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Despite his athleticism, Trout's Northeast pedigree and reported $3.5 million price tag prompted clubs to hedge their bets on draft day in 2009. He waited until pick No. 25 to hear his name called by the Angels, signed for $1.215 million and has made the 22 teams that passed on him regret it ever since. Trout starred in the 2010 Futures Games in Anaheim, going 2-for-4 with a double, and then made his big league debut in the same ballpark less than a year later on July 8, 2011. Trout ranked as the top prospect in all four leagues he played in on his rapid climb up the minor league ladder. He won the batting and on-base percentage titles in the low Class A Midwest (2010) and Double-A Texas (2011) leagues, and he owns a career .338 average and .422 OBP in the minors. Trout capped his wild ride by winning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year honors in 2011, hitting .326/.414/.544 as the lone teenager in the Texas League. Strong, broad-shouldered and built like a football safety, Trout has a high baseball IQ and full-throttle approach that allow him to get the absolute most out of his tools, four of which grade as future plusses or better. He combines a rare blend of bat control, strike-zone management, blazing speed and burgeoning power. His running speed continues to garner the most initial attention. He gets down the first-base line in four seconds flat from the right side to grade as a true 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Some evaluators believe he may slow to merely a plus runner as he fills out, but others aren't so pessimistic. A dangerous hitter because of his balanced, quick swing and discerning eye, Trout also remembers how pitchers attack him and makes adjustments on the fly. Double-A hurlers had some success pounding him on the inner half with fastballs, but he avoided slumps by looking to drive the ball line to line and using the opposite field when necessary. Trout connected for a career-high 16 home runs in 2011 while playing in unforgiving home parks, and that total only will increase as he learns to turn on more fastballs in hitter's counts. Some scouts project Trout as an annual .300 hitter with 25-plus homers and 40-plus steals. He completes the five-tool picture with plus range in center field, where he reads the ball well off the bat, and an accurate, if only average, arm. Trout wore down as his season stretched into September, October and November for the first time. He went just 10-for-55 (.182) in 18 games for the Angels in September, then batted .245/.279/.321 in 25 Arizona Fall League games. Just 20, he could win most of the playing time in left field if Vernon Wells continues to freefall. Center field is out of the question so long as future Gold Glover Peter Bourjos roams that pasture. Regardless, Trout's offensive potential makes him a future all-star at any position.
After a broken ankle in 2009 and broken finger in 2009, Segura stayed healthy and showed electrifying tools during a 2010 breakout at low Class A Cedar Rapids. But the injury bug returned with a vengeance last year as he missed all but 44 games with a torn hamstring. The Angels still protected him on the 40-man roster in November. Segura matured as a hitter in 2011, demonstrating a willingness to use the entire field and a more patient approach that put him in hitter's counts more frequently. His strength and explosive, quick-twitch actions excite evaluators almost as much as his short, direct swing. His bat is lightning-quick, and he could consistently bat .290 with as many as 20 homers at his peak because he hits all types of pitches. Scouts regard Segura as an above-average runner, though they qualify that grade by describing his body type as "heavy-legged" or "thick." His arm also grades as plus, which prompted the Angels to move Segura from second base to shortstop last year. His hands and throwing accuracy probably won't play at the position longterm. He has average range at both spots. Segura has the arm strength to handle third base, but the Angels would like to keep him in the middle infield. He could play shortstop as he climbs to Double-A, but most expect that he'll man the keystone in the majors, and no later than 2013--if he stays healthy.
