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Angels Prospects

Moderator: Josh Boyd compiled the Angels top prospects list, and will answer questions about the organization at 3 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Keno Leighty from Vancouver, WA asks:
Good afternoon Josh and thanks again for putting the list together. My question is concerning Mathis who had equal if not slightly better stats then Mauer in the same league, on par in defense, and about the same age. Why is he not given the ³love² like Mauer? Where would you rate Mathis in relation to the other top Cıs in the minor leagues?

Josh Boyd: OK, gotta love getting started with a question from my old stomping grounds. Hazel Dell represent. There are tons of questions already on the board. Thanks to everyone for submitting questions, and to those of you who are just checking in to read the Top 10 list and the chat.

Josh Boyd: Keno, when you project Mauer, we're talking about a potential superstar, a unique catcher with plus tools all over the place. Mathis really isn't far behind, and when I ranked the prospects by position, I actually thought I went out on a limb giving Mathis so much love by ranking him right behind Mauer and Indians hitting machine Victor Martinez. Mathis is still underrated on the whole, but not here at the BA prospect headquarters.

 Q:  Sarub Khalsa from Pasadena, CA asks:
How does the Angels top prospects match up with the rest of the league's?

Josh Boyd: Hi Sarub, I believe the Angels prospect depth stacks up as one of the five best in baseball right now. Their scouting and player development staffs have done a tremendous job in recent years. Their 2001 draft could go down as one of the best with Kotchman, Mathis and Dallas McPherson leading the way. This year's isn't too shabby either, with possible late-round gems in Nick Touchstone, Scott Hindman, James Holcomb and Ronnie Ray on top of Joe Saunders.

 Q:  Manolo from San Juan asks:
Aside from casey Kotchman, who has the best bat in the organization (ie. the potential to be a star hitter at the MLB level). Also, do you think Jenks will be an #1 type starter. Mind you I'm asking "will he be" not "can he be"...

Josh Boyd: First Jenkity-Jenks question of the day! I understand your point, but that's the big question with him. Nobody knows for sure, because he's certainly not a "can't miss" prospect. I believe in Jenks, but I would not say he will be a #1, because I believe there is only a handful for true No. 1's in the majors. I could see him becoming a solid No. 2 if everything falls into place. Some people would argue there is little difference between a No. 1 and 2, but I think Jenks' command will prevent him from being a true ace. After Kotchman, Dallas McPherson has the best bat in the org.

 Q:  jacob from maryland asks:
Thanks a lot for the chat Josh. I don't see anything about Chone Figgins anywhere yet his numbers last year were excellent and then the angels used him in the playoffs for his speed. Does he have a chance to become a regular in the big leagues or are the angels just planning on using him as a utility player?

Josh Boyd: Figgins isn't considered a sure-fire prospect. Most scouts believe his limited offensive capabilities combined with his speed will lead to a career as a utility infielder. He can play short, but he is suited for second baseman.

 Q:  Marty Reinhardt from Coral Springs, FL asks:
Is SS Tommy Murphy still considered a prospect?

Josh Boyd: Yes. Murphy has the tools and he came on in the second half. He's only been switch-hitting for two years. He is a tremendous natural athlete with above-average speed and arm strength. I think next season will be a pivotal one, he needs to prove he can hit. He's already 23 and spent last year in low Class A. He'll still be in the top 30 because scouts love him.

 Q:  Brian Smith from Pasadena asks:
Would Johnny Raburn have been close to the top ten had the Angels not unloaded him in the Ochoa trade. His willingness to draw a walk (.397 obp), his speed, and the fact he's a switch hitting shortstop seemed to bode well for the Angels, who have almost no prospects at that position.

Josh Boyd: Raburn would have been around 20, moving up a few slots from the previous season. He has no power and is probably more of a second baseman. The Angels also have Alfredo Amezaga, Tommy Murphy and promising Eric Aybar at short.

