Monday, January 19, 2009

Former Top Prospect, SS/3B Brandon Wood

Feature by Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

Growing up, I remember singing a song that applies to the Angels minor league system: Where have all the prospects gone? Simply put, they’ve gone to the majors, almost everyone. Familiar names, such as Jose Arredondo, Brandon Wood, Kendry Morales, Sean Rodriguez, etc. won’t appear on this list because they’ve exceeded our limits for time in the majors. Whether they panned out or flashed in the pan, they graduated from being prospects to major leaguers.

Others, such Matt Sweeney, Chris Pettit, and Terry Evans suffered serious injuries that affected their rankings. While losing part to most of the year hopefully will not affect the overall talent that these players have, it will affect their rankings as other players may move past them on the depth chart. There are very few prospects that can miss a year of development and still maintain their elite status as a prospect. Invariably, those that do are in organizations that are not as deep as the Angels.

Looking at the Angels organization overall, the minor leagues did rather well. As a whole, our minor leagues amassed a W-L record of 418-342 for an overall winning % of 550. Owing to the way the minor leagues work, all of our minor league teams played in some sort of post season. And, ironically, our team with the lowest winning percentage, AA-Arkansas, took home the league title!

On further analysis, though, there appears to be some noticeable peaks and valleys within the system. At the top, AAA-Salt Lake Bees, we had a record of 84-60 (583%). The team got off to a hot start, going 21-1 to start the season, but then settled into a routine as players shuttled back and forth from Salt Lake to Anaheim. The shuttle flights took their toll on many players as they often did not play regularly in the majors, and then took time to get back into the swing of things. Still, they held their own while providing valuable depth for the parent club.

At AA-Arkansas, things went a bit differently right from the Opening Day. A shattering injury to Chris Pettit (last year’s #9 prospect) started the season off badly and it never recovered. Arkansas finished with a 62-78 record (443%), the lowest level in our organization. Throughout the season the Angels tried to bolster the offense by bringing in veteran minor leaguers, but the offense never really gelled for this team until it caught a hot-streak in the post season.

At High A-Rancho Cucomonga, the injury bug also played a role in how the team fared. Matt Sweeney and Hank Conger, both power hitters who could take advantage of the hitter friendly parks missed all or most of the season. In the first half, the team struggled to a 30-40 record as some youngsters struggled to adjust to the higher level competition. But, in the second half, the Quakes finished with a 37-34 record as players such as Hank Conger came back or others such as Mark Trumbo and Sean O’Sullivan made the necessary adjustments to the league. Overall, the team finished with a 67-74 record (475%) and should continue to see many of its players advance up to Arkansas next year.

At Low-A Cedar Rapids, the talent—especially the pitching—began to emerge. Overall, Cedar Rapids finished with a 72-66 record (522%). Several notable performances came from Jordan Walden, Michael Anton, and Trevor Reckling.

At our lowest levels, Orem, Arizona and the Dominican Leagues, the Angels actually did their best. Combined they went 133-64 (675%) and should see the development of many future top prospects. Many of these names will appear on this year’s rankings, and their stock should continue to rise as they advance through the organization.

The combination of the Angels’ draft philosophies, namely the high-risk/high-reward and drafting the best player available regardless of position, and the Major League club’s success and free agent signings has led to some extreme depth in some areas and extreme dearth in other areas. This combination, along with the injury bug, helps to explain the peaks and valleys in our system. It also explains why it is often more difficult for the Angels to draft such highly touted college prospects such as Longoria because they are often gone by the time the Angels are able to draft or the Angels will choose take a risk on a high school player who will take longer to develop than a college athlete but may be a future highly touted star.

As 2009 unfolds, Angels fans have a lot to watch in the minor leagues. Most of the talent will be at AA-Arkansas and below so help from the minor leagues won’t be as plentiful as it was in 2008. Depth will be an issue, especially if we make a major trade to bolster the major league team.

But, in 2009, the future of the franchise should solidify as several top-level pitching prospects and sluggers continue their journey towards the major leagues. Additionally, with the departure of K-Rod and Teixeira, and the potential loss of Garland, the Angels will have a lot of draft picks in the first 2 rounds. That will cause some serious adjustments to the rankings over the next year or two as the surge of new players swells the rankings. The top-tiered talent on our list is as solid as the top-tiered talent on any team but there will be plenty of movement in the 11-20 rankings.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to go and watch a minor league game, I highly encourage you to do so. And, if you do, be sure to note that the future for our franchise is very bright.
- Foreword by David Saltzer - Columnist uses a weighted system to determine the rankings of the Angels farmhands.

50% overall talent and upside
25 % statistics vs. age of league played in
25% chance to play on a major league club

While some focus on whether an Angels' farmhand has a clear spot on the Angels roster, we don't consider this method as it dissolves their overall value on another major league club should they be traded elsewhere. Our scouting reports have been provided by our own area scouts, a non-Angels scout, the Director of Scouting - Eddie Bane and my own eyes visiting ballparks and watching games online throughout the entire minor league season.

Also, special thanks to Phillip Richmond for his excellent photography, supplying us with most of the prospect photos in this feature and throughout the season for us at

So without further adieu, here's the long awaited 2009 Top-50 Angels Prospects... #1 Prospect Hank Conger
Conger_Hank_May_30_200730.jpg picture by chuckster70
1. Hank Conger, (C)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 6’0’ 205 lbs. DOB: 1/29/1988
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .303-.333-.517

Scouting Report: Hank Conger the Angels #1 pick in 2006, a second-generation Korean-American who was named after his grandfather's favorite ball player, Hank Aaron, packs some power of his own. It was a tough choice between Conger and Walden, but we went with Hank as the Angels #1 prospect after much debate between our panel of writers and area scouts.

Hank missed much of the 1st half when he was diagnosed with a small tear in his labrum of his throwing shoulder while in spring training. He and the Angels chose to rehab it instead of going the route of surgery

After rehabbing in extended spring training until late May, Hank finally reported to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes where his assault of High-A pitching began, albeit as the team's DH. When Conger was finally able to catch a game on June 13th, he bruised his left thumb while warming up a pitcher in his very next game. He eventually got behind the dish again, but never in back to back games, and was limited to catching just 10 games out of 73 while with the Quakes.

Conger, a switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate, is better from the left side of the plate as he has one of the sweetest swings I've seen - Jim Edmonds like - a classic power hitter's swing that can launch balls well over the fences, with good opposite field power. The only knock against his power swing is that it can get long and violent at times (though for a power hitter he struck out just once in 5.3 at bats which isn't bad). As noted, Hank did better against righties, hitting .317 with a .539 slugging pct., while hitting just .250 with a .438 slugging pct. as a right-handed batter.

Hank joined the Double-A Arkansas Travelers club in September for the playoffs and he opened some eyes, leading the Texas League post-season among all hitters with 13 RBI's.

