Anaheim Angels Top 10 Prospects
Index of Top 10 Prospects for all 30 Major League Teams
By Josh Boyd
1. Casey Kotchman, 1b
Age: 19. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Drafted: HSSeminole, Fla., 2001 (1st round) Signed by: Donny Rowland.
Background: The centerpiece of one of the most talented high school teams ever assembled, Kotchman led Seminole (Fla.) High to a wire-to-wire No. 1 national ranking in 2001. Kotchman earned high school All-America honors by hitting .465-5-39 in 88 at-bats. Still, Kotchman slid slightly in the draft because he got pitched around and didnt take good swings. Anaheim was delighted to find him available with the 13th overall pick in June, and his father Toman Angels scout and minor league managernegotiated Caseys $2.075 million bonus. Casey has been around pro ball all his life, often accompanying his father during the summer, and they were reunited at Rookie-level Provo last August before a sprained wrist ended Caseys pro debut.
Strengths: Kotchman had little difficulty leaving aluminum bats behind. Comparisons to sweet-swinging lefthanders abound, starting with Todd Helton and Rafael Palmeiro. Some scouts give Kotchman top grades on the hitting scale, and hes expected to develop well-above-average power because of his strong frame, bat speed and uncanny ability to put the barrel on the ball. Hes an aggressive hitter, but he stays inside the ball well and uses the whole field. Kotchmans fielding and throwing also project as plus big league tools. He has all the makings of a future Gold Glover, playing a textbook first base with graceful actions, soft hands and solid footwork. The ball seems to disappear into his glove.
Weaknesses: Though Kotchman is a flexible athlete who excites scouts with his loose body, hes a below-average runner. Any other perceived flaws are just nitpicking, however. After getting hurt at Provo and being limited by a back injury in 2000, hell have to prove hes durable.
The Future: Kotchman missed instructional league with the wrist injury, but he should be healthy for spring training. Scouts can barely contain their enthusiasm when talking about him. Much like Joe Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, Kotchman is refined for a teenager and ready to jump on the fast track. He should be the first high school player from last years draft to reach the majors, perhaps in 2004.
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