Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.
We're finishing up the Prospect Handbook,
getting ready for the Winter Meetings, and cranking out quite a few
fascinating things behind the scenes here at BA, but for the next hour
or two, let's delve into some Angels prospects.
Ben (Leland Grove): Is Cowart the only guy likely to make BA's top 100?
He's in there for me. I don't see anyone else making it.
Dane (Tampa, FL): What can you tell us about Kole Calhoun? Thanks Ben.
I've never heard people fawn over a
player's makeup like Angels officials do with Kole Calhoun. That means a
couple of things: One is that he gets the absolute most out of of
physical tools, and two is that the physical tools are a little light.
He's got a strong arm and a compact swing, but the ceiling here is
probably a fourth or fifth outfielder. The Angels have a fairly
righty-heavy outfield, so he's got a chance to get some more big league
time this year.
Paul (NJ): Is Travis Witherspoon on your radar these days? What was the word on him?
He had a nice start to the year in the Cal
League, but he was 23 and really collapsed offensively when he got
challenged in Double-A. The athleticism, the speed, the defense, the
jumps on balls off the bat, that's all there, but at the plate it's just
not a pretty swing and the breaking ball recognition is still pretty
raw. There's a long way to go.
Bob (CA): You're writeup implies that Cowart
might start back in Hi-A. With a pretty solid half season under his
belt I figured he'd be ready for AA. Do you think there are enough
rough edges in his game that he needs to be on a slower development
We wrote that he should make the jump to
Double-A next year, and I think that's what's going to happen. He's
ready to handle it, and I think you're going to see the Angels push
certain prospects along faster than they did in the previous regime. We
started to see it last year with some aggressive assignments, and when I
asked Angels officials whether that was a philosophical change they're
making, the answer was a resounding yes.
Nick (Cary, NC): It looks like each of the
pitchers in the top 10 has a good chance of ending up in the bullpen;
which has the best shot at being in a major league rotation?
A great point and a great question. I'd go
wit Maronde, partly because he's just more developed than anyone else on
the list. On stuff alone, I think he could be a starter, but the
durability is a definite concern. Clevinger absolutely has the
repertoire to be a starter, but again with him, it's more about whether
he can stay healthy for a starter's workload. With Wood, Alvarez and
Sappington, just about everything with points to likely futures in the
Unlisted (Long Island): A lot of players with
questions on there secondary pitches, where did AJ Schugel fall? Seems
like he may not have the ceiling but he definitely has a higher floor
than some of the guys on the list.
Just missed the Top 10, but he was close.
You're right, not a high-ceiling guy, but he's got a nice
fastball/changeup combination, sits around 89-93 with downhill angle and
then uses a changeup that's improved quite a bit to get some swings and
misses. The breaking ball is slurvy and that's always going to be a red
flag for me especially with a righthanded pitcher, but if things break
right for him you could have a back-end starter.
Alan (Culver City): With Dipoto at the Helm and
new director in Carlos Gomez do you see the Angels being aggressive in
going after international talent?
I do. Part of the Angels' lack of spending
on the international front in recent years is because they didn't have a
scouting staff in place for a while after they fired Clay Daniel and
wiped out his staff there a few years ago. Marc Russo helped them get
back to respectability, and I'm sure the Angels will try to build on
that now with Gomez in charge.
Austin (Amherst): Michael Roth doesnt figure to
have a huge impact if he ever does reach the majors. However as a high
profile succesful college pitcher what level do you think he will begin
next season at? and should we ever expect him to don an MLB uniform even
as a lefty specialist?
I respect the heck out of what Roth did at
South Carolina, but there's a reason there were 296 players drafted
ahead of him this year. The stuff doesn't grade out well, but it's a lot
of deception, pitchability, guile and moving his arm slot and the ball
around to keep hitters off balance. Maybe he can get away with that as a
lefty reliever who doesn't have to get through the order multiple
times. Maybe he's baseball's version of Tim Tebow. I don't have high
expectations, but I think I'm with a lot of people who are just very
curious to see how his skill set translates.
Kyle (LAX): Did evaluators have anything positive to report about Chevy Clarke this year?
Not a Top 30 guy. Most of the scout comments I got were from guys wondering how he was ever a first-round pick.
Raul (Tucson, Az): Ben, this is a real weak top
10. Is there anyone on this list that wouldn't be good enough to make
some other organization's top 30?
You're right, it's not a good system.
Having looked at some of our other Top 30s, yeah, I think in some of the
deepest systems, you could make a case to leave a guy like Sappington
or Yarbrough just off the 30, but it's not like they're are just org
guys; they're legitimate prospects. Once you get a little deeper though .
. . yeah, you have to start squinting a little bit to get excited.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Name us a sleeper from the class A levels.
Eric Stamets, their sixth-round pick this
year out of Evansville, is a potentially elite defensive shortstop who's
quick, explosive, has great range and can make some highlight-reel
plays. That bat has a lot of catching up to do and his funky swing and
lack of power are probably going to be issues as he moves up, but the
defense alone makes him worth keeping an eye on.
Ryan D. (Tampa, FL): Will Kaleb Cowart be the
first "prototypical" third basemen for the Angels since Glaus? Figgins
had success over there before heading to Seattle, but since then it
seems like it has been patch work to fill the position.
