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Just two years removed from high school, Wood went on a power binge for the ages, clobbering 58 home runs between the minors, the Arizona Fall League and a stint with Team USA in 2005. He ascended to the top of this list after the season and has held the No. 1 spot ever since. With Chone Figgins and Maicer Izturis on the shelf in Anaheim with injuries, Wood made his major league debut last April but received just nine starts during four separate big league callups during the season. He collected his first major league hit off Bobby Jenks on April 29. He led Angels minor leaguers with 23 home runs while learning a new position at Triple-A Salt Lake. A shortstop his whole career, Wood slid over to third base during spring training and played there most of the season, though he returned to shortstop during the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Wood can do some serious damage with the bat. He profiles as a middle-of-the-order run producer with 25-30 or more homers per year while being capable of handling shortstop. Comparisons range from Cal Ripken because of his tall, lean build and deceptively smooth defense, to Troy Glaus for his light-tower power and aggressive approach. Wood hits from an upright stance and feasts on fastballs early in counts. He generates exceptional bat speed and his swing has lots of leverage. Balls jump off his bat to all fields with loft, carry and backspin. He's slowly making adjustments in his approach and becoming a better all-around hitter. Defensively, his range is unexceptional, but he fits the mold of the modern offensive-minded shortstop with the actions, body control, hands and plus arm to handle the position just fine. He was solid if unspectacular at third base. He's an average runner with good instincts and has a gamer attitude that enhances his skills. While Wood cut down on his strikeouts from once every 3.0 at-bats in 2006 to once every 3.6 at-bats last season, his greatest deficiency remains his lack of plate discipline. His pitch selection is below-average, and when he falls behind in the count, he'll punch out by chasing balls off the plate and above his hands. He falls into pull-happy modes that make him vulnerable to pitches on the outer half. He must shorten his swing and hone his two-strike approach in order to hit for a higher average and make more consistent contact. He also can tighten his defense at third base, where he made 16 errors in 74 Triple-A games. With Orlando Cabrera traded to the White Sox, the door again swung open for Wood to play his way into the big league lineup as a shortstop. Erick Aybar, Figgins and Izturis and remain shortstop options as well, so Wood might wind up at third base, either in Anaheim or at Salt Lake.
Since having Tommy John surgery in high school but still signing for $710,000, Adenhart has logged more than 300 innings in the last two minor league seasons. He impressed in spring training with a 1.84 ERA in four appearances in big league camp, then went 3-0, 1.54 in April to begin a solid, if streaky season that included a short disabled-list stint with a sore shoulder. He's pitched on big stages his entire career, earning Baseball America's Youth Player of the Year honors in 2003, a trip to the Futures Game in 2006 and a spot on the U.S. Olympic qualifying team following the '06 season. Adenhart has outstanding stuff. His fastball sits at 91-92 mph on most nights and ranges from 88-94. The ball jumps out of his hand and explodes at the plate with late, riding life and finish. His slider has hard three-quarter tilt at 75-77 mph. His changeup is a legitimate third weapon and usually more effective than his breaking ball, with plus fade and sink. He maintains his hand speed and sells the pitch well. His delivery isn't picture perfect but he pitches downhill and his arm works easily from a natural three-quarters arm slot. He's a good all-around athlete. While Adenhart shows an ability to throw all three of his pitches for strikes, his command escaped him at times last season. Angels minor league pitching coordinator Kernan Ronan made pitching to contact a point of emphasis for Adenhart because he tries to be too fine. His breaking ball lacks consistent shape and command. Adenhart looks like a future front-ofthe- rotation stud who could be ready for a major league job in 2008. But the Angels don't have an opening in their rotation, so he's most likely going to spend the entire season in Triple-A.
