Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo by Cyrus Melchor -

Intro by David Saltzer - Senior Columnist

In many ways, 2009 was a tale of two seasons for the Angels’ organization. At the upper levels of the organization, several players were needed to fill the needs of the parent club. As a result, the records for the upper level clubs suffered. At the lower levels of the organization, an incredible draft led to an infusion of talent that blossomed. As a result, the teams did much better. Ironically, due to the Minor League Playoff format, the Angels’ farm team that posted one of the worst records for any of the affiliated Minor League teams (Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes with a 61-79 record) went the furthest in its league’s playoffs.

Looking at the stats only tells a limited story. Without context, most stats are meaningless. Because of differences in the leagues, the size of ballparks and a myriad of other factors, a player’s stats won’t always show linear progression. Moving from a hitter’s league or ballpark to a pitcher’s league or ballpark will affect the overall numbers. But, a sudden rise or drop in production due to those factors shouldn’t affect the player’s potential or value as a prospect. For example, hitting 15 homeruns at Double-A Arkansas is a tremendous feat considering the overall nature of the league and the cavernous dimensions of the Travelers’ home field. We at include an assessment of those factors when determining our final rankings for this list.

Similarly, how a player’s stats trend often affect a player’s ranking. Many of the Angels’ prospects showed a tale of two seasons in their statistical trends. Several of those who posted lower numbers overall for the season still showed strong trends in their second half. For some it was because they adjusted to their leagues and the higher level of competition. For others it was because they recovered from injuries. In either case, the overall stats don’t reflect the full story of their 2009 season. At, we reviewed those trends to try and determine a more nuanced understanding of the player’s season prior to finalizing this list.

Measuring the impact of an injury, particularly a season-ending injury, is difficult. While the player may fully recover from the injury, trying to gauge the loss of a year of development is challenging. If, say the velocity of the player’s fastball returns, how will the year off affect his command? We, at consider the impact not only of the physical injury to the player, but also the injury to the player for the lost year of development.

For those of us working on the weekly Hot Prospect lists last year and on this year’s Top-50 Prospect List, the biggest tale of two seasons was the incredible disconnect between our evaluation of the Angels’ organization overall and the national analysts’ evaluations for the same teams. We believe that a Minor League system exists to serves two primary functions: 1) to develop players to make the major league club; 2) to supply players for trades to fill the needs of major league club.

Using that as a guideline, the Angels in 2009 went into Spring Training last year with 66 players. Of those 66 players, 53 of them were home-grown. Over the course of the season last year, the Angels had many needs, especially for starting pitchers. Their Minor Leagues teams responded by producing Trevor Bell and Sean O’Sullivan (both of whom started the year in Double-A Arkansas), who went a combined 5-4 in 14 starts over the summer at the Major League level. Additionally, the Angels’ Minor League system provided depth with Matt Palmer and Shane Loux who went a combined 13-5 in 19 starts for the team. Overall that’s an 18-9 record provided by the organization’s Minor League players in 1/5th of all the starts for the parent club. Considering that the parent club won 97 games last year with 20% of its starts provided by the Minor Leaguers, it seems that the system developed the players necessary for the parent club.

At the same time, using the depth in the Angels’ organization, Tony Reagins was able to pull off a trade for a frontline pitcher. The Angels gave up three talented players to get Kazmir, but were able to do so because they had plenty of depth at those. Again, it seems that the system fulfilled its secondary function.

When discussing an organization’s system overall, many national analysts like to focus on the quality of the premium talent in the organization. They will often focus on nationally ranked Top-100 prospects within the organization. Essentially, they try to zero in on the perceived impact players. While every team would love to produce a Longoria or a Lincecum, very few of those premium talents exist, and even fewer are developed in any given year. Most minor league teams produce at most one or two average major league players per year. Since the Angels often draft near the bottom of the first round (due to their Major League successes), and have surrendered several of their first round picks due to free agent signings over the past few years, it’s highly unlikely that the Angels will be in a position to draft those premium talents with the national pedigree.