On the basepaths Conger is below average and he isn't the most agile behind the plate. Behind the plate he needs to limit his footwork which slows down his release on throws to catch would be baserunners. Hank has a strong throwing arm which is his strongest asset thus far behind the plate. The pitchers in Cedar Rapids loved throwing to him in '07, so he seems to work with the pitchers well

The biggest question mark for Hank Conger is the lack of games played behind the plate, as he has caught just 91 games in three pro seasons, proving that he cannot stay healthy. The good news is that Hank worked hard in the offseason at the Angels Dominican academy, working behind the plate on his baserunning and footwork behind the dish. I caught up with Hank a couple weeks ago and he said that the throwing shoulder is fine and he's looking forward to playing 2009 behind the plate for the Arkansas Travelers in Double-A. Conger turns just 21 this month (January) so the Angels will let him develop in the minors, working on his catching, while improving his overall game.

2. Jordan Walden, (SP)
Walden_Jordan_April_5_200843.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’5’ 220 lbs. DOB: 11/16/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A) & Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): 9-8 2.76 ERA, 141 strikeouts, 56 walks

Scouting Report: Walden looks like another late round steal from Eddie Bane, getting drafted by the Angels in the 12th round in 2006. After entering that same season as the top high school prospect in the draft out of Grayson County Community College, he signed for $1 million as a draft and follow, which so far has proved to be a wise investment by the Angels.

Jordan Walden has all the making of a classic power pitcher who can work both sides of the plate and has the body to go deep into games. Walden can bring the heat, touching 101 MPH with his fastball, while generally sitting in the 92-95 MPH range during games. Walden comes at opposing hitters in a classic downward plane. His slider is in the high 80's range (87-89 MPH) and it has a good bite to it, though at times it's inconsistent losing both velocity and tilt.

Walden needs to repeat his delivery better which will help his command. That was the focus in the instructional league that Walden attended after the '08 season. He also needs to improve his changeup if he's going to succeed at higher levels and more experienced hitters.

If Walden improves his command and secondary pitches, including his changeup, he could easily be a front-line starter in the big leagues with the ability to dominate hitters with an above average fastball and two secondary pitches to throw off opposing hitters. If not, his two power pitches (fastball and slider) would play well as a late inning reliever, possibly closer.

Look for Walden to begin the season with the Quakes, though with a good spring camp he could start the season with what appears to be a very good Arkansas Travelers club in '09.

3. Peter Bourjos, (CF)
Bourjos_Peter_September_7_2007.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 175 lbs. DOB: 3/31/1987
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .295-.326-.444

Scouting Report: The son of former Giants outfielder Chris Bourjos (now a scout with the Milwaukee Brewers), Peter Bourjos played his first full professional season with the Rancho Cucamona Quakes in '08 flashing well above-average speed and defensive skills in centerfield. Bourjos began the year by turning heads in spring camp, including Mike Scioscia's, who said he was the fastest player in the camp.

Bourjos raked in the 1st half, hitting .331 with a .366 on base pct. and .470 slugging pct., and was on pace to steal 80+ bases. Unfortunately Peter got into a rut at the plate and on the bases in the second half of the season, slumping badly to the tune of a .264 batting average and an unacceptably low .290 OBP for a leadoff hitter. This resulted in a drop in his stolen base opportunities and a drop in the batting order.

Despite the bad second half, which some people believe was due to fatigue and/or the hyperextending of his left elbow on June 5th (which caused him to miss 11 games), Peter Bourjos is an electrifying player and one that our area scouts and people are excited to watch develop. Peter should be in Arkansas with the Double-A club in 2009.

Bourjos has as mentioned plus-plus speed, stealing 50 out of 60 bases with the Quakes in '08, which led the league. What is scary is that he could have done much better - so the Angels sent him to the instructional fall league to work on his base stealing skills with a message from the Angels to be more aggressive! As of right now Bourjos is a major league ready centerfielder that runs exceptional routes, getting to balls quickly with his plus speed while flashing a strong and accurate arm

Because of Bourjos' speed, he's being groomed to be the future leadoff hitter for the Angels, which means that the right-handed hitter will need to improve his plate discipline and work the count better to utilize the speed he has. He walked just 19 times in 2008, while striking out 96 times. Speed and defense aren't the only parts to Bourjos' game. He has a lightening-quick bat that drives balls to the gaps and he has the ability to have above average power - hitting 20 HR's a season as he gets stronger and recognizes pitches he can crush out of the park.

Bourjos will be one of the youngest players in Double-A with the Arkansas club in '09. With Torii Hunter signed for 4 more years, there is no reason for the Angels to rush Bourjos to the majors, giving him plenty of time to improve his game in the minors.

4. Nick Adenhart, (SP)
Adenhart08.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 185 lbs. DOB: 8/24/1986
Salt Lake City (Triple-A): 9-13 5.76 ERA, 110 strikeouts, 75 walks
Majors: 1-0 9.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 13 walks

Scouting Report: Nick dominated Triple-A hitters through his first 5 starts with the Salt Lake Bees, posting a 4-0 record with a minuscule 0.87 ERA. But that was the highlight of his entire season as the Angels promoted Adenhart on just three days rest to face the Oakland Athletics where he struggled with his command, lasting just 2 innings after giving up 5 earned runs on 5 walks and 3 hits. The Angels gave him two more chances against the White Sox and Royals and he continued to struggle with his control, prompting the Angels to send him back down to Salt Lake. Adenhart won just one game in his next 10 starts, going 5-13 with a 7.08 ERA the rest of his minor league season with the Bees.

Because of his athletic build, Adenhart is able to repeat his delivery, which should result in better command of his pitches down the road. But in 2008 it was his inability to execute his pitches when he got into a jams and resulting in big innings. He often tried to nibble too much and instead made it too predictable when he fell behind to opposing hitters. Righthanded batters hit a whopping .314/.388.497 against him, partly because at times he struggled to command his curveball, getting it up in the zone for hitters to feast on.

While Nick had an awful season in almost every pitching category, he didn't lose the quality stuff that made him a Top Prospect going into the 2008 season. Adenhart showed a 91-96 MPH fastball with a nice tail into righthanded hitters. His curveball, which has a hard downward break to it, has the potential to be a plus-plus out-pitch in the big leagues if he can keep it down in the zone and throw it behind in the count more often. His changeup has good arm speed and sink to it. Pitching on a downward trajectory, opposing hitters have a tough time turning on balls against him.

If Adenhart can pitch to contact instead of nibbling and pitching away from contact, he'll show why he's a top 10 prospect and a potential #2 starter if not a frontline ace. After a shaky season, one has to wonder if Nick's confidence and mental approach has been damaged. Physically he is fine after Tommy John surgery 4 years ago. Adenhart has pitched at least 150 innings in each of his three seasons since the surgery, putting to rest about any durability or health concerns going forward. Look for this 22 year old to compete with Anthony Ortega, Dustin Moselely and possibly Shane Loux or Nick Green for the 5th starter spot in the rotation since Jon Garland is not in their plans.

5. Luis Jimenez, (3B)
luisjimenez1.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 170 lbs. DOB: 1/18/1988
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .331-.361-.630

Scouting Report: Known by his teammates as "Lucho", Luis Jimenez won the short season Pioneer League home run crown with 15 homers (beating teammates Angel Castillo (14) and Robert Lopez (14)) a year after leading the rookie level Dominican Summer League with 11 HR's in '07. He also led the Pioneer League in doubles (28) and extra-base hits with 49, helping the Owlz reach the finals.

