Angels Top 10 Prospects
Tragedy descended on the Angels during the first week of the season, but they rebounded to win 97 games, third-most in franchise history.
Nick Adenhart, the organization's reigning No. 1 prospect, and two others died in a collision with a suspected drunken driver on April 8. The 22-year-old had just thrown six shutout innings against the Athletics in his first appearance of the season.
Los Angeles players wore a No. 34 patch on their jersey sleeves throughout the regular season and playoffs, displayed his uniform in their dugout wherever they played, and voted the Adenhart family a full $138,038 playoff share after the season.
Beyond that tragedy, injuries sabotaged the club early in the season. The Angels hovered near .500 until John Lackey's return in mid-May helped stabilize the rotation. Because of injuries to Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Ervin Santana, manager Mike Scioscia gave 36 starts to five righthanders—four of them rookies—who weren't expected to be major contributors. Trevor Bell, Anthony Ortega and Sean O'Sullivan came from within the organization, while 30-year-olds Shane Loux and Matt Palmer had signed as minor league free agents.
That quintet compiled an unsightly 5.45 ERA behind the homegrown trio of Lackey, Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders, so Los Angeles traded for Rays lefthander Scott Kazmir on Aug. 28 in advance of the playoffs. The acquisition cost them slugging Triple-A second baseman Sean Rodriguez, as well as a pair of promising high Class A talents in lefty Alex Torres and third baseman Matt Sweeney.
That the Angels cruised to their third straight American League West title—and their fifth in six years—in spite of all that adversity is yet another feather in Scioscia's cap. In a decade at the helm, he has guided the club to a 900-720 (.556) record, highlighted by the 2002 World Series championship.
Los Angeles finally vanquished the Red Sox in the AL Division Series after Boston had won three previous matchups in 2004, 2007 and 2008. The run came to an end against the Yankees, who beat them in a six-game AL Championship Series.
Even after losing Mark Teixeira as a free agent to the Yankees, the Angels scored more runs than any AL team besides New York after finishing 10th in the league in 2008. Los Angeles reaped the benefits of sticking with young players who had experienced growing pains at the big league level.
Slick-fielding Erick Aybar hit .312 and posted the fourth-best OPS (.776) among AL shortstops, while Kendry Morales rocked 34 home runs and slugged .569, which ranked second only to AL MVP Joe Mauer.
Los Angeles also reversed its recent history of unsigned draft picks, investing $6.8 million in a crop that included five selections before the second round, all compensation choices for the loss of free agents Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez and Jon Garland. The early returns were positive, with high school outfielder Mike Trout (first round) leading the way by batting .352 in his pro debut.
The extra picks helped bolster a farm system on the mend, and the Angels could be in store for another draft bonanza in 2010. They received two compensation picks for the loss of Chone Figgins to the Mariners, and two more when John Lackey signed with the Red Sox. In addition to their own pick, that will give Los Angeles five of the first 39 selections.
TOP TEN PROSPECTS
1. Hank Conger, c
2. Peter Bourjos, of
3. Mike Trout, of
4. Trevor Reckling, lhp
5. Garrett Richards, rhp
6. Fabio Martinez, rhp
7. Randal Grichuk, of
8. Tyler Skaggs, lhp
9. Jordan Walden, rhp
10. Trevor Bell, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Hank Conger
Best Power Hitter Mark Trumbo
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Hank Conger
Fastest Baserunner Peter Bourjos
Best Athlete Mike Trout
Best Fastball Garrett Richards
Best Curveball Garrett Richards
Best Slider Fabio Martinez
Best Changeup Trevor Reckling
Best Control Trevor Bell
Best Defensive Catcher Bobby Wilson
Best Defensive Infielder Andrew Romine
Best Infield Arm Rolando Gomez
Best Defensive Outfielder Peter Bourjos
Best Outfield Arm Angel Castillo
Ranking Top 10 MLB Draft First Rounds Over Last 40 Years
Rarely is the best player in a draft class the No. 1 pick. Yet the best player in that class is almost always a first rounder.
PROJECTED 2013 LINEUP
Catcher Mike Napoli
First Base Kendry Morales
Second Base Howie Kendrick
Third Base Brandon Wood
Shortstop Erick Aybar
Left Field Torii Hunter
Center Field Peter Bourjos
Right Field Mike Trout
Designated Hitter Hank Conger
No. 1 Starter Jered Weaver
No. 2 Starter Scott Kazmir
No. 3 Starter Joe Saunders
No. 4 Starter Ervin Santana
No. 5 Starter Trevor Reckling
Closer Kevin Jepsen
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
2000 Ramon Ortiz, rhp Giants
2001 Joe Torres, lhp Dodgers
2002 Casey Kotchman, 1b Red Sox
2003 Francisco Rodriguez, rhp Mets
2004 Casey Kotchman, 1b Red Sox
2005 Casey Kotchman, 1b Red Sox
2006 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
2007 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
2008 Brandon Wood, ss Angels
2009 Nick Adenhart, rhp Deceased
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
2000 Joe Torres, lhp Dodgers
2001 Casey Kotchman, 1b Red Sox
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
2009 Randal Grichuk, of Angels
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
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