This is the first of what will likely be a common series giving Angels fans quick tidbits on their minor leagues as observed by MWAH Prospect Analyst Scott Allen.
Triple-A Salt Lake
The Bees have a slough of players/prospects who will contribute at the major league level this year. On the mound, I’ll be keeping an eye on newly acquired LHP Jose Alvarez. If he can recreate his AAA success from last year, the depth he’d provide the Angels would be invaluable. The most exciting part about the Bees though is definitely their infield. Top prospect Taylor Lindsey appears to be the everyday second baseman, #3 prospect C.J. Cron will man first base, fan favorite Luis Jimenez will be the everyday third baseman and former first rounder and top 100 prospect Grant Green will be manning shortstop. Green is particularly interesting because his bat is what makes him such an intriguing option, but it was thought by many that he simply lacked the ability to play shortstop at the big league level. One offseason with Alfredo Griffin changed all of that and Green’s status as a young player has shot through the roof as a result.
This will likely be the most interesting team to watch in the Angels farm system this year. Despite the Angels having what is considered the worst farm system in baseball, their team in AA has a TON of quality young talent. On the mound, we’ll see top pitching prospect Mark Sappington in the rotation as well as Michael Roth. In the bullpen, Mike Morin and R.J. Alvarez have about as high of a ceiling as you could have. Keep an eye on LHP Brandon Sisk, who has great minor league numbers and was the return for the Ervin Santana trade of 2012. He missed all of 2013, but if he returns to form, Sisk could emerge as a very effective lefty-specialist at the top level. In the infield we’ll see #2 prospect 3B Kaleb Cowart as well as the double play combo of Alex Yarbrough at 2B and Eric Stamets at shortstop. In the outfield, we’ll be looking at Zach Borensetin to see if he can duplicate the numbers he posted in the hitter-friendly California League.
Advanced-A Inland Empire
The best prospect you’ll see on the 66ers in 2014 will be shortstop Jose Rondon, who will likely be a Top 5 prospect before long. However, they do have some intriguing names to keep an eye on. 3B Cal Towey had an amazing season in Orem last year and 1B Wade Hinkle has considerable power which could be inflated by the environment. Reliever Cam Bedrosian hasn’t been officially named to the AA or A Ball rosters, so we can only assume he’ll be back in the Cal League despite a strong performance in the AFL and eye-opening spring training. The prospect I’ll be keeping the closest eye on is RHP Kyle McGowin. He was an absolute steal for the Angels in the last draft and is skipping over A Ball entirely. He could burst into the Top 10 with a solid season.
The best part of this roster comes in the form of starting pitching. If you’re looking for a high-90’s fastball and slider combo, 20-year-old Victor Alcantara is the prospect for you. If you like workhorse finesse pitchers then keep an eye on 6’4 210 lbs Elliot Morris. If you like pure upside and a variety of quality pitches then keep an eye on Michael Clevinger, who may be a Top 10 prospect with a full recovery from Tommy John surgery. As far as the rest of the roster goes, the most intriguing name I see is OF Michael Fish, who put up extremely impressive numbers at both levels of Rookie Ball last year.