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AngelsWin.com Presents: Los Angeles Angels 2014 Top-50 Prospects


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Introduction
 
For the past two years, a word has been used to describe the Los Angeles Angels organization overall: Most scouts and other publications have described the Angels system as “thin”. 
 
AngelsWin.com would have to agree with that assessment, provided fans use the term correctly. For most scouts “thin” means refers specifically to the number of high-impact players within the organization. For many publications, thin also refers to the number of high-draft prospects within the organization (which often may overlap with the number of high-impact prospects within the system).
 
There is a difference between a system that is “thin” and a system that is bereft of talent. The Angels are NOT bereft of talent. In fact, in compiling the list of Top-50 Prospects, we were quite amazed at how easily we were able to fill up the list. Finding the players wasn’t the problem. However, ranking the prospects became quite a challenge.
  
The drop in the Angels organizational rankings corresponds to three things: First, the Angels graduated or traded a large number of their high-impact players such as Mike Trout, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Jean Segura, etc. Second, the Angels did not have a first round draft pick for two years because they signed free agents who were tied to draft pick compensation. Third, the Angels had to revamp and improve their international presence, particularly in Latin America.
 
In acknowledging all of that, AngelsWin.com wants to be clear that the Angels do in fact have talent that will make Major League contributions. Some may in fact break out and emerge as they continue to develop and refine their skills. The situation is not as bleak as some publications would have the fans believe.
 
At AngelsWin.com, we often get asked how we determine who are the Top-50 Prospects and how we determine their rankings. As noted above, this year was particularly difficult in making our final rankings. 
 
Since we know that many prospects, their families, friends, and loved ones read our website to get updates on the players, we want to make a direct statement to them: as with all of our rankings, this is just a snapshot of how things are today, and are not set in stone. We expect some volatility in the rankings over the course of 2014 as players develop and emerge within the system. The differences between the players in some cases was so slight that we are excited to see what the players do this year to help us distinguish them better.
 
Ranking players is never an easy or exact science. There are too many variables to consider. And no two prospects ever present exactly the same numbers or play against the exact same competition to make all the comparisons exactly the same.
 
For example, at any given time, we have to compare freshly drafted high school pitchers to veterans in Triple-A. How do we compare them?
 
At AngelsWin.com we consider 5 basic criteria when developing our Angels Top-50 Prospect List. They are:
1. Overall Ceiling for the Prospect
2. Proximity to the Major Leagues
3. Overall Health of the Player
4. League Factors
5. Path to the Major Leagues
The combination of all 5 of these factors determines the player’s overall ranking on our list.
 
In trying to determine all of these factors for a player, representatives from AngelsWin.com go to see all of these players play throughout the season and talk with many professionals around the leagues from multiple organizations. The work is our own and represent the opinions of AngelsWin.com. 
 
1. Overall Ceiling for the Prospect
 
This is the easiest and most traditional factor for fans to understand. At AngelsWin.com we use all the traditional tools for analyzing players and grade and rate players on the 20-80 scale. We do, however, believe that plate discipline is a legitimate tool that should be evaluated. So, for hitters, we include that in our rankings.
 
2. Proximity to the Major Leagues
 
This is an important and often ignored factor for ranking a player. Imagine two players have similar ceilings. Imagine that all other factors are again almost the same. Who should be ranked higher: a player just drafted and playing in a Rookie League or a player in Triple-A? 
 
At AngelsWin.com, we believe the nod needs to be given to the player performing at the higher levels of the organization because Angels are far more likely to call up a player from Triple-A for a stretch rather than a player from deep within the organization. Consequently, the player with the similar skill set at the higher level is more valuable to the organization than a player buried deep within the organization and thus deserves a higher ranking.
 
Because of this, fans should expect and prospects should know that over time that they should have a trajectory through the rankings. As they get closer to the Major Leagues, their numbers on our list will rise. That is one of the advantages of having a top-50 Prospect List as opposed to a Top-10 or Top-20 list. We can show the player’s development over time.
 
3. Overall Health of the Player
 
An unfortunate and sad reality in baseball is that often the entire game truly depends on the health of the player. Countless numbers of players have had promising careers derailed by one poorly thrown pitch or one unfortunate slide. 
 