I think so. What's exciting about Cowart
isn't just that he has the physical tools and a swing that should work
at higher levels, but he showed he can make adjustments during the
season to get better. He got better with his lefty swing, his plate
discipline improved and he's just become a very well-rounded player.
Pretty easy call for their No. 1 prospect this year.
@Jaypers413 (IL): If you had to predict right now what Maronde's future role will be this time next year, what say you?
Probably will depend on the makeup of the
big league pitching staff. If they need a starter, he could certainly
step in, and it's not like the Angels have a whole bunch of other
options for starting pitchers waiting in Triple-A or Double-A. If they
don't have a need, they'll probably just stick him in the bullpen,
although keeping him stretched out as a starter to start the year in
Triple-A might be another option.
Matt (Minnesota): What happened to Cam
Bedrosian this year? Were the poor results more related to the stuff not
returning after Tommy John or just lack of command?
Just a big step backward this year. With a
guy like Tillman, the velocity was at least still there, but Bedrosian
just looked out of sync all year. The fastball wasn't as sharp as it had
been in the past, the breaking stuff was loopy and he completely lost
his feel for the strike zone, so there wasn't even much chance for him
to work on his secondary stuff because he was behind in so many counts.
The arm speed was down, and you just have to hope that comes back and
that 2012 was just him being slow to come back from Tommy John. Next
year will be huge for him.
Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): Is Mark Trumbo the most under-rated player in Baseball ?
I'm still trying to figure out how none of the AL MVP voters used any of their 10 spots to vote for Austin Jackson.
Franz (Bristol, Maine): Without the Greinke trade, where would Pena, Hellwig and Segura fit on this list?
That would be three of your top five
prospects. I haven't put together a Top 100 list yet, but when we do our
BA Grades for the Prospect Handbook, I'd have Cowart and Segura both as
60/Medium, give or take half a grade, so it's close. Then I'd go
Hellweg, Maronde, Pena to round out the top five, although you could
argue Maronde over Hellweg depending on your risk tolerance.
Steve (Las Vegas): What are your thoughts on Luis Jimenez? He continues to put up big numbers at every level.
Until he learns to be more selective at the
plate, he's going to just be a good Triple-A hitter. There's more
upside in there than that because he has power and he doesn't strike
out excessively, but he swings at too many borderline pitches right now
and needs to do a better job with pitches on the outer half. There are
some things to like there, but he hasn't shown the ability to make
adjustments at the plate that you'd like to have seen at this point in
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Cron looks to have an impact bat, but being limited to 1B and DH
where do you see his path to the majors, with Pujols, Morales, and Trumbo all in his way? Someone moving in a deal I guess?
It's an obstacle for Cron, but first he
needs to be able to take the developmental steps to be able to handle an
everyday job at 1B or even DH regardless of who's ahead of him. He has
the raw power and the bat-to-ball ability, but you just can't afford to
have a first baseman who only walks 20 or so times in a season. It's not
just the walks, but having the plate discipline to able to get into
counts with leverage for the hitter rather than chasing pitchers'
pitches. If he can do that and become a passable defender at first base,
then yeah, someone's going to have to move, but there's still work to
do before Cron forces the Angels to make any tough decisions.
Fred (New York): What differentiates a bat like
Cron's from other guys with some chance to hit for average and power
like Avisail Garcia and Oswaldo Arcia? If Cron's bat is the least of
those guys, what makes it less good?
Just on pure offensive ability, I'd put
Cron in the middle, with Oswaldo Arcia at the top. Arcia is calm,
balanced, has good bat speed and a better batting eye than Cron or
Garcia. I like Cron's swing more than Avisail Garcia's, but if we're
talking about overall value, Garcia has the tools to be a solid right
fielder, whereas Cron (in addition to the health concerns) is a first
baseman with DH-caliber defense.
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Ben, What stats can
the Angels expect to get from Grichuk once he arrives in the show, what
do you anticipate his ETA to be. Thanks
Depends on what kind of adjustments he can
make—and I feel like I'm writing this a lot this year for Angels
prospects—with his plate discipline. There were a lot of players the
Angels brought into the system through the previous regime that were
complete free-swingers, which is just the opposite of what the Angels
are trying to cultivate under Dipoto and his development team. Just
getting on the field and staying healthy was a big step for Grichuk; now
let's see if he can tighten his strike zone and make some adjustments
with his swing, because he's got plenty of bat speed and strength
Warren (New London): If people are wondering how Chevy Clarke was ever a first round pick, what are they saying about Ryan Bolden?
Yikes. With the new front office, I don't
think you're going to see the Angels draft super high-risk guys like
Bolden that high any more. Certainly not a Top 30 guy.
Unlisted (Long Island): Can you see Randall
Grichuk have one year where his numbers put him in the same class as
Trout>? I think he has a career year in him with 30+ HR's and #s he
will never come close to duplicating.
I can't, but that says more about how
amazing Mike Trout is than anything else. From everything I'm told,
Grichuk and Trout are friends, and like I wrote it sounds like that's a
motivator for Grichuk, but it's just tough for anyone to have to always
be compared to Mike Trout. He's on another planet.
Always love doing these BA subscriber
chats, so thanks as always for the sharp questions. We've got the A's
Top 10 Friday, then the Mariners and Rangers next week to finish of the
American League Top 10s. Have a great day.