2014 Los Angeles Angels

C – Michael Strentz–  Rookie League Orem – 22 yo;  – (2014 – undrafted FA)  –
  • .330 – 4 HR – 29 RBi – 29 R –  .360/.506/.866 slash   –   PAG: 3.70
  • BA-NR  –   MLB Pipeline-NR   –   BP-NR
  • No matter what walk of life one enters, there’s always going to be a ‘last place.” Unfortunately for Halo’s fans, the Angels rank last in overall prospects amongst the 30 teams in major league baseball. Several trades involving their more notable prospects and the unwillingness to spend heavy in recent drafts is the culprit; and in a microcosm, Strentz, a University of Louisiana Lafayette alum, is a good example. Signed as a free agent this past June, the 6’1 – 215 lb righty received an assignment to Pioneer League Orem and proceeded to post a 3.70 PAG score; highest amongst all Angels catchers including (prospect ranked) Jett Bandy who posted a 2.60 during his second consecutive go-around with Double-A Arkansas. Strentz is old for the level, but being a free-agent signee, who expected him to do anything but fill time? He’ll be an intriguing follow in his sophomore season.   
1B – Eric Aguilera – HiA Inland Empire/LoA Burlington  – 23 yo;  – (2013 – 34th round) –
  •  .291 –  14 HR – 73 RBi – 62 R –  17 SB  –  .340/.438/.777 slash  –  – csPAG: 3.06
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Aguilera entered 2014 with confidence having logged a PAG score of 3.73 in his 2013 professional debut for Pioneer League Orem. The Illinois State University draftee received what I felt was an overly aggressive  promotion to HiA Inland Empire to start 2014 and it showed. In only 11 games for the 66ers, the 6’2 – 215 lb. lefty posted a disappointing 2.00 PAG score. He was demoted to LoA Burlington and flourished, clubbing 22 doubles, blasting all of his 14 of his 2014 home runs and posting a 3.73 PAG for the Bees.   

2B – Sherman Johnson – HiA Inland Empire  –  23 yo;  – (2012 – 14th round)

  • 276 –  17 HR – 13 triples,  78 RBi – 107 R – 26 SB  –  .382/.465/.847 slash   –  csPAG: 4.01
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Johnson is one of those prospects that if you were to offer up a blind statistical ‘taste test” against others either in his own or outside of his organization, his stat line would be the one most would choose. But then, upon revealing that he’s right on the age/level baseline, it’s only then that most would probably temper their excitement. This is confusing to me if I can be honest. Since his debut, the former Florida State Seminole has never posted a PAG score lower than 3.18 (2013 for LoA Burlington.) He debuted in 2012 for Rookie Orem and scored a 54 game PAG score of 3.50. After beginning 2013 with Burlington (stated above), he was sent to HiA Inland Empire and in a minute 6 game sample size, equaled his 2012 debut PAG of 3.50. This season he trumped his previous PAG’s by posting a 4.01 in a full season for the 66ers. Johnson lead the California League in triples, ranked second in walks (88) behind Oakland’s Matt Olson and was among the league leaders in runs scored, hits, stolen bases and total bases. 
 