Jimenez has a good build and is strong, with room to fill out some more. Jimenez generates his power from a quick bat, though he's pretty balanced and quiet at the plate. He has been prone to chase balls out of the strike zone, especially in the heat of the game with RISP, so he'll need to show better plate discipline at higher levels as pitchers will try to expose this weakness. Jimenez did improved as the season went on, utilizing his excellent hand and eye coordination, as he struck out just 45 times in 284 at bats during the season. But in Luis Jimenez's last 115 at bats, he struck out only 9 times. When Jimenez swings at strikes, he destroys the ball to all parts of the field. Even his outs are hit extremely hard. Luis is an average runner, but he won't be much of a base stealer.

Defensively Jimenez is above average at the hot corner and he has a strong arm. He will play 3B for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2009 and give Matt Sweeney a run for his money as the future 3B for the Angels, if Brandon Wood isn't already entrenched in that position.

6. Trevor Reckling, (SP)
Reckling_Trevor_April_7_200883.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’2’ 205 lbs. DOB: 5/22/1989
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 10-7 3.37 ERA, 128 strikeouts, 59 walks

Scouting Report: Despite being the youngest regular starting pitcher in the Midwest League for the Kernels (he didn't turn 19 until May 22nd) the southpaw posted a solid 3.37 ERA, and led the Kernels with 10 wins while boasting a 29-inning scoreless streak

As of right now, Reckling has three slightly above-average pitches. His fastball that he works on both sides of the plate like a pro and down in the zone, sits in the 88-92 MPH range. His curveball is his best pitch as it has a Barry Zito drop off the table look to it, and is rated as the best curveball in the system. He throws his changeup with confidence - even behind in the count - which for his age is something special. Reckling has solid pitching mechanics and a smooth delivery which helps him command his pitches from a three quarters arm slot

Late in the season Reckling tired, going 3-5 with a 5.72 in his last 9 starts. Reckling is a good athlete, but he needs to get stronger to avoid late season fatigue. Trevor can fall in love with his curveball because of its movement, but it also generates wild pitches and passed balls because of the wicked movement. He needs to work at commanding it better.

Headed to Rancho Cucamona High-A Ball, Trevor saw his fellow southpaw and teammate while with the Kernels Michael Anton dominate Low-A Ball only to get pounded in the California League after a promotion. If Reckling keeps the ball down and continues to repeat his pitches, he should have no problem succeeding, though he'll need to start the game off better. Trevor posted a 6.23 ERA and .324 opponent batting average in the first inning of games in 2008. Reckling profiles a good #3 starter, but with his age and quality of pitches now, he has a chance to be even better down the road.

7. Mark Trumbo, (1B)
trumbo1.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’4’ 220 lbs. DOB: 1/16/1986
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A) & Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .281-.325-.540

Scouting Report: Eddie Bane and I have talked about Mark Trumbo's raw power, watching moon shots hit in batting practice, but we've been waiting to see it happen in real games. This led some to ponder if the Angels made the right choice in converting the former high school pitcher to a corner position after drafting him in the 18th round in '04. Well, Eddie and the Angels are looking really good now as Trumbo exploded in 2008 leading all Angels minor league hitters with 32 homers and 93 RBI's.

The 6-4, 220 pound first baseman has plus-power and when he extends his arms he can hit some jaw dropping shots to all fields. Trumbo worked on hitting the ball the other way in '08 and it paid off as he was a bit pull conscious before this season. Trumbo, for a power hitter, doesn't strike out as you'd expect to see from a slugger. He worked on his pitch recognition in the Arizona Fall League, but it was at the expense of showing no power - just one home run and seven doubles in 145 at bats. Trumbo is a below average runner.

Defensively at first base, Trumbo works hard. While he's below average right now (he made 20 errors at 1B), he should get better with more experience there. His throwing arm is well above average so depending on how well Kendry Morales does at first base, Trumbo could be in for a position change to left-field or possibly be a part time first baseman and DH with the big league club in the future.

Trumbo will most likely start the season in Double-A where he played in just 32 games in '08. But with an impressive spring camp, he could make the jump to Salt Lake to start the season. If Trumbo continues to crush the ball against minor league pitching and his plate discipline and defense improves, he could make his major league debut sometime in 2009.

8. Sean O'Sullivan, (SP)
OSullivan_Sean.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 220 lbs. DOB: 9/01/1987
Rancho Cucamonga (High A): 16-8 4.73 ERA, 111 strikeouts, 50 walks

Scouting Report: O'Sullivan is no stranger to awards, winning two consecutive ERA titles in his first two pro seasons, followed by leading the California League with 16 victories in his third minor league season.

After dominating hitters with power stuff in high school, O'Sullivan or "Nacho" as his teammates will call him, has learned to be crafty with three above average pitches. His fastball has topped out at 95 MPH in '08, but he generally works in the 90-92 MPH range with some above average movement. O'Sullivan gave up just 8 HR's in 158 innings - a tough task for a pitcher in the California League. That stat speaks volumes for his ability to keep the ball down in the zone with the sinking action on his fastball. He commands his curveball and changeup well, aggressively pounding the strike zone with those pitches. O'Sullivan is poised on the mound and knows how to win despite not having a true out pitch. While he didn't win the ERA title in '08 (4.73), he did finish the season strong, notching 6 wins and posting a 3.44 ERA in his last 10 starts.

The up and coming season in Double-A for the Arkansas Travelers will be a good test for O'Sullivan and it may determine if he becomes an innings-eating starter in the big leagues or a middle reliever against tougher competition. His stuff in '08 seemed to drop off after the middle innings. '09 however is a new season so it begs the question, what league leading award will O'Sullivan win in the Texas League.

9. Kevin Jepsen, (RP)
Jepsen.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 215 lbs. DOB: 7/26/1984
Arkansas (Double-A) & SLC (Triple-A): 3-4 1.81 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 30 walks
Majors: 0-1 4.32 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks

Scouting Report: What a year for Jepsen after struggling for the past five seasons in Class A to overcome a torn labrum he suffered in 2004! Jepsen was left off the 40-man roster following the 2007 season, and did not receive an invitiation to the spring camp in 2008. Yet somehow he finished the 2008 season with a Olympic bronze medal (he didn't allow a run in 6 innings for Team USA), represented the Angels in the Futures Game, was named to the Texas League's North Division All-Star Team after dominating Double-A and then later Triple-A batters, and finally he was promoted to the big league club and earned a playoff roster spot to boot!

Jepsen was moved to the bullpen in 2006 where he will battle Scot Shields and Jose Arredondo for the 7th and 8th inning role with the big league club. Equipped with a hard fastball in the mid to upper 90's that showed late action, Jepsen's heater is a plus-pitch that hitters have a tough time to square up. His curveball has a true 12-to-6 break to it, changing hitters eye level. Jepsen does a good job at keeping the ball down in the zone, producing a 2.3 groundout/flyout ratio in 2008.

The Angels signed Brian Fuentes this offseason, but Kevin Jepsen has closer potential down the road. The Angels BP should be one of the best in Baseball and Jepsen will be one of the reasons that it is.