Despite his impressive arsenal of pitchers, Richards lasted 42 picks in the 2009 draft because he ran up a 6.57 ERA in three years at Oklahoma. He has experienced little resistance in the minors, going 27-8, 3.14 in three seasons. He ranked second in the Texas League in wins (12) and opponent average (.233) and third in ERA (3.15) and WHIP (1.14) last year. Richards learned to sacrifice strikeouts for early-contact outs in 2011. He pitches at 94-95 mph with a sinking, tailing two-seam fastball and holds that velocity all game. His four-seam fastball tops out near 99, and he likes to elevate the pitch for swinging strikes and popups. He de-emphasized his 12-to-6 curveball last season to focus on his 84-89 mph slider, which features power tilt and plus potential. Even his sinking, low-80s changeup has its moments. Richards throws across his body to such a degree that sometimes the life on his sinker and changeup are compromised. Improved fastball command and more faith in his changeup would boost Richard's ceiling to No. 2 starter, though a No. 3 profile is the most likely outcome. He allowed runs in six of his seven big league appearances, indicating a need for minor league time, probably at Triple-A Salt Lake at the outset of 2012.
Signed for $150,000 as a 16th-round selection in 2008, Hellweg walked 129 batters in his first 122 pro innings, most as a reliever. He took off after the Angels shifted him to the rotation at high Class A Inland Empire last June, recording a 2.12 ERA and 80-24 K-BB ratio in 14 starts. Starting every fifth day allowed Hellweg to work on improving his direction to the plate and repeating his arm path during side sessions. Pacing himself also forced him to throttle back his fastball a bit, resulting in dramatically better control. With an effortless delivery, Hellweg tops out near 100 mph and sits at 95-97 with his fastball, which features late sink that induces plenty of grounders. He has improved the command of his low-80s breaking ball, which more often resembles a slider with plus lateral break but occasionally morphs into a knee-buckling curve when he stays on top of the pitch. He tends to throw a changeup with too much velocity, and he used it only sparingly in 2011. Tall and skinny, Hellweg still is growing into his frame and velocity, but if he holds onto his control gains he has No. 2 starter potential. The Angels added him to the 40-man roster in November and Double-A awaits in 2012.
Cron hit .434 at Utah and led NCAA Division I with an .803 slugging percentage in 2011 while contending with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The 17th overall pick in June, he signed quickly for $1.467 million and mashed 13 homers in 34 games at Rookie-level Orem before dislocating his right kneecap during a swing. Offseason surgery cleaned up both his shoulder and knee maladies. Cron's plus-plus power could translate to 30 homers at his peak. His bat stays on the same plane as the ball, which prevents him swinging uphill and compromising power for the sake of loft. He uses the whole field and makes adjustments well enough to hit .280 in the big leagues. Pioneer League managers weren't sold on his ability to handle hard stuff inside, though he was considerably dinged up when they saw him. A catcher at Utah prior to his shoulder trouble, Cron projects as an adequate first baseman with an average arm. He's a bottom-of-the-scale runner. Cron's thick, bulky physique turns off some scouts, but nobody will complain as long as he realizes his massive power potential. He could finish the 2012 season in Double-A if he hits the ground running in high Class A.
Most teams preferred Cowart, the Baseball America 2010 High School Player of the Year, as a pitcher, but the two-way standout aspired to hit. The Angels acceded to his wishes and signed him for $2.3 million as the 18th overall pick in 2010. He began the 2011 season by going 18-for-33 (.545) in his first nine games at Orem but batted .248/.312/.388 the rest of the way. Cowart hits with authority to all fields with plus bat speed, but the natural righthanded hitter still isn't comfortable with his lefty stroke. He lacks the same seamless weight transfer and fluidity with his hands while batting lefthanded, resulting in a muscular, loopy swing. He did hit for power in equal measures from both sides at Orem, actually producing a higher average as a lefty (.295) than as a righty (.247). Scouts expect he'll mature into plus power, though he'll need to improve his selectivity to hit for average. Cowart's athleticism and first-step quickness stand out at third base, though he racked up 16 errors in 66 games, most of them on throws when he failed to set his feet. His plus-plus arm strength affords him plenty of time to make plays on any ball he keeps in front of him. Assuming he refines his lefty swing, Cowart profiles as a starting-caliber third baseman. He's ready for an assignment to low Class A but might need three or four more years to fully develop.