Focusing on the premium talents ignores the advantage of producing a large number of very good players. Take Aybar and Kendrick for example. While both may not be the top player at their respective positions, both would be in the upper echelons compared to their peers. Based on the number of trade inquiries the Angels received for both players, it is clear that many clubs are jealous that they do not have them in their fold. The Angels have relied on and continue to rely on their farm system to produce a quantity of quality players to keep the parent club operating an elite level without having to resort to prohibitive economics. While the Angels organization may not be producing an All-Star player every year, it did produce 53 out of 66 players in a camp to be on a team that won 97 games.

At, we believe that analyzing an organization requires a broader understanding of the system overall. For that reason, we disagree with the low rankings that the Angels have received over the past two years by national organizations. Based on the numerous debates and discussions that we have had in trying to rank the players in our Top-50 list (this year’s rankings have gone through more iterations than any other year’s to date), and the number of and the quality of the players in our system who did not even make this list, we believe that the Angels’ Minor League organization is much stronger and better than has been reported by other sources.

But, all of that may be changing. In 2009, under the direction of Eddie Bane, the Angels made a tremendous draft. And, with five of the first forty picks in the 2010 draft, the Angels are set to bring in another tremendous haul. Between these two years, the Angels should establish a stockpile of premium talent that would get the attention of the national analysts as well as for those who are more familiar with the club.

Los Angeles Angels 2010 Top 50 Prospects
Scouting reports 1-30 by Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

1. Trevor Reckling, (LHP)
Reckling_Trevor_March_21_200911.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’1’ 195 lbs. DOB: 5/22/1989
Rancho (High-A): 1-3, 0.95 ERA, 16 strikeouts, 3 walks, 19 IP
Arkansas (Double-A): 8-7, 2.93 ERA, 106 strikeouts, 75 walks, 135.1 IP

Scouting Report: Reckling started the Minor League season in High Class-A quickly earned a promotion to Double-A by making the CAL League hitters look foolish. In just 19 innings (covering 3 starts) before heading to Arkansas, Reckling sported a sparkling .095 ERA and .138 BAA to give a glimpse of the southpaw's future.

While Double-A proved to be more of a challenge for the 19 year-old Trevor (he turned 20 in May of '09), he still finished with a solid 2.93 ERA, limiting opposing hitters much older than him to a .244 batting average.

The list of accolades for Reckling were many in 2009. Reckling made the Texas League All-Star team and was selected to the Futures Games, though he gave up 3 runs in 2/3 innings of relief . Trevor was also selected to play for Team USA against international competition. He threw seven shutout innings against China, striking out 11. Trevor was shut down early in his next start against Cuba with a minor oblique injury. Overall, the 20 year old was named the Angels' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Trevor comes to the plate in an over-the-top delivery which has a lot of moving parts, proving to be both deceptive to the hitter, but troublesome to his command of his pitches. Reckling walked 78 batters in 154.1 innings, but he also limited opposing hitters to a .232 batting average. As an example, late in the season, Reckling pitched 14 innings against Springfield and the Northwest Arkansas clubs (7.0 IPs against each team). In both contests, he did not allow any earned runs and in both contests he limited the opposition to just one hit over the course of the seven innings pitched (2 hits total). He struck out nine Springfield Cardinals and five Northwest Arkansas players in those games. However, he walked eight batters (four per game). When his command is on, Trevor can dominate a game.

Reckling flashes a plus curve ball with a 12-6 drop, a true swing and miss pitch that left-handed hitters cannot seem to pick up. His changeup is another plus pitch which keeps opposing hitters off-balanced from zeroing in on his average fastball offering which sits in the 88-92 mph range. His slider is another pitch that can give righties fits as it sweeps into the inner half of the strike zone. Reckling is one of the most athletic pitchers in the minor leagues and he defends his position well.

Look for Trevor Reckling to begin the 2010 season in Salt Lake (Triple-A) where he'll begin the season as one of the youngest players in the PCL as a 20 year old. If Reckling can figure a way to improve his mechanics to help his command, he'll profile as a top of the rotation starter. If not, he still looks to be a good middle of the rotation guy or a solid lefty setup specialist at the back end of a ball game.

