The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with one of the real under-the-radar talents in the Angels system.
Position: 2B Highest Level: High-A
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6'0" Weight: 195 lbs.
Age: 21 Born: 12/2/91
2012 Season Stats
High-A: 589 PA, .289 AVG, .328 OBP, .408 SLG, 26 2B, 6 3B, 9 HR, 79 RBI, 66 SO, 8 SB, 6 CS, .313 BABIP
Contact – B+. Lindsey’s swing is definitely unique. He keeps his hands lower and doesn’t necessarily raise them, which actually leads to perhaps the most direct path to the ball I’ve ever seen. Other players that try to get away with this tend to get under the ball too much and pop out. Lindsey on the other hand has a knack for spraying line drives, especially to right-center field. This particular skill is one that has developed the most in the past year for Taylor.
Power – C+. For a second baseman, Lindsey actually has solid power. No one anticipates him hitting 30 home runs a year, but 10-20 are within the realm of possibility once his body matures and he builds some muscle. More than anything, Lindsey has a knack for driving the ball into the gap and down the line with authority.
Discipline – C-. He doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone like so many other Angels prospects, but Lindsey still doesn’t like to walk his way onto base for some reason. Lindsey is an attentive, coachable player though, and I have no doubt he’ll get better in this department before he reaches the major leagues. I’m not sure this will ever be a “plus” tool, but it will be adequate eventually.
Speed – C. Lindsey has the epitome of what I’d call average speed. He’ll collect 10 SB per season, but he doesn’t wow anyone in this department.
Arm – D. Lindsey has a weak throwing arm, which should prevent him from ever moving to the corner outfield. Luckily, at second base, this weakness is well hidden. His arm is adequate for the position.
Performance – B. I was pleased to see Taylor skip a level after earning MVP honors the year before in the Pioneer League. Not only did he skip over A Ball, but held his own in Advanced A Ball and was actually one of the better hitters in the league. He’ll head to AA as a 21-year old, which is actually slightly young for the league.
Projection – B+. This is why Lindsey ranks so high on the Top Prospect list. I don’t envision him ever being an elite or all-star second baseman, but he looks to be an offensive minded second baseman, which aren't entirely common. If you want to compare him to current second basemen, he’s posted similar numbers to Aaron Hill and Kelly Johnson in the minor leagues, and has the same build as those two as well. So one could easily foresee a scenario where Lindsey emerges as a .275+ hitter with 30+ DB and 15+ HR’s at the major league level.
(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)
Season Summary: 2012 was kind of a weird season for Taylor Lindsey because he cemented his status as a prospect worth watching but simultaneously made his ceiling rather evident. For a guy that former Angel prospect czar Eddie bane recently called the best hitter in the system, Lindsey's numbers in the hitter-friendly California League aren't exactly overwhelming. There's nothing wrong with them, but they hardly scream future star. I'm not totally sure they scream future regular even. Yes, Lindsey can smack liner after liner, but that might be his only skill. He doesn't show much power. He isn't very patient at the plate. He probably isn't going to be anything more than an average defender. The problem is that all those liners don't translate to an especially high batting average like it did when Howie Kendrick was doing roughly the same thing in his days as a prospect.
But other deficiencies showed up at IE for Taylor. Specifically, he was pretty dreadful against left-handed pitching with a .233/.88/.77 slash line. To be fair, that was only in 129 at-bats, so this could be a small sample issue as Lindsey had more than held his own against southpaws in 2011. Nonetheless it does at least signal that his ability to hit lefties could become a problem as the competition gets tougher.
What to Expect in 2013: As mentioned earlier in the countdown, Lindsey and Alex Yarbrough are both second basemen and both seem like they could be ticketed for Double-A. That's obviously a problem. I'm guessing they put Lindsey at Double-A, but it isn't out of the question that they just jump him to Triple-A. Taylor probably isn't ready enough for that though. His trouble with lefties clearly suggest that he's got plenty of work left to do on that front and he certainly needs to keep working on his control of the patience at the plate. Since power isn't part of his game, the hitting environment there shouldn't hinder him too much, but the jump in level of competition will be a great test of whether or not his unique swing and opposite field approach can be exploited by smarter pitchers.