 3B – Zach Houchins  – Rookie Orem/LoA Burlington – 21 yo;  – (2013 – 13th round) –
  • .262 – 10HR –  75RBi – 62R –  7SB –   .340/.403/.743  slash   –  csPAG: 2.97
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Jim and I made out pre-season UTR Breakout picks over at the former MLBDepthCharts.com which is now known as RosterResource.com. Owner Jason Martinez and his staff are masters at what they do. A must-follow on Twitter and a definite website bookmark if you already haven’t done so.  When I got to the L.A. Angels, 3B Cal Towey was my B.O.P.O.Y choice and he came through rather nicely posting a solid 3.17 PAG for HiA Inland Empire. Now, with the Angels prospect treasure running rather lean, I chose to bypass Towey and focus on the 22 year-old newcomer Houchins. The East Carolina draftee exploded on the scene with a 4.97 PAG  for Rookie Orem in his pro debut; and even though he played in only 47% of the Pioneer Leagues games, he still led the league in batting (.388) and finished within the top five in OB% (.442), SLG% (626) and OPS (1.068). His white hot start came to an expected screeching halt once he landed in LoA. His 2.00 PAG in 28 games means the 6’3 – 185 lb. righty will most likely spend all of 2015 in LoA. 
SS – Angel Rosa  – LoA Burlington/HiA Inland Empire – 21 yo; – (2013 – 13th Round) –
  • .268 – 7 HR – 64 RBi – 57 R –  19 SB  –   .320/.393/.713  slash   – csPAG:  2.91
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR 
  • The Alcorn State draftee came into the 2014 season with a 2013 PAG score of 3.14 under his belt. He saw time all over the infield while with Rookie Orem, but once promoted to LoA Burlington, he spent all but one of his 37 games at shortstop. This season was a bit different. Out of his first 99 games of the season while posting a 2.79 PAG, the 6’2 Puerto Rican played 73 games at third base. After a mid-July trade that brought San Diego closer Huston Street to L.A., Rosa was promoted as the Street deal cost the organization their top shortstop prospect Jose Rondon. Therefore, Rosa took over shortstop duties for HiA Inland Empire. He must feel comfortable there being that he came in with PAG of 3.36 in his remaining 28 games of the season. So, the question is: where does Rosa play? An educated guess says that he remains at short with the possibility to reach AA Arkansas by the end of 2015.  
LF – Natanael Delgado – Rookie Orem –  19 yo; –  (2012 – International FA/DR)
  • .301 – 3 HR – 21 RBi – 23 R – 4 SB  –  .333/.464/.797 slash  – –  PAG: 3.26
  • BA/#16  –  MLB Pipeline(mid-season)/#12  –  BP-NR
  • The Dominican-born Delgado finally gives Angels fans some young hope, and someone to sink our proverbial UTR teeth into.  Now, I know the fresh 19 year old is ranked within two of the three publications we chose to add to our off-season O.A.S. lists and that’s ok.  We knew coming in this would be the case.  What’s not to like. He’s a growing teenager in a system in desperate need for young impact talent. His 2013 debut in the Arizona League produced a respectable 2.98 PAG score. He followed up his 2013 debut with a 38 game PAG of 3.26 for Pioneer League Orem. This type of progression is exactly what you want to see. With a bat that carries huge upside (both in average and power) from the left side of the plate, the 6’1 – 170 pounder has the potential to rocket up prospect lists. 
CF – Chad Hinshaw  –  LoA Burlington/HiA Inland Empire – 23 yo;  (2013 – 15th rd) 
  • .270 – 16 HR – 11 3B – 70 RBi – 100 R – 41 SB –   .365/.477/.842 slash  –  csPAG:  3.85
  • BA-NR   –   MLB Pipeline-NR   –   BP-NR
  • Hinshaw’s prospect situation reminds of fellow O.A.S  second baseman Sherman Johnson. The Illinois State draftee posted some pretty sick numbers across two levels in 2014, yet finds himself buried underneath older less productive prospects. Either way, I’m glad to highlight the 6’1 – 205 lb. Bloomington, IL native. Henshaw had a nice debut in 2013 with a short 26 game PAG score of 3.04 with Pioneer League Orem. He was assigned to LoA Burlington to start this season and pulled down a 3.78 PAG score. Now, even though Henshaw posted a PAG of 3.92 after a mid-June promotion to HiA Inland Empire, it’s the .14 PAG variance that has me thinking Henshaw’s production norm could be just as we’ve seen this season. I expect possible 2015 start in AA Arkansas to see if Hinshaw is the real deal. 
 
RF – Brandon Bayardi –  AZL/HiA Inland Empire/LoA Burlington  –  23 yo; – (2013 – 36th round) –

  • .287 –  6 HR –  27 RBi – 27 R –   .349/.440/.789  slash  – –  csPAG: 2.93
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • It’s fitting that my final Angels prospect leads what is possibly the weakest position in the organization.  Sure, Jim and I stated long ago that when formulating our player lists, we go many players deep. So, of course the newly 24 year-old Bayardi sits atop my RF rankings with seven more behind him. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas draftee produced what was the closest to the prototypical right fielder would. What has me both hesitant and excited at the same time is Bayardi has yet to play more than 60 games in a season. Therefore I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt with the hopes that maybe an assignment to full season HiA Inland Empire might awaken the hitter I believe is inside his 6’2 – 235 lb. body. 
 
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Mention Points/TPS
 
*The Angels traded away two pitchers that would have made the Top 5 SP Mention List below. RHP Elliot Morris (10) cSR/TPS .095) would have been ranked at #2, but was sent to the San Diego Padres on July 19th. RHP Mike Clevinger (8) cSR/TPS .089) would have occupied the #4 and is now with the Cleveland Indians.
 