The No. 1 prep prospect in the nation entering his senior season, Walden saw his velocity dip to the mid-80s and he fell to the 12th round of the 2006 draft. He rebounded at Grayson County (Texas) CC in 2007 and signed for $1 million a few hours before the deadline for draft-and-follows. He capped his pro debut by striking out 10 in eight innings during Rookie-level Orem's league championship game. The night Orem won the league title, Walden touched 100 mph and was still flashing 97s in the seventh inning. His fastball is the easily the best in the system. His slurvy 80-81 mph slider grades as a future plus pitch because of its velocity and occasional late bite. His delivery isn't effortless, but his arm action is relatively clean. He's a good athlete. Walden can pound the zone with his fastball, but his overall command, especially of his secondary pitches, can improve. His slider lacks depth and consistency. He has a rudimentary feel for pitching and has a lot to learn about the craft, such as making his changeup more than just a usable pitch. With wide shoulders, big hands and wrists, Walden figures to fill out into a workhorse No. 2 or 3 starter. The cream of the Angels' promising rising crop of pitching prospects, Walden should spend 2008 at low Class A Cedar Rapids.
Like Nick Adenhart, Conger was a high profile amateur player long before he started to shave. A second-generation Korean, his given name is Hyun and his Atlanta-based grandfather nicknamed him after Hank Aaron. He has had repeated injuries since signing for $1.35 million in 2006, missing much of his pro debut with a broken hamate bone in his right wrist. He missed another six weeks in 2007 because of lower-back and hamstring issues, and he tweaked the same hamstring in his first game of instructional league, which cost him the rest of the year. Conger has a good feel for hitting and plus power from both sides of the plate. He has above-average bat speed and a willingness to use all fields. He tracks balls deep into the hitting zone and controls the strike zone adequately for a young hitter. His defensive package has a long ways to go, but he has plus arm strength that elicits 1.9-second home-to-second times. Strong makeup and work ethic are just two reasons to believe he'll improve defensively. Improving his righthanded swing was on top of Conger's instructional league to-do list, as he's significantly better from the left side (.304 with a .866 OPS in 2007 versus .250 and .647 from the right). His swing is looser with better plate coverage from the left side. He's a well-below-average runner and needs to improve his flexibility. He doesn't have quick feet, which inhibits his release and explains why he threw out just 21 percent of basestealers last season. Conger has all the tools to become a frontline, switch-hitting run producer in the big leagues. If he can stay healthy, 2008 could be a monster year for him as he's ticketed to spend the season about an hour from his hometown in high Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
O'Sullivan's development from overpowering amateur to cerebral, calculating pro is intriguing. His velocity plummeted during his senior high school season in 2005 and he fell to the Angels in the third round. He signed the following spring for $500,000 after one season at Grossmont (Calif.) JC. He has won ERA titles in each of his two pro seasons, with a 2.14 mark in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2006 and a 2.22 mark in the low Class A Midwest League last year. His younger brother Ryan is a top-five-round high school talent in the 2008 draft class. O'Sullivan has plus control of four solid-average pitches. He adds and subtracts off his 87-91 mph fastball and spots it to all four quadrants of the strike zone. His changeup, curveball and slider aren't knee-bucklers, but they have plenty of deception to get the job done. He'll mix in a two-seam fastball as well. He's durable, repeats his delivery and pitches with poise and guile. Because he doesn't possess plus raw stuff, O'Sullivan will have to maximize his command and pitchability as he faces more advanced hitters. He was generating 95-mph fastballs as a high school underclassman, but it's a stretch to project additional velocity because of his thick, maxed-out body, which earned him the nickname "Nacho" during his debut season. O'Sullivan earned the organization's pitcher of the year award in 2007 and profiles as an innings-eating No. 4 starter in the big leagues. This season will be an important one for him, as he'll be tested in the hitter's haven that is the high Class A California League.
The Angels inked Marek in May 2005 for an $800,000 bonus as a draft-and-follow. A reliever at San Jacinto (Texas) JC, he became a starter in pro ball and led the Midwest League with a 1.96 ERA in his first full season. He stayed in extended spring training when camp broke last year, but finished strong with four earned runs allowed in his final four starts in high Class A. Marek comes after hitters with a powerful three-pitch mix. His fastball ranges from 88-94 mph. His 74-77 mph curveball has 11-to-5 shape and grades as a second plus pitch thanks to his knack for locating it. He made improvements to his changeup, which has hard, late sink at times and helped him limit lefthanders to a .183 average in 2007. Marek's mechanics are a work in progress. He doesn't repeat his release point, and when his arm slot gets too high, he loses life on his fastball, especially when he misses up in the zone. He pitches in the middle of the zone too frequently. Angels coaches say his mental focus is also an area they'd like to see improve. Provided he stays healthy, Marek profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. He'll spend 2008 in the Double-A Arkansas rotation.
