slip and the bat never comes around, I could see them getting him at least some corner outfield reps, and if he becomes a $13m super-sub for a couple years, it's still not too bad considering they'll have some cheap alternatives in Fletcher, Ward, Thaiss, Fernandez, or Rengifo to offset.

I personally think there's way too much 2B/3B depth still in this next FA class for there not to be a good chance we sign someone and go with Cozart at the other position. Fletcher and Fernandez are still fine bench options replacing Marte and Valbuena.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, totdprods said:

I think it'd be a bit kneejerk to cut Cozart so soon. He's adjusting to a new league, isn't grossly overpaid, and still good and versatile defensively. If his value really continues to slip and the bat never comes around, I could see them getting him at least some corner outfield reps, and if he becomes a $13m super-sub for a couple years, it's still not too bad considering they'll have some cheap alternatives in Fletcher, Ward, Thaiss, Fernandez, or Rengifo to offset.

I personally think there's way too much 2B/3B depth still in this next FA class for there not to be a good chance we sign someone and go with Cozart at the other position. Fletcher and Fernandez are still fine bench options replacing Marte and Valbuena.

He is grossly over paid for his production. He isn't unseating Simmons and SS and his defense at 3B is pretty bad. I assume he will be better next year at 2b when he takes over for kinsler but his bat is right around his career averages. He got paid big time for a career year in a hitters park. Bad move for Eppler but I understand the move based on no draft pick compensation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, totdprods said:

I think it'd be a bit kneejerk to cut Cozart so soon. He's adjusting to a new league, isn't grossly overpaid, and still good and versatile defensively. If his value really continues to slip and the bat never comes around, I could see them getting him at least some corner outfield reps, and if he becomes a $13m super-sub for a couple years, it's still not too bad considering they'll have some cheap alternatives in Fletcher, Ward, Thaiss, Fernandez, or Rengifo to offset.

I personally think there's way too much 2B/3B depth still in this next FA class for there not to be a good chance we sign someone and go with Cozart at the other position. Fletcher and Fernandez are still fine bench options replacing Marte and Valbuena.

I very much agree with your first paragraph, not so much with the second. Why would the Angels spend money at 2B/3B when they have so many in-house options? Even if Fletcher, Fernandez, Ward, and Rengifo aren't future stars, at least one or two of them should be solid regulars. We can throw in Rojas and Cowart as useful options, even if more bench level.

Anyhow, as the saying goes, "there's no such things as too much good starting pitching." I would say "There's no such things as too much depth." The Angels have been rich in resources, somewhow, after just a couple years of Eppler's overhaul.  In some ways the Angels are in a similar place that the Cubs and Astros were a couple years before they became good...not quite as rich in the minors, but also stronger in the majors. In other words, we're on the upswing and should continue to get better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Angelsfan1984 said:

He is grossly over paid for his production. He isn't unseating Simmons and SS and his defense at 3B is pretty bad. I assume he will be better next year at 2b when he takes over for kinsler but his bat is right around his career averages. He got paid big time for a career year in a hitters park. Bad move for Eppler but I understand the move based on no draft pick compensation.

He also OPS'ed decently (mid .700s) the two years before - I think he can still get there this season and next, and with his defense and versatility, that's useful still.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

I very much agree with your first paragraph, not so much with the second. Why would the Angels spend money at 2B/3B when they have so many in-house options? Even if Fletcher, Fernandez, Ward, and Rengifo aren't future stars, at least one or two of them should be solid regulars. We can throw in Rojas and Cowart as useful options, even if more bench level.

When has Eppler deferred to youth over short-term vets? I know we haven't had guys like our current crop, but he opted for Young over Herm, Franklin and Espinosa over Cowart, Maldonado over Bandy, Graterol and Rivera over Perez, Valbuena over Cron...our youth may become more prevalent in '18-'20, but still wouldn't surprise me to see him bring someone in.

I think if they have the payroll to add a low/mid-tier infielder option next year, he will, unless one of those young dudes gets enough playing time this year to sway that. Not sure Cowart will be here next year - he'll be out of options. 

And that's okay, it's good to have that much depth. I honestly think we'll deal a couple of our better prospects this year too and that'll thin that field some. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, totdprods said:

When has Eppler deferred to youth over short-term vets? I know we haven't had guys like our current crop, but he opted for Young over Herm, Franklin and Espinosa over Cowart, Maldonado over Bandy, Graterol and Rivera over Perez, Valbuena over Cron...our youth may become more prevalent in '18-'20, but still wouldn't surprise me to see him bring someone in.

I think if they have the payroll to add a low/mid-tier infielder option next year, he will, unless one of those young dudes gets enough playing time this year to sway that. Not sure Cowart will be here next year - he'll be out of options. 

And that's okay, it's good to have that much depth. I honestly think we'll deal a couple of our better prospects this year too and that'll thin that field some. 