2. Hank Conger, (C)
Conger_Hanksm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Switch Throws: Right 6’0’ 205 lbs. DOB: 1/29/1988
Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .294-.368-.423

Scouting Report: There was much debate internally as to who would nab the top spot between Reckling and Conger for our 2010 Top 50 Prospect List. Hammering Hank, who claimed the top spot on our list going into the 2009 season, showed he could stay healthy and spend the majority of the season behind the plate (87 games behind the dish and 36 games as the team's DH) for the Arkansas Travelers. That accomplishment, and the fact that he showed an approved batting eye, made it difficult to rank Hank at #2 this year instead of #1.

Despite giving up 14 errors (eleven from bad throws) and throwing out just 30% of base runners, Conger was one of the better defensive catchers in the Texas League at the young age of 21. Hank was solid at blocking balls, allowing just three passed balls in '09. And while he's still learning how to call a game, he handled the Arkansas Travelers pitching staff which led the Texas League in team ERA and placed second in the league for team WHIP. Conger has a strong arm, though still raw in terms of accuracy.

There is no question about Hank's ability to hit and crush the ball from both sides of the plate. Conger has a quick bat that produces a lot of power. Despite hitting just 11 home runs in 459 at bats. Eddie Bane said in one of our monthly chats in '09 said this: "Hitting 10-12 home runs in Arkansas is a big power year. I saw Hank crush one in Arkansas and it landed only in the first row." Dickey-Stephens Park is one of the toughest environments to flourish as a power hitter, but Hank actually hit better at home than on the road (.303/.371/.459 opposed to .288/.366/.392 on the road). One potential reason for Conger's drop in power totals was his dedication to working the count with a better approach at the plate. Conger saw his on-base pct. rise 33 points from a year ago to .369, walking 55 times to his 68 strikeouts. Conger's swing can become violent, especially from the left-side (.774 OPS) of the plate where he didn't fare as well as the right-side (.840 OPS). Hank is teachable enough that over time this could be corrected.

The 21-year old more than held is own in Double-A against older pitching. It's possible that due to the lack of games behind the plate (just 91 games behind the dish in nearly three seasons) and the Angels catching situation in Salt Lake and the big league club that he will repeat the same level in 2010. That said, if Hank has a solid showing in Tempe this spring, especially defensively, there's no doubt that he will begin the season in Triple-A.

3. Peter Bourjos, (OF)
Bourjos-1.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 180 lbs. DOB: 3/31/1987
Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .281-.354-.423

Scouting Report: For the second straight season Bourjos checks in at #3 on our Top 50 Prospect List. For the third straight season Bourjos battled injuries, missing three weeks in '09 with a torn ligament in his wrist after an early June batting practice session. While Bourjos played through the pain after his return to the lineup, his batting average slipped, and by the season's end he finished up with a .281 BA after hitting above .300 for the majority of the season. Despite the injury, Bourjos led the Texas League in triples with 14 and all outfielders with a .997 fielding percentage. Bourjos also ranked fifth in stolen bases (32) despite missing several games mid-season. The Angels named Bourjos as their Defensive Player of the Year.

One of the biggest goals for this leadoff hitter in 2009 was to improve his walk rate and approach at the plate. Mission accomplished! Bourjos improved his on-base percentage to .354, walking 49 times against 77 strikeouts. That's a big improvement over 2008 when Bourjos walked just 19 times. Bourjos has improved his ability to get on base via the bunt, an asset that manager Mike Scioscia loves in a player with the type of game changing speed that Bourjos possesses. Bourjos has a quick bat and can turn on pitches when he gets good extension, driving balls into the gaps and off the wall. Heading to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2010, Bourjos could get into double digits in the home run department. It's not inconceivable that he could hit 15-20 home runs down the road as he fills out.

Some believe that Bourjos is a future gold glove centerfielder. Possessing a strong arm, incredible range in the outfield and getting good jumps on the ball off the bat, Bourjos has the entire package to push fellow teammate and gold glover Torii Hunter to a corner spot in the outfield by 2011. Besides leading the league in fielding percentage Bourjos had seven assists and was involved in five double plays in 2009 which was good for a 1st place tie in that department from the outfield position.