Rodriguez followed up his breakout 2006 with a solid if inconsistent season in Double-A. The son of longtime Marlins minor league coach Johnny Rodriguez, Sean grew up around the game, watching his dad throw batting practice to Alex Rodriguez (no relation). Los Angeles added him to its 40-man roster in November despite his tepid Arizona Fall League showing. Rodriguez has good tools across the board that play up because of his inherent feel for the game. He has above-average bat speed that produces plus raw power with a quick, whippy swing. He uses the entire field and is beginning to make adjustments effectively. He has solid-average hands and a plus arm, with a solid first step that helps him make up for fringy range up the middle. A below-average runner with a bulky build, Rodriguez lacks strong defensive fundamentals and is expected to move to second base, where he could become an average defender. He swings and misses too often and chases fastballs behind in the count. The Angels would like to see him become more consistent, which starts with improving his plate discipline. A November addition to the 40-man roster, Rodriguez is expected to spend most of 2008 at second base in Triple-A. Because of his bat, he profiles as a reliable utiltyman with some punch, and he could play his way into an everyday role if he reduces his empty swings.
One of the cheapest prospects on any list, Green turned down $80,000 from the Astros as an 11th-rounder out of high school only to sign with the Angels two years later for $1,500. He took home Double-A Texas League all-star honors last year before taking the series-ending loss in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. He took the biggest step forward of any Los Angeles prospect in 2007, earning a spot on the 40-man roster. Green pounds the zone with an 86-93 mph fastball, mid-70s curve and a dastardly changeup. His changeup graded as a 70 pitch for more than one TL scout, with late sink resembling that of a screwball. He works quickly, pitches to contact and is efficient, spotting his stuff to both sides of the plate. He repeats his simple yet deceptive delivery well. He's durable and hasn't missed a turn in his rotation in two years. Green doesn't have the upside of some of the Angels' bigger arms. He gets a lot of flyball outs and can be prone to homers. His fastball and changeup are not swing-and-miss pitches, and he already has maximized his feel for pitching. Green's sleeper status has expired, and he has a ceiling as a reliable No. 4 starter. He'll spend 2008 in the Triple-A rotation.
The Angels took a chance on Bourjos in the 10th round in 2005 and signed him for $325,000. On the second day of the 2007 season, he ruptured the ligament between the middle and ring finger on his left hand and fractured the ring finger taking a swing on a cold night. He tried to play with the injury before having surgery in May, missing more than two months. His father Chris played briefly in the majors and now scouts for the Brewers. Bourjos is an above-average runner who glides from gap to gap in the outfield with long, even strides and tremendous acceleration. He has a solid-average arm to complete the defensive package. He has plenty of bat speed and the makings of average power. He has good instincts and has made strides in his bunting and bat control, two elements he needs to add to his game. The biggest question on Bourjos is a big one: Will he hit? His approach vacillates from at-bat to at-bat, he's busy in his setup and he often lacks balance through his swing. His bad habit of drifting toward the pitcher, failing to keep his hands and weight back, makes him particularly vulnerable to offspeed stuff. Bourjos has the tools to impact the game in many ways while playing a premium position. The Angels were pleased with his showing in instructional league and should give him a shot at high Class A at some point in 2008.
