We are about to start the top five of the 2013 MWAH Top Prospect Countdown which is a celebration of what is mostly a crappy Angels farm system. At this point, it only seems fair to celebrate some of the crappier prospects the Halos have churned out over the years. To that end, I've combed through all of the yearly Top 10 Angels prospect lists from Baseball America since 2000.
You aren't going to believe this, but the Halos have a lot of prospects busts this century. In the interest of not using up valuable space on the tubes of the internet, I've trimmed the list down to a select list of the most notable busts and gone through the painful exercise of seeing where their career went wrong and where they are now. This was both fun and depressing, so read at your own risk or at your own pleasure if you are a sadist. I'm not here to judge.
Seth Etherton – A superstar in college, Etherton was supposed to be a fast track prospect, which he kind of was as he was traded for another prospect, Wilmy Caceras. That trade didn't work out for anyone as Etherton blew out his shoulder and Caceres just plain blew before quickly getting flipped for Mickey Callaway, who was famous only for being the least famous member of the 2002 World Series Champion Angels. He was last spotted pitching in a Mexican league in 2011, but now appears to be retired.
Brian Specht – I never did like Specht as a prospect, but he still managed to make a top 10 list. He never really had much of a chance though as injuries hampered him almost his entire playing career. He retired in 2006 and apparently is now or will soon be a doctor. Good for him!
Joe Torres – Drafted 10th overall of the 2000 draft, Torres never even made it out of A-ball with the Halos and was out of the system while they still were known as the Anaheim Angels. You have to give him points for persistence though as he is still playing in the minors. He currently is in the Rockies system where he might actually get a shot at a cup of coffee in the bigs but mostly because the Rockies are terrible.
Chris Bootcheck - Another first round pick gone wrong. While he did manage to log 130+ miserable innings for the Halos in his career, Bootcheck never lived up to his draft status. The Angels kicked him to the curb after the 2008 season (it turns out an ERA over 10.00 isn't great for job security). He landed briefly in Pittsburgh almost as a layover before jumping to Japan for a year. That didn't stick either and Chris came back to the States. He was last seen toiling the Tigers' minor league system.
Dallas McPherson – Shockingly, McPherson is still kicking around in baseball. As you read this, he is taking part in the LA Dodgers training camp as a non-roster invitee.
Jeff Mathis – Maybe it is unfair to call him a bust since he has been in the majors for several years. But he is still Mathis and screw Jeff Mathis. Somehow Mathis ended up being a key piece in the infamous Marlins fire sale trade this winter. He figures to play a fair amount this season, which seems like cruel and unsual punishment to an already tortured Marlins fan base, if you ask me.
Stephen Marek – Known solely for being one of the two players the Angels traded for Mark Teixeira, Marek never made a mark in Atlanta. just as he was getting close, he went down with Tommy John surgery in 2011 and was cut loose by the Braves. He resurfaced last season in the Toronto system but seems like a longshot to ever get a shot at breaking into The Show.
Young-Jin Yung – This guy might be a ghost. Seriously. I have a feint memory of him being signed out of Korea (I think) and touted as a big get for the Halos, only he blew his arm out either before his first season began or in his first start or two. I'd be more specific, but this guy doesn't exist in any of the baseball history websites. Hell, I can't even find him via Google. There is a Young-jin Jung that briefly played in the Padres system, but he was a position player, but Yung was a pitcher… I think. He might also be a figment of my imagination that manifested itself in an old BA prospect list.
Sean O'Sullivan – I'm kind of shocked O'Sullivan was ever a top 10 prospect. However, I'm not sure if that is more of an indictment on the prospect evaluator or on the Angels' farm system. He's now found his way into the Toronto organization where he currently serves as a rotation in depth in Triple-A.
Trevor Reckling – Reckling was once the Angels' top pitching prospect and seemingly one good Triple-A season away from getting a shot at cracking the rotation. Instead, he imploded at Triple-A and eventually went down with arm problems. He never did make it back to Triple-A and was actually last seen making a cameo for the Angels High-A team. He was subsequently released and latched on with the White Sox. The most amazing part? Trevor is still just 23.
Brandon Wood – Quite possibly the greatest prospect bust in Angels' history and arguably one of the more famous busts in all of baseball, Wood is now trying to catch on with the Royals as a reserve infielder. This is coming off a season in which he posted pretty underwhelming numbers in Colorado Springs, so it is doubtful he'll sniff the majors since his bat has apparently degraded so much that he's a below average hitter in a hitter friendly league and stadium in the minors.