The Angels bucked consensus when they drafted Lindsey 37th overall and signed him for $873,000 in 2010, but he validated that selection by winning Rookie-level Pioneer League MVP honors a year later. He led the league runs (64), hits (105), doubles (28) and extra-base hits (43) while ranking second in batting (.362) and third in slugging (.593). Lindsey ought to continue to hit for high averages with his buggy-whip lefty stroke, especially after learning to take the outside pitch to left field last season. He makes steady contact against both lefties and righties. The Angels love Lindsey's hitting makeup, comparing him to Howard Kendrick because he remains on an even keel whether he collects four hits in a game or none. Lindsey's low hand position and leg kick disrupt his timing against offspeed pitches at times, though he's able to compensate with strong hand-eye coordination. Scouts expect him to grow into average power as he fills out his wiry frame and learns to incorporate his lower half. He's an average defender at second base who ranges well to both sides, though his arm and speed are fringy at best. Lindsey will have to prove his aggressive approach will play at higher levels. He could reach the majors in three years and serve as a top-of-the-order hitter. His journey will continue in low Class A in 2012.
In his 2010 pro debut, Tillman led Pioneer League relievers with 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings and a .195 opponent average. The Angels attempted to stretch him out as a starter in low Class A last year, and he went 2-1, 3.09 in five turns. They believe his intensity is better suited for closing, so they returned him to the bullpen for good on May 22. He logged a 2.52 ERA and a 52-20 K-BB ratio afterward in the Midwest, California and Arizona Fall leagues. Tillman pitches with a 92-95 mph fastball with above-average sink and backs it up with a 78-80 mph slider that finishes low in the zone. He delivers both plus pitches with the same motion and the same three-quarters arm slot, adding to their deception. He improved the depth and power on his slider in the AFL, regularly topping out near 84 mph. Tillman has flashed an average changeup from time to time, but he lacks confidence in the pitch because he has spent the bulk of his amateur and pro career in the bullpen. He'll need to throw more strikes at higher levels. Tillman's quick arm and two quality pitches make him a candidate to ride quickly through the minors. He could open 2012 in Double-A and finish 2013 in the big leagues, eventually emerging as a set-up man.
Signed as a 17-year-old, Pena spent three years in Rookie ball and has pitched just four innings above Class A in five pro seasons. After he ranked second in the high Class A California League with 180 strikeouts last year, he earned a place on the Angels' 40-man roster in November. Pena always has shown plus velocity on his fastball and slider, but his shaky command has held him back. He sits at 92-94 mph with his sinker and touches 98 with his four-seamer, showing explosive life when he stays on top of the ball. He throws a hard, late slider at 82-86 mph, getting both called strikes and swings and misses. He flashes a fringy changeup in the low 80s but lacks consistent feel for it. Though he's big and durable, Pena's delivery features enough effort to prompt some scouts to project him as a reliever. He leaves too many pitches up and to his arm side. He jabs at the back of his arm stroke and often loses balance in his delivery, causing his arm to rush to catch up with the rest of his body. Pena can be nearly unhittable when his fastball and slider are working, but he'll have to cut his walk rate (5.3 per nine innings in full-season leagues) to remain a starter. He'll begin 2012 in Double-A.
Maronde ran up a 6.15 ERA and lost his rotation spot as a Florida sophomore but rebounded to pitch well in relief in 2011 as the Gators finished runner-up at the College World Series. He signed for $309,600 as a third-round pick and went to the Pioneer League, where he ranked as the top pitching prospect. Maronde returned to starting at Orem, showing above-average velocity, size and the potential for three pitches. He relied heavily on his fastball in college and carried that trend into pro ball, ranging from 90- 95 mph and sitting at 92-93 with strong command. He comes right at batters with an up-tempo delivery and has added movement to his four-seam fastball since turning pro. He also improved on a two-seamer that sometimes sinks so dramatically that it resembles a splitter. Maronde flashes an 80-85 mph slider with late break that's untouchable at its best. His fringy changeup plays down because it arrives at the same velocity as his slider. Some scouts project Maronde as a reliever because his strengths lean more toward power than pitchability. The Angels were impressed with his willingness to learn, however, and plan to develop him as a starter. He could jump straight to high Class A for his first full pro season.