The Angels originally signed de los Santos as a third baseman but decided to move him behind the plate during his second season in his native Dominican. He took to the position immediately, and adds to the organization's considerable depth behind the plate. De los Santos has the prototype tools package to be a premium defensive catcher. He's athletic and agile with quick-twitch muscles that allow him to bounce around behind the plate. He has a quiet setup, soft hands and sets a good, low target. His feet and arm action work efficiently during throws to second, and his throws have tremendous carry and hit their target. He nabbed 35 percent of basestealers last season and routinely records 1.78-1.80 second times from home to second base. He has solid-average bat speed and enough leverage to his swing to project to hit for at least average power. He's an average runner under way. Occasionally, de los Santos will take a smooth swing with balance and rhythm, but his approach at the plate is inconsistent and he doesn't repeat his swing. He'll chase breaking balls in the dirt and doesn't work counts well. He's primarily a pull hitter. De los Santos' prospect status is based largely on his defensive skills, so anything he contributes offensively will be a plus. He has athleticism and bat speed, so there's reason to believe he can develop into a .250-.265 hitter with 15-20 homers per year. He'll make his full-season debut this spring at Cedar Rapids.
The Angels have some of the best amateur scouts in the business, and before he was promoted to East Coast supervisor, Mike Silvestri signed Statia for $90,000 out of high school. Statia was born and raised in Curacao, and he earned best defensive player honors during the World Cup in Taiwan last fall, playing with the Netherlands. He took home the organization's same honor in 2007 as well. A live-body, high-energy player lauded for his makeup and attention to detail, Statia's modest offense and a general lack of strength keep him from being a premium prospect. He makes consistent contact and puts the ball in play. He's a better hitter from the left side of the plate, though his lefthanded swing can get long, and it's choppy from the right. His power is below-average, but he knows his game and can drive balls from gap to gap adequately. Statia's a below-average runner but goes first to third well, and his instincts help him have average range at shortstop. His actions are easy and loose, his hands are exceptional and he makes online throws with average arm strength. He profiles to hit at the bottom of an order, and his athleticism and defense could make him a valuable utilityman. He'll spend 2008 in Double-A.
The Angels had hoped for better things from Arredondo, whom they added to the 40-man roster following the 2006 season. They moved him to the bullpen last spring in an effort to accelerate his development. He racked up saves in eight out of his first nine opportunities in Double-A before being suspended and subsequently demoted for storming off the mound when he was pulled from a game in June. He spent the second half of the year in high Class A, and his maturation from former infielder to pitcher hasn't made much progress. His stuff is big--a well-above-average fastball that touched 97 and can sit near 94, deceptive power slider and splitter--but he doesn't have any feel for the craft. He overthrows, doesn't repeat his delivery and works deep in counts. This will be a crucial season for Arredondo, who remains on the 40-man roster. He should begin the season in Double-A.
Jung went from the talk of Angels instructional league in 2006 to a $1 million question mark by midseason. He was shut down after just three appearances in Rookie ball with elbow soreness, but general manager Tony Reagins said Jung's right forearm was the culprit. The organization was hopeful the arm trouble was just the residual effect of a heavy workload from Jung's high school career in Korea, which reportedly included one 242-pitch outing. When he's right, Jung has feel for three pitches and a relatively sound delivery. His fastball sits at 89-92 mph, but its life and movement make it even better. He ditched a split-finger fastball and curveball, and whittled his repertoire to a changeup and slider. His change has above-average deception with sinking action at 82 mph. Jung's slider sits near 83 mph with short, late tilt. He gets rotational in his delivery, which leads to below-average command. His body is thick and mature, which means he has little room for projection. His drop-and-drive delivery makes it difficult for him to maintain a downhill plane on his pitches. If he's healthy, Jung could climb to low Class A sometime in 2008.
When Mount made a late surge as a high school senior, the Angels drafted him in the second round and signed him for $615,000 in 2005. He was raw defensively and at the plate, but he had tools and projected to hit for power, and he has taken steps in fulfilling his promise. He injured his hamstring in spring training and just as he was starting to hit his stride at the plate, missed a month near midseason with an injured quadriceps muscle. An aggressive hitter with a penchant for squaring up the ball, Mount's best tool is his bat. He can really drop the bat head, with easy power from gap to gap that could translate to 20 homers a year in the big leagues. His approach must improve in order for him to reach that potential. He did a better job of controlling the strike zone last season but tends to get out front and swing and miss on offspeed stuff. He improved his approach and results against lefthanded pitchers (.172 in 2006, .254 in '07). He made the move from shortstop to second base last season and showed improvement defensively. He's not light on his feet, but his hands are adequate and he makes the routine play. He has plenty of arm strength to turn the backside of the double play. Mount is a fringe-average runner. He should spend this season in high Class A.