10. Ryan Mount, (2B)
Mount_Ryan.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’0’ 175 lbs. DOB: 8/17/1986
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .290-.337-.512

Scouting Report: Ryan Mount slid to the bottom half of the Top 30 prospects heading into '08, but has quickly re-emerged as one of the Top Prospects in the Angels organization. Mount, an offensive-minded power hitting lefty second baseman hit 16 HR's, 17 doubles, and 5 triples in just 82 games with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes High-A ballclub in '08. Due to injuries, the Angels' second round pick 2005 has played just 170 games over the last two seasons. But last season Mount really made strides with his bat and glove and gave the Angels three potential offensive-minded 2B in their organization in Kendrick, S. Rodriguez and Mount.

With a nice stroke from the left side of the plate, Mount really punishes the ball with the ability to hit southpaws well while staying back on breaking balls. Mount hit .312 against lefthanded hurlers. Mount has slightly above average speed, which could result in 20-25 stolen bases once he becomes more aggressive. Mount was caught just twice in 12 tries. Defensively, Mount makes most of the routine plays and has gotten better with the double play pivot and throws to first base. Mount has good quickness to his left and right and profiles as an average to slightly above average second baseman with more experience at the position. Still, 13 total errors in half of a season is too high, especially considering his athletic build and size. He'll need to cut down on his errors this season in Arkansas as he opens up as the Travelers starting second baseman.

If Ryan Mount can stay healthy, continue to punish pitches, cut down on his strikeouts (67 K's to just 23 walks) and improve defensively, he could be somewhere between Todd Walker to Chase Utley at 2B in the future for the Halos if Howie Kendrick doesn't live up to his potential and stay healthy.

11. Will Smith, (SP)
WillSmith.jpg picture by chuckster70
(Photo Courtesy of Andrew Wardlow)
Bats: Right Throws: Left 6’5’ 215 lbs. DOB: 7/10/1989
Orem (Short Season A Ball): 8-2 3.08 ERA, 76 strikeouts, 6 walks

Scouting Report: The tall 6'5, 220 lb southpaw isn't Hancock or a Legend, but he's certainly projectable with his body and command of all his pitches. Smith is able to command the strike zone, dotting the outter and inner half for punchouts while changing speeds with a down downward plane much like Nick Adenhart. Will Smith's 76-6 K-BB ratio was the best among all pitchers in the Pioneer League. In junior college Smith posted a 105-20 K-BB ratio in 87 2/3 innings, demonstrating the above average control and command of his pitches that he has.

Equipped with a four-seam fastball that ranges from 88-94 MPH, Smith does a good job at changing the batters' eye level, punching them out with his above average power curveball which he can throw at a variety of speeds. His changeup is an average pitch now, but effective enough to throw the hitters' timing off. As mentioned, Will Smith has above average control of three pitches, two of which are plus offerings.

The 19-year old seventh round pick has a chance to dominate next season with the Cedar Rapids club in Low-A. And like Anton and Walden, he could see time with the Quakes by mid-season. Keep an eye on this kid as he could be a Top-5 Prospect heading into next season if he continues to dominate the opposition.

12. Mason Tobin, (SP)
Tobin_Mason.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’4’ 220 lbs. DOB: 7/08/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 2-3 3.13 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 18 walks

Scouting Report: Tobin started off the season by not allowing a run in his first three outings, but ultimately was shut down for the rest of the season after his June 6th outing because of a strained shoulder he suffered in his throwing arm.

Before Tobin suffered the strained shoulder, his fastball was touching 96-97 MPH, while mostly working in the low 90's. With a three-quarters arm slot, Tobin gets a lot of sink on his heater and break on his hard slider. Tobin's changeup is still developing, so hitters sit on his hard stuff to give them an edge. It's imperative that Tobin develops his offspeed stuff to throw off opposing hitters' timing. Standing at 6'4 and 230 lbs, Tobin's size and violent delivery gives him a commanding presence on the mound

Because there is a lot of effort in his delivery, there are the obvious health and durability concerns. Tobin's shoulder is sound and he's ready for 2009 in High-A Ball with the Quakes despite missing development time in Low-A. If Mason Tobin doesn't develop a solid changeup, he could be a very good late inning reliever for the Angels down the road.

13. Gabe Jacobo, (1B)
Jacobo_Gabe.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 190 lbs. DOB: 4/14/1987
Orem (Short Season A Ball) & Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .324-.357-.556

Scouting Report: Jacobo, the Angels 10th round pick out of Sacramento State, was a slugger in the Western Athletic Conference, where he ranked second in home runs (14) and slugged 13 in his final season before being drafted by the Angels. He didn't disappoint as he hit .324 with a .556 slugging pct. and 10 home runs between Orem and the Low-A Kernels club in his professional debut after quickly signing with the Angels

Jacobo has a good combination of athletic ability and size, with a lot of power in his short swing to the ball. He has enough bat speed to catch up to high velocity offerings, generating good loft. Jacobo fits into the mold offensively with the Angels contact ball philosophy as he's aggressive at the plate (48 K's, 11 walks in 275 at bats), at times chasing balls out of the strike zone. Defensively, he's playing first base, but has played third base effectively before, showing a strong throwing arm. If Jacobo doesn't work out at either corner infield position he most certainly can play a corner outfield spot with his slightly above average speed, athletic ability and strong arm.

Though Jacobo only played 34 games in Low-A Ball, he may make the jump to High-A and start the season with the Quakes, giving him a chance to take advantage of the friendly hitting environments in the California League. The Angels may boast a power packed lineup with both Sweeney and Jacobo in the heart of the order and at the corner spots respectively in '09.

14. Anthony Ortega, (SP)
Ortega.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 170 lbs. DOB: 8/24/1985
Arkansas (Double-A) & Salt Lake City (Triple-A): 14-7 3.46 ERA, 105 strikeouts, 55 walks

Scouting Report: The Angels minor league pitcher of the year won 14 games in 2008, with a solid 3.46 ERA between both Double-A and Triple-A, winning five of his six Triple-A starts after a late season promotion

Ortega really commanded the lower half of the strike zone in 2008 which resulted in more groundouts than ever before (GO ratio was 1.29 in '08). His fastball which ranges from 91-94 MPH has good action and late life. Ortega really tied hitters up throwing his changeup behind in the count and commanding the offering with good feel. Ortega also throws a curveball, which has the look of a slurve at times with increased velocity. While Ortega doesn't have a punchout pitch, he has solid command of his offerings, excellent control, which combined with his strong and durable body, resulted in him working in least six innings in 20 of his 28 starts last season with the Travelers and Bees.

Ortega profiles right now as a good backend starter in the big leagues with the chance to be a solid middle of rotation contributor. Because of the way he pounds the strike zone, look for Ortega to be the favorite for the 5th spot in the rotation, giving the Angels a solid innings eater should they decide not sign or trade for another Jon Garland type to hold down the 5th spot.

15. Matt Sweeney, (3B)
Sweeney_Matt_July_1_200718.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’3’ 210 lbs. DOB: 4/04/1988
Injured, Did Not Play

Scouting Report: The 2008 minor season didn't take off the way Sweeney would have hoped as Matt broke his ankle in spring camp, putting an end to his season, stagnating his development for the entire calendar year.

