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The Next Wave of Angels Prospects


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The Angels have been fortunate enough to experience a consistent wave of young players entering the Major League team and infusing them with the necessary youth and talent to compete on a yearly basis.  In 2011 it was Peter BourjosMark TrumboJordan Walden and Kevin Jepsen that carried the Angels.  In 2012 we saw Mike Trout andNick Maronde come up and make a team competitive that probably shouldn’t have been.  So far in 2013, J.B. ShuckLuis JimenezDane De La RosaMichael Kohn andGarrett Richards have stepped up and contributed to the club in one way or another.  So who’s going to come next season and give the Angels what they need?

Kole Calhoun, OF
As if it weren’t enough that Calhoun was drafted in the 8th round and basically needed no time in the minors, Calhoun has put up downright amazing numbers in AAA.  Of course the home environment skews some of these, but judging by what we’ve seen from Kole so far, they aren’t helping him THAT much.  He’s just THAT good.  The Angels have a lineup that’s sorely lacking left handed batters with plate discipline to spare and Calhoun would fill this need.  The problem is, he’s blocked every way to Sunday.  I don’t know whether it will be injury or trade, but in 2014 Kole Calhoun will be a big leaguer and unless he’s on another team, he should be helping the Angels.

Mike Morin, RHP
Armed with a low 90’s fastball and a knee buckling change up with impeccable command, Morin has stormed through the Angels system so far.  After being drafted last season, he’s already made his first appearance in AA and if the results are any indication, he could be the answer to the woes brought on by lingering injuries from Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett.  He currently owns an ERA south of two, has more strikeouts than innings pitched and has walked all of five batters through 41 innings.  That’s right, five batters. Ernesto Frieri currently walks five batters every nine innings, not 41.

R.J. Alvarez, RHP
Alvarez has video game stuff to accompany video game numbers.  97 mph fastball, razor sharp slider, 53 strikeouts in only 33 innings and a 2.43 ERA.  If he has one fault it would be the unsightly 4.3 BB/9.  However, given the success of Frieri (4.9), Jepsen (career 3.6) and Kohn (4.3), Alvarez should fit right in.  Much like Jepsen, Frieri and Kohn, Alvarez has the raw stuff to get away with it.


Michael Roth, LHP
I know Angels fans have already had a short glimpse at this kid, which hasn’t been too promising considering the numbers, but Roth should help out in a big way soon enough.  He was thrust into the major leagues after all of one start in AA.  Once the Angels returned him to AA Arkansas, Roth regained his composure and has again put up solid numbers.  Considering that Downs will be a free agent and Burnett may have serious arm issues, a spot for a lefty specialist could make Roth an important cog moving forward.  There’s also the possibility that both Jason Vargas and Jerome Williams move elsewhere in Free Agency, which would open up a spot in the back of the rotation and long relief for both Richards and Roth.

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Calhoun should be on the team right now. Shuck has zero upside, is a liability in the field, and he's hitting for an empty average.

 

I like Calhoun a lot, but for all of Shuck's shortcomings he has posted an OPS+ of 105 as a 26 year old, there is no power there but he does get on base as his career OBP of .350 proves, it's not as empty as some try to make it..  He's the epitome of a replacement player and has actually done well in a reserve role.  If Hamilton starts hitting and PB is ever healthy, having Calhoun and Shuck off the bench might make for some really nice depth.   I tend to think the reason Kole is in AAA is to avoid jerking him around and to give him as many at bats as possible after all his missed time this year.

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That's precisely why Calhoun is in AAA.  The Angels are fine with the offensive production Shuck is providing and with having both Shuck and Hawpe on the same team, there'd be no reason to promote Calhoun right now. But, if it were up to me, Calhoun would be playing LF for the Angels everyday, not Shuck.  While Shuck seems to slap a single every game and get on base twice, his complete inability to play an adequate LF more often than not costs the Angels runs.  I feel like Calhoun provides considerably more pop with similar speed but also provides exceptional defense.  He's just a better all-around player than Shuck.  

 

But if the Angels are going to stick with Shuck, then I agree with their decision to keep Calhoun in AAA and getting him everyday AB's.

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Can anybody tell me where Yarbrough's power has came from? I saw that he had zero last year and now has 10 through 80 something games

 

 

The Cal League maybe?  7 of his HRs are on the road and the Cal League has some huge offensive parks.

 

If his power carries over to Arkansas, there are going to be a lot of people reconsidering his prospect status.

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This power was always there, it was just a complete overlook on behalf of the National Media that has caused this to surprise some folks.  For those of us that actually saw him play, that power was always there.  In fact last year I took to the mountain tops in an effort to convince everyone that Alex Yarbrough had power and no one was noticing. 

 

Some prospect sites had him ranked between 15 and 20 and when MWAH ranked him at #9, there were definitely some snickers and raised eye brows.  

 

I wrote this about Alex 9 months ago - 

Power â€“ B.  This is where MWAH (well me, I can’t speak for Garrett) differ from every other prospect publication.  The other sites believe Yarbrough has some pop but middling power at best.  I disagree, I see quite a bit of power projection in his swing.  I see Yarbrough hitting 30+ doubles per year and 10-15 HR’s, which is really solid for a middle infielder.

For the full report that was published back in February follow the link below.  

 

http://www.monkeywithahalo.com/prospects-countdown/2013/2013-la-angels-prospects-9-alex-yarbrough.html

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The lack of BBs stuck out as the one weakness in his offense, although that has picked up over the past 22 games wth 6 BBs in that time.

He hits both righties and lefties well as a switch-hitter, although having more XBH pop as a lefty facing righties.

 

If Cowart's growth stalls, is Yarbrough a potential 3B conversion guy since Lindsey is also in line to play 2B?

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