Phillips hails from the same suburban Atlanta high school (Redan) as former Angels great Wally Joyner and Rockies prospect Chris Nelson. His sister Porsha plays college basketball at Georgia, and his brother Brandon is the Reds' second baseman. Phillips has as much upside as anyone on this list, but he isn't progressing as quickly as the Angels would like. He finished a frustrating first full season with a 3-for-40 slide that capped a forgettable year in the Midwest League. Phillips will show plus-plus raw power and a smooth swing, but he's still learning how to hit. He has poor strike-zone discipline, which seems to stem from poor pitch recognition, among other things. He needs to sit back and let balls travel deeper. He also has a tendency to lock out his front leg, which causes him to pull off the ball and creates length in swing. He has good hands and a plus arm but doesn't read hops well and needs to improve his footwork. He's a fluid, solid-average runner, but his actions are a little long for a middle infielder. He also isn't finished filling out his long, lean frame, which means a move to third base is forthcoming. He could return to Cedar Rapids to begin 2008 and he remains a long way from being ready for the majors.
There was plenty of buzz in New Jersey about a high school prospect last spring, but the pitcher everyone wanted to see was Tigers first-rounder Rick Porcello, not Reckling. East Coast supervisor Mike Silvestri saw Reckling in tournaments in Florida and followed him last summer after the Angels took him in the eighth round. The Angels signed him away from his commitment to High Point for $123,300. A good athlete who also played on St. Benedict Prep's nationally ranked high school basketball team, Reckling is a little raw but has plenty of projection. He has a quick arm with a smooth delivery and high three-quarters arm slot. He'll flash three quality offerings and shows the early signs of feel for his craft. His fastball sits between 86-89 mph, touching 92. His curveball projects as above-average, with good spin and hard tilt. His changeup could be a third weapon. Pitching coordinator Kernan Ronan encouraged Reckling to pitch off his fastball instead of leaning on his breaking ball to get outs. Reckling tends to rush toward the plate, causing him to pitch uphill. Reckling could prove to be an eighth-round steal, and he'll begin his level-by-level ascent in Orem next season with a shot to pitch in Cedar Rapids with a strong spring training.
Sweeney's $75,000 signing bonus was a pittance considering the upside he offers at the plate. A standout football player in high school, Sweeney shed 30 pounds during his senior season in 2006 and got off to a blistering beginning in his first full professional season. He hit safely in his first 17 games, posting a .349/.324/.458 April before finishing fifth in the Midwest League with 18 home runs. Only Brandon Wood and Hank Conger rival Sweeney's thunder with the bat among Halos prospects. Balls fly off his barrel with loft and carry to all fields, and one scout described his approach as smart and fearless. He hit .272 with three homers off lefties. His aggressiveness often leads to empty swings. Sweeney gets rotational and has a habit of using his arms and shoulders too much during his swing. He's pull-happy at times, too. He doesn't run well and he's a rigid defender. Sweeney's .862 fielding percentage was the lowest of any of the league's regular third basemen, and he's more likely to break into the big leagues as a first baseman or DH. His solid-average arm will play fine wherever he winds up. He needs to make conditioning more of a priority, and Sweeney was sent home from instructional league for undisclosed reasons. He's ticketed for high Class A this season.