When ranking players, health becomes a major factor. How does one compare a pitcher who just had Tommy John surgery, but prior to the injury was throwing triple digits? It is a tough call. 
 
Because players don’t always fully recover from an injury, and the results won’t be known for at least a year or more, a player’s health plays an important role in our rankings.
 
4. League Factors
 
In business, sales trump all other numbers. In sports, most of the time, performance numbers usually trump all other numbers. The reason that they do not always trump all other numbers is because within the Angels Minor League affiliates, some leagues are known for being hitters’ leagues and some are known for being pitchers’ leagues.
 
At AngelsWin.com, we do more than just look at a player’s numbers on the field—we decipher what they mean. We factor in park and league factors. We look at the age of the player relative to the league. We look at game logs to see if the numbers were swayed by a few bad outings. In short, we look deep into the numbers to decipher what they really mean.
 
5. Path to the Major Leagues
 
As much as we want every prospect to succeed and make it to the Major Leagues, we know that they cannot. Only one person can occupy a position at the Major League level at a time. And, with some long contracts, that can create some logjams.
 
Since ultimately, as fans, we are concerned with the value to the Major League club, when players become blocked, we have to factor that into our rankings. Even if the Angels managed to somehow get ten best second basemen in the Minor Leagues (for example), we would not rank them 1-10 on our list because not all of them would get to play at the Major League level.
 
Imagine you are a rival GM trying to trade with the Angels at that point. If the Angels were overloaded at a position, and a player was blocked, would you offer them full value for a blocked prospect? The sad answer is no. Therefore, we have to factor that into our rankings because the overall value of a blocked player decreases. In this regard, AngelsWin.com is unique and different than other prospect rankings.
 
Organization Overview
 
As noted above, the Angels system is thin on talent, but it is not bereft of talent. Nothing proves that more than looking at how each of the Minor League affiliates performed. 
 
Overall, as an organization, the Angels Minor League affiliates finished with a 381-378 record (.502). Four of the Angels affiliates finished with winning records. Four of the Angels affiliates were in the playoffs, and one narrowly missed a wild-card spot. Of the three affiliates who went to the playoffs, one came home a league champion and the other two made it to the league finals. If not for the performance of one level, the Angels overall would have had a winning record as an organization.
 
Here is a brief summary of how each affiliate fared in 2013. 
 
Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Record 78-66 (.542)
Place 1st
 
The 2013 Salt Lake Bees fell 1 win short of playing for the Triple-A title. After winning the Pacific Coast League Northern Division, the Bees advanced to the best-of-five game Pacific Coast League finals against the Omaha Stormchasers, but ultimately lost in the 4th game of the series.
 
Double-A Arkansas
Record 73-66 (.525)
Place 1st
 
The 2013 Arkansas Travelers made it within 1 game of winning another Texas League championship. At one point the Travelers were up 2-1 against the San Antonio Missions, but could not put the finishing touches on a fine season.
 
Single-A Inland Empire
Record 69-71 (.493)
Place 2nd 
 
Of all the Angels’ affiliates, the IE66ers made it the furthest in the playoffs by winning one of the California League title. Getting in as a wild-card team, the 66ers played one of the most exciting games to win make it to the Championship Series when they beat Lancaster in the 15th inning. 
 
Single-A Burlington
Record 56-78 (.493)
Place 7th  
 
For some reason, the 2013 Burlington Bees never gelled as a team and could never put together a solid string of success during the season. The Bees did perform slightly better in the second half of the season, but unfortunately, was the one affiliate that did not have much in terms of playoff hopes.
 
Rookie-A Orem
Record 39-36 (.520)
Place 2nd 
 
The 2013 Orem Owlz played a lot of fun baseball in 2013. All season long they were in the thick of the race, but unfortunately, fell just short in the last few days of both the first and second half of the season. As a result they just barely missed the playoffs.
 
Rookie-A AZL-Angels
Record 30-26 (.536)
Place 2nd 
 
Mostly used for rehabbing injured players and developing young players drafted in the 2013 draft, the AZL-Angels played respectable and consistent baseball. In both the first and second half they posted a 15-13 record, and clinched a playoff spot. Unfortunately, they did not advance to the league finals.
 