Look for Bourjos to get in several games this spring as Scioscia gets a good look at the future and what could be his man up the middle in the outfield should Torii Hunter ever go down with an injury in 2010. Bourjos is one of the more exciting players to watch in the organization. Make sure you get out to Tempe this spring and to Salt Lake when the Minor League season is underway to watch him fly around the bases and rob players of extra base hits.

4. Mike Trout, (OF)
Troutsm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 200 lbs. DOB: 8/07/1991
Arizona (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .360-.418-.506
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .267-.421-.267

Scouting Report: Mike Trout took the spotlight on draft day in the MLB Network studio and continued to get noticed when playing for the Arizona Angels rookie club after he signed. Trout was leading the league in several offensive categories before getting a late season promotion to Low Class-A ball with the Cedar Rapids club to help them in their quest for a Midwest League championship. Trout got into five games, notching just 15 at bats, but didn't look overmatched despite being the youngest player in the league.

Trout has the tools to be a solid hitter in the big leagues with good plate discipline. His speed and defense rate out higher than what he can do offensively now, but there's time for his bat to catch up with his other above average tools. Trout sets up low and resembles Tim Salmon while at the plate, though without the loft in his swing. Mike produces a level inside-out swing in which he chokes up on the bat to make solid contact. While this approach will not produce power totals now, he has the bat speed to drill the ball into the gaps and eventually over the wall, good for about 15-20 home runs over a full season of at bats.

Trout is an excellent base runner with plus speed, rating just second to Pete Bourjos. He stole 13 bases and was caught just twice. In the outfield Trout can go get them, showing outstanding range and instincts. Trout's arm is solid average, but at times he short-arms his throws into the infield, lacking the extension on his throws. This may push Trout to a corner outfield position down the road, but he has plenty of time to learn from the Angels Minor League coaching staff.

Look for Trout to begin the season in Low-A ball with the Kernels, though there is a chance they may start his first full professional season with the Angels in short season A ball with the Orem Owlz.

5. Jean Segura, (2B)
Segura3.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 5’11’ 155 lbs. DOB: 3/17/1990
Orem (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .346-.392-.512
Salt Lake (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .421-.421-.526

Scouting Report: The first of two second baseman in the top 10 list, the 5-foot-11 Dominican is built strong with a thick lower half and possesses an intriguing set of offensive tools from the middle infield position, much like the current second baseman in Anaheim, Howie Kendrick. Segura's season ended early on August 5th when he broke a finger sliding headfirst into second base. Once Segura's season was over with the Owlz, he ended up sporting a .904 OPS and a .346 batting average. Needing some infield depth earlier in the 2009 season, the Salt Lake Bees Triple-A club called upon Segura to fill in for seven games. The 19-year old didn't look a bit intimidated at such a high level, hitting .421 over 19 at bats with the Bees.

Segura has a ton of athleticism and plays the game with a lot of emotion. He possesses plus speed which should translate into a bunch of stolen bases down the road (he stole 11 bases in '09 in 36 games with the Orem Owlz). Like speedsters Trout and Bourjos, Segura bats from the right-side of the plate and has enough power to hit for 15-20 home runs down the road. Segura makes solid contact driving the ball to all fields and has a good idea at the plate knowing that it's his job to get on base at the top of the order. Segura walked as many times (11) as he struck out when with the Owlz, posting a .392 on-base percentage.

Defensively he looks a lot like Howie Kendrick did at the same stage of their Minor League development. Segura has a strong arm at second base and should continue to get better at the position. If not, he could move to corner outfield spot.

6. Garrett Richards, (RHP)
GarretRichards.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 210 lbs. DOB: 5/27/1988
Orem (Rookie Ball): 3-1, 1.53 ERA, 30 strikeouts, 4 walks, 35 IP

Scouting Report: When looking at Richards college career stats at Oklahoma, one would have to scratch their head as to why the Angels would select him so high in the 2009 amateur draft. Garrett posted a 6.57 ERA in his three years there. Well, the Angels and Eddie Bane look at the entire package a player presents when selecting talent and there is no question Richards has what it takes to be a special player and possibly a top-of-the-rotation starter down the road. Richards flashed a glimpse of the type of impact pitcher he can be at the front of the rotation, posting a 1.53 ERA in eight starts in 2009, without giving up a home run.