Well, a lot has changed since the offseason when he brought in Kinsler and Cozart. Dial back to game #163 last year and there were no good in-house options at 2B/3B for 2018. Fernandez wasn't an Angel, Fletcher was stil a limp-dick bat, Ward was a weak-hitting catcher, and Rengifo was a Ray. Even Jones was in the outfield. 

My guess is that next year the Angels go with Cozart at either 2B or 3B, and an internal option at the other. If Cozart's second chance to prove that 2017 wasn't a fluke fails, then another prospect might work his way into playing time. As you said above, the worst-case scenario for Cozart is that he is a very useful, if overpaid, utility infielder.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing Scioscia seems to struggle with is managing multiple similar options at a role. Hence why the bullpen has been such a shitshow (there's a major lack of talent but the mismanagement has exacerbated it) and why we've had such a poor track record with non-elite prospects. Look at Fletcher sitting on the bench 3 out of the next 4 games after going 3-4. 

This is what I predict will ultimately happen with everyone on the list unless Eppler makes the choice for Scioscia. They'll get called up, start in 30-50% of the games, then get sent down after 3 weeks, rinse and repeat. Adell will probably be the only exception when he gets called up, because he's just too good. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, BackUpTheTruck said:

I can see Thiass, Fletcher, and Fernandez all making the team next year.  I think what could happen is Cozart at second, Fletcher at third, Fernandez as utility infielder, Thiass as first baseman when Ohtani is out of the lineup.  If Kole Calhoun successfully reinvents himself as a contact hitter this year, I think he is our starting right fielder next year.  If not, sign a free agent to a one or two-year deal and wait for Adell and Marsh.

And another .500 season here we come with that lineup. YAWWWWNNNNNNNNNNN. I am not saying we need a big splash at every position but why not use all of the resources we have to try and field the best team possible. No need to focus unjustly on having all options come in house just for the satisfaction of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scioscia is a big problem when it comes to playing young players. His insistence on platooning and choosing veterans over potential have been a problem for several years now. By the ASG the Angels will be out of it for this season. There should be ample playing time for Fletcher, Thaiss, Ward and Fernandez but no way that Sciocsia goes for it. Eppler needs to take control of the roster and insist on playing young guys to see who can fit in the club’s future plans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Angelsjunky it'll be interesting one way or another - Eppler is nearing a fork in the road going into next season, the last of his contract (that we're aware of) in that he could be facing a *third* straight season of missing the playoffs, and perhaps a sub.500 team, even if injuries were to blame.

He will either for the first time have a truly formidable farm with actual prospects ready for playing time, or one last season to make a winner before his own contract is up, and a uearafter his most 'win-now' push. 

Eppler has been as steady as they come - and regardless of what has been said in the media, I don't feel like we've ever really had full transparency as to what his tenure's primary goals really were (was it a subtle rebuild with 2019+ in mind? Was it a win-now org truly hampered by payroll and a depleted farm? Was it an even bigger picture organizational reset for a post-Trout era?) but each season is pushing him closer to a point where he reveals their real intent. This deadline and offseason will really be a testament to that. Do we have the farm to trade for impact players? or do we have the farm to stay the course and let the youth play? or do we still have the payroll and manager to roll with a 'stay the course' path with stopgap vets? Pretty soon one of these will emerge as the true narrative being woven by the FO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, totdprods said:

@Angelsjunky it'll be interesting one way or another - Eppler is nearing a fork in the road going into next season, the last of his contract (that we're aware of) in that he could be facing a *third* straight season of missing the playoffs, and perhaps a sub.500 team, even if injuries were to blame.

He will either for the first time have a truly formidable farm with actual prospects ready for playing time, or one last season to make a winner before his own contract is up, and a uearafter his most 'win-now' push. 

Eppler has been as steady as they come - and regardless of what has been said in the media, I don't feel like we've ever really had full transparency as to what his tenure's primary goals really were (was it a subtle rebuild with 2019+ in mind? Was it a win-now org truly hampered by payroll and a depleted farm? Was it an even bigger picture organizational reset for a post-Trout era?) but each season is pushing him closer to a point where he reveals their real intent. This deadline and offseason will really be a testament to that. Do we have the farm to trade for impact players? or do we have the farm to stay the course and let the youth play? or do we still have the payroll and manager to roll with a 'stay the course' path with stopgap vets? Pretty soon one of these will emerge as the true narrative being woven by the FO.

I don't know Eppler's intent as much as I think we all know the the goal and the constraints in place.  The goal was to build a winner while slashing payroll, getting younger and more athletic while working within the confines of veterans on the roster, and to rebuild the farm with strong drafts and reestablish the international presence despite working under the Baldoquin tax.