Summer League DSL-Angels
Record 36-35 (.507)
Place 5th 
 
After not developing much talent, the Angels Dominican Academy began to show life in 2013. Though they did not post an elite record, they have made strides towards signing and developing international talent that should start appearing in the U.S. this year. 
 
The Los Angeles Angels Top-50 Prospect List
 
Below is the Los Angeles Angels Top-50 Prospect List. Over the coming weeks, AngelsWin.com will be presenting scouting reports obtained from scouts, the Angels Scouting Director Ric Wilson and the human eyes of David Saltzer & Chuck Richter.
 
1. Taylor Lindsey, 2B
2. R. J. Alvarez, RHP
3. C. J. Cron, 1B
4. Kaleb Cowart, 3B
5. Mark Sappington, RHP
6. Hunter Green, LHP
7. Mike Morin, RHP
8. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
9. Zach Borenstein, OF
10. Alex Yarbrough, 2B
11. Jose Rondon, SS
12. Cam Bedrosian, RHP
13. Nick Maronde, LHP
14. Eric Stamets, SS
15. Matt Shoemaker, RHP
16. Alfonso Alcantara, RHP
17. Ryan Chaffee, RHP 
18. Natanael Delgado, OF
19. Keynan Middleton, RHP
20. Michael Roth, LHP
21. Austin Wood, RHP
22. Jeremy Berg, RHP
23. Eduar Lopez, RHP
24. Cal Towey, 3B
25. Kyle McGowin, RHP
26. Michael Fish, OF
27. Matt Long, 2B/OF
28. Sherman Johnson, 3B
29. Kramer Sneed, LHP
30. Michael Snyder, 1B
 
 

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(Zach Wright, Angels Catcher - Photo by Jeremy Long)

In our introduction to the Los Angeles Angels Top 50 Prospects, we outlined our criteria for how we rank the prospects. We acknowledge that our methodology is different from other scouting sources and includes factors that others do not. Players and fans need to understand that this is only a snapshot. We hope and expect players to move upward as they progress through the system and develop their talents. 
 
Players who find themselves ranked in the 31-50 category should not be upset. Instead, it is a snapshot of our assessment at the start of the season. At the end of the season, as we observe the players performing at higher levels or recovering from injuries, many of these players will move up in the rankings. 
 
Initially we will run a brief bio for all of the players ranked 31-50 together. After that, we will countdown our the Top 30 prospects one at a time until we have covered all of the players. Please keep checking back in with AngelsWin.com for each prospect.

31. Elliot Morris, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 210 lbs. DOB: 4/26/92
(Orem): 2-2, 3.95 ERA, 11 BBs, 25 Ks, 27.1 IP

Morris' fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and touches 95-96. His curveball is a knockout pitch, but lacking a changeup he profiles as a reliever, where his fastball/curve would play up in short stints.

32. Eduard Santos, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” 220 lbs. DOB: 10/22/89
(Burlington/Inland Empire): 3-5, 5 Saves, 3.10 ERA, 30 BBs, 81 Ks, 69.2 IP

Santos hides the ball well and comes at opposing hitters with a 91-94 MPH fastball, with good cutting movement. His offspeed offerings are average, but he has shown flashes of above average in stretches.

33. Wade Hinkle, 1B
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Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’0” 225 lbs. DOB: 9/5/89
(Burlington): .270/.359/.435 with 13 HR and 2 SB

Hinkle shows a good approach at the plate from the left side and can drive the ball to all fields. Primarily a first baseman, Hinkle will need to put up a Zach Borenstein type season in High-A this season to move up the Angels prospect charts. 

34. Tyler DeLoach, LHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Left Height: 6’6” 240 lbs. DOB: 4/12/91
(Burlington): 5-5, 3.34 ERA, 22 BBs, 79 Ks, 70.0 IP

This big southpaw once hurled a no-hitter (walked one) and struck out 18 against Farmville Central in the first round of the state tournament. DeLoach attacks opposing hitters with a 91-94 MPH fastball and average offspeed offerings. Started and relieved with Burlington.  His future in the rotation depends on  the development of changeup.

35. Nate Smith, LHP
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Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’3” 200 lbs. DOB: 8/28/91
(Orem): 2-2, 3.86 ERA, 7 BBs, 31 Ks, 35.0 IP
 
Another southpaw, Smith pitches at 89-91, but can crank it up to 94 and has a solid curveball with good depth. From the scouts we've talked to they like Smith's future if he can develop his changeup. If not, he projects as a good arm at the back end of the bullpen.

