The Angels have been fortunate enough to experience a consistent wave of young players entering the Major League team and infusing them with the necessary youth and talent to compete on a yearly basis. In 2011 it was Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, Jordan Walden and Kevin Jepsen that carried the Angels. In 2012 we saw Mike Trout and Nick Maronde come up and make a team competitive that probably shouldn’t have been. So far in 2013, J.B. Shuck, Luis Jimenez, Dane De La Rosa, Michael Kohn and Garrett Richards have stepped up and contributed to the club in one way or another. So who’s going to come next season and give the Angels what they need?
Kole Calhoun, OF
As if it weren’t enough that Calhoun was drafted in the 8th round and basically needed no time in the minors, Calhoun has put up downright amazing numbers in AAA. Of course the home environment skews some of these, but judging by what we’ve seen from Kole so far, they aren’t helping him THAT much. He’s just THAT good. The Angels have a lineup that’s sorely lacking left handed batters with plate discipline to spare and Calhoun would fill this need. The problem is, he’s blocked every way to Sunday. I don’t know whether it will be injury or trade, but in 2014 Kole Calhoun will be a big leaguer and unless he’s on another team, he should be helping the Angels.
Mike Morin, RHP
Armed with a low 90’s fastball and a knee buckling change up with impeccable command, Morin has stormed through the Angels system so far. After being drafted last season, he’s already made his first appearance in AA and if the results are any indication, he could be the answer to the woes brought on by lingering injuries from Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett. He currently owns an ERA south of two, has more strikeouts than innings pitched and has walked all of five batters through 41 innings. That’s right, five batters. Ernesto Frieri currently walks five batters every nine innings, not 41.
R.J. Alvarez, RHP
Alvarez has video game stuff to accompany video game numbers. 97 mph fastball, razor sharp slider, 53 strikeouts in only 33 innings and a 2.43 ERA. If he has one fault it would be the unsightly 4.3 BB/9. However, given the success of Frieri (4.9), Jepsen (career 3.6) and Kohn (4.3), Alvarez should fit right in. Much like Jepsen, Frieri and Kohn, Alvarez has the raw stuff to get away with it.
Michael Roth, LHP
I know Angels fans have already had a short glimpse at this kid, which hasn’t been too promising considering the numbers, but Roth should help out in a big way soon enough. He was thrust into the major leagues after all of one start in AA. Once the Angels returned him to AA Arkansas, Roth regained his composure and has again put up solid numbers. Considering that Downs will be a free agent and Burnett may have serious arm issues, a spot for a lefty specialist could make Roth an important cog moving forward. There’s also the possibility that both Jason Vargas and Jerome Williams move elsewhere in Free Agency, which would open up a spot in the back of the rotation and long relief for both Richards and Roth.