Moore also starred in football, basketball and track in high school, so his baseball skills were unrefined when the Angels drafted him in the sixth round in 2005. He went through the minors one level at a time, and his climb reached its summit with a big league callup last September. He served mostly as a pinchrunner and defensive replacement, going 1-for-8, but did start the season finale. Moore batted .318/.353/.614 with 12 of his 15 homers in June, July and August last year, after a similar second-half surge with Double-A Arkansas in 2010. He saw more pitches in 2011 but still strikes out too much. Moore may never be more than a fringy hitter because he struggles to transfer weight to the front side of his swing, collapsing his backside and creating an uphill bat path. His best tool is plus-plus speed, as evidenced by a minor league-leading 18 triples last year, which also testifies to his average power. He's still learning to steal bases and was caught 10 times in 31 tries in 2011. He's a solid defender in center field who would be stretched as an everyday right fielder because he has a fringy arm. Moore has hit .258 against lefthanders in Double-A and Triple-A, but if spotted against righties in the big leagues he could forge a career as a reserve outfielder because of sturdy supporting tools.
Jimenez conquered three levels of the minors in the past two seasons to earn a place on the Angels' 40-man roster in November. He lost the 2009 season to a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder but recovered to reach Double-A in 2011, where he played a career-high 101 games at third base. Jimenez smacked 18 homers and led the Texas League with 40 doubles, but scouts aren't convinced his power will play at higher levels because he's such a free swinger. He gives away too many at-bats now to project more than average power. He does have a quick, smooth stroke, makes enough contact and hits breaking balls well enough, so he should maintain a solid average. His plate coverage makes him dangerous in RBI situations, and he drove in 94 runs to rank second in the TL. Jimenez has recovered his arm strength, but he's a heavy-footed, fringy defender who makes only the routine plays at third base. He'll begin 2012 in Triple-A and could serve as a big league bridge from Alberto Callaspo to 2010 first-rounder Kaleb Cowart.
Martinez rocketed to No. 6 on this list two years ago on the strength of a mid-90s fastball and gaudy strikeout numbers. He carried elevated strikeout and walk ratios to low Class A in 2010 but missed the final month of the season with shoulder tendinitis. The injury lingered into 2011, and he spent most of the season on the disabled list while attempting to rebuild strength in his shoulder. He returned to action in the Rookie-level Arizona League on Aug. 17, but a comebacker broke a bone in his ankle in just his second relief appearance. He missed instructional league as a result. In a system chock full of hard throwers, Martinez stands out when he's at his best. Using a high arm slot, he throws a 90-96 mph fastball that touches 98. He pairs his heater with a low-80s slider that features extreme horizontal tilt. Martinez pitches to the radar gun and shows little feel for changing speeds, so he hasn't fully embraced a changeup. Busy, hard-to-repeat mechanics do his control and command no favors. Rather than risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft, the Angels added Martinez to the 40-man roster in November. Because he hasn't been at full strength since July 2010, a full and healthy season in high Class A in 2012 would be an accomplishment. Los Angeles hasn't given up on him as a starter, but his power stuff and lack of control and durability eventually may lead him to the bullpen, where he has upside as a closer.