36. Jonah Wesely, LHP
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Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’2” 205 lbs. DOB: 12/8/94
(AZL-Angels): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 BB, 0Ks, 1.0 IP

Wesely pitched well in the World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Fla., last fall. Shows flashes of a four-pitch mix, including his heater that gets as high as 93 mph and solid curveball. He has a high-maintenance delivery and below-average command. Could end up as a reliever.

37. Reid Scoggins, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” 210 lbs. DOB: 7/18/90
(Burlington): 1-4, 3.46 ERA, 35 BBs, 76 Ks, 65.0 IP

High octane fastball-slider combo, with his fastball registering triple digits at times, but Scoggins must stay healthy and command his two pitch repertoire more effectively. Could become a late inning guy at worst if he can stay on the field.

38. Zach Wright, C/OF
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 205 lbs. DOB: 1/10/90
(Inland Empire/Burlington): .262/.346/.390 with 8 HRs and 6 SBs

Wright held his own offensively in his first full season in the minors with a solid approach at the plate. Defensively Wright has a strong arm and does a good at framing pitches and job blocking balls in the dirt.

39. Joey Krehbiel, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” 185 lbs. DOB: 12/20/92
(Burlington): 6-5, 1 Save, 2.74 ERA, 28 BBs, 70 Ks, 65.2 IP
 
Athletic as pitchers come, Krehbiel is a converted infielder from Florida where he hit .462 with a .769 slugging percentage his senior year. Scouts liked him as a pitcher after he displayed a low 90's fastball and solid changeup. As of now he's a reliever, but if Krehbiel can develop a third offering like a slider or curve, he could slot in as a starting pitcher.

40. Jonathan Van Eaton, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” 205 lbs. DOB: 5/16/91
(Orem): 0-0, 10 Saves, 3.79 ERA, 4 BBs, 23 Ks, 19.0 IP
 
A non-drafted free agent with a low 90s fastball and plus slider. Has the potential to pitch 7th/8th innings and could move through the system quickly.

41. Michael Clevinger, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 217 lbs. DOB: 12/21/90
(AZL Angels/Orem): 0-1, 9.53 ERA, 4 BBs, 5 Ks, 5.2 IP
 
Tommy John surgery cost Clevinger most of his 2013 season. When healthy, he sports 4 solid pitches with low 90s heat and has the potential to be a #3/4 starter when healthy.

42. Mike Piazza, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 205 lbs. DOB: 11/24/86
(Inland Empire/Arkansas/Angels): 6-3, 3.26 ERA, 41 BBs, 92 Ks, 96.2 IP
 
An AngelsWin.com crowd favorite from Fanfests, Piazza was a Texas League All-Star in 2013. Moved into the rotation in 2012, has continued to work in the rotation to get more innings. With improved command, could earn a bullpen spot. Hits 92-93 MPH with his fastball with a good breaking ball.

43. Stephen McGee, C
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” 230 lbs. DOB: 2/7/91
(AZL-Angels/Orem): .236/.411/.309 with 1 HR and 1 SB
 
Solid defensive catcher (41% CS rate), with plus skills behind the plate. Works well with pitchers. Should show more power with his bat in 2014. McGee improved his slugging percentage from .275 to .525 entering the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Has an advanced approach at plate (14/10 BB:K rate).
 
 

44. Yency Almonte, RHP

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Bats: Both Throws: Right Height: 6’43” 185 lbs. DOB: 6/4/94
(Orem): 3-3, 6.92 ERA, 22 BBs, 35 Ks, 53.1 IP

Hits 92 mph with his fastball as a reliever and has a good, loose, projectable frame. Has flashed potential with his slider and changeup. Got roughed up a in A-Ball, but Almonte has the stuff to blossom if it all comes together.


45. Miguel Hermosillo, OF
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’9” 189 lbs. DOB: 1/17/95
(Orem): .375/.444/.375 with 0 HRs and 1 SB
 
Young, potential spark plug with plus speed. A two-sport star in high school, has strong athleticism. Defensively he takes good routes on balls, and has a plus arm. Could add a little power as he matures.