He's done most of that.  He hasn't yet built a winner, but he's built a team that's getting a little better every year.  They aren't where they need to be yet but they've trended in the right direction during his tenure.  He's absolutely slashed payroll.  That explains the short term acquisitions like Nava, Gentry, Pennington, Maybin and Valbuena.  Those guys were designed to keep the Angels competitive while allowing the payroll to continue to decrease over the long run.  The team has gotten younger and more athletic with Simmons, Upton, Maldonado and Ohtani.  I think we can all agree he's rebuilt the farm by selecting a slough of high upside prep players that are just starting to break out of rookie ball and A Ball.  The international presence has been reestablished with Ohtani, Maitan, Soto, Uceta, Orlando Martinez, Deveaux and Knowles and as we've learned, in the next couple weeks they'll be adding another couple of upside Dominicans to the mix.  

Eppler has accomplished everything except build a winner.  But I'd debate that the other goals he's had have forced the Angels into not going for success immediately.  By slashing payroll and rebuilding the farm, he's limited himself both in the free agent market and the trade market.  So I understand why the Angels haven't had a winner since he took over.  But at some point, our albatross contracts won't hamper us any longer, and we'll have a strong enough farm that we aren't crippled by making a trade or two. 

I feel like he's building a team that's designed to win in 2020 and beyond.  That's when Albert will be coming off the books and the prospects will be coming up and making their presence felt.  They'll have the necessary money to extend Trout, Simmons, Richards, Heaney, Skaggs and Ohtani because of guys like Thaiss, Ward, Adell, Marsh, Canning, Barria and Suarez. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Scotty@AW said:

 

Catcher, shortstop, and likely all three outfield positions are spoken for. Calhoun is under contract in RF and even if the Angels do replace him, that replacement is likely to be a player from outside the organization.

 

BB Reference has Maldonado only signed through this year and a FA in 2019. Is that incorrect? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think next year we need to go into it with Thaiss at 1st full time, Cozart at 2nd, Simmons at SS and either Ward/Fletcher/Fernandez at 3rd. Calhoun can then be the RF and Hermosillo can slide into 4th OF role. Rengifo is AAA depth if anyone gets hurt.

 

Ohtani/Pujols are full time DH. Pretty solid bench that we have been lacking for years. 

 

Leaves tons of money to invest into the bullpen and rotation. Also they can easily upgrade RF or 3B and get a proven major leaguer. Like Machado or Harper?... jk 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think if we forgot about the money, it'd be Thaiss at 1B, JMF at 2B, Simmons at SS, Ward at 3B and Cozart at 2B on the days Ohtani isn't DHing, which slides JMF to DH.  That's the most productive lineup.  You can argue semantics like Fletcher over Cozart which is perfectly fine, but the fact remains that's the best group.  They're young, they're good enough defensively and they hit the ball. 

The lineup going into next year will likely be Pujols at 1B, Fletcher at 2B, Simmons at SS and Cozart at 3B again, with JMF playing 1B on the days that Pujols DH's.  This lineup means Thaiss and Ward back in AAA regardless of how much they hit the ball and quite frankly, it's a bunch of crap.  

To be better than the guys ahead of you, and that guy is directly preventing you from living your dream and making it to the major leagues.  Not only that, the team that is choosing the worse player, is paying you only a fraction of what it's paying him.  Thaiss and Ward are getting the shaft, but more importantly, the Angels aren't as good simply because they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Despite the fact that there will be numerous bodies ready for the majors, the Angels need to be very deliberate and careful to not overpopulated the lineup with ultimately low impact players.

Having three more "major league ready" players in the lineup from our farm system seems like something to be excited about UNLESS the real result is three more wholly pedestrian spots in the lineup for Trout to carry on his back.

My personal feeling is the Angels need another very high impact offensive player.  Then it is nice to have a system-promoted body to plug a hole for cheap.

But I dont want six plug a hole guys.  You end up with a lousy lineup.

Yes I am saying the specific group of guys that look like 2019 ready players appear, to me anyway, to be low impact.

I dont want 3 or 4 of them taking up all the lineup spots over an acquired high impact player.

I want to win.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, Dtwncbad said:

Despite the fact that there will be numerous bodies ready for the majors, the Angels need to be very deliberate and careful to not overpopulated the lineup with ultimately low impact players.

Having three more "major league ready" players in the lineup from our farm system seems like something to be excited about UNLESS the real result is three more wholly pedestrian spots in the lineup for Trout to carry on his back.

My personal feeling is the Angels need another very high impact offensive player.  Then it is nice to have a system-promoted body to plug a hole for cheap.

But I dont want six plug a hole guys.  You end up with a lousy lineup.

Yes I am saying the specific group of guys that look like 2019 ready players appear, to me anyway, to be low impact.

I dont want 3 or 4 of them taking up all the lineup spots over an acquired high impact player.

I want to win.

Normally I'd say the "plug a hole" players won't be a problem, but so far, that's mostly what Eppler has brought in. 

I'd rather play a prospect over a plug player.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...