In Ric Wilson's first draft as Angels scouting director in 2011, the club took several big arms with short track records, with Mutz serving as the prime example. He didn't pitch during the spring after leaving Dakota State (S.D.), an NAIA program, following the 2010 season. Working off a tip, Los Angeles worked him out prior to the draft, selected him in the ninth round and signed him for $100,000 in late July after following him in the Cape Cod League. The Angels see Mutz developing as a starter, though they plugged him into Orem bullpen last summer. He ranges from 93-95 mph with his fastball and throws a darting slider that has the makings of a plus pitch. Mutz's arm action is loose and he locates his pitches well down in the zone, especially after the Orem coaching staff helped him streamline his mechanics. He toned down a max-effort delivery and eliminating a head snap. He shows only a rudimentary feel for a changeup, so softening that pitch and improving his fastball command top his to-do list for 2012. Mutz bounced back quickly from multi-inning relief outings, so Los Angeles believes he can handle a starting job in low Class A.
Witherspoon helped propel Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) JC to the Junior College World Series in 2009, then signed for $100,000 as a 12th-round draft pick. The Angels had questions about his ability to hit for average, but they took a chance because they like his speed and defensive ability. Among players in the organization, only big leaguer Peter Bourjos can surpass Witherspoon's plus-plus range and instincts in center field. His arm strength is average. Witherspoon puts his speed to good use on the bases, too. He has 76 steals in 88 career attempts, good for an 86 percent success rate. Witherspoon has the athleticism and bat speed to factor as an offensive player if he shortens his swing and enhances his pitch recognition. He gets in the habit of uppercutting the ball, and Los Angeles would prefer that he level his swing and focus on line drives while showing more willingness to take the ball to the opposite field. Witherspoon works as hard as any Angels prospect and should be at least a reserve outfielder in the big leagues. He got a taste of high Class A during the last two weeks of 2011 and will pick up there this season.
Clevinger transferred from The Citadel following his freshman year to attend Seminole State (Fla.) JC, returning him closer to his Jacksonville home and making him eligible for the 2011 draft. He also shifted from the rotation to the bullpen, where he racked up 52 strikeouts in 32 innings as a closer for the Trojans. The Angels grabbed Clevinger in the fourth round and signed him for $250,000 in mid-August following his successful run in the Cape Cod League, where he fanned 25 in 20 innings. Clevinger showed high-end velocity in three brief relief outings for Orem, ranging from 92-96 mph. He backed his fastball with a plus hard slider and a changeup that has shown flashes of excellence. He missed instructional league with arm fatigue. Clevinger could move quickly as a reliever, but Los Angeles hasn't ruled out the prospect of starting. He joins sixth-rounder Austin Wood and ninth-rounder Nick Mutz as power righthanders from the 2011 draft who don't have a lot of mileage on their arms. All three could begin the 2012 season together in low Class A.
Grichuk led the Arizona League with 76 hits after signing for $1.242 million as the 24th overall pick in the 2009 draft, but little has gone right for him since. Injuries have limited him to just 117 games in the last two years. He lost time in 2010 when he tore a ligament in his right thumb in early May and broke his wrist when he ran into an outfield wall in August. His 2011 season got off on the wrong foot when he fouled a ball off his kneecap and cracked it in spring training, and then he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his other knee during a slide in extended spring. He returned to action on July 10 and climbed to high Class A to finish the year. When healthy, Grichuk shows the plus bat speed and strong wrists that got him drafted in the first round, but he needs at-bats to learn to identify breaking balls and iron out his plate discipline. He has the raw pop to hit 25-30 homers annually in the big leagues. Grichuk entered pro ball as a one-dimensional slugger, and he has worked hard to improve his arm strength and defense in right field. Both now grade as average, as does his baserunning. With a clean bill of health, Grichuk is ready to tackle the California League for real in 2012.