The 6'3, 210 lb Matt Sweeney resembles former Angels Top Prospect Dallas McPherson in both physical presence and power coming from the hot corner and the left side of the plate. The left-handed hitting Sweeney pounded out 18 HR's, clubbed 29 doubles in just 439 at bats in '07, though he missed some time due to injuries, but came back to finish the last 10 weeks of the season strong after a slow start. Sweeney projects to hit for power down the road. He has a classic power hitters' swing that generates a lot of topspin. Playing in the Midwest League in 2007 that featured some talented arms, Sweeney held his own as one of the youngest players in the league. One of those talented arms Matt faced was the Dodgers' top young southpaw hurler Clayton Kershaw, and Matt greeted him in the 2nd inning of the Midwest League All-Star Game with a towering home run.

Matt's defense improved over his '06 campaign with the Kernels, though his footwork and accuracy of his throws will need improvement (part of which led to 28 errors in 2007). Matt has a strong arm and with continued improvement at the hot corner he should have no problem sticking at the position. Sweeney has average speed, but good range to his left and right at the hot corner.

Look for Sweeney to take advantage of the friendly parks in the California League in '09, as he's ticketed for Rancho Cucamonga, a field of prospects that should nudge So. California resident Angels fans to see Sweeney and gang at the Epicenter in 2009.

16. Manuarys Correa, (SP)
MaCorrea-1.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 170 lbs. DOB: 1/05/1989
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball) & Orem (Short Season A Ball): 7-1 3.58 ERA, 84 strikeouts, 15 walks

Scouting Report: After spending the summer of 2007 with the Rookie-level Angels of the Dominican Summer League and posting a 8-1 record with a 2.16 ERA in 14 starts with 68 strikeouts and 27 walks in 87 2/3 innings, Correa dominated in his U.S. debut. Correa led the AZL in strikeouts (67) with a solid 2.65 ERA, despite getting a bump to Orem with two weeks left in the season. Correa has gone 15-2 overall in his first two pro seasons combined.

The 6-foot-3, 170 pound Dominican has plenty enough room to fill out and add more velocity to his fastball that already sits in the 92-94 MPH range. Besides Correa's four-seam heater, he throws a two-seamer with good run to go along with a plus-slider and developing changeup that has shown flashes of being a big league pitch.

Correa will start the season with the Cedar Rapids club and has a chance to be a No. 2 starter in the big leagues.

17. Ryan Chaffee, (SP)
RyanChaffee.gif picture by chuckster70
(Photo Courtesy of Chipola College)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 200 lbs. DOB: 5/18/1988
Injured, Did Not Play

Scouting Report: Chaffee was selected by the Angels in the 3rd round of the 2008 amateur draft, but was not able to make his professional debut due to undergoing surgery for a broken foot suffered during the spring part of the season with Chipola College and which required corrective surgery after the season ended. Chaffee was the winning pitcher for Chipola in the Junior College World Series Championship game in 2007. The following season, after missing time from the surgery he had in the spring of 2008 on his foot, Chaffee returned on May 18th and pitched a shutout in the Florida junior college title game, striking out 18 batters on just 2 days rest, and sending Chipola back to the Junior College World Series.

Chaffee comes at hitters from multiple arm slots, pitching in the low 90's, while touching 95 MPH with his fastball. His breaking balls (curve and slider) all look different to opposing hitters, from a three-quarters, sidearm and Darren O'Day type deliveries. His changeup is an above average offering according to scouts. Chaffee resembles ex-Yankee pitcher David Cone with his three-quarters delivery and deception--hiding the ball from the hitter and exploding off the mound. Chaffee is regarded as competitor that loves to pitch in big games.

Look for Chaffee to start the season in Low-A Ball with Will Smith, Jose Perez and Jayson Miller, forming quite a formidable rotation for the Kernels this season. Chaffee has the talent to be a top-tier starter in the big leagues, but since he's yet to face professional hitters, we're going to be conservative with ranking him too highly despite the favorable scouting reports on him. Keep an eye on this kid. He could shoot up the prospect rankings the next time we circle back in June for an update on our Top 50 Prospects report.

18. Trevor Bell, (SP)
TrevorBellTOP50.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’1’ 180 lbs. DOB: 10/12/1986

Cedar Rapids (Low-A) - Rancho (High-A): 7-8 3.91 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 43 walks

Scouting Report: Bell began the year with the High-A squad in Rancho Cucamonga experiencing ups and downs with the Quakes, going from a starting role to reliever, was sent down to play for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in mid-June to refine his command and polish his changeup in a role he was more accustomed to, as a starting pitcher. He excelled there, going 1-0 with a 2.12 earned-run average. In one of the contests with the Kernels against Wisconsin, Bell tossed a complete-game gem, notching the victory. The Angels believe that performance was a glimpse into the future and solidified their decision to select Trevor with their first pick in the 2005 draft out of Crescenta Valley HS.

Trevor's fastball velocity is in the 91-95 MPH range and can touch 95. His curveball may be his best pitch as it has a sharp break that can generate swings and misses. Bell's changeup is average right now, but he's worked hard at improving it so he can remain a starter. When everything is going right for Bell, he's working quickly on the mound and generates weak outs. Bell mixes his pitches well, though he's shown he can fall in love with a certain pitch at times giving the opposing batter an easier chance to time his swing and ultimately hit him hard as the game progresses.

21-year old known for being the grandson of the late Bozo the clown, showed generosity when he donated a check for $2,500 to the Red Cross in Iowa for flood-relief efforts after the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Eastern Iowa suffered severe flood damage.

Look for Trevor Bell to start out of the rotation in Double-A Arkansas in 2009. He has a chance to become a solid #2 if it all comes together for Trevor.

19. Tyler Chatwood, (SP)
TylerChatwood.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 5’11’ 175 lbs. DOB: 12/16/1989
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball): 1-2 3.08 ERA, 48 strikeouts, 36 walks

Scouting Report: Tyler Chatwood was the Angels first pick in the 2008 draft, selected near the end of the second round. Chatwood, a 5-foot-11 two-way player at Redlands East Valley High School (CA) was preferred as a pitcher despite his size, due in part to his 94-97 MPH that he's flashed on radar guns. Chatwood hit 94 MPH regularly in the Arizona League, featuring a plus-plus curveball.

Chatwood was all over the place in his debut - at times dominant and unhittable - other times struggling with his control and command of his pitches. His fastball however was one of the hardest you'll see from someone of his size. His curveball has a knee buckling effect on opposing hitters. He fanned 48 hitters in 38 innings with just two plus-pitches. His changeup needs work, but he has plenty of time to develop it, and he'll need to if he's going to perform better at higher levels. Once Chatwoord relaxes and feels confident in his abillity and challenging hitters, he'll become a more polished performer on the hill. His control was awful in his debut, walking 36 hitters in 38 innings.

Chatwood could start off in Orem at mid-season or get a bump from the get-go and start the season off with the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Low-A Ball.