 Q:  James from Southwest asks:
Hello, My uncle is a Professional Baseball Scout and he says that a Young Man Named Johan Santana has some of the best raw stuff he has ever saw. What are your thoughts on this young up and coming pitcher?

Josh Boyd: Johan Santana is a Stud. He could be better than Francisco Rodriguez down the road, because he has the stuff and better command. Santana is still growing and has a sound delivery and quick arm action.

 Q:  Herbert from Kittle asks:
Will the Angles ever move Rodriguez back to the rotation or are they going to let his great talents go to waste in the bullpen?

Josh Boyd: Waste? Rodriguez wouldn't have been in the majors, he wouldn't be their No. 1 prospect and you probably wouldn't know his name if you didn't read BA, had the Angels not moved him to the pen. His slight build, cross-body delivery and injury-history forced him to the pen, where he could just use two dominant pitches. He likely wouldn't hold up for more than two innings, and his fastball and slider certainly wouldn't be what they are in a one-inning role.

 Q:  Grizzly from Montana asks:
Is D Turnbow a lock to make the Angels this season if healthy? If so, how do they plan to use him?

Josh Boyd: No. Unless he goes to spring training and just dominates. More likely, he'll need to prove he can stay healthy for a longer period of time. The Angels are pretty set with short relievers--Percy, K-Rod, Donnelly and Weber. Turnbow will always be limited to a one-inning role, though. He has a chance to be like Matt Anderson, and could be used as interesting trade bait at some point. Turnbow ended the AFL with some stiffness in his arm too. He'll be monitored closely.

 Q:  Dirk from Pleasant Grove, UT asks:
Josh, Where would you rank Alberto Callaspo, Quan Cosby, and Erick Aybar? Are they legitimate prospects?

Josh Boyd: They will all rank in the top 30, with Cosby ranking the highest of the three. They are legit prospects, but we need to see how they hold up over the course of a 140-game season. Cosby made tremendous strides in the second half last year.

 Q:  Chuck Richter from Mission Viejo, CA asks:
Where do you see Rob Quinlan playing in 2003? Do you think he has enough talent to move Salmon over to DH and have him take over the RF spot. Thank you

Josh Boyd: Quinlan can hit. He's proven it everywhere, every year. He hit in college, better than .400, he won the MVP in a summer wood bat league after his junior season and he's continued to hit in the pros. He'll get a long look in spring training with Brad Fullmer out of the picture. He's not a great outfielder, though neither is Salmon. I could see Quinlan getting 350-400 at-bats between outfield, DH and maybe first base.

 Q:  Red from Huntington Beach, CA asks:
With Glaus locked in at third and Kotchman the heir apparent at first, where does that leave Dallas McPherson? Do the Angels project moving him to the OF, or maybe 2b?

Josh Boyd: McPherson will stay at third for now, but scouts worry about his footwork there. I think he'll end up in right field down the road; he'll be too big for second and it doesn't sound like his defense would work any better there.

 Q:  Sean from Irvine, CA asks:
This is what another minor league analyst said after Jenksı 2002 AFL performance: ³If history is any guide, there's a good chance he'll blow his arm out before he masters his profession. What he's doing in Arizona is nice, but he's pitching against competition that is both tired and bored². Do you agree with his assessment? Is there any history supports that hard-throwers like Jenks is prone to blow out his arm disregarding his sound pitching mechanics, easy arm actions and large frame? Do you think his AFL performance is a indication that he is making progress at gaining control of his pitches or itıs just a illusion for us Angels fan and he is still far off? Thanks!

Josh Boyd: I saw that comment, and was trying to figure out what history showed that. Since I'm not sure what he was referring to, I'll tell you why I don't think there's a "good chance" he will blow it out. First, he has a clean delivery and throws into the upper-90s with very little effort. Whether the AFL hitters are just tired and bored, which is quite a generalization to make over an entire league, the key for Jenks was command. He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes, and he was building confidence. People need to be realistic with Jenks; he is going to take some time to develop, but the power stuff is there to be special. The Angels are doing a good job helping him get straightened out, and his agents--the Scott Boras Corp.--will do everything they can to keep him on the straight and narrow.