The Angels tabbed Bedrosian, the son of 1987 National League Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian, with the 29th pick in the 2010 draft and signed him for $1.116 million. Elbow soreness knocked him out of action only a month after signing, and he also missed out on instructional league. Rest and rehab didn't work, so Bedrosian had Tommy John surgery in May after failing to take the hill during spring training. When healthy, Bedrosian pumps 92-94 mph fastballs and touches 96, a testament to a quick arm and impressive lower-body strength. At 6 feet he's on the short side for a righthander, but he repeats his delivery and throws a hard slider that chews up righthanders. As with many high school pitchers, Bedrosian's changeup lags behind his other offerings, but the Angels saw enough promise with the pitch to project him as a starter. He's expected to be healthy in time for spring training, but he may stay behind in extended spring until Rookie leagues begin play in June.
Amarista slashed, bunted and ran his way into the Angels' plans in 2009, hitting .319 to win the low Class A Midwest League batting title. He hasn't replicated those gaudy numbers in two years since, but he did earn his first big league callup last April 25. He filled in for injured utilityman Maicer Izturis, who like Amarista hails from Venezuela and is listed at 5-foot-8. Amarista profiles as a lesser version of Izturis because he lacks the veteran's defensive versatility and ability to switch-hit. He has the hands and range to handle the middle infield, but his fringy arm strength fits best at second base. He played every outfield position for Triple-A Salt Lake last season as the Angels broadened his defensive portfolio. Amarista could stand to tighten his strike zone and not give away as many at-bats, but he likes to jump on the first fastball he can handle. His power grades out well-below-average, his swing can get loopy and he doesn't hit the ball the other way well. He's an average runner who draws praise for his high energy level and all-out hustle. Los Angeles sees Amarista as a pesky, offensive-oriented backup who can play four or five positions. He'll head back to Triple-A to wait for his next callup.
Calhoun batted .321/.478/.616 with 17 homers in 224 at-bats as an Arizona State senior in 2010 and lasted until the eighth round of the draft because his maxed-out physique left little room for projection. Signed for $36,000, he jumped straight to high Class A in 2011 and hit .324/.410/.547 with 64 extra-base that ranked third in the California League. Calhoun wins admirers not for his raw tools but for his blue-collar approach, plate discipline and professionalism. He sees his share of pitches and knows what he can handle, seldom missing a pitch he can drive. He's confident and doesn't dwell on bad at-bats. Scouts who believe in Calhoun say he compensates for fringy bat speed with a strong, leveraged swing, but he'll still probably be better suited to a reserve role than a starting job. He provides at least average range on the outfield corners and at first base, and his plus arm strength is a good match for right field. Though he grades out as a below-average runner, he swiped 20 bases in 30 tries last year because of strong instincts. He also played 22 games in center field, though a big league team probably would have a better option. Calhoun will head to Double-A in 2012.
Ramirez drew physical comparisons to Bengie Molina coming out of Arizona State, and he has improved his defensive play to the point that he now profiles as a major league backup. Scouts like Ramirez's quiet set-up, soft hands, sure feet and quick, short arm stroke. He sacrifices his body to block balls in the dirt, and he regularly produces above-average pop times on throws to second base, typically around 1.8-1.9 seconds. However, he threw out just 24 percent of basestealers in 2011. He moves well behind the plate despite poor speed and a thick, stocky frame. Ramirez shows pull-side power when he cheats on fastballs, but he lacks the bat speed to be a factor on offense. He knows his strike zone and seldom goes outside it, usually connecting when he swings. He hits the ball to all fields with a line-drive stroke, though he may struggle to hit for average or draw walks when pitchers at higher levels challenge him with hard stuff. Ramirez will return to Double-A.
Reckling won Angels minor league pitcher of the year honors when he raced to Double-A as a 19-year-old in 2009, but his 2.93 ERA with Arkansas obscured his walk rate of 5.0 per nine innings. Since then, little has gone right. He has spent the bulk of the past two seasons attempting to tame the Texas League, with mixed results. He didn't pitch after July 11 last year because of a strained elbow ligament. Reckling's fastball has lost velocity since its 2009 peak, and he now sits at 86-88 mph and touches 90 with solid downhill plane and dramatically improved command. Because his fastball is now fringy, he lives and dies with the quality of his secondary stuff. His mid-70s slider induces swings and misses with its late break. His fading changeup rates as his best pitch, in part because his herky-jerky delivery deceives batters. Reckling experimented with different arm angles last year in an effort to recover velocity. Even if his days of working in the low 90s are history, he still may have a future as a reliever. He could start 2012 in Triple-A if his elbow is healthy.
