Los Angeles Angels: Top 10 Prospects

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects 
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Kary Booher
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1. Nick Adenhart, rhp
2. Jordan Walden, rhp
3. Peter Bourjos, of
4. Trevor Reckling, lhp
5. Sean O’Sullivan, rhp
6. Kevin Jepsen, rhp
7. Hank Conger, c
8. Mark Trumbo, 1b
9. Anthony Ortega, rhp
10. Mason Tobin, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Hank Conger
Best Power Hitter Mark Trumbo
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Andrew Romine
Fastest Baserunner Peter Bourjos
Best Athlete P.J. Phillips
Best Fastball Jordan Walden
Best Curveball Kevin Jepsen
Best Slider Rafael Rodriguez
Best Changeup Nick Adenhart
Best Control David Herndon
Best Defensive Catcher Anel de los Santos
Best Defensive Infielder Rolando Gomez
Best Infield Arm Andrew Romine
Best Defensive Outfielder Peter Bourjos
Best Outfield Arm Julio Perez
Catcher Mike Napoli
First Base Mark Trumbo
Second Base Howie Kendrick
Third Base Brandon Wood
Shortstop Erick Aybar
Left Field Torii Hunter
Center Field Peter Bourjos
Right Field Vladimir Guerrero
Designated Hitter Hank Conger
No. 1 Starter John Lackey
No. 2 Starter Ervin Santana
No. 3 Starter Jered Weaver
No. 4 Starter Joe Saunders
No. 5 Starter Nick Adenhart
Closer Jose Arredondo
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Ramon Ortiz, rhp Orix (Japan)
2000 Ramon Ortiz, rhp Orix (Japan)
2001 Joe Torres, lhp White Sox
2002 Casey Kotchman, 1b Braves
2003 Francisco Rodriguez, rhp Angels
2004 Casey Kotchman, 1b Braves
2005 Casey Kotchman, 1b Braves
2006 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
2007 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
2008 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 John Lackey, rhp (2nd round) Angels
2000 Joe Torres, lhp White Sox
2001 Casey Kotchman, 1b Braves
2002 Joe Saunders, lhp Angels
2003 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
2004 Jered Weaver, rhp Angels
2005 Trevor Bell, rhp (1st supp.) Angels
2006 Hank Conger, c Angels
2007 Jon Bachanov, rhp (1st supp.) Angels
2008 Tyler Chatwood, rhp (2nd round) Angels
Jered Weaver, 2004 $4,000,000
Kendry Morales, 2004 $3,000,000
Troy Glaus, 1997 $2,250,000
Joe Torres, 2000 $2,080,000
Casey Kotchman, 2001 $2,075,000
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Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seemed to have everything going their way when the 2008 playoffs opened. They owned the majors’ best record at 100-62, and ran away with the American League West for their fourth division crown in five years. With the additions of Torii Hunter and Mark Teixeira, they had their most dangerous heart of the order since winning the 2002 World Series.

Unfortunately for Los Angeles, its 2008 season ended like so many other have recently. The Red Sox ushered them out of the AL playoffs for the third time in five years, and the Angels have won just one of their past five postseason series. It was a sour ending, and key players such as Garrett Anderson, Jon Garland, record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez and Teixeira became free agents after the season.

Still, the Angels remain in position to contend for the foreseeable future. Their 2008 Opening Day payroll of $119 million ranked sixth among the 30 teams, and owner Arte Moreno remains committed to winning through both free agency and player development. In his first season as general manager, former farm director Tony Reagins moved aggressively to bolster his team, signing Hunter as a free agent and swinging trades for Garland and Teixeira.

As usual, Los Angeles got a ton of mileage from homegrown talent. Garland was the only import in the rotation, as John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver combined for 56 wins. Rodriguez and Scot Shields continued to anchor the bullpen, with assistance from Jose Arredondo. Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli ably shared catching duties, double-play partners Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar continued to develop and Anderson extended his franchise career leadership in several offensive categories.

More new faces could be on the way. The Angels will try to re-sign Teixeira, but if they can’t, that could mean the first extended opportunity for slugger Kendry Morales since he signed a $4.5 million major league contract after defecting from Cuba. The system’s top prospect, righthander Nick Adenhart, could replace Garland in the rotation. Infielders Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Wood are ready for expanded roles after decimating Triple-A pitching, and reliever Kevin Jepsen could help offset the expected loss of Rodriguez.

Los Angeles’ U.S.-based affiliates combined for a .542 winning percentage in 2008, the system’s best performance since 1995. Triple-A Salt Lake opened 22-1, the best start ever by a minor league team and was one of three full-season affiliates to reach the playoffs. Double-A Arkansas won an improbable Texas League title after a 62-78 regular season, and low Class A Cedar Rapids reached the Midwest League finals.

While the franchise emphasizes scouting and development, its thirst for free agents presents a hurdle in the draft that has been difficult to overcome. The Angels have yielded their first-round pick as free-agent compensation in three of the last four drafts, and no team spent less on the 2007-08 drafts than their $4.5 million.

They’ve tried to make up for their lack of top choices by signing draft-and-follow Jordan Walden for $1 million in May 2007 and 11th-round shortstop Rolando Gomez for $450,000 last July. Los Angeles also inked Korean righthander Pil Joon Jang for a reported $560,000 in September.

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects 
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30 scouting reports on every team