Tracking The Affiliation Shuffle
The affiliation shuffle kicks off Sept. 16 and begins a two-week period when clubs can negotiate agreements with unattached affiliates. Consider it free agency for minor league teams. Teams had […]
Top Ten Prospects: Anaheim Angels
Complete Index of Top 10s
By Alan Matthews
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.
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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