19. RHP Michael Clevinger – Rising. His stock had nowhere to go but up after missing an entire year due to rehab from Tommy John surgery. Clevinger still comes fully loaded with the four-pitch mix that made him an interesting prospect in the Angels system, and so far between A Ball and Advanced A ball, Clevinger has shown very impressive numbers. The year after TJ surgery can be a bit of a learning experience for players as they regain their feel for pitching, but it’s the second year (next year for Clevinger) when you really see them take off.
18. RHP Austin Wood – Falling. Wood keeps appearing on these top prospect lists because he’s still semi-young, has a pitcher’s frame and delivery and can reach triple digits with his fastball with a wipeout slider and a feel for the change up and very good sinker. Taking all those into consideration, he probably should see Garrett Richards‘ type of success, but he isn’t. Why? He can’t get/stay healthy. He basically missed all of 2013 with injury and here we are in 2014 and he’s still rehabbing in extended spring training. I don’t know what he’s rehabbing from, after all, 2013 was his rehabbing year. But if he ever makes it back onto the mound, Austin Wood is must-see TV.
17. RHP Reid Scoggins – Falling. Still rehabbing from an undisclosed injury last year. He’s basically an Austin Wood clone with a better fastball and lesser breaking pitches.
16. LHP Michael Roth – Rising. Roth needed little time in the minors before making it up to the majors and convincing everyone he needed to be back in the minors again. Roth lacks the upside you’d like to see from a starter, but make no mistake, the ability is there. So far this season, Michael’s gone about reinventing himself. With a high-80’s fastball and average secondary pitches, Roth was just getting by in 2013. In 2014, he’s made himself into more of a pitch-to-contact type of pitcher and the results are impressive. He’s cut his ERA all the way down to 2.51, his BB/9 is down to 3 and his WHIP has dropped to an appropriate level as well while his strikeouts have plummeted. Roth’s LD% is well below the league average, and he’s working ahead in the count considerably more than he has in the past. What this says is that Roth has embraced the fact that he won’t overpower hitters, but can fool them and make them get themselves out.
15. OF Zach Borenstein – Falling. We here at MWAH were genuinely entertained by the sheer amount of fans who were convinced Zach Borenstein had in one year developed into a future start corner OF. The slightest bit of homework would show that his power numbers were a Cal League mirage and that playing in a neutral environment led to good but not great numbers, not to mention he was a year older than the average age Cal League prospect. Borenstein went to AA and was completely overwhelmed, yet the Angels in a stunning move, promoted Borenstein to AAA. Perhaps it’s an attempt to move him into a hitting friendly environment to raise his confidence, perhaps it’s to maintain some of the prospect gloss he’d lost as soon as he went to a non-hitter friendly field, or perhaps it has everything to do with depth. Regardless, even in a hitter friendly environment, Borenstein just hasn’t been that good. He still projects to be a bench player at some point in the majors, but I think fans are now coming to the realization that he isn’t the next Ryan Braun.
14. Eric Stamets – Falling. The question on evaluators mind since Stamets was drafted hasn’t been about his glove, it’s been his bat. He’s the best defensive shortstop we’ve ever seen in the minors, but can he hit enough to warrant time in the big leagues. After last season in the Cal League, it appeared as though the answer was yes. His .281 BA and solid contact ratio indicated he’d hit just enough. In AA however, Stamets has struggled to the tune of a .211 BA. What’s even more surprising is that Stamets is still not a base stealer. His biggest asset after his stunning defensive abilities is his speed, which is 70-grade on the scale of 1-80. This means Stamets can run like the wind. Y3et, he only amassed 16 SB last season and has only 7 this season. In order to improve his stock, Stamets will need to at the very least get on base more often and begin causing trouble on the base paths.
13. OF Natanael Delgado – Same. Delgado’s season has just started in Orem, and already he looks like the same prospect as last year. What makes Delgado intriguing is the fact that he’s roughly the same age as any high school senior this next year, yet is ready to begin full season ball. Delgado’s young, has an athletic frame, cannon for an arm and can hit the ball far. Depending on how he does in Orem this year, he may find himself in Burlington next year at the tender age of 19, which puts him on pace to make his major league debut at age 22 or 23, young enough to actually be considered a prospect! The Angels don’t have a lot of those. Delgado’s biggest thing is he’ll need to continue to develop some patience and reach base via the BB more often, like many Dominicans.
12. 3B Luis Jimenez – Same. Lucho’s really not much of a prospect anymore. He still has his rookie status, but at age 26, he’s beyond the age of hype or development. Jimenez is what he is, which is an athletic, slick-fielding 3B with some versatility and a decent enough bat to not be an automatic out. Some think he may become an everyday 3B and provide plus defense and a pretty decent gap power-bat. Others think he’ll be a quadruple-A player from here on out, good enough to succeed in AAA but never enough to be a major leaguer. The truth lies somewhere between. Jimenez will never be an all-star 3B, but given how shallow 3B is, there’s a good chance he’ll latch on with some team in some capacity and carve out a nice role for himself in the majors for a few years. Ultimately Lucho’s best tool is what he brings to a clubhouse off the field. He’s extremely well-liked and an emotional leader in the dugout, clubhouse and off the field, which is rare to see in such a young player.
11. LHP Nick Maronde – Falling. Really, he couldn’t have fallen any further. Maronde has failed to live up to his billing as a late inning reliever or even lefty specialist. While he’s still throwing hard enough for a lefty (low 90’s), Maronde has walked 37 batters in only 21 innings between the majors and the minors this year. Who knows, maybe someday Maronde figures it out and becomes a late inning setup man many thought he’d be two years ago. Maybe he transitions back to starting and makes good in the promise he showed in A+ and AA a couple years back. Or maybe he never figures it out. Maronde can really go anywhere from here.