Think of the prospect game like the stock market. When a prospect is generating lots of buzz, the little prospect world goes “buy-buy-buy” (not to be confused with N’sync’s hit “bye-bye-bye”). When the prospect is going through a slump, the prospect investors yell “sell-sell-sell”. It’s sort of a microcosm of analyzing baseball’s future, which teams will compete and when. Five years ago, the Astros were the joke of Major League Baseball, but they had a lot of money and a strong farm system. Five years later, they’re darlings (even thought hey still haven’t won a division title). If you’ve been reading the news at all over the last few years, you’d believe the Angels are awful and don’t have a farm.
Well that’s not exactly true either. The Angels are ok, and they do have a farm. Just not the best one. So let’s take a look at this supposed “non-existent” farm and analyze where these prospects are at. After all, if we didn’t, who would?
30. RHP Sam Pastrone – The ace of the Rookie League Orem Owlz at the tender age of 19. Pastrone won’t generate much buzz, but he is young and has a nice fastball. Stock: Hold.
29. 2B/3B Andrew Daniel – Daniel’s calling card has always been his bat and how well it will play up at 2B. He’s still hitting the ball reasonably well, but not well enough to be highly regarded. Stock: Hold.
28. SS Julio Garcia – The unknown factor. The angels signed him for lots of money. Those that have actually seen him play say he’s a sure-bet to stick at SS and may end up hitting with some pop and speed too. We’ve yet to see it. Stock: Hold.
27. RHP Jake Jewell – The Angels are still pretending he’s a starting pitcher. All sorts of upside as a reliever, but that’s just it, he’s merely a reliever. Stock: Sell.
26. CF Jared Foster – Now that we’ve moved past the whole “former LSU QB” phase of our prospect fascination, we can look at Foster for who he really is. At age 23, he’s in A Ball, showing flashes and brilliance along with regular occurrences of “raw” which is prospect-speak of untapped potential. Foster might get better at baseball, but for now, he isn’t standing out the way he needs to, and he isn’t young for his level. Stock: Sell.
25. LHP Hunter Green – Retired. Lucky.
24. OF Alex Abbott – At age 21 he’s now fully immersed in A Ball, and fully struggling to capitalize on any of that upside of his. Stock: Sell.
23. RHP Jeremy Rhoades – Yet another reliever posing as a starter. The Cal League is being absolutely brutal on these guys. Rhodes has middle reliever type of upside. Stock: Sell.
22. 2B/SS/3B/LF Tim Arakawa – Tim doesn’t ooze the upside like others. In fact, he’s basically exactly what he was when the Angels drafted him a year ago, and that’s a steady hitting and fielding utility player. Arakawa spent a few games in AAA but is back to driving the ball in his original assignment in Advanced A Ball. Look for Tim to push for a roster spot in the next couple years. Stock: Buy!
21. LHP Greg Mahle – Got knocked around in the majors, back in AAA and still getting knocked around. He’s a lefty specialist. Stock: Sell.
20. SS David Fletcher – Fletch was bitten by the injury bug earlier this after after an utterly impressive performance in Spring Training. He’s finally healthy again, so we’ll excuse the paltry numbers so far. Great defensive shortstop of great plate discipline and good speed. Could be a utility infielder or second team starter. Stock: Hold.
19. OF Bo Way – Bo is a good candidate to be a 4th outfielder for the Angels or some other team someday. He combines decent contact ability with some pop, plate discipline, speed and defense. The issue is, none of these classify as a “plus” tool. o what you’re seeing here is in essence Reggie Willits. But the Willits’ of the world have some value. Stock: Hold.
18. RHP Eduardo Paredes – Final, a pitcher who knows his role. Parades is a reliever, through and through. High octane moving fastball and an electric slider. Nothing wrong with that. At age 21, he’s blown through the low minors and finds himself in AA. Of course, it’s a bit of a adjustment, as he’s getting rocked right now, but the future back end of the bullpen type of upside remains. Stock: Buy!
17. 2B/3B/LF Sherman Johnson – Ever the enigma, Sherman Johnson continues to do lots of things really well, and the rest, not so well. There’s just no middle room with him. Here’s Sherm in a nutshell: Pros – Plays lots of positions reasonably well, hits for power, is fast, has great plate discipline, is in AAA. Cons – He’s already 25, no batting average whatsoever. Sure, OBP is more important, but if you aren’t batting your weight, it’s hard to have a decent OBP. So what I’m saying is, maybe he’ll be a fan favorite utility player by age 27. Stock: Hold.
16. RHP Kyle McGowin – McGowin’s ERA in AAA right now is over 6. That’s not bad considering the environment he’s pitching in. I mean anything under five in Salt Lake is pretty solid. If McGowin were pitching in a normal environment, this would be the equivalent of having an ERA around 4.00. Not horrible, but not terribly impressive either. Stock: Hold.
15. 2B Brendan Sanger – Still rocking one of the most beautiful swings you’ll ever see, Sanger’s 2016 got off to a rocky start. First of all, he’s learning a new position at 2B, and there’s been the expected bumps along the way. Second, Sanger is making contact, it just happens to be right at the opposition. At the beginning of the year, this wa unfortunate. Now, it’s disturbing. Maybe opposing defenses already know how to defend him and he hasn’t made the adjustment yet. Regardless, if the hits start falling, Sanger’s bat plays up in a HUGE way at second base. Stock: Buy!