Evans' remarkable resurgence led him to the big leagues in June, and he homered in his first major league start. A career .239 hitter with 40 home runs in 398 games before 2006, Evans posted career highs in average (.309), homers (33) and stolen bases (37) between two levels and two organizations as a 24-year-old in 2006. He came over from the Cardinals for Jeff Weaver that summer, and fortified his reputation in 2007 during his first tour of Triple-A. Like Chris Pettit, Evans is a mature hitter with great makeup, but his tools and raw strength are better than Pettit's. He has good plate coverage and uses the entire field well. He shows plus power, and he understands that in order to drive the ball, he has to muscle it to the opposite field with his arms and upper body, because he doesn't have tremendous bat speed. Pitchers can bust Evans in with good fastballs, and he'll expand the strike zone and swing and miss on soft stuff as well. He's much better against lefthanders. An average defender with average speed, he takes good routes and hustles in the outfield. He has a solid-average, accurate arm. Evans is a good all-around player with juice in his bat. He doesn't profile as an everyday center fielder on a contending club, so his shot may have to come with another organization. There's no room for him in the Angels' crowded outfield, so he's ticketed for a return trip to Triple-A with a chance for a callup anytime.
Just one year removed from signing as a senior in the 19th round out of Loyola Marymount, Pettit enjoyed one of the minors' most surprising seasons in 2007, which earned him the organization's minor league player of the year award. He brings a gritty, gamer attitude to the park every day, with makeup that's off the charts. Comparisons range from Eric Byrnes to a poor man's Jason Bay. Pettit doesn't have a plus tool, but he does everything well. He has tremendous plate discipline and works counts in every at-bat. He has enough bat speed to drive balls out of the park in left and left-center field and could hit 10-14 home runs annually in the big leagues. He tends to work around the ball instead of through it, making him vulnerable to pitches away, and he's primarily a pull hitter. He's a fringe-average runner who doesn't cover enough ground to profile as an everyday center fielder, but he can handle all three outfield positions in a utility role. He did not make an error in 123 chances in high Class A last season, and his arm is average and accurate. Pettit put himself on the map last season, and he'll have a chance to climb to Double-A by midseason.
Browning's stock was at its highest when he was a sixth-round pick by the Red Sox out of high school in 2002. He didn't sign, and the Cubs drafted him in 2003 after he pitched at Middle Georgia Junior College. He again didn't sign and instead went to Florida State. He fell to the 38th round to the Rockies as a junior in 2005, went back to school and finally signed as a senior for $1,000 in the 28th round of the 2006 draft. Angels instructors improved the tempo of his delivery and got him more downhill. The results have been spectacular, as Browning dominated at times out of Cedar Rapids' bullpen last season, capping his season with 14 consecutive innings without an earned run. His fastball has plus run and life at 88-91 mph. His slurvy breaking ball is a second weapon, thanks largely to his ability to vary his arm slot and shape of the pitch. He works anywhere from three-quarters to low three-quarters, and the angle he creates makes him tough on lefthanders (.132 in 91 at-bats). His changeup is a serviceable third offering. Browning's command could improve, and he doesn't have an overpowering pitch. He holds runners well and has one of the best pickoff moves in the system. He profiles as a middle reliever, and at the least figures to serve as a lefty specialist. He'll open in high Class A but could jump to Double-A at midseason.
Atlanta controlled Tobin's rights for two years as a draft-and-follow, first at Western Nevada CC and later at Everett (Wash.) CC. The Braves never signed him, so the Angels drafted Tobin in the 16th round last June and signed him for $120,000. He ranked among the Rookie-level Arizona League's top prospects following a splendid debut. Tobin's fastball hums along at 89-92 mph with plus sink and occasional armside run. The ball jumps on hitters from his deceptive, low three-quarters arm slot. It will always be a challenge for him to stay on top of his slider from that slot, but he'll flash a hard slider with late bite occasionally. His changeup is a distant third offering for now. Concerns about Tobin's work ethic raised questions as an amateur. More than one club official commented on his intimidating demeanor on the mound in a positive way, however. He could make his full-season debut in low Class A provided he has a good showing this spring. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Thompson took a significant step forward last year after a couple of seasons when it looked like he had stagnated. He signed as a 17-year-old out of Australia in 2002, and spent parts of three seasons in high Class A before pitching in Double-A in 2006 and 2007. He helped Australia win a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and was named to the Futures Game last season after a phenomenal first half back in Double-A. He also appeared in the World Cup after the 2007 season. He opened the season in extended spring training with a sore shoulder, but by the end of April he was a regular in the Travelers bullpen and received a September callup to Anaheim. His fastball velocity spiked, reaching 94 mph at times with solid-average life. Thompson has always had feel for a plus breaking ball, and the low-70s downer has tight spin and 12-to-6 shape. He added a split-finger fastball to his repertoire, and throws a changeup. Thompson's bounced from the bullpen to the rotation, but his fastball plays up in shorter stints and he could become a reliable middle reliever or No. 5 starter. He'll compete for a big league bullpen job this spring.