46. Lianmy Galan, RHP
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Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’2” 170 lbs. DOB: unknown
Did Not Play
 
Recently signed by the Angels (1/27/14) Lianmy recently converted to pitching after playing SS. At 17 years old, throws low 90s, a developing curve and changeup with advanced command for his age.

47. Brian Moran, LHP
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Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’3” 210 lbs. DOB: 9/30/88
(Tacoma): 2-5, 3.45 ERA, 20 BBs, 85 Ks, 62.2 IP
 
Acquired from the BlueJays for international slot money after they selected him from the Mariners, Moran may be converted to a LOOGY in the Angels pen. Fastball in upper 80s, but his long stride and deceptive delivery help compensate. Plus breaking ball.

48. Daniel Tillman, RHP
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Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 61” 185 lbs. DOB: 3/14/89
(Arkansas/AXL-Angels/Inland Empire): 1-2, 6.39 ERA, 21 BBs, 24 Ks, 25.1 IP
 
An undisclosed injury sent Tillman from Double-A down to Rookie ball with a slight return to Single-A near the end of the season. When healthy, throws mid-90s fastball and one of the system’s best sliders. Needs to work on command.

49. Alex Keudell, RHP
IQ518727619_w647.jpg
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” 205 lbs. DOB: 2/25/90
(Burlington/Inland Empire): 9-4, 3.42 ERA, 40 BBs, 103 Ks, 152.2 IP
 
Another side-arm guy, Keudell throws upper 80s generating a lot of ground ball outs. Originally drafted by Tampa Bay, the Angels signed him after he was released in 2012. A starter for now, long-term a move to the pen may be in order at the upper levels.

50. Kevin Johnson, RHP
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Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 240 lbs. DOB: 8/19/88
(Arkansas/Salt Lake): 3-4, 4.02 ERA, 23 BBs, 32 Ks, 62.2 IP
 
Low 90s fastball with good sink generating ground balls. Needs to work on repeating his mechanics and hitting the corners. Should start at Triple-A again where he will refine his skills and await a shot in Anaheim.

 

 

 

Totals by Position
 
1B – 3
2B – 3*
3B – 3
SS – 2
C – 2#
OF – 4
RHP – 24
LHP – 9
 
* counting Matt Long at 2B
# counting Zach Wright at C
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Look for scouting reports for prospects 31-50 to be posted on Friday.

 

Then next we'll start rolling out our countdown to #1 of prospects 31-1, full with extra scouting info and video interviews.

 

One thing I'm pretty stoked on in putting the list together and reading the scouting reports is that the Angels have some really good bullpen arms coming and if anyone has been watching, that's been a weakness for the past 3 years.

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Why Is Jeremey Berg ranked so low? If I remember correctly he was lights out last year.

I think the better question is why he hasn't been given a chance at the big league level.

With all the struggles with the bullpen the last few years, you would think a guy putting up the numbers Berg has put up would have been given a shot.

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the reports Chuck. I will say I disagree with Alvarez at #2. I definitely think he's an impact arm.

The thin system means a good reliever will be higher so I get that but I think guys like Cowart and Sappington will make more of an impact based on the fact that they'll have more playing time.

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Guys I'd rank higher:

Mike Morin (7)

Zach Borenstein (9)

Alex Yarbrough (10)

Eric Stamets (14)

Cal Towey (24)

Michael Fish (26)

Matt Long (27)

Sherman Johnson (28)

Michael Snyder (30)

Wade Hinkle (33)

Tyler DeLoach (34)

 

Guys I'd rank lower:

R.J. Alvarez (2)

Kaleb Cowart (4)

Mark Sappington (5)

Hunter Green (6)

Ricardo Sanchez (8)

Cam Bedrosian (12)

 

I'll always take the relatively proven position player over the pitching prospect who hasn't done anything just because pitching is so volatile and position players are more valuable. I'm also a proponent of tangible production over raw tools.

Edited by Llewyn Davis
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Why Is Jeremey Berg ranked so low? If I remember correctly he was lights out last year.

I will answer the question. 

 

First off, I am a big proponent of Jeremy Berg. As I wrote here http://angelswinblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-angels-should-promote-jeremy-berg.html the Angels should have promoted him last September and at least taken a look at what they had inside their system.