 Q:  Angel fan from Anaheim asks:
It seem to me that the Aıs and Angels have quite opposite draft philosophy. The Aıs emphasizes on performance over projection, skill over tools. Under Donnie Rowland the Angels focus more on toolsy players with good bodies and strong arms. My question is considering the immerse success the Aıs had in drafting and developing talents, do you see Angelsı approach can be as successful or even better than Aıs approach? Do you think Angels is taking a lot of risk by drafting those ³raw² players? Both Angels and Aıs have good young arms in the farms, whose do you like better? Harden, Reinecker, Wood etc or Jenks, Santana, Torres and Co.? Thanks

Josh Boyd: A good question. I'll do my best to do it justice in a quick, chat-like manner. The Angels use more traditional scouting methods, but they also don't ignore statistical analysis. I think the Angels drafts will end up yielding more high-ceiling prospects than recent A's drafts. The A's have been successful drafting college players, which is typically a safer way to go, but in landing the Zito's, Mulders and Hudsons of the world, they have still hit it big. I would take the Angels top five over the A's current top five prospects without much thought.

 Q:  Sean from Irvine, CA asks:
It looks like the Angels drafted some good arms in 2002 draft. In addition to Saunders, who do you think might break out next year?

Josh Boyd: I think you need to keep an eye on hard-throwing lefty Nick Touchstone, who was evaluated as a second-rounder in the Cape last summer; and righthander James Holcomb, who didn't fare well at UNLV, but is very projectable and could break out next year.

 Q:  J. Schubert from Milwaukee, WI asks:
Joe Torres continues to fall from BA's top ranked prospect 2 years ago for Anaheim. He's only 20 years old and has been passed by several pitching prospects. This could work to his benefit as it appears the Angels will not have to rush him to the bigs. How much of his fall is attributable to his poor performance over the last 2 seasons versus the fact that the farm is much stronger than it was 2 years ago and what do you think of his chances to be anything but an average major league starter? Thanks.

Josh Boyd: Torres has struggled a bit, and you're right this could work to his benefit. He is reportedly making good progress this offseason in Florida, and his makeup and work ethic has never been in question. He is working hard to get his delivery back in sync and lengthen his arm out. the one comment a scout made to me that has me still believing in Torres, was that he used pitchability to win games last year when he didn't have his best stuff.

 Q:  Patrick Laverty from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca. asks:
Hi Josh. Natural progression would mean that six (Kotchman, McPherson, Mathis, Torres, Santana and Saunders) of the top 10 would be playing in the California League in 2003. Do you see any of these players jumping over Rancho Cucamonga? Also, if Steven Shell and Jake Woods join the other three pitchers in the rotation, would all five starters rank in the top 15-20 prospects?

Josh Boyd: Howdy Patrick. Right now their projected rotation has Santana, Torres, Shell and Woods in it. Shell and Woods are also in the top 15. McPherson is the only player I see who could make a quick jump past Rancho, but I think the plan is to start him there, if for nothing other reason than to improve his defense before a promotion. Of course, if Kotchman stays healthy and tears it up, he could find himself moving in the second half.

 Q:  Angel Bill from Mission Viejo asks:
What happened to once highly touted Angels prospect Elipidio Guzman? Wasn't he supposed to have Major League potential?

Josh Boyd: Yes, he was among the Angels top 10 prospects at one point. He never developed his strike zone judgement, and he gained three years last spring in the birth certificate crackdown. The Mariners signed him after the season as a minor league free agent.

 Q:  Eddie from California City, CA asks:
Do you think we Cal League fans will see a lineup of McPherson,Mathis, and Kotchman?

Josh Boyd: Ready for some quick hits... Yes. See previous answer, but they should at least be together for the first half.

