When Jerry Dipoto was hired as the Angels new General Manager replacing the much maligned Tony Reagins, he was asked about his approach in terms of rebuilding a minor league system depleted by trades and promotion. One particular emphasis Dipoto outlined was his theory that of aggressively challenging prospects. The previous regime was by far the most conservative in the major leagues in promoting youngsters. They believed in a slow and thorough progression of prospects.
Take the first eight picks of the Angels 2010 draft, the best opportunity the Angels would have in the entire history of the ball club to build an elite minor league system.
3B Kaleb Cowart – 18th overall pick spends a year and a half in Orem before promotion to Class A.
RHP Cam Bedrosian – 29th overall pick spends over a year rehabbing in Extended Spring and Arizona Rookie Ball.
CF Chevy Clarke – 30th overall spends a year and a half in the Arizona Rookie League before promotion.
2B Taylor Lindsay – 37th overall pick is held back an additional year in Rookie Ball by Tony Reagins. He earned MVP honors before Jerry Dipoto decides Cedar Rapids would be a useless step. Currently the best 2B in the Cal League.
CF Ryan Bolden – 40th overall pick is in his 3rd stint in the Arizona Rookie League.
RHP Dan Tillman – 81st overall pick transitioned to reliever immediately upon promotion to protect his arm and mechanics.
SS Wendell Soto – 111th overall pick is in his 3rd stint in Rookie Ball.
RHP Donn Roach – 115th overall pick is forced into a bullpen role until Dipoto takes over as GM, when Roach is transitioned to starter, dominates immediately and is a key piece in the Ernesto Frieri deal.
By contrast, Jerry Dipoto and his regime didn’t get a draft pick until 114th overall this season. Let’s analyze where the first five picks are placed so far.
RHP R.J. Alvarez – Skipped over Rookie Ball, dominating in Cedar Rapids with indications that he’ll be promoted further before the end of the year.
2B Alex Yarbrough – Skipped Rookie Ball, performing well in Cedar Rapids.
RHP Mark Sappington – Remains in rotation despite scouts belief that he’s better suited for relief. In Orem.
SS Eric Stamets – Skips Rookie Ball and is currently in Cedar Rapids.
C Zachary Wright – Skipped over Rookie Ball, currently hitting .438 in Cedar Rapids.
Additionally, Jerry Dipoto appears to be aggressively promoting the prospects he has inherited as well.
3B Kaleb Cowart has reportedly been promoted to Inland Empire, putting him back on pace of climbing the minor league ladder one level per year, which is expected of such an expensive, first round pick.
OF Travis Witherspoon was held in Rookie Ball for close to two years after being drafted. Since Jerry Dipoto took over, Witherspoon has been promoted to AA.
SS Jean Segura was promoted to AA despite playing only 40 games above Cedar Rapids.
RHP Gabriel Perez was held in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) for 3 years despite posting a 2.16 ERA. He’s now in Orem.
LHP Yancarlos Santiago was held in the DSL for 3 years despite a 2.09 ERA. Currently in Orem.
Shortstops Pedro Toribio and Jose Rondon has been brought stateside, as well as 1B Samir Mendez. 18 year old RHP Arjenis Fernandez was brought to Ariona after only 3 starts in the DSL.
It’s pretty safe to say that if Tony Reagins and his regime were still in power, most of these guys would be a level or two lower. The Dominican prospects would probably still be out there. This isn’t to say that Dipoto’s preference to promote prospects to levels where they can be challenged is better, but is certainly makes more sense. After all, would it have done any good to have Mike Trout in AAA hitting .500 instead of in the major leagues hitting .330? I for one am in favor of this aggressive approach because it puts them in a position to help the Angels sooner rather than later.