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Top Ten Prospects: Anaheim Angels
Complete Index of Top 10s

By Alan Matthews
December 9, 2004


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. Ages are as of April 1, 2005.

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TOP TEN PROSPECTS
1. Casey Kotchman, 1b
2. Dallas McPherson, 3b
3. Erick Aybar, ss
4. Jeff Mathis, c
5. Kendry Morales, 1b/of
6. Brandon Wood, ss
7. Ervin Santana, rhp
8. Howie Kendrick, 2b
9. Alberto Callaspo, 2b/ss
10. Steven Shell, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Casey Kotchman
Best Power Hitter Dallas McPherson
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Casey Kotchman
Fastest Baserunner Quan Cosby
Best Athlete D.T. McDowell
Best Fastball Ervin Santana
Best Curveball Bobby Jenks
Best Slider Ervin Santana
Best Changeup Abel Moreno
Best Control Steven Shell
Best Defensive Catcher Jeff Mathis
Best Defensive Infielder Erick Aybar
Best Infield Arm Erick Aybar
Best Defensive Outfielder Reggie Willits
Best Outfield Arm Warner Madrigal
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Andrew Lorraine, lhp
1996 Darin Erstad, of
1997 Jarrod Washburn, lhp
1998 Troy Glaus, 3b
1999 Ramon Ortiz, rhp
2000 Ramon Ortiz, rhp
2001 Joe Torres, lhp
2002 Casey Kotchman, 1b
2003 Francisco Rodriguez, rhp
2004 Casey Kotchman, 1b
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Darin Erstad, of
1996 Chuck Abbott, ss (2nd round)
1997 Troy Glaus, 3b
1998 Seth Etherton, rhp
1999 John Lackey, rhp (2nd round)
2000 Joe Torres, lhp
2001 Casey Kotchman, 1b
2002 Joe Saunders, lhp
2003 Brandon Wood, ss
2004 *Jered Weaver, rhp
*Has not signed
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Kendry Morales, 2004 $3,000,000
Troy Glaus, 1997 $2,250,000
Joe Torres, 2000 $2,080,000
Casey Kotchman, 2001 $2,075,000
Joe Saunders, 2002 $1,825,000
While the Angels’ season ended abruptly with a three-game Division Series sweep at the hand of the Red Sox, it was anything but disappointing. After dropping from a 2002 World Series championship to 77 wins in 2003, Anaheim rebounded in the first full year of Arte Moreno’s ownership.

Moreno energized the fan base during the offseason, authorizing $145.75 million in contracts for free agents Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colon, Kelvim Escobar and Jose Guillen. Those moves paid off, as the Angels edged the Athletics to clinch their first division title in 18 years.

The Angels’ 92 wins were their third-most ever, and they set a franchise attendance record with 3,375,677 fans. For his efforts carrying the team down the stretch, Guerrero won the American League MVP award.

Anaheim appears poised to contend for several years. The Angels are in position to make major offsesason moves again. They cleared $36 million from their 2004 payroll by electing not to bring back free agents Troy Glaus, Troy Percival and Ramon Ortiz and trading Guillen. The contracts of Kevin Appier and Aaron Sele finally expire.

Their AL West competition also appears to be softening and the Angels’ deep farm system is one of the best in the game. Corner infielders Casey Kotchman and Dallas McPherson both played their way onto the postseason roster, and McPherson’s emergence made Glaus expendable. Though Jeff Mathis struggled in the second half at Double-A Arkansas, he still has the minors’ best all-around package of catching tools.

All three of those players were products of Anaheim’s vaunted 2001 draft, and new scouting director Eddie Bane may have assembled a similarly strong crop in 2004 with an aggressive approach.

Though righthander Jered Weaver’s eight-figure contract demands scared off many clubs, the Angels jumped on the draft’s top-rated prospect with the No. 12 overall pick and remain confident they’ll sign him. Anaheim took an 18th-round flier on Mark Trumbo, who had first-round potential as a righthanded pitcher, and gave him a $1.475 million bonus—and announced he’d become a full-time hitter. The Angels also rolled the dice on a pair of righthanders recovering from Tommy John surgery, 14th-rounder Nick Adenhart and 34th-rounder Bobby Cassevah.

Anaheim’s international department also has been aggressive and has signed plenty of talent, most notably Cuban defector Kendry Morales’ major league deal in December. Since the hiring of supervisor Clay Daniel in 2000, the Angels have signed high-ceiling righthander Ervin Santana (Dominican Republic) and premium middle infielders Erick Aybar (Dominican) and Alberto Callaspo (Venezuela). First baseman Baltazar Lopez (Mexico) emerged in 2004.

The faces may change in the near future, but the farm system and Moreno’s deep pockets should be able to add to the Angels’ talent base for years to come.


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