With the Angels post-season berth all locked up and the final five games rendered basically meaningless, let’s take a break from focusing on the big league club and see how things are going in the farm system by profiling the best and worst at each minor league level:
Triple-A (Salt Lake Bees)
Call ’em Up:
- Chris Pettit – The speedy outfielder made a name for himself in the Angel organization this year, swiping 18 bases while posting an .865 OPS for Salt Lake after coming back from an injury-plagued 2008 season. The Halos were so impressed with his performance that they made him a late addition to the 40-man roster and brought him to the majors as a September call-up.
- Terry Evans – Consider him the next strong performing Angel prospect that won’t be getting a chance in the majors anytime soon. Evans was a PCL All-Star this year with his blend of power (26 HR) and speed (28 SB), which would normally make him at least a quality fourth outfielder, but Evans will have to wait until the Angels move Gary Matthews before he gets that shot in Anaheim.
- Brandon Wood – We can’t go a minor league season without talking about Woody, can we? Despite shuffling between the minors and majors a few times, Brandon Wood once again put up impressive numbers (.910 OPS) and showed improved plate discipline like the Angels have asked. Heck, he even learned to play first base a bit just to appears the organization. Still, Wood will have to hope free agency creates a spot in the big league line-up for him next year, otherwise he could be looking at yet another year in the minors.
- Trevor Bell – Talk about a rocket ride through the minor leagues. Bell started the year in Double-A but was called up to Triple-A after just eleven starts and then finished the final few weeks of the season on the big league roster. Bell was stellar at both minor league levels but probably isn’t major league ready just yet. Nonetheless, the former top pick seems to have gotten over his maturity issues and is well on his way to being a quality major leaguer.
- Robert Mosebach – The Angels lost Mosebach in the Rule 5 draft but ended up getting him back and they are glad they did because he mowed people down in the minors this year with a 1.49 ERA and 13 saves. Bobby even got a very brief look in the majors and could be a dark horse for a bullpen spot next season.
- Rafael Rodriguez – With a 1.85 ERA and just 27 hits allowed in 34 innings at Salt Lake, Rafael Rodriguez seems major league ready. His 6.26 ERA in the majors begs to differ, but he at least appears close to being a quality middle reliever.
Wood dominating Salt Lake is pretty much standard operating procedure now.
Send ’em Down:
- Sean Rodriguez – S-Rod should probably be the Angels’ minor league player of the year with his 1.017 OPS, but now that he is property of the Tampa Bay Rays after the Scott Kazmir trade, that won’t be happening.
- Matthew Brown – After a phenomenal 2008 with the Bees (.320 AVG, .580 SLG), Brown seemed like he had a shot at becoming at least a solid utilityman for the Halos, but he bombed out this year hitting just .245 AVG and .415 SLG.
- Anthony Ortega – At one point, Ortega was supposed to be the leader of the Triple-A rotation and was even given an emergency call-up early in the season, but he fell flat on his face in the majors and quickly got injured in the minors, missing most of the season. He’ll look to get back on track in 2010.
Double-A (Arkansas Travelers)
Call ’em Up:
- Hank Conger – The ballyhooed catcher of the future for the Angels started off slow for the Travs but finished strong and showed signs of finally delivering on his supposed power potential, hitting 11 homers this year and making the Texas League All-Star team. Conger still has at least two years before the Angels will consider calling him up to the bigs, but don’t be surprised to see him in Salt Lake in 2010.
- Mark Trumbo – He started the season looking like a bust, but Trumbo finished with a flourish this season. His power was down a touch, just 15 home runs, but he did end the year with a .291 average which is a major improvement for Trumbo who had trouble making contact early in his career.
- Trevor Reckling – Reckling likely now holds the honor of being the Angels’ top pitching prospect after his electric 2009 campaign. He started the season in Single-A but was quickly called up to Arkansas where he dominated to the tune of a 2.93 ERA and 106 Ks in just 131.1 innings of work. Reckling even earned himself a spot on the Team USA roster for the Baseball World Cup.
- Tommy Mendoza – Mendoza impressed well enough in his Double-A season to earn both a promotion to Triple-A the final month of the season as well as a roster spot in the vaunted Arizona Fall League. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but Mendoza showed excellent command this year and could have a future as a back of the rotation starter.
Expect Reckling to be knocking on the Angels’ rotation door very soon.
Send ’em Down:
- Ryan Mount – After a terrific 2008 season with the RC Quakes, the Angels were expecting big things from Mount this season, so they were undoubtedly disappointed when Mount finished the year with just a .645 OPS. He’ll try and rebuild his stock with the organization in the Arizona Fall League.
- Hainley Statia – Repeating Double-A after failing to perform at the plate in 2008, Statia did little to change his great glove-no bat reputation. Statia was lucky to muster a .625 OPS and will be even luckier next year to get promoted to Triple-A.
- Jordan Walden – Walden started the year as the top pitching prospect in the organization, but an injury-plagued season has hurt his stock. Jordan made just 13 starts before getting shutdown with forearm problems that led to a 5.25 ERA, though he still nearly struck out a batter per inning. The Angels will hope Walden can get healthy this winter and get back on track next year.
Single-A (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes & Cedar Rapids Kernels)
Call ’em Up:
- Ryan Chaffee – Expect Chaffee to be a fast riser in the farm system next year. Chaffee dominated in Cedar Rapids this year, racking up 121 whiffs in 116.1 innings while allowing just 6 homers all season long.
- Michael Kohn – A pure relief prospect drafter in 2008, Kohn has closer written all over him with his absolutely insane strikeout rate. Splitting time between Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga, Kohn fanned 103 batter in 65.2 innings which is just bonkers.
- Will Smith – Save your lame Fresh Prince of Cedar Rapids jokes, but only because this Will Smith will be moving on to better things in the minors next year after registering a 3.76 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in his 115 innings for the Kernels.
Ryan Chaffee should be smiling after his stellar season.
Send ’em Down:
- Jeremy Moore – This former fifth round pick looks to have stalled out in Single-A. While his .773 OPS is just fine, his 144 strikeouts in 470 at-bats are absolutely not.
- P.J. Phillips – The brother of Cincinnati Red All-Star Brandon Phillips won’t be joining his brother in the bigs anytime soon. PJ had to repeat with the Quakes this season and actually managed to regress, going from a .729 OPS in 2008 to .645 this year. He did finish strong, but it looks like he will end up being a guy who is a better athlete than a ballplayer.
Rookie Ball (Orem Owlz, AZL Angels, DSL Angels)
Call ’em Up:
- Jean Segura – Get ready to here a lot about this kid. Segura tore up Orem this year with a .904 OPS. Oh, and he is just a nineteen-year old second baseman which makes it that much more impressive.
- Dillon Baird – An 11th round pick this year, Baird showed some real thump with the Owlz, bashing 7 dingers and 17 doubles in 57 games at Orem.
- Mike Trout – Already being touted as the future face of the franchise, Trout did not disappoint after being drafted this year. The amiable center fielder churned out 15 extra-base hits and 13 steals in just 179 at-bats and could very well fly up the ranks next year.
- Randal Grichuk – Grichuk did not let the Angels down in their quest to add some power to their farm system. The slugging first-round pick collected 13 doubles, 10 triples and 7 homers in 236 at-bats in Arizona League and looks like a real force to be reckoned with.
This certainly won’t be the only time Mike Trout gets to hold an Angels jersey.
Send ’em Down:
- Nobody – This is rookie ball, and it is especially tough on pitchers, so there is no point in worrying about bloated ERAs from any of the youngsters at this level.