As it goes with every passing season, some prospects perform, and others don’t. The following are the best performers in the Angels system by position.
Catcher: Zach Wright. 22 years old, (A) Cedar Rapids. Wright was drafted only this year, skipped across Rookie Ball and was assigned directly to A Ball. Across 6 games he’s recorded 11 hits including 3 HR’s and a .440 BA. He has yet to strike out.
First Base: C.J. Cron. 22 years old, (A+) Inland Empire. Last year’s 18th overall pick in the draft and collegiate All-American skipped over A Ball and went straight to the Cal League. After a slow start, he’s picked it up as he’s become more comfortable at the plate. .296/.335 16 DB 11 HR.
Second Base: Taylor Lindsey. 20 years old, (A+) Inland Empire. Former supplemental round pick and Pioneer League MVP Taylor Lindsey skipped over Cedar Rapids like many collegiate players do, except he was a high school prospect. He’s proved the Angels decision was an intelligent one. .277/.322 12 DB 4 triples 3 HR.
Shortstop: Jean Segura. 22 years old, (AA) Arkansas. The top rated Angels prospect following Mike Trout’s promotion has been incredibly solid in AA considering it’s an extreme pitcher’s league and this is his first season in high minors playing shortstop. .287/.330 9 DB 4 triples 7 HR and 27 SB.
Third Base: Kaleb Cowart. 20 years old, (A+) Inland Empire. Cowart came into the season with a lot to prove after being a high priced, highly touted 1st round pick. After a decent, yet flawed showing in short season Rookie Ball last season, Cowart has been terrific in A Ball this season. He’s progressed the most of any prospect and has a decent shot at winning the Angels coveted Minor League Player of the Year. .296/.361 19 DB 4 triples 9 HR 9 SB.
Outfield: Kole Calhoun. 24 years old, (AAA) Salt Lake. Calhoun is the 2011 Angels Minor League Player of the Year. After a fantastic college career at ASU, he wasn’t highly sought after by major league teams because of his lack perceived “plus” tools. However, since being drafted, Calhoun has been the complete player. .319/.376 19 DB 5 triples 9 HR 9 SB.
Outfield: Travis Witherspoon. 23 years old, (AA) Arkansas. Witherspoon has always been an exceptional athlete and a 5-tool player. But he was also considerably too raw to be considered an actual prospect, until this season. Spoon has exploded onto the prospect scene this season. .313/.392 12 DB 6 triples 8 HR 27 SB.
Outfield: Randal Grichuk. 20 years old, (A+) Inland Empire. Grichuk’s climb up the minor league ladder has been slowed by injuries and overshadowed by fellow 1st rounder Mike Trout, but make no mistake, Grichuk is still a force to be reckoned with. He’s still somewhat raw, and an unfinished product, but Grichuk flashes a great deal of bat speed and athleticism. .258/.291 12 DB 5 triples 8 HR and 9 SB.
Designated Hitter: 3B Luis Jimenez 23 years old, (AAA) Salt Lake. In any normal season, Jimenez (otherwise known as Lucho) would be the starting 3B on this team. Along with Calhoun, Jimenez has been the driving force of the AAA team this season and has flashed a solid glove and arm as well. .302/.331 17 DB 7 HR 8 SB.
Bench: SS/3B/2B Andrew Romine (AAA/MLB), 1B Casey Haerther (AA), C Abel Baker (A), OF Ryan Jones (A), 1B Frazier Hall (A).
Starting Pitcher: RHP Garrett Richards. 24 years old, (AAA/MLB). Technically he still has his rookie status and thus is still technically a “prospect”. Richards has 4 “plus” pitches and could potentially be an ace in the major leagues relatively soon. He gets better every year. In Anaheim: 27 IP 13 BB 22 K’s 1.63 ERA 1.26 WHIP.
Starting Pitcher: RHP Ariel Pena. 23 years old, (AA) Arkansas. Pena keeps improving every year and has transitioned from a “live arm” to legitimate top tier pitching prospect thanks to repeatable mechanics and the ability to throw strikes. Pena throws a mid90′s fastball with movement and possesses the top slider in the system that is a clear strike out pitch. 15 G 88 IP 86 K’s 34 BB 2.93 ERA.
Starting Pitcher: LHP Nick Maronde. 22 years old, (A+) Inland Empire. A 3rd round pick last season out of Florida, when healthy, Maronde has been untouchable at any level. He’ll be coming off the DL on July 4th and resume hi complete dominance of the Cal League. 6 G 35 IP 9 BB 35 K’s 2.36 ERA 1.05 WHIP.
Starting Pitcher: RHP A.J. Schugel. 23 years old, (AA) Arkansas. Schugel just keeps getting hitters out despite not having “plus” stuff. It isn’t as if he’s a soft tosser though, armed with a low 90′s fastball and a workable offspeed pitch. 15 G 88 IP 37 BB 67 K’s 3.07 ERA 1.20 WHIP.
Starting Pitcher: RHP John Hellweg. 23 years old, (AA) Arkansas. Hellweg has that “wow” factor scouts drool over when they see him pitch. At 6’9, his uses his tall lanky body to produce a 98+ mph fastball and completely untouchable slider. Still, he’s very raw and has a lot of progress to make before making his mark on the Angels. 15 G 83 IP 50 BB 63 K’s 3.78 ERA 1.56 WHIP.
Bullpen: RHP Ryan Brasier (AAA) 30 IP 31 K’s 4.15 ERA, RHP Steven Geltz (AAA) 37 IP 46 K’s 1.21 ERA, RHP Ryan Chaffee (AA) 36 IP 41 K’s 2.48 ERA, LHP Buddy Boshers 36 IP 43 K’s 1.98 ERA, RHP Ty Kelly 36 IP 32 K’s 1.00 ERA.
Salt Lake – 5
Arkansas – 7
Inland Empire – 6
Cedar Rapids – 5