Haynes was a two-way player who was used primarily as a center fielder in junior college before signing for $100,000 as a 2005 draft-and-follow. He's just scratching the surface of his potential, and he's unrefined overall. He missed two starts in Cedar Rapids rotation in May with a torn fingernail on his right hand and was shut down in mid-August with tendinitis in his right shoulder. Haynes has a great body, athleticism and arm strength. He reverted to a full windup in instructional league in 2006, and it improved his balance and ability to repeat his release point. He projects to pitch with at least average command, but he's erratic presently. In Cedar Rapids last season, for example, he tossed 17 consecutive innings without a walk, but also walked nine in two bookend starts. His bread and butter is his fastball, which has been up to 94 mph with plus sink. His out pitch is a hard curveball that has occasional two-plane break at 76-82 mph. His changeup is below-average, and he has a tendency to slow his arm on his offspeed stuff. He's a long way from being ready to contribute in the big leagues, but has all the tools to pitch at the back of a rotation or serve as a quality reliever. He'll spend 2008 in high Class A.
Bachanov's MySpace page was popular among area scouts heading into the 2007 draft, featuring his "countdown 'til I get paid" clock. The big righthander became the only player the Angels signed in the first three rounds when he received a $553,300 bonus as the 58th overall pick. His elbow flared up between his predraft outing in the Florida high school all-star game and his arrival at the Angels' facility in Arizona, however, and he never made it to the mound. His arm strength has always been evident, and he shows glimpses of greatness, like his 15-strikeout performance in the 6-A regional quarterfinals in May. Angels scouting director Eddie Bane and East Coast supervisor Mike Silvestri were at the game and watched him paint both corners with a 93-95 mph fastball that touched 96. Bachanov throws two breaking balls, and his low-80s slider has occasional plus break. He also has a curveball and changeup that could become usable offerings. His delivery improved last spring, but it's far from fluid, which leads to inconsistent command. He projects as a potential closer, but the Angels were hopeful he'd be healthy and make his debut as a starter this spring.
Wilson played on the same high school and summer league teams as Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman, whose father Tom signed him. Wilson's portly build and unorthodox swing mechanics make many scouts ambivalent about him, but he's got major league catch-and-throw tools and a track record of offensive performance. He missed most of May with a back injury last season but climbed to Triple-A for the final two months of the season. Wilson doesn't have a lightning-quick bat, but he has improved his approach and uses good hand-eye coordination to put his barrel on the ball consistently. He's at his best when he sprays line drives to all fields, but he gets pull-happy occasionally. He has a nose for the RBI and batted .387 with runners in scoring position in Triple-A last year. He's much more nimble behind the plate than his build would lead you to believe. His hands are soft, he has good range on balls in the dirt and he gets the most out of his average arm strength. He threw out at least 43 percent of basestealers in 2005 and '06 before erasing just 23 percent in Triple-A last year. He's a well-below-average runner. With Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli ahead of him, Wilson's probably stuck in Triple-A, but his package is better than Ryan Budde's, and he could be the next catcher on Kotchman's list of big league alumni in 2008.
The Angels shipped Alberto Callaspo to the Diamondbacks for Bulger before the 2006 season. He bounced back quickly from a shoulder injury and came to spring training in good shape. A late-rising converted third baseman whom Arizona drafted in the first round in 2001, Bulger became a reliable set-up man in Triple-A last season. When he's right, Bulger flashes two plus pitches in a fastball that reaches 96 mph and a hard slider. His slider has good, late tilt at times and grades as the best in the system. His command has long been his nemesis and grades as below-average. He doesn't repeat his delivery and tends to leave balls out of over the zone. His slider and changeup are inconsistent. At 29, Bulger has had three shots in the big leagues, and might get a fourth this year in spring training. He could pitch near the back of a bullpen if he ever learns how to harness his stuff.