 

However, as we outlined in our introduction, we consider a multitude of factors to determine our list. In Jeremy's case two factors really made it hard to rank him. They were: 1) the Angels only real organizational strength lies in right-handed relief pitchers; 2) the Angels signed Joe Smith who throws side-arm (one of the key advantages that Berg had) making him even more blocked. When a player is blocked, as we discussed in the intro, he has to be lowered on the prospect list because any team trading for him won't offer up as much since they know the team cannot play all the players at one time. 

 

Frankly, I don't know why the Angels didn't give him a shot last year. It would not have cost all that much and at times fixing the bullpen last season made a lot of sense.  I thought he would have added a lot to our bullpen that needed a different look (which finally the Angels realized and addressed with Joe Smith). I do believe in results on the field--the type that Berg has put up over his career. But, at this point, the strength of the organization lies in right-handed relievers, and there are several who have more definable roles and have the potential to pitch in more high-leverage innings. 

 

One good way to look at the list is to look at how the players stack up by position. As the list stands now, for right-handed relievers (assuming the current starters don't get moved to the bullpen) the list is as follows:

1. R.J. Alvarez

2. Mike Morin

3. Cam Bedrosian

4. Ryan Chaffee

5. Jeremy Berg

 

Alvarez and Bedrosian have the potential to close. Morin remotely could close, but is best suited for an 8th inning role. Chaffee is coming on strong after converting to the bullpen. The next best RH reliever in our organization according to AngelsWin.com is Jeremy Berg. Both Berg and Chaffee will pitch side-by-side most likely this year in Salt Lake, so we can get a better chance to see how they compare. As we said, ranking these players was very tough (we had lots of discussions on this list) as the overall differences between the players were very slight in many cases.

 

Chuck and I both want to see Berg get his long-overdue shot. We hope that he continues to showcase his stuff and does very well this Spring to earn that shot.

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I think the better question is why he hasn't been given a chance at the big league level.

With all the struggles with the bullpen the last few years, you would think a guy putting up the numbers Berg has put up would have been given a shot.

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the reports Chuck. I will say I disagree with Alvarez at #2. I definitely think he's an impact arm.

The thin system means a good reliever will be higher so I get that but I think guys like Cowart and Sappington will make more of an impact based on the fact that they'll have more playing time.

I believe Alvarez has a chance at being an elite closer in the big leagues. His fastball and slider combo are dynamite, shades of former #1 prospect K-Rod. We had him at #1 until we both decided to give it to Lindsey just recently who was #2.

I like Cron a and Cowart still, but Alvarez has a better shot at becoming successful in the big leagues over the other two IMO.

Sappington has great stuff, but command and the changeup need to be there for it all to come together.

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Guys I'd rank higher:

Mike Morin (7)

Zach Borenstein (9)

Alex Yarbrough (10)

Eric Stamets (14)

Cal Towey (24)

Michael Fish (26)

Matt Long (27)

Sherman Johnson (28)

Michael Snyder (30)

Wade Hinkle (33)

Tyler DeLoach (34)

 

Guys I'd rank lower:

R.J. Alvarez (2)

Kaleb Cowart (4)

Mark Sappington (5)

Hunter Green (6)

Ricardo Sanchez (8)

Cam Bedrosian (12)

 

I'll always take the relatively proven position player over the pitching prospect who hasn't done anything just because pitching is so volatile and position players are more valuable. I'm also a proponent of tangible production over raw tools.

Reasonable minds can and should disagree, especially when ranking things that involve value judgments. That's why we finally published the factors that go into our evaluation of the players so that people can understand how the list is built. 

 

I would disagree with your assessment that position players are more valuable. With the escalation in the price for pitching, especially on the free agent market, I expect the Angels to continue to draft more heavily in favor of pitching. Having a surplus of pitching will net more in trades for position players, and will allow the Angels to continue to sign FA hitters while controlling their pitching costs long term.

 

But, as you pointed out, there is a lot of volatility. That's why we do consider proximity to the Major Leagues a factor.

 

There's no doubt that more of the Angels talent lies lower in the organization as a whole. Over time, as spots open and as the players prove themselves at higher levels, they should have a trajectory through the rankings on our list.

