2014 Los Angeles Angels Top 10 Prospects


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The best player in baseball has been playing for an also-ran.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Taylor Lindsey, 2b
2. C.J. Cron, 1b
3. Kaleb Cowart, 3b
4. R.J. Alvarez, rhp
5. Mark Sappington, rhp
6. Hunter Green, lhp
7. Ricardo Sanchez, rhp
8. Alex Yarbrough, 2b
9. Zach Borenstein, of
10. Cam Bedrosian, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Alex Yarbrough
Best Power Hitter C.J. Cron
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Cal Towey
Fastest Baserunner Eric Stamets
Best Athlete Eric Stamets
Best Fastball Victor Alcantara
Best Curveball Buddy Boshers
Best Slider Mike Clevinger
Best Changeup Mike Morin
Best Control Mike Morin
Best Defensive Catcher Jett Bandy
Best Defensive Infielder Eric Stamets
Best Infield Arm Kaleb Cowart
Best Defensive Outfielder Chevy Clarke
Best Outfield Arm Chevy Clarke
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Mike Trout, of (22) Majors
2. Garrett Richards, rhp (25) Majors
3. Taylor Lindsey, 2b (23) Double-A
4. C.J. Cron, 1b (24) Double-A
5. Kaleb Cowart, 3b (21) High Class A
6. R.J. Alvarez, rhp (22) High Class A
7. Mark Sappington, rhp (23) Double-A
8. Hunter Green, lhp (18) Rookie
9. Ricardo Sanchez, rhp (16) Did not play
10. Alex Yarbrough, 2b (22) High Class A
11. Zach Borenstein, of (23) High Class A
12. Cam Bedrosian, rhp (22) High Class A
13. Jose Rondon, ss (20) Rookie
14. Eric Stamets, ss (22) High Class A
15. Mike Morin, rhp (22) Double-A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Casey Kotchman, 1b Marlins
2005 Casey Kotchman, 1b Marlins
2006 Brandon Wood, ss Orioles
2007 Brandon Wood, ss Orioles
2008 Brandon Wood, ss Orioles
2009 Nick Adenhart, rhp Deceased
2010 Hank Conger, c Angels
2011 Mike Trout, of Angels
2012 Mike Trout, of Angels
2013 Kaleb Cowart, 3b Angels
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Jered Weaver, rhp Angels
2005 Trevor Bell, rhp (1st round supp.) Reds
2006 Hank Conger, c Angels
2007 Jon Bachanov, rhp (1st round supp.) Out of baseball
2008 Tyler Chatwood, rhp (2nd round) Rockies
2009 Randal Grichuk, of Angels
2010 Kaleb Cowart, 3b Angels
2011 C.J. Cron, 1b Angels
2012 R.J. Alvarez, rhp (3rd round) Angels
2013 Hunter Green, lhp (2nd round) Angels
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Jered Weaver, 2004 $4,000,000
Kendrys Morales, 2004 $3,000,000
Kaleb Cowart, 2010 $2,300,000
Troy Glaus, 1997 $2,250,000
Joe Torres, 2000 $2,080,000
Angels Team Page
Last Year’s Angels Top 10 Prospects
2013 Draft: Angels
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

3ds_angels87The Angels haven’t been bad in either of Mike Trout’s first two epic seasons as the club’s star. But they haven’t been good either, finishing a middling third in the American League West in each of the past two seasons. In the new world of baseball economics, that might be the worst possible place to be.

The Angels have won between 78 and 89 games in each of the past four years. They’ve finished third in a competitive American League West three times and second once. They’ve been on the fringes of playoff races, enough to often be buyers around the trade deadline, but the run of six playoff appearances and a World Series title from 2002-09 seems long ago.

The Angels at some point will have to empty their coffers to sign Trout long term, and they have spared no expense when trying to help the big league club by signing free agents. A year after signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million contract, Los Angeles splurged again, spending $125 million prior to the 2013 season to lock up outfielder Josh Hamilton for five years. Lefthander C.J. Wilson and righty Jered Weaver also are making more than $15 million a year.

Below the major leagues, however, no team has been more parsimonious. Thanks to the signings of Pujols and Hamilton, the Angels have not had a first-round pick in either of the past two drafts. The farm system has been even more depleted by prospects-for-big leaguer trades.

The Angels have traded away lefthanders Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs, shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Randal Grichuk and righthanders Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg in recent years.

In many ways, the Angels are among the worst-served by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. They never are bad enough to have first-round picks protected from free-agent compensation rules, and they spend enough to frequently lose first-round picks. And because they are a middle-of-the-pack team at the big league level, their international signing allotment is also never particularly large. The result is the thinnest farm system in baseball.

The Angels have gotten what they have paid for. They spent less on their 2011-13 drafts combined than the Pirates did to sign 2011 No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole. And from 2007-11, under the old draft rules, only the Marlins, Braves and White Sox spent less on their drafts on average.

The Angels have also spent little internationally. Last year’s signing of Venezuelan lefthander Ricardo Sanchez for $580,000 was the first time the club had spent more than $250,000 on an international amateur in the past four years.

There is a realization in the Angels’ front office that things have to change. The club has moved into a new Dominican Republic facility that signifies an increased emphasis on international development. For the first time in three years, it looks like Los Angeles will have a first-round pick when the 2014 draft comes around.

In the long term, those moves should revitalize a farm system in need of an infusion of talent. But the current draft and international signing rules do not make it easy for teams to execute rapid turnarounds of the farm system, especially for teams stuck in the middle. So for now, Trout may shine brightly from April to September, but he’s not going to get much homegrown help any time soon.