1. LHP Tyler DeLoach – (10) cSR/TPS .077
  • 23 years old – (HiA Inland Empire / Double-A Arkansas)
  • 26th round – 2012
  • 2014 UTR Breakout
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (May 29thJune 8thJuly 22nd)
  • A big lefty, Deloach is a presence on the mound standing at 6’6″ 240 lbs. He’s a strike thrower with his upper 80’s, low 90’s fastball that K’d 161 batters in 147.1 innings between HiA and Double-A. DeLoach, however, did struggle with command issues this past season by posting a 4.0 BB/9 rate and hitting 22 batters. His future may lie coming from the bullpen, as he has an unusual sidearm delivery thats effective against left-handed hitters. DeLoach was effective on both sides of the plate this season in holding hitters to a .198 average.
2. RHP Harrison Cooney – (9) cSR/TPS .118
  • 22 years old – (LoA Burlington)
  • 6th round – 2013
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (May 9thMay 30th)
  • Cooney was one of many pitchers that the Angels stockpiled during the 2013 draft. The right-hander has been on the prospect radar since 2010 when the Pirates drafted him from Vero Beach HS (Fla.) in the 40th round. Cooney didn’t sign with the Bucs and went on to college, where he had an unimpressive 3 years working from the bullpen at Florida Gulf Coast University. The Angels saw something, took him in the 6th round and started him in the pen with the Pioneer League Orem Owls. Seeing spots starts in college, Cooney was used exclusively as a starter this past season and he led all Angels minor league starters in ERA.
3. RHP Garrett Nuss – (8) SP/TPS .108
  • 21 years old – (LoA Burlington)
  • 7th round – 2013
  • Nuss was taken in the next round (7th) after Cooney. In the UTR realm, this is usually where we begin touting to turn “Notspects” into prospects. Nuss put up pedestrian numbers this season, but registered a TPS rate that makes him intriguing. With the birth of this site, Im continually learning more about my TPS formula and Im discovering that the rock steady pitchers are posting TPS rates between .100 and .115. When a pitcher with stats like Nuss fall into that range, I would have no fear in predicting his track to the MLB. If you look back, Nuss’ TPS in 2014 was a .007 improvement from 2013….consistency is huge. He throws a low 90’s fastball along with a above average change-up. Nuss has been labeled as a smart, heady pitcher with great arm strength and outstanding mechanics.
4. RHP Victor Alcantara – (7) cSR/TPS .092
  • 21 years old – (LoA Burlington)
  • Undrafted – 2011
  • Ranked #15 by Baseball America / #14 by MLBPipeline
  • Alcantara was dominant in the DSL as a 19 year old and when those type of pitchers hit stateside, they can be hit or miss. This is another thing that I hope the TPS formula can differentiate. I was surprised that the Angels got aggressive with the young righty when they sent him to Burlington. I would have thought another year in the Rookie Leagues was in order to work on his mechanics and harness the power that can touch 100 mph with his fastball.  In 27 appearances (20 starts) Alcantara had 117 strikeouts over 125.1 innings combined with 18 wild pitches and a 55% roundball rate. The potential is there with refinement, but will probably best play out in the bullpen.
5. RHP Ryan Etsell –  (7) cSR/TPS .109
  • 22 years old – (LoA Burlington / AZL Angels / LoA Burlington)
  • 16th round – 2013
  • UTR Mention (May 31st)
  • Etsell is JUCO product with a low’s 90’s fastball and currently working to improve his change-up. He has shown excellent command but needs to induce more ground balls (38% GB Rate and 11 HR’s in 85 IP).
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – Mention Points/TPS
 
1. RHP Jairo Diaz – (10) RP/TPS .068
  • 23 years old – (HiA Inland Empire / Double-A Arkansas)
  • Undrafted – 2007
  • September Call-Up
  • It won’t be Diaz’s call-up in September that’ll have Diaz showing up on the Angels top prospect list this Spring. It’s the continual improvement of his periphials thats vaulted him from “notspect’ to prospect. It all began after the Angels moved Diaz into the bullpen in 2013. The right-hander’s fastball runs in the high 90’s and can touch the triple digits with ease. Diaz could be deadly at the next level if he can only utilize his plus potential change-up more in his arsenal. 
2. LHP Chris O’Grady – (9) cSR/TPS .095
  • 24 years old – (HiA Inland Empire)
  • 10th round – 2012
  • UTR Mention (April 7th)
  • A finesse pitcher who will probably find his role as a lefty specialist. O’Grady struckout 81 over 83.2 innings with only 17 walks. The results have been the same over this three years as a pro.
3. LHP Cole Swanson – (8) RP/TPS .063
  • 22 years old – (LoA Burlington)
  • 19th round – 2013
  • It could be easy for a left-hander in the pen to be labeled as a LOOGY, but Swanson could be the full package for the Angels and may end up in the starting role. Receiving comps to past Angels great Troy Percival, Swanson shows a three-pitch mix of a mid 90’s fastball with good movement, curve, and change-up which is his best pitch.
 