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I believe Alvarez has a chance at being an elite closer in the big leagues. His fastball and slider combo are dynamite, shades of former #1 prospect K-Rod.

I like Cron a and Cowart still, but Alvarez has a real shot at becoming successful in the big leagues more than the other two.

Sappington has great stuff, but command and the changeup need to be there for it all to come together.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Alvarez. I actually think he has a shot to make the team out of Spring and be an integral part of the bullpen this year.

 

It's just tough for me to value a reliever that much since they don't make as big as an impact compared to an everyday player or starting pitcher. 

 

It doesn't matter too much where he's ranked though if he comes up and can be our best reliever. We really need that impact arm in the pen and Alvarez has a very good arsenal that will generate strikeouts at the big league level. 

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Don't get me wrong, I really like Alvarez. I actually think he has a shot to make the team out of Spring and be an integral part of the bullpen this year.

 

It's just tough for me to value a reliever that much since they don't make as big as an impact compared to an everyday player or starting pitcher. 

 

It doesn't matter too much where he's ranked though if he comes up and can be our best reliever. We really need that impact arm in the pen and Alvarez has a very good arsenal that will generate strikeouts at the big league level. 

I would think after seeing the Angels lead the league in blown saves over the past few years, that it would be apparent that having a nails bullpen does indeed make a difference. The Angels, and Scioscia, were at the best when the team operated as a conveyor belt from the starters to the closer and didn't give away many wins that they had secured. And, when the bullpen was at its strongest, it gave the team the best chance to come back into games. 

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I would think after seeing the Angels lead the league in blown saves over the past few years, that it would be apparent that having a nails bullpen does indeed make a difference. The Angels, and Scioscia, were at the best when the team operated as a conveyor belt from the starters to the closer and didn't give away many wins that they had secured. And, when the bullpen was at its strongest, it gave the team the best chance to come back into games. 

The one thing going for this system right now is the abundance of potential good bullpen arms. 

 

Alvarez, Morin, Bedrosian, Wood and Krehbiel are all guys who can be solid-good arms. 

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I would disagree with your assessment that position players are more valuable.

 

Durable position players will give you 150-162 games. Durable starting pitchers will give you 30-35 starts.

 

The position player impacts the games a lot more than the starting pitcher. I'm not saying pitching isn't important. But a good position player is unquestionably more valuable than a good starter. This isn't even really up for debate. Sabermetricians will tell you the same thing. That's why they like WAR so much.

 

Mike Trout is the best position player in the game.

 

Clayton Kershaw is the best starting pitcher in the game.

 

Who do you want to start a team?

 

Or take the five best position players in the game: Trout, Miggy, Goldschmidt, McCutchen, Cano/Tulo

 

Now take the five best starting pitchers in the game: Kershaw, Darvish, Felix, Fernandez, Scherzer/Sale/Verlander/Bumgarner

 

Which side do you take?

 

I don't even have to think twice about it, especially now with how many quality pitchers there are out there and how few elite position players there are.

 

I would take Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Xander Bogaerts in a heartbeat over Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard, Masahiro Tanaka, Taijuan Walker, and Jon Gray.

Edited by Llewyn Davis
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It's ironic that almost 2/3 of the top 50 are pitchers. The org has done a solid job of working to fix a former big time weakness in the org.

I first thought of K-Rod when first looking at Alvarez.

It's too optimistic to expect a pitcher to go from high-A directly to MLB.

But I can see a July promotion to AAA and possibly a September promotion to MLB, if he harnesses the control just enough.

Morin reminds me a little of Joakim Soria before the TJ surgery, with the off speed stuff generating a lot of Ks.

Borenstein, if he hits solidly in AA, will be the LF for the Halos by early/mid-2015, moving Hamilton to DH as he hits his mid-30s.

Edited by Angel Oracle
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Durable position players will give you 150-162 games. Durable starting pitchers will give you 30-35 starts.

The position player impacts the games a lot more than the starting pitcher. I'm not saying pitching isn't important. But a good position player is unquestionably more valuable than a good starter. This isn't even really up for debate. Sabermetricians will tell you the same thing. That's why they like WAR so much.

Mike Trout is the best position player in the game.

Clayton Kershaw is the best starting pitcher in the game.

Who do you want to start a team?