Richards threw strikes in his professional debut (just four walks in 35 innings of work), something he didn't do in college, despite his above average repertoire of pitches. Let's talk about those pitches. Richards' fastball ranges in in the 90-98 range, but primarily sits at 93-94 mph throughout the game. The heater has some sink and life to it, doing a good job of keeping it down in the zone. Richards throws a solid curveball with a lot depth and a sharp biting slider which he gets up there in the 86-88 mph range. Both breaking pitches are solid average to above average pitches. To keep hitters off-balance he throws a changeup with good sink and fade that helps keep lefthanders from getting comfortable at the plate.

Last year, Richards experienced shoulder tightness after a bullpen session while pitching for the Cedar Rapids club to help their playoff chances. He's fine now and will be ready and healthy for spring camp.

Richards could move quickly if he continues to command the strike zone with his assortment of pitches. Look for him to start the season with the Kernels, but don't be surprised if he makes it to Rancho Cucamonga or even to the Travelers if it continues to all come together for him. He has a shot to be the best player drafted in 2009, but we need to see more than just eight Low-A starts before making that determination.

7. Alexi Amarista, (2B)
Amaristasm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Switch Throws: Right 5’8’ 150 lbs. DOB: 4/06/1989
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .319-.390-.468

Scouting Report: The 5'8 Alexi Amarista may be small in stature, but not in ability or bottom line results. Amarista was a regular on our weekly Hot Prospect lists and was discussed several times on 'The Richter Scale' segment on Angels radio AM 830 with host Jeff Biggs and Chuck Richter. The 20 year old native of Venezuela was signed by the Angels as a free agent on Jan. 25, 2007. Overall, he has a .326 (301/922) batting average in three professional seasons. In 2009, Amarista won the Midwest League batting title with a .319 mark and was among the league's leaders in hits (152), doubles (39), triples (10) and sacrifices (18). Consequently the Angels named Amarista their 2009 Minor League Player of the Year. Pretty impressive considering the Midwest League is considered a pitcher-friendly league.

Amarista can do it all. Abe Flores had this to say about Amarista: Minor League Player of the Year. In some ways, a 5-tool guy. That’s how Bill Mosiello our manager [at Cedar Rapids] describes him—as a 5-tool guy. We’re going to give a little bit of a loose definition to power. We’re talking doubles power. Not over the fence type power. For a smaller guy, he can drive the ball and he can beat you in a lot of different ways. He’s a solid defender with a plus arm. He isn’t just a second baseman. He can also play the outfield. He can go into centerfield, he can play second. A catalyst. A really tough competitor.

With a good approach at the plate, a solid contact rate and above average speed (though he was caught 20 times trying to steal), Alexi Amarista profiles well at the top of the order. He may be the safest bet to succeed at the Major League level at of all of the prospects on this list. Amarista played for the Venezuelan Winter League club and he continued to hit there, posting a .339 batting average while notching 19 extra base hits (.510 slugging pct.). The lone knock on Amarista has been his lack of success against southpaws, but even they didn't get in his way in Winterball as he slugged .586 against them and posted a .397 average against them.

Look for Amarista to join the Quakes in 2010 as their opening day second baseman. The Angels may try Amarista at other positions to see if he can expedite his major league debut as a super utility player, much like Chone Figgins did when he first came up, before landing a starting role.

8. Randal Grichuk, (OF)
Grichuk.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 195 lbs. DOB: 08/13/1991
Arizona (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .322-.352-.551

Scouting Report: The Angels' first overall pick of the 2009 amateur draft (24th overall), Grichuk went one spot before Mike Trout. The pick was a bit surprising to many of the national analysts, but Grichuk rewarded the Angels' confidence in his selection with a solid professional debut. Grichuk led the Arizona rookie league with 76 hits and 10 triples. He ranked second in extra base hits with 30.