Top 5 TPS – Starting Pitchers
 
1. RHP Eduar Lopez     – cSR/TPS .075
  • 19 years old – (AZL Athletics)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • Another young pitcher that dominated in the DSL and translated in the U.S. with his assignment in the AZL. In his two stints in the DSL, Lopez ranked near the top in strikeouts totalling 166 K’s in 115.2 IP. Look for him to repeat the AZL in 2015 so he can work out his control issues (5.1 career BB/9 rate). Once that he works those out and gains more innings, Lopez could be high-ceiling international prospect.
2. LHP Tyler DeLoach – cSR/TPS .077
  • 23 years old – (HiA Inland Empire / Double-A Arkansas)
  • 26th round – 2012
  • 2014 UTR Breakout
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (May 29thJune 8thJuly 22nd)
  • A big lefty, Deloach is a presence on the mound standing at 6’6″ 240 lbs. He’s a strike thrower with his upper 80’s, low 90’s fastball than K’ed 161 batters in 147.1 innings between HiA and Double-A. DeLoach however did struggle with command issues this past season by posting a 4.0 BB/9 rate and hitting 22 batters. His future may lie coming from the bullpen, as he has an unusual sidearm delivery thats effective against left-handed hitters. DeLoach was effective on both sides of the plate this season in holding hitters to a .198 average.
3. LHP Nate Smith – SP/TPS .080
  • 23 years old – (HiA Inland Empire / Double-A Arkansas)
  • 8th round – 2013
  • Ranked 19th by MLBPipeline /  “On the Rise” by Baseball Prospectus
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (April 29thMay 9th)
  • Smith proved that the aggressive promotion in skipping Lo-A and starting the season with Hi-A Inland Empire was no fluke. Along with a promotion to Double-A Arkansas, Smith posted a 2.97 ERA and a very respectable 118/44 K:BB rate in 118 innings. The Angel organization really like Smith. He has the repertoire, command and smooth easy delivery that could vault him to Anaheim by the of the 2015 season.
4. RHP Daniel Hurtado – cSR/TPS .080
  • 22 years old – HiA Inland Empire / LoA Burlington)
  • Undrafted – 2008
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (May 19thJune 25th)
  • Hurtado has been in the Angels system which began as a 16 year old in the DSL. His improvement has been steady through the levels and he started 2014 at HiA Inland Empire. There, he only saw two relief appearances before being sent back to repeat LoA. He creates a good downward plane with this low 90’s fastball, but his secondary offerings remain fringy.
5. LHP Manuel Rondon – SP/TPS .082
  • 19 years old – (DSL Athletics)
  • Undrafted – 2013
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (June 9thJuly 29th)
  • In his second year with the DSL Angels, Rondon was placed in the rotation and had a decent year and made the DSL All-Star team.
Top 3 TPS – Relief Pitchers
 
1. RHP Eduardo Paredes – RP/TPS .052
  • 19 years old – (Pioneer League Orem)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • Paredes was lights out in his U.S. debut after two similar season in the DSL. Making 19 appearances (20.1 IP), the right-hander had 7 saves, struck out 31 batters and issued only 8 walks. All this coming from a 19 year old facing hitters that, on average, were 2 1/2 years older than the Venezuelan native. Though many years away, Paredes is one to watch.
 2. RHP Nick Wagner – RP/TPS . 060
  • 23 years old – (AZL Athletics)
  • 31st round – 2014
  • Wagner was the oldest player drafted by the Angels last June. He has already turned 24 (back in October), so his TPS rate could be suspect. But the fact that he spent most of his baseball career as a catcher and outfielder and only pitched during his time Cal St at Dominguez Hills (CA), this lends to believe that he might be more that just a late round flier. In 19 innings, Wagner had 32 K’s and 4 walks.
3. LHP Cole Swanson – (8) RP/TPS .063
  • 22 years old – (LoA Burlington)
  • 19th round – 2013
  • It could be easy for a left-hander in the pen to be labeled as a LOOGY, but Swanson could be the full package for the Angels and may end up in the starting role. Receiving comps to past Angels great Troy Percival, Swanson shows a three-pitch mix of a mid 90’s fastball with good movement, curve, and change-up which is his best pitch.
 
 
 2014 Breakout Grades
 
The following pitchers were chosen in early March. Their selection was based solely on their previous season’s TPS rating and using the UTRMinors.com criteria for those under the radar.
 
SP Tyler DeLoach – Remained consistent in his TPS rate over last year (.075). DeLoach coming in at #1 on my list proved a success in choosing him as a UTR Breakout Candidate for 2014. Had he only showed improvement with his command of pitches and held down that walk rate (4.1), DeLoach would have made a huge strides on the prospect radar. Grade B
 
RP Alex Blackford – Really thought Blackford would excel in 2014 after doing well after a mid-season promotion to LoA Burlington in 2013. He could be one of those pitchers with a UTR identity crisis, where I choose him as RP UTR when he probably could be SP UTR, as we have already seen in previous picks. He was given (6) LoA starts and Blackford posted a 3.03 ERA and strikeout 35 over 29.2 innings. Those starts came late in the season, so the plan for 2015 might have Blackford filling at rotation slot at HiA Inland Empire. This could be risky in the hitter-friendly California League and if it fails, Blackford may find himself as an organizational type pitcher. Grade C
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s