Or take the five best position players in the game: Trout, Miggy, Goldschmidt, McCutchen, Cano/Tulo

Now take the five best starting pitchers in the game: Kershaw, Darvish, Felix, Fernandez, Scherzer/Sale/Verlander/Bumgarner

Which side do you take?

I don't even have to think twice about it, especially now with how many quality pitchers there are out there and how few elite position players there are.

I would take Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Xander Bogaerts in a heartbeat over Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard, Masahiro Tanaka, Taijuan Walker, and Jon Gray.

It's only relative to your team's needs and what's available. If the Angels had good pitching the past two years with slightly worse hitting, they'd fare much better and in 2012, most likely make the playoffs.

In judging the offensive talent in this org vs. an arm like Alvarez, it was a no brainer to me that RJ got the nod over Cowart, Cron and Borenstein. The three bats have a chance to make it to the big leagues and have some success, but they're not a better bet than Alvarez.

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I would think after seeing the Angels lead the league in blown saves over the past few years, that it would be apparent that having a nails bullpen does indeed make a difference. The Angels, and Scioscia, were at the best when the team operated as a conveyor belt from the starters to the closer and didn't give away many wins that they had secured. And, when the bullpen was at its strongest, it gave the team the best chance to come back into games. 

2010 The Angels had great starting pitching/poor offense/poor bullpen......Crappy Season

2011 Angels had great starting pitching/poor offense/poor bullpen.............Crappy Season

2012 Angels had poor offense and great starting pitching for half the season, good offense and crappy starting pitching for half the season.....and outside of Fieri coming on board.....crappy bullpen.

2013  Angels had good offense, crappy starting pitching and poor bullpen......Crappy Season

 

The one common denominator: POOR BULLPEN.  Can we after four years get ourselves a quality pen?

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Durable position players will give you 150-162 games. Durable starting pitchers will give you 30-35 starts.

 

The position player impacts the games a lot more than the starting pitcher. I'm not saying pitching isn't important. But a good position player is unquestionably more valuable than a good starter. This isn't even really up for debate. Sabermetricians will tell you the same thing. That's why they like WAR so much.

 

Mike Trout is the best position player in the game.

 

Clayton Kershaw is the best starting pitcher in the game.

 

Who do you want to start a team?

 

Or take the five best position players in the game: Trout, Miggy, Goldschmidt, McCutchen, Cano/Tulo

 

Now take the five best starting pitchers in the game: Kershaw, Darvish, Felix, Fernandez, Scherzer/Sale/Verlander/Bumgarner

 

Which side do you take?

 

I don't even have to think twice about it, especially now with how many quality pitchers there are out there and how few elite position players there are.

 

I would take Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Xander Bogaerts in a heartbeat over Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard, Masahiro Tanaka, Taijuan Walker, and Jon Gray.

 

 

To be honest:  I would take the great starting 5 rotation over the great five position players.  However, I would take Trout over Kershaw.  The starting pitching isn't as valuable as a position player because he only plays 1/5 of the games.  However, if the entire rotation is great, than that is a different story.  Great pitching beats great offense.

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As Glen said I appreciate all of the work that went into this publication, thanks to all involved!

 

Overall I like the list! Borenstein seems to be in the right place as is Cron, Alvarez, et. al.

 

The only player that stood out to me as "out of order" was Brian Moran. It really seems like he should have been in the Top 25 IMO.... his arm is pretty live. However considering the fact that none of you probably had a chance to even see him play yet and his relative "newness" to the org his low ranking is completely understandable to me.

 

Really great job and looking forward to the write ups! :)

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As Glen said I appreciate all of the work that went into this publication, thanks to all involved!

 

Overall I like the list! Borenstein seems to be in the right place as is Cron, Alvarez, et. al.

 

The only player that stood out to me as "out of order" was Brian Moran. It really seems like he should have been in the Top 25 IMO.... his arm is pretty live. However considering the fact that none of you probably had a chance to even see him play yet and his relative "newness" to the org his low ranking is completely understandable to me.

 

Really great job and looking forward to the write ups! :)

 

 

Yeah, Moran has a below average fastball and lives off of deception from the leftside. His breaking ball gives lefthanded batters fits, generating swings and misses. He reminds me of a Mike Holtz type. Good situational lefty.

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