20. Freddy Sandoval, (3B)
Sandoval2.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 6’1’ 200 lbs. DOB: 8/16/1982
Salt Lake City (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .335-.389-.514
Majors: AVG-OBP-SLG: .167-.286-.452

Scouting Report: Sandoval enjoyed yet another fine season, this time with a full campaign in Triple-A Salt Lake in which he posted a .335/.389/.514 line. That earned him a late season September promotion where he recorded his first major league hit in 6 at bats. Sandoval showed that he can be versatile playing both corner positions, left field, and second base in 2008.

Sandoval has a good idea at the plate, can work the pitcher for a walk, knowing when to lay off pitches out of the zone and when to turn on strikes when they're in his wheelhouse (45 doubles & 15 HR's). A switch hitter, Sandoval has a nice fluid swing with some pop in his bat from both sides of the plate - enough to hit 15-20 HR's in a full season if given 500+ at bats. Sandoval has average speed, enough to steal 15-20 bases, but isn't as aggressive as he used to be on the basepaths. Defensively, Sandoval has an average arm with enough range to play 2B, LF or 3B. He keeps his head in the game and typically makes all of the routine plays.

Sandoval should be knocking at the door to be the Angels next utility player - one who could fill in for a longer stretch of time without losing any productivity or downgrading much on defense. Look for Sandoval to challenge for a roster spot and if he makes the club, to overtake Rob Quinlan for playing time in 2009.

21. Alexander Torres, (SP)
AlexTorres.gif picture by chuckster70
Bats: Left Throws: Left 5’10’ 160 lbs. DOB: 12/08/1987
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball) & Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): 7-2 3.18 ERA, 86 strikeouts, 39 walks

Scouting Report: Like Chatwood, "Don't call me Joe" Torres lacks the size scouts look for in a pitcher, but like Chatwood, Torres brings big league stuff from hill. Alexander dominated the AZL in four starts, posting a 1.54 ERA while holding the opposition to a .153 batting average against. Promoted to Rancho Cucamonga after his Rookie Ball domination, Torres held his own as one of the younger players in the league, posting a 3.91 ERA, while fanning 62 California League hitters in 53 innings. Against a good hitting Lancaster team, Torres punched out 12 batters in just 5.1 innings--a testament of the southpaw's good stuff.

Torres brings a solid fastball in the 92-94 MPH range with a good late rise to it. His secondary offerings have the potential to be plus-pitches (curve and changeup) with more experience and better command of them. When he's repeating his pitches and in a groove, he can dominate the opposition. Because of his size there are concerns about his durability, but he did get into the 6th and 7th innings a few times when with the AZL Angels and Quakes. Torres has a quick move to firstbase, making it easier for him to control the running game.

With just 10 starts in High-A Ball, Torres could start the season off with the Quakes if the Angels don't feel he's ready to compete against Double-A competition. It will be interesting to see how Torres fares in 2009, so keep an eye on this kid. He could shoot up the rankings heading into 2010 with another solid season against tougher competition.

22. Angel Castillo, (RF)
AngelCastillo.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 190 lbs. DOB: 6/07/1989
Cedar Rapids (Low-A) & Orem (Short Season A Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .260-.321-.489

Scouting Report: Aside from Mark Trumbo, Angel Castillo has without a doubt the most raw power in the organization, giving off a different sound when the ball comes off his bat. Castillo hit 14 HR's in 270 at bats along with 20 doubles and 47 RBI's with the Orem club

While Castillo has the power, he doesn't have the same overall feel for hitting as his teammates Luis Jimenez and Roberto Lopez have. He struggles to recognize which pitches to turn on and which which to lay off of, having the most problem with breaking balls (85 K's, 18 walks). Castillo has a strong arm and runs good routes to balls, profiling as a solid right fielder defensively. He's got a tick above average speed, but runs better once he's underway.

Look for Castillo to be the starting right fielder for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Low-A Ball to start his 2009 minor league season--given the tough task of excelling in a predominant pitchers' league--while he works on his pitch recognition and discipline at the plate.

23. Matt Brown, (3B)
MattBrown.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 200 lbs. DOB: 8/08/1982
Salt Lake City (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .320-.373-.580
Majors: AVG-OBP-SLG: .053-.100-.105

Scouting Report: Matt Brown enjoyed what was his best season of his professional career in 2008, shooting him up the prospect charts. Brown was selected to the Pacific Coast League All Star game and he didn't disappoint, going 2 for 3 with a single, double and a walk, then rewarded by being named the PCL Star of the Game. He was later invited to the USA Olympic team in Beijing.

Brown who looked like a Shane Halter type last season, really bloomed late in '08, showing the ability to drive tougher pitches. He hit 21 HR's and clubbed 33 doubles in just 400 at bats, hitting better on the road (.353) than he did at home in Salt Lake (.291 - a hitter's paradise because of the thin air and spacious ballpark. The reason for the bump in the rankings for Brown is simple, he cut down on his stikeouts from the year before and was able to catch up to better fastballs, having no trouble with the breaking stuff already.

As a third baseman, Brown is average defensively with a solid arm, but he doesn't have the same type of quickness and range as Brandon Wood who could be his competition at the hot corner if the Angels move Figgins to left field. Brown actually saw more time at first base in Salt Lake (40 games) than he did at third (33) in 2008. Brown has average speed.

If Brown has a solid spring camp and Brandon Wood fails to impress, he could enter the season as the starting third baseman for the Angels. If not, he could become Morales' backup at first base and a power bat off the bench. Because the Angels have Sandoval also fighting for a utility spot, Quinlan already signed and Maicer Izturis back in the fold, look for Brown to start his third season in Salt Lake playing both corner infield positions in case there is a need during the season.

24. Chris Pettit , (RF)
ChrisPettit.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 190 lbs. DOB: 8/15/1984
Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .247-.321-.396

Scouting Report: Eddie Bane tagged Chris Pettit with the best "on base skills" in the organization. After breaking his foot in the first game of the season for the Travelers, Pettit didn't play another game until later in the season, playing just 61 games and struggling to get into any kind of rhythm. After the season, the Angels sent him to the Arizona Fall League and Pettit looked like the same player we ranked in the top 10 list last year, making consistent contact. He hit .359, with a .417 on base pct. while clubbing 4 dingers in 37 games.

Chris has good pitch recognition at the plate, giving him an edge on what pitches to drive, while helping him avoid swinging at the pitcher's pitch. Pettit sprays balls from foul line to foul line with solid gap power and enough thump in his bat to hit 20+ HR's in a full season of play. A slightly above average runner, Pettit should steal 20+ bases without a problem, giving him the ability to become a 20/20 guy in the big leagues if he continues to progress. While he played centerfield in the AFL, scouts feel Pettit profiles better as a left fielder because of his average arm and lack of quickness to balls hit to the biggest part of the ball park.

Look for Pettit to start the '09 season in Triple-A Salt Lake and get off on the right foot (pun intended). While the Angels signed Juan Rivera for three years, Rivera could end up playing more time in right field if the Angels sign Vladimir Guerrero to an extension, with Vlad seeing more time at DH, and thus opening up a spot in for the future in left field for Chris Pettit if he has a solid campaign in 2009. If he can stay healthy,  and at worst, Pettit profiles as a solid 4th outfielder down the road.

