Contrary to popular belief, the Angels do have other prospects in their system besides Mike Trout, but since Trout has garnered so much of our attention of late, I think it is only fair that we take a quick tour through the Angels farm system to see how the rest of the prospect crop is coming along so far this year.
Yes, we are going to talk minor league prospects without even mentioning Mike Trout.
Salt Lake Bees (AAA)
Alexi Amarista, 2B – The pint-sized sparkplug has made such a great impression with his 1.156 OPS in just 14 games at Salt Lake that the Halos have already promoted him to serve as a utility man off the bench in the big leagues. His call up might only be temporary, but it is pretty clear that Angel managment thinks pretty highly of him.
Jeremy Moore, OF – After something of a breakout season in 2010, Moore has picked up right where he left off. Moore has already racked up six doubles, five triples and a homer in just 95 at-bats while hitting .323. The hitter-friendly confines of Salt Lake are certainly aiding Moore, but if he keeps this up, he could challenge for a bench job in the coming months and should be a veritable lock to serve as the Angels’ reserve outfielder in 2012. For that to happen though he’ll have to cut down on his whiffs as he already has 25 Ks this year.
Chris Pettit, OF – Remember how everyone was so excited to have Pettit make the Opening Day roster? Yeah, not so much. Since being demoted to the minors, Pettit has mustered a pathetic .200/.257/.300 slash line. That really shouldn’t be a big shock since Pettit missed the entire 2010 season and obviously has some rust to shake off.
Amalio Diaz, RP – Diaz is off to a hot start in the Bees bullpen and could be in line for a call-up as the Halos continue to search for solutions at the backend of their relief corps. Diaz lacks the pedigree of many of the other Salt Lake relievers but nobody has matched his production of 20 Ks versus just 13 hits and 6 walks in 20 innings of work. Let’s see if he can keep it up.
Arkansas Travelers (AA)
Ryan Mount, 2B – The third time is looking to be a charm for Ryan Mount. He’s knocking the cover off the ball in Double-A to the tune of a 1.124 OPS. Don’t get too excited though as this is Mount’s third tour of duty with the Travs, so this is most likely just flash in the pan from a guy who will probably never make a major league roster.
Garrett Richards, SP – The decision to be aggressive with Richards’ development is looking pretty smart so far. Richards has a 3.91 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in four starts so far which is a nice beginning for the 22-year old. One red flag is that Richards has walked 10 batters already and seen his groundball rate diminish, but with such a small sample size both of those could stabilize which would make Garrett’s start even better.
Trevor Reckling, SP – Good news, the one-time top pitching prospect in the Angel farm system finally seems to be getting his act together. Plagued by control problems in 2010, Reckling has walked just four batters in his four starts for Arkansas. The Angels are likely eager to promote Trevor but will probably wait until he has a few more solid starts to build his confidence before he is thrown to the Triple-A wolves again.
Orangel Arenas, SP – The groundball specialist is starting to making a name for himself with the Travs. Arenas has won three of his four starts and limited the opposition to a .217 batting average to go with his sparkling 2.35 ERA. Orangel doesn’t miss many bats, but he has a ridiculous GB/FB ratio of 3.58 right now which is something that could take him a long, long way if he can maintain that ratio as he continues climbing the minor league ladder.
Inland Empire 66ers (High A)
Jean Segura, SS – The best prospect in the Angel system not named Mike Trout definitely hasn’t been a disappointment. Segura is raking in the California League with a .330 average and is burning up the basepaths with 13 steals in just 23 games. What might be more important than Segura’s bat is that he has made only two errors so far despite switching to shortstop this year. If you live in San Bernadino, you may want to head out to the ballpark to watch Segura while you can as he could be due for a promotion soon if he keeps up this level of play.
Dillon Baird, 3B – Technically Baird is with Arkansas now, but he spent most of the season with 66ers. Baird had no problem at all with Single-A pitching and posted a .372/.426/.698 line before getting the promotion to Double-A. Alas, Baird has fallen on his face with the Travs so far, hitting just .160 in 25 at-bats.
Kole Calhoun, OF – Calhoun is generating some buzz early on this year since he leads the 66ers in homers with five. That excitement may be a bit premature though as Calhoun hit only seven dingers in 202 ABs for Orem last year. That being said, Calhoun did post a .505 SLG with the Owlz, so he might just be the beneficiary of a few balls that would normally be doubles for him finding their way over the fence instead.
Ryan Chaffee, SP – Chaffee has been a dark horse prospect in the Halo farm system for the last two years, but it might be time to admit he is just an ass (as in donkey). Chaffee is repeating High-A ball after a terrible 2010 campaign but the results haven’t been much different. His ERA after four starts and one relief appearance is at 5.23, so he’ll have to start showing some real progress very soon if he is going to remain on the prospect radar.
Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low A)
Carlos Ramirez, C – I have no idea what to make of Ramirez. In 2009, he put up big offensive numbers in Rookie ball, but he ended up doing his best Jeff Mathis impersonation when he was promoted to Cedar Rapids in 2010. After that failure, Ramirez is being forced to repeat Low-A ball and has looked much, much better going .328/.455/.525 in the young season. Needless to say, but we’ll have to see a lot more of Ramirez before we determine which version we should be projecting on.
Travis Witherspoon, OF – Witherspoon turned heads in spring training with his speed and has been no disappointment in that department thus far with 13 swipes in 24 games for the Kernels. However, Spoon has been disappointing with the bat since he has only hit for a .220 average thus far.
Daniel Tillman, SP – After putting up some eye-popping numbers as a reliever last season, Tillman has been turned into a starting pitcher with the Kernels. That little experiment is working out pretty well so far as Tillman has fanned 24 batters in 21.1 innings of work. His 2.95 ERA is equally as impressive but this might turn out to be a fluke. Tillman has struggled with his command, walking ten batters already and he has produced a great number of grounders this year after profiling as a flyball pitcher in 2010.
Justin La Tempa, SP – I admit I have no idea who La Tempa is, but he does look like he is worth monitoring. In 20 innings of work he has registered a K/BB ration of 20/6 to go with his 3.05 ERA. If he can continue doing that all season long, we will probably all be very familiar with this prospect by the end of the season.