Sometimes prospects from inland Southern California are able to fly under the radar, and Fish wasn't a consensus premium pick coming out high school in 2006. The Angels made him a sixth-round choice and signed him for $140,000. He followed an encouraging debut with an excellent season, finishing among Pioneer League leaders with 77 strikeouts in 72 innings and striking out 13 in eight innings in his lone playoff outing. His laborious, funky delivery was the main reason his stock wasn't higher as an amateur. He has a pronounced wrap in the back of his arm action that might make it hard for him to throw strikes, but he showed an ability to pitch to both sides of the plate with his 88-93 mph fastball that has plenty of deception. His breaking ball and changeup are not polished pitches, but he shows feel for them both, and occasionally his curveball shows two-plane break. Fish has a big, soft body, and he needs to take his conditioning seriously. He should hold down a spot in the Cedar Rapids rotation this season.
In a 2007 draft that was thin on competent college infielders, Romine might have been a steal in the fifth round. He's the son of former Arizona State all-American and seven-year major league outfielder Kevin Romine, and his brother Austin signed with the Yankees as a second-rounder last year. Andrew was drafted in the 36th round by the Phillies in 2004, but instead succeeded Dustin Pedroia as Arizona State's shortstop. Romine signed for $128,700 last June as a fifth-rounder. He's a high-energy player who has plus range, hands and actions to go along with the ability to make the spectacular play. His arm is plus and precise, prompting Angels scouting guru Tom Kotchman to say, "He probably has a bunch of stuffed animals at his house from winning stuff at the fair." Romine posted meager .300/.390/.380 numbers with a metal bat last spring in college, and his offensive package is modest. He sticks to the little-man's game well, showing plus barrel control and bunting skills. He needs to add strength, some of which he lost due to surgery in January 2006 to have a rib removed, and he doesn't drive the ball. His righthanded swing is littered with holes, while he stays inside the ball and shows some snap in his wrist from the left side. He batted .188/.188/.250 from the right side in his debut. Romine is a plus runner who goes from first to third well. His defense and mature approach make him a candidate to move quickly, though he'll never be much more than a No. 8 or 9 hitter in a big league lineup. He'll likely start the season in the Midwest League.
Trumbo was a premium two-way talent bound for Southern California when the Angels signed him for $1.425 million in the 18th round in 2004. Most scouts liked him better as a pitcher, but the Angels preferred him as a corner infielder because of his plus raw power. After a forgettable 2006 season, Trumbo returned to Cedar Rapids last year and showed significant improvement. When he gets his arms extended, he can launch balls out of the park with backspin. He tightened his two-strike approach in an effort to reduce his strikeouts. He worked diligently with hitting coordinator Todd Takayoshi to use the middle and right side of the field, something he still struggles to do. He's a slow-twitch player who doesn't have a lot of energy to his game, but an offseason agility program helped his footwork at first base, where he's a below-average defender. He doesn't run well. While Trumbo once had a plus arm, it's apparent his arm strength has waned since high school. Trumbo will get a taste of home with a season at Rancho Cucamonga on tap for '08.
There were more than a half-dozen prospects off the Arizona League team who received consideration for this Top 30 list. Fuller earned notice as a toolsy outfielder with some projection, though he was repeating the league at age 20. He was also learning how to switch-hit. Fuller has table-setting ability and top-of-the- order tools. He led the league with 55 runs and did a much better job of making consistent hard contact his second time through the league. Power isn't a major part of his game, but he he's strong enough to project to hit 10-14 home runs annually in the big leagues. He's a natural righthander and understandably struggles with his swing at times from the left side. He's a plus runner with above-average range in center field, and has shown the early signs of feel for the position. He has an average arm. Fuller had a lower back injury that hampered him in 2007, but he was expected to be ready to move to Cedar Rapids with a strong showing in spring training.
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