Roach won three Nevada state championships at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas and attended Arizona as a college freshman before transferring to JC of Southern Nevada for the 2010 season. After he ran up a 6.04 ERA in his 2010 pro debut, the Angels worked on streamlining his mechanics, softening his landing and improving his direction to the plate. He turned in a strong full-season debut with Cedar Rapids in 2011, showing three pitches and finishing second in the minors among qualified relievers with a 3.6 groundout/ airout ratio. Roach sits at 90-92 mph with his fastball, which lives at the bottom of the strike zone. His slurvy breaking ball features high-70s velocity and late tilt at times. Instead of a traditional changeup, he shows strong feel for a splitter. Roach loses control in some outings because his busy delivery can be difficult to repeat. With three pitches and a taste of pro success under his belt, he'll move to the rotation in high Class A this season.
Wood pitched Cotuit to the Cape Cod League championship in 2010 while leading the circuit in opponent average (.144), ranking second in ERA (0.74) and hitting 99 mph in the all-star game. He's never demonstrated that type of ceiling at any other stop, however. A 36th-round pick of the Astros out of high school in 2008, Wood struggled at Florida State in 2009 and pitched his way out of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC rotation in 2010. The Rays drafted him in the fourth round anyway but failed to sign him after his big summer. Wood transferred again, to Southern California, where he went just 5-7, 5.61 as a junior last spring. The Angels spent a sixth-round pick and $180,000 to see if they can help him harness his stuff. Wood pitches at 92-96 mph with his fastball, which gets hit harder than it should because it's fairly straight, and he lacks another pitch to keep opponents honest. His changeup regressed after he made progress with it on the Cape, and his breaking ball is slurvy. His control is as inconsistent as his secondary pitches. Los Angeles will initially use Wood as a starter, though it's not a given that he's ready to succeed in low Class A in 2012.
Romine's younger brother Austin made his big league debut with the Yankees in September, a year after Andrew first appeared in the majors with the Angels. Their father Kevin spent seven seasons in the big leagues with the Red Sox. Andrew has strong middle-infield defensive skills with average range, speed and arm strength at shortstop, but he hasn't grown much as an offensive player. He hits for a decent average, draws walks and steals his share of bases, but his power is nonexistent. He slugged .346 in extremely hitter-friendly conditions in Salt Lake last year. He comes up short in strength and bat speed, rarely squaring up the ball. His saving grace is that he's a switch-hitter who can handle the bat from the left side, reaching base at a .371 clip as a lefty during the past two seasons in the minors. Romine could fit with a club that needs a proficient defender to back up shortstop as well as second and third base, but his below-average bat limits his ceiling. He'll team up with Alexi Amarista in the Salt Lake middle infield again in 2012.
Arenas and Ariel Pena both began the 2010 season in the Cedar Rapids rotation before their paths diverged. Arenas rocketed to high Class A after nine starts and spent all of 2011 in Double-A, yet the Angels didn't add him to the 40-man roster. Pena, on the other hand, stayed in high Class A in last year but did get protected on the 40-man. The key reason: Pena generates swings and misses with his power fastball and slider, while Arenas lacks an out pitch. Arenas sits at 91-93 mph with plus sinking and tailing action on his fastball. He throws from an easy delivery with a clean arm action that allows him to throw strikes consistently. His sinker would play up with improved secondary stuff, but he throws a spinning slider that hangs as often as it bites. His changeup is too firm and in the same mid-80s range as his slider, so Los Angeles taught him a splitter in instructional league to give him a weapon versus lefthanders. They hit .309/.353/.489 against him last year. The Angels haven't given up on Arenas, but his upside appears to be No. 5 starter or middle reliever.
