Lo, the time for the prospect countdown is upon. MWAH is all ready to give you our top 30 prospects for 2014, but I'm afraid you are going to have to wait just a few days longer before the grand unveiling. This post is merely a preview, a tease an amuse-bouche, if you will. Instead of showing off our full list for this year, I though it would be fun to review last year's list to see who from that top 30 failed to make the cut this year.
Actually, nearly half of the list up and vanished for a variety of reasons. There is turnover every year, but that is a bit much. I guess that is what happens when you have a terrible, terrible farm system. So, let's see who now hangs their head in prospect shame:
Carlos Ramirez (#30 in 2013 rankings) – Not only did he have a bad year, he just got busted for drugs again. We won't be seeing him on any prospect lists anymore.
Andrew Taylor (#26) – His shoulder shattered into a thousand pieces.
Wade Hinkle (#22) – Moved up to the Midwest League where he was no longer a man among boys. He was still a bit old for the league though, so his above average numbers end up being not all that impressive. His huge 2012 campaign in Orem was really the only reason he was on the radar to start with considering his middling toolset.
Zach Wright (#21) – Still a name worth watching as he is a solid defender with good plate discipline, but his power dried up when he hit the California League, which is kind of a problem since that is an environment known to inflate power numbers. If he rediscovers some of that pop, he could be back on the list in 2015.
Austin Adams (#18) – Still a possible middle relief future but didn't show enough progress in 2013 to avoid being passed by other prospects.
Eswarlin Jimenez (#17) – Shoulder problems, reduced velocity and poor performance in the California League added up to a big drop down the rankings, but we haven't completely given up hope yet.
Ryan Chaffee (#15) – Still putting up big whiff numbers but still carrying a pretty gross walk rate. Failed to get himself out of Double-A and he is starting to get a bit long in the tooth.
Travis Witherspoon (#14) – Failed to make much progress in Double-A and wound up getting designated for assignment. Now resides in the Seattle farm system.
A.J. Schugel (#12) – In danger of falling out of the top 30 on his own merit after a dreadful Triple-A season, the decision was made much easier when Schugel was dealt to Arizona as part of the Trumbo-Skaggs-Santiago deal.
Daniel Tillman (#10) – Once the closer-in-waiting, Tillman ran into control problems in recent years. 2013 was to be a make-or-break season for him. Well, he broke. Not only did he struggle mightily with his command again, he battled arm problems too.
Kole Calhoun (#5) – Graduated from prospect status and is now the starting right fielder for the Angels. Yay!
Oh, but we aren't done yet. We don't want this to be a completely negative post and include the honorable mentions. These five players are guys we like a lot, but weren't quite good enough, at least not this year, but we have high hopes for them making a big move up over the next calendar year:
Mario Martinez, C
2013 Season Stats
DSL: 206 PA, .247 AVG, .371 OBP, .346 SLG, 9 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 34 SO, 4 SB, 5 CS, .291 BABIP, .363 wOBA, 120 wRC+
Catcher is a particularly thin position in the generally thin Angel system. There really isn't a single guy in the system that looks as if he will be anything more than a back-up at the big league level. Mario Martinez might be the lone exception. Emphasis on "might be." Martinez was a higher profile signing for the Halos but he hardly lit the Domincan Summer League on fire. Then again, he was 16 years old when the season started and the DSL is tough on hitters, so what do you really expect? The good news is that he held his own as you can see in his wRC+ which adjusts for level of competition. He also walked over 10% of the time, which suggests that his approach is already advanced for his age. Now he just needs his body to catch up to start delivering on the power potential some think he has. He continues to receive positive marks for his defense and even managed to gun down 32% of base stealers, which is a good sign given that there was some arm strength concern when he was signed. He has a loooooooong way to go before he can be part of the Angels' succession plan behind the dish, especially when you factor in the high bar Scioscia has for his backstops. For now though, he is at least someone to keep an eye on.
Cal Towey, 3B
2013 Season Stats
Rookie: 315 PA, .317 AVG, .492 OBP, .543 SLG, 16 2B, 6 3B, 8 HR, 53 RBI, 59 SO, 13 SB, 3 CS, .392 BABIP, .468 wOBA, 170 wRC+
A 17th round pick in this year's draft, Towey demolished Rookie ball, but then again he is a 23-year old college kid so he should have had success. Still, his walk rate is otherworldly. It can't possibly stay that high, but it speaks to how disciplined he is. Whether or not he can field well enough to stay at third or has the bat speed to do damage with his bat in the rare event that he swings as he moves into the higher levels remains to be seen.
Wade Hinkle, 1B
2013 Season Stats
Low-A: 507 PA, .270 AVG, .359 OBP, .435 SLG, 30 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 89 SO, 2 SB, 2 CS, .312 BABIP, .365 wOBA, 125 wRC+
He was basically the 2012 version of Towey but, as mentioned above, fell off a fair amount in 2013. His numbers are still good, but because he isn't an asset on the field with his glove, he is going to have to flash a lot more pop to have a big league career. Still, he is a guy who has hit well at every stop of his career, so he is worth watching until he ceases to hit. If he were a year or two younger, he probably would've cracked the top 30.
Sherman Johnson, 2B
2013 Season Stats
Low-A: 478 PA, .261 AVG, .371 OBP, .372 SLG, 20 2B, 6 3B, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 87 SO, 32 SB, 14 CS, .322 BABIP, .352 wOBA, 116 wRC+
High-A: 31 PA, .308 AVG, .367 OBP, .500 SLG, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS, .364 BABIP, .372 wOBA, 120 wRC+
Continues to display great on-base ability and has very good speed, but he still needs work. A solid defender, but he has almost no power and can struggle to make contact. As he continues to move up to more competitive level, those contact issues could expose him quickly, in which case his ability to draw a walk won't matter all that much.
Daniel Hurtado, P
2013 Season Stats
Rookie: 12.0 IP, 1-0, 3.75 ERA, 12 H, 6 BB, 1 HR, 8 SO, 43.6 GB%, 4.70 FIP, .290 BABIP
Low-A: 32.1 IP, 2-1, 3.34 ERA, 27 H, 14 BB, 3 HR, 24 SO, 37.5 GB%, 4.22 FIP, .255 BABIP
Just didn't get enough work this season, but the potential is still there. He's only just turned 21 and still has plenty of projection. Really, he just needs to be on the mound more to build arm strength, learn the craft and wrk on his offspeed offerings. He could be a big sleeper this in 2014.