25. Andrew Romine, (SS)
Romine_Andrew_June_8_20083.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 6’1’ 180 lbs. DOB: 12/24/1985
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .260-.347-.336

Scouting Report: The Angels 5th round selection in the 2007 draft, Romine gets the rep as an all glove no hit ballplayer. But in 2008 he showed some patience at the plate and overcame a bad start to the season (hit .165 in April & .247 in May) to finish with a .260 batting average and .347 OBP (walked 55 times vs. 76 K's). Rolmine also led the entire Angels organization with 62 stolen bases.

The switch hitting shortstop fared better with the bat hitting .300 in June, .299 in July and .263 in August after his slow start. Romine doesn't have much thump in his bat (just 2 HR's and 21 doubles), but he showed the ability to go the other way on pitches on the outter half and get around on pitches on the inner half as the season progressed. Romine as noted, showed a good approach at the plate which gave him the ability to get on base and use his above average speed to swipe 62 bases, though he was caught 18 times.

On defense, Romine has soft hands, and a quick first step to the ball, showing excellent range to his left and right, while looking smooth when he turns a double-play. His arm is both accurate and strong. Romine is a plus defender that could be a future Gold Glove winner in the big leagues if his bat will get him there. He really keeps his head in the game and is a professional out there in the middle of the diamond.

Romine is ticketed for High-A Ball in Rancho Cucamonga where the hitting environment and climate will be quite a difference from that of the Midwest League. Look for Romine's offense to improve statistically in '09, but temper your enthusiasm. He should lead off for the Quakes and be a treat to Southern California residents who watch his glovework at shortstop.

26. Robert Fish, (SP)
Fish_Robert_April_9_20084.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’3’ 225 lbs. DOB: 1/19/1988
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 10-4 4.85 ERA, 138 strikeouts, 68 walks

Scouting Report: Fish didn't have the type of season in '08 that I expected, posting a 4.85 ERA, walking 68 hitters while allowing a .254 batting average against him. But in evaluating talent, it's not always about the statistics and numbers. In this case, that is true for Robert Fish who possesses three solid pitches which resulted in 138 strikeouts in 143 innings.

Fish, a southpaw with a funky delivery, is armed with a fastball that tops out at 94-95 MPH, while working in the 91-92 MPH range. Fish also throws a solid changeup that has a lot of late fade to it. His curveball has the spin and break, but he needs to work on commanding it better - though it profiles out to be a good punchout pitch with a little more work.

The scouts love what Fish brings to the table as a power pitching lefty that profiles to be a solid No. 3 (if not better) if he continues to improve. Look for Fish to be a part of a solid rotation at Rancho that should feature Reckling, Tobin, Anton and either Haynes or Bell in 2009. Like all of the other prospect pitchers that have gone through the California League, Fish must do a better job at keeping the ball down.

27. Robert Lopez, (1B)
robertLopez.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 195 lbs. DOB: 10/01/1985
Orem (Short Season A Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .400-.480-.667

Scouting Report: Everyone talks about his age when discussing his .400 batting average and Most Valuable Player Award in the Pioneer League. But in any league, it's tough to hit for that high of an average for the amount of games (67) Lopez played in. Lopez, a first baseman, was the Angels 25th round pick in the 2008 draft out of Southern California, a rare college pick for a club that focuses mostly on high school talent.

There is nothing not to like offensively about Lopez, who could have been challenged at Cedar Rapids or even Rancho Cucamonga, but the Angels and Kotchman opted to keep him at Orem to fill a need at 1B and the middle of their order. Lopez has a sweet swing with some finishing loft that produces some tremendous home runs (hit 14 HR's and clubbed 28 doubles in 270 at bats). He shows a tremendous eye and pitch recognition at the plate as evidenced by his .480 on base pct (34 walks vs. 23 K's). Lopez thrived in the clutch, hitting .462 with runners on and .455 with runners in scoring position, and drove in 72 runs. A slightly below average runner, Lopez is a good baserunner. Defensively Lopez is a work in progress at first base, but with proper coaching and experience he can certainly improve.

It will be interesting to see if it's Lopez or Jacobo who gets the first base gig with the Quakes in High-A Ball, with the other starting at first for the Kernels. If Lopez can make the jump, even to Double-A and produce with the bat, he could be on a fast track to the big leagues. Keep an eye on his progress as anyone who hits .400 with the type of power production as Lopez produced--at any level--at any age--is intriguing.

28. P.J. Phillips, (SS)
Phillips_PJ_September_5_200720.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 170 lbs. DOB: 9/23/1986
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .276-.313-.416

Scouting Report: P.J. Phillips is hands down the most athletic ball player in the organization. Phillips improved his batting average (.276) from a year ago with Cedar Rapids (.245), but large in part due to the hitting confides of the California League ballparks. Brandon Phillips' younger brother has his bro's home run and stolen base potential, but like his brother he needs to make better contact and improve defensively much like Brandon has done in the big leagues.

Patrick can hit some monster shots in BP and profiles to hit for more power once he recognizes what pitches to drive and which ones to lay off of--as indicated by his 125 strikeouts and just 24 walks in High-A Ball last season. Phillips swings at too many junk balls out of the zone, getting himself out, and pitchers took advantage of that in the first half of the season. He hit better in the second half (.315) after he made some adjustments at the plate, so it will be interesting to see how he fares at the plate with the Travs in 2009. You can have all the athleticism in the world, but if you can't hit you're not going to make the show. Phillips has above average speed and could steal an enormous amount of bases if he worked in a walk here and there. Once he gets going, he's fun to watch circle the bases.

Defensively Phillips is quick to the ball for a big guy and flashes a strong throwing arm. The problem is he'll make an ESPN Sportscenter highlight reel play getting to the ball, only to botch the throw. A good portion of his 38 errors at shortstop were mental mistakes and bad throws. With more experience at shortstop he could become a solid defender up the middle. If not, and the bat is there, he could get moved to the outfield where he could run down balls with his speed.

Phillips will begin the year in Arkansas (Double-A) and face tougher pitching & ballparks to hit in. If his defense and offense improve, he could skyrocket into the top ten rankings going into next season. Eddie Bane and the Angels are still really high on this kid's talent and ability.

29. Jose Perez, (SP)
JosePerez.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 180 lbs. DOB: 9/14/1987
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A) & Orem (Short Season A Ball) & Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 7-4 3.55 ERA, 99 strikeouts, 17 walks

Scouting Report: Featured in what was the best 1-2-3 knock out punch in the Pioneer League - Will Smith, Jayson Miller and Jose Perez - Perez punched out 77 batters in just 58 innings, while walking just 8. Perez was signed out of Venezuela in '06 and is just 20 years old.