Shoemaker wasn't drafted out of high school in Trenton, Mich., or in four years at Eastern Michigan, even though he was on scouts' radar after solid summer league performances. He waited another four years to create a ripple in pro ball, winning Angels minor league pitcher of the year honors in 2011. He won the Texas League ERA title at 2.48 and led the league in strikeouts (129), WHIP (1.07), opponent average (.228) and complete games (five) as well. After signing as a nondrafted free agent, he takes nothing for granted and is all business on the mound. Shoemaker attacks hitters with three pitches, though none grades better than solid. His fastball ranges from 87-93 mph and parks at 90, featuring a little life and tailing action. He tries to get lefthanders to chase a low-80s splitter under the zone, and he locates the pitch for strikes as well. His slider shows consistent three-quarters break but not a lot of power at 81-82 mph. He has touched 95 mph in short bursts, which combined with command of his splitter and slider could land him in a major league swingman role. The Angels have tried to bump Shoemaker to Triple-A during the past two seasons, but he hasn't cleared the hurdle. He'll get another shot in 2012.
The Padres took Schugel in the 33rd round of the 2007 draft as a third baseman out of a Colorado high school but didn't sign him. The Angels drafted him in the 25th round three years later and persuaded him to take up pitching full-time after giving him a $40,000 bonus. His father Jeff serves as a pro scout for the club. Schugel pitched sparingly at Central Arizona JC, though he did sit at 92 mph in bullpen sessions. He shows surprising polish for a recently converted pitcher and throws two pitches that project as at least average. Schugel's 89-93 mph fastball features above-average sink and sneaky life, and a clean delivery helps him find the strike zone. His slurvy breaking ball resembles a slider but often lacks definition, while he's still gaining confidence in his below-average changeup. Schugel began 2011 in the Cedar Rapids bullpen and pitched his way into the rotation in mid-June, going 2-2, 2.48 in 12 starts. He continued as a starter after a mid-August promotion to high Class A, where he'll begin the 2012 season.
Brasier converted from high school catcher to junior college pitcher at Weatherford (Texas) JC, and the Angels made him a sixth-round pick and signed him for $123,000 in 2007. He worked as a starter in the second half of 2009 and in 2010, throwing a no-hitter in the latter season, but he has spent the bulk of his time in pro ball lighting up radar guns out of the bullpen. Brasier ranges from 92-96 mph and attacks batters with a tailing, sinking fastball that he delivers from a short, quick arm stroke. Brasier did a better job of extending through the front side of his delivery in 2011, getting better location down in the zone. Brasier also has a power slider that often features short, late break away from the sweet spot of opponents' bats. He seldom throws his below-average changeup and doesn't need it in relief. While he finds the strike zone frequently, Brasier still misses his spots often enough to limit his ceiling to that of middle reliever. He'll open the season back in Salt Lake.
Van Mil pitched a career-high 66 innings in 2011 and turned in his best performance at the Double-A level, but that wasn't enough for him to preserve his spot on the 40-man roster. The Angels outrighted him to the minors in November, and he went unselected in the Rule 5 draft. Los Angeles acquired Van Mil from the Twins in September 2010 for Brian Fuentes. Staying healthy has been a significant obstacle for Van Mil, who at 7-foot-1 is the tallest player in the pro ranks and would surpass the 6-foot-11 Jon Rauch as the tallest in major league history if he makes that jump. Van Mil's stratospheric release point affords him steep plane on his pitches, but his long levers also create problems repeating his delivery. He began to find the strike zone more consistently last year. Van Mil's fastball sinks and tails at 91-93 mph, and batters struggle to square the pitch up. His slurvy slider and sinking changeup both range from 80-84 mph and grade as average when his delivery is in sync. Van Mil has a lot to prove in Triple-A this year.
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