 Q:  Alex from Yorba Linda asks:
Besides Rafael Rodriguez, Who else do you like from Provo?

Josh Boyd: Alberto Callaspo and Eric Aybar. Quan Cosby, Holcomb, Reed, Bilke. And Matt Brown.

 Q:  Alex from Yorba Linda asks:
How would you rank the Farm Systems in the AL West?

Josh Boyd: Angels, Mariners, Rangers, A's.

 Q:  Wally Weeks from Charlotte NC asks:
Where do you rank Francisco Rodriguez among the Top 100 prospects in minor league baseball?

Josh Boyd: Top 20.

 Q:  Dan Noffsinger from Harvard, MA asks:
Kotchman's BB-K is extremely impressive for someone so young. 1.6 baseshit isn't so good however. How likely is he to develop the longball power that will allow to compete with the Giambis and the Konerkos of the AL? How would you compare him to James Loney?

Moderator: What up Noffs? without getting into exhaustive research, I would bet that Kotch's doubles power last year looks good up against many power hitters at the same stage. Loney is a good comparison, both plus defenders, sweet swings, high school first basemen. Both will hit for power, average.

 Q:  Sam Joyner from Charlotte NC asks:
Is Chris Bootcheck ready to step into the 5th slot of the Angels starting rotation?

Josh Boyd: No. I think another full season in Triple-A to get his fastball, slider, cutter, change working together is in order.

 Q:  Stephen Smith from asks:
Josh, thanks as always for the hard work ... This may seem awfully basic, but we always seem to get questions from people about why so-and-so didn't make the list. Could you tell us how you rank players, what are your criteria, what factors are more important than others, who you interview, how often you see these players personally, your personal background, etc.? I think it would help a lot of folks understand the rating system better if they knew the process. Thanks.

Josh Boyd: I'll try not to go too long with this, but it's a good question and one that we explain from time to time. In short, we try to identify a player's long-term major league potential and weigh that against the risk involved. We talk to at least three people in the organization, usuall the scouting director, farm director and another scout or player development person, in addition to all of the games and people we see during the course of the year. I try to get out and see as many games as possible. Of course, performance weighs in there too. The more information the bettter.

 Q:  Stephen Smith from asks:
Josh, your thoughts on two players who've made the list in years past -- Nathan Haynes and Brian Specht. Both have made the Top 10 list in recent years, but both had injuries this year. Both are still young for their leagues. (Haynes was 22 at Triple-A, Specht was 21 at Double-A.) Thanks.

Josh Boyd: They are both still prospects, and will figure into the top 20. For me, they don't profile as frontline, everyday players though. I think they both have assets that could help them develop into quality major leaguers. Haynes doesnt have the power for a corner, and his ability to get on base hasn't improved to be that top of the order leadoff guy in center field. Injuries have played a part for both players.

 Q:  Ryan Andrews from scottsdale Az. asks:
Is Jared Abruzzo still considered a prospect?

Josh Boyd: Yes. He is a prospect. He has the tools to catch and throw, though he needs to improve both. He has power and a good stroke from the left side, but still has work to do there. I think he is a work in progress and might take a few years to develop into a decent No. 2 catcher.

 Q:  Dan Noffsinger from Harvard, MA asks:
What's up, Josh? Wasn't Nick Touchstone under Yankee control as a draft-and-follow? How far apart were they? What did he sign for with the Angels?

Josh Boyd: The Yankees had him under control until a week before the draft. The Angels took him in the 18th round and signed for $300,000

 Q:  Kevin Lau from Costa Mesa asks:
Saunders over Kazmir?? Why?????

Josh Boyd: Check the Ask BA archives. Jim Callis answered that question in depth.

 Q:  Barry from palo alto asks:
How have the Angels done in signingscouting in Latin America? I know about K-Rod, are there others?

Josh Boyd: Very good with Clay Daniel leading the way in international scouting. Raffy Rodriguez, Aybar, Callaspo, Santana....

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