Writing about prospects is an interesting concept. It’s sort of like trying to communicate to someone in a different language, If I’m to talk to someone about the Angels, there’s a common ground to start from. We both know Mike Trout and thus can discuss (and that is the point of my writing, to discuss with you) his accomplishments. But when I’m writing about prospects, I’m writing about a group of kids the reader has vaguely heard of. Furthermore, I’m writing about a group o kids, many of which will never make the major leagues. So why should the reader care? This brings about the idea of only hyping certain prospects, so that the reader has less to digest, and thus, keeps reading. But for me, my homework doesn’t end with hyped prospects. Perhaps it does with FanGraphs or Baseball America, but for me, I try to get eyes on every player and make my own judgments. But even I can’t watch everybody equally. So just in case you’re wondering, here is who I’m watching more closely this year.
2B Jordan Zimmerman – A middle infielder with power. I gotta see this.
SS Roberto Baldaquin – Clearly, playing ball in So-Cal with the 8 million dollar hype didn’t suit him. LEt’s see what he does with no expectations.
OF Troy Montgomery – My own sleeper pick. This guy has a strange skill set. So far, he’s hitting .182 with a .409 OBP. Weird, right?
OF Jahmai Jones – Top prospects have a habit of grabbing my attention. We though the power might come someday. Two HR’s in his first week.
RHP Joe Gatto – Supposed to be a big armed, big bodied inning eater. Hasn’t gone according to plan so far. But in his first two starts, it has (10 IP 8 K’s 2.70 ERA)
RHP Jesus Castillo – Got him from the Cubs. 22 years old, three solid average pitches. Could turn into a Nick Tropeano type.
LHP Jonah Wesely – Healthy again, and when he’s healthy, he can dominate. Future late inning reliever in major leagues. So far so good. 6 IP 9 K’s, only one hit.
RHP Mike Kaelin – Drafted with a fastball that sits 96+. Over-looked because of stature. Sounds like every Royals reliever ever, and they’re doing pretty good.
Inland Empire 66ers
OF Michael Hermosillo – He’s too good to be there, so might as well see him there while you can. .395 BA 4 DB 5 SB already.
1B Matt Thaiss – Again, top prospects….
OF Cody Ramer/Zach Gibbons – Collegiate players that come from Arizona tend to be really good.
RHP Jake Jewell – He’s always had the mid-90’s fastball, and looked like a reliever. The Angels for some reason insist he’s a starter. 11 IP 12 K’s and a 0.82 ERA to start the season. Ok….
RHP Jaime Barria – One of the best three pitchers in the Angels system last year. Only 20 years old. 10 IP 10 K’s no ER so far.
LHP Winston Lavendier – I really know nothing about this kid except to say he has a cool name and has logged some pretty solid numbers so far.
Mobile Bay Bears
SS/2B David Fletcher – The next David Eckstein. Fletcher shows up to camp and is ready to hit every single year. Good defender too.
3B Zach Houchins – Power has been his calling card since he entered the league. While it isn’t prodigious, it is significant, and that alone is enough to merit some major league consideration.
2B/SS Hutton Moyer – Moyer hit 33 DB 4 triples 17 HR’s stole 13 bases and got on base 34% of the time in his first full season as a professional. And he’s a middle infielder. Moyer might be the real deal, folks.
RHP Osmer Morales – The science of rotations per minute from pitchers is still relatively new and unexplored. From a scouting perspective, Morales is a soft tosser that wouldn’t be successful in the majors. But he spins the ball better than anyone in the minors, and as a result has a career ERA under 3.00 and more strikeouts than innings pitched….a lot more.
RHP Eduardo Paredes – Mid-90’s fastball, sidearm, pitches are never straight, but throws a metric ton of strikes. Recipe for success.
Cody Buckel – I’ve never even heard of the “yips” before, but they’re real and Buckel, after being one of the most promising young arms in the world has dealt with them and is beginning to rediscover peace of mind, and the strike zone.
Salt Lake Bees
IF Dustin Ackley – Not a prospect, but still, Eppler believes he’s found something that will click for Ackley. I’ll take that action.
IF/OF Sherman Johnson – Has pop, speed, discipline, can play solid defense all over the field and is a leader int he clubhouse.
C Tony Sanchez – Another non-prospect. Former top prospect that doesn’t hit so much, but is a good defensive catcher.
LHP Manny Banuelos – Former top prospect, current Top 20 Angels prospect, has had success in AAA and majors before. Relearning to throw strikes and stay healthy.
RHP Alex Meyer – 6’9 starter that sits in the upper 90’s and has a “plus” slider and good change up. Future staff ace or closer is in play.
RHP Brooks Pounders – Starter or reliever, doesn’t matter. He’s a very good pitcher and should be in the big leagues permanently.
RHP Troy Scribner – You don’t carve up the competition in AA like he did last year and not get noticed.
RHP Keynan Middleton – Throws 102 mph.
Deolis Guerra/Austin Adams/Kirby Yates/Jose Valdez – Every single one of these guys is one little adjustment away from beingg a very good major league reliever.