Perez works quickly and commands three quality pitches. Perez's fastball sits in the 91-92 MPH range with heavy life, topping out at 94 MPH. His curveball could be his best offering, which breaks hard and generates some awful swings from opposing hitters. He does overthrow it at times, which causes it to lose its bite. His changeup is a work in progress, but he's continually working on it. Whether he develops it will determine whether he continues as a starter at higher levels against tougher competition. His mechanics also need smoothing out, but he's still young and he's extremely teachable. Look for Perez to refine his skills in what will be an exciting rotation to follow in Low-A Ball - Cedar Rapids this season

30. David Herndon, (RP)
Herndon_David_April_15_20075.jpg picture by chuckster70
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 230 lbs. DOB: 9/04/1985
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): 3-7 5.01 ERA, 70 strikeouts, 16 walks

Scouting Report: Converted to a relief pitcher after 12 High-A Ball starts, Herndon settled in nicely as a late inning reliever, nailing down 17 saves for the Quakes in '08. Herndon was sent to the Arizona Fall League and against some of the best hitting prospects in the game, he held his own posting a 3.12 ERA in 14 games, notching 1 save.

Herndon throws a heavy fastball, hitting 94-95 MPH that he likes to pound the inner half with, making it hard for hitters to extend their arms. Herndon also flashes a tight slider, though it can use more tilt to generate more whiffs, and he features an average offspeed offering. Herndon has exceptional control, walking just 16 batters in 100.2 innings pitched.

Ticketed for Double-A Arkansas in 2009, Herndon will start the season off as the Travs' closer and looks to improve upon his role as a late inning stopper..

* Below are the prospects we listed in the 31-50 range. To obtain any of their scouting reports or comment on why they were ranked as such, please email the author at: Keep in mind, there are usually 200+ minor leaguers under contract in the Angels organization, so placing in the Top 50 in itself is a compliment more than anything else.

31. Michael Kohn, (RP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 200 lbs. DOB: 6/26/1986
Orem (Short Season A Ball): 2-0 1.93 ERA, 44 strikeouts, 11 walks

32. Fabio Martinez, (SP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 190 lbs. DOB: 10/29/1989
Dominican League: 76 1/3 innings, 1.53 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 32 walks

33. Clay Fuller, (OF)
Bats: Both Throws: Right 6’2’ 190 lbs. DOB: 6/17/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .260-.379-.425

34. Josh Blanco, (SP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’2’ 190 lbs. DOB: 11/16/1989
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball): 4-2 2.88 ERA, 52 strikeouts, 19 walks

35. Ryan Aldridge, (RP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 210 lbs. DOB: 9/10/1983.
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A) & Arkansas (Double-A): 2-0 2.05 ERA, 31 strikeouts, 8 walks

36. Jeremy Moore, (LF)
Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’1’ 190 lbs. DOB: 6/29/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .240-.284-.478

37. Rafael Rodriguez, (RP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 175 lbs. DOB: 9/24/1984
Arkansas (Double-A) & Salt Lake City (Triple-A): 4-4 2.79 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 17 walks

38. Bobby Wilson, (C)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 220 lbs. DOB: 4/08/1983
Salt Lake City (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .312-.386-.435

39. Alexia Amarista, (2B)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 5’8’ 150 lbs. DOB: 4/06/1989
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball) & Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .328-.413-.426

40. Terrell Alliman, (3B)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 6’3’ 185 lbs. DOB: 10/15/1988
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .339-.383-.506

41. Baudilio Lopez, (SP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 190 lbs. DOB: 11/20/1990
Rookie Dominican Angels (Dominican Summer League): 5-2 2.27 ERA, 109 strikeouts, 24 walks

42. Jayson Miller, (SP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 5’11’ 180 lbs. DOB: 11/25/1985
Orem (Short Season A Ball): 8-2 2.33 ERA, 68 strikeouts, 7 walks

43. Nicholas Farnsworth, (1B)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’2’ 210 lbs. DOB: 6/17/1989
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .275-.338-.473

44. Hainley Statia, (SS)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 5’10’ 160 lbs. DOB: 1/19/1986
Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .242-.288-.336

45. Darwin Perez, (SS)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 5’10’ 160 lbs. DOB: 7/27/1989
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A) & Orem (Short Season A Ball: AVG-OBP-SLG: .287-.394-.425

46. Terry Evans, (OF)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 170 lbs. DOB: 1/19/1982
Rookie Arizona Angels (Rookie Ball) & Salt Lake City (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .280-.355-.435

47. Eddie McKiernan, (RP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 5’11’ 160 lbs. DOB: 3/21/1989
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 1-5 3.73 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 16 walks

48. Anthony Norman, (OF)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’0’ 185 lbs. DOB: 10/20/1984
Cedar Rapids (Low-A) & Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .257-.381-.467

49. Michael Anton, (SP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’3’ 195 lbs. DOB: 4/03/1985
Cedar Rapids (Low-A) & Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): 13-9 3.88 ERA, 116 strikeouts, 57 walks

50. Jeff Boshers, (SP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’3’ 205 lbs. DOB: 5/09/1988
Orem (Short Season A Ball): 5-0 2.68 ERA, 43 strikeouts, 22 walks

Keep an eye on: Pil Joon Jang, Chris Scholl, Ryan Braiser, Eduardo Soto, Orangel Arena, Ariel Pena, Reyes Dorado, Marcel Champagnie, Ben Johnson, Chris Rosenbaum, Brian Chambers, Baron Short, Demetrious Washington, Matthew Crawford, Rich Thompson, Brad Coon, Tommy Mendoza, Jeremy Haynes, Doug Brandt, Efren Navarro, Brok Butcher, Trevor Pippin, Daniel Davidson, Barret Browning, Jonathan Bachanov, Young-Il Jung, Tim Schoeninger, Ivan Contreras, Tyler Mann, David Austen, Flint Wipke, Amalio Diaz, Drew Toussaint and Anel De Los Santos.

BEST TOOLS (Rated by Angels Director of Scouting)

Best Fastball Velocity: Jordan Walden
Best Changeup: Nick Adenhart
Best Slider: Jordan Walden
Best Curveball: Nick Adenhart
Best Sinker: Mason Tobin
Best Control: Sean O’Sullivan
Quickest to the big leagues: Nick Adenhart or Anthony Ortega

Best Hitter for Average: Matt Sweeney, Hank Conger or Kendry Morales
Best Power Hitter: Mark Trumbo
Best Plate Discipline: Chris Petit
Fastest Baserunner: Peter Bourjos
Best Athlete: Peter Bourjos

Best Defensive Catcher: Bobby Wilson
Best Defensive Infielder: Andrew Romine
Best Defensive Outfielder: Peter Bourjos then Clay Fuller
Best Infield Arm: Andrew Romine because of accuracy included
Best Outfield Arm: Peter Bourjos because of accuracy included
Love to hear what you think!

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Dave Regan said...

Great work Chuck. That must have been a ton of work. Surprised to see a guy with Adenhart's upside so low, but then again, you've always based your rankings more on performance that sites like BA I guess. We'll see this year who was right.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a fantastic list of scouting reports. Well done here!
Without a doubt, it's the best I've seen on the interwebs that I didn't have to pay for.

I'm going to hit you up on a few guys in the 31-50 range via email.

Thanks again.

- John

Robert Lewis said...

Thank you for this list. I'm going to print it out and bring with me and my son to Spring Training so I can identify who these up and comers are.

Nicholas said...

What about Ben Johnson?? Last years Travelers all-star lead the league in home runs until he go called up to salt lake? utility guy with a ton of power.

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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