Randal "Too Hot to Handle" Grichuk is a power hitter, going way back to his little league days. In the 2004 Little League World Series, Grichuk powered his team with a series leading four home runs. The Angels wanted a true power hitting outfielder in the early rounds and felt Grichuk was the best of who was left on the board.

As a power hitter, Grichuk can get overly aggressive at the plate (64-9 strikeout to walk ratio), but Grichuk has a lightening quick bat and strong hands. In the past he was always pull orientated, but used the entire field with the Arizona Angels club. A good athlete, most believe he projects as a left fielder due to his average to below average speed and arm strength. Grichuk has a lot of time and learning to do to continue to improve his game. However, the work ethic and passion to play the game is there.

Barring an injury or a need for more time in extended spring training in Arizona, look for Grichuk to start the season off with Mike Trout in the Cedar Rapids outfield. That team will host a talented outfield with Terrell Alliman in right field, Trout in centerfield and Grichuk in left field.

9. Tyler Chatwood, (RHP)
tylerchatwood-1.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 5’11’ 175 lbs. DOB: 12/16/1989
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 8-7, 4.02 ERA, 106 strikeouts, 66 walks, 116 IP

Scouting Report: In our past chats with the scouting director Eddie Bane, he spoke highly of Tyler Chatwood and loved his two knockout pitches (fastball and curve). Abe Flores had this to say about the Angels first selection in the second round in '08. "Power arm. Power arm in a short package. Downhill 92-95 mph in May, 92-95 mph in August. Power curveball. Good changeup. What he has to continue to harness and improve on is his command of his pitches. Not necessarily strike one, but being efficient in finishing hitters off and not letting counts get away from him."

Chatwood began his first full season of professional ball strong and ended up making the Midwest League All-Star team. He finished the season strong going 4-1 with a 3.62 ERA in August and winning his lone playoff game against the Wisconsin club, giving up just one run over five innings.

Like Abe Flores mentioned, Chatwood needs to improve his command and his ability to finish hitters off. Chatwood simply needs to trust his stuff, but with more teaching and experience he will get there. Whether he ends up being a late inning reliever or a starting pitcher depends on the continued development of his changeup (which has improved significantly over his first taste of pro ball in 2008). Chatwood can run it up as high as 97 mph, but works in the 92-95 range. His power curveball resembles Roy Oswalt's, as does his size, coming toward hitters at just 5'11 from the mound. Midwest League batters hit just .237 against Chatwood and he gave up just three home runs in 116.1 innings.

Chatwood will be playing close to home in 2010 for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, just a 10 minute drive north of where he went to school at Redlands East Valley High. The stuff is there, but Chatwood must now harness it if he's going to succeed going forward. Maybe Garrett Richards who struggled with commanding his quality stuff can share what worked for him to Chatwood in spring camp in Tempe? Look out CAL League hitters if Chatwood figures it out.

10. Michael Kohn, (RHP)
MichaelKohnsm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 200 lbs. DOB: 06/26/1986
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 4-1, 2.19 ERA, 60 strikeouts, 12 walks, 37 IP
Rancho (High-A): 2-0, 0.94 ERA, 43 strikeouts, 14 walks, 28 2/3 IP

Scouting Report: If there's an organizational award for player, pitcher and defensive minor leaguer of the year, there should be one for organizational relief pitcher of the year. If it did exist, the award would go to Michael Kohn hands down. Kohn posted a 2.19 ERA for the Cedar Rapids Kernels over 28 games and in 37 innings he struck out 60 Midwest League batters, holding the opposition to a .161 batting average. Promoted to High Class-A ball in July, Kohn continued to dominate, posting a sparkling 0.94 ERA in 24 games while fanning 43 batters over 28 2/3 innings of work. Kohn gave up just one home run all season and finished with a sensational .153 BAA.

Kohn comes at opposing hitters with a heavy 94-98 mph fastball and a plus slider. The slider still needs work in terms of consistency, but when it's on he's just filthy. There were a lot of late inning contests in which Kohn dominated the opposition with just his fastball that explodes out of his hand. Taking up pitching for the first time in 2008 for the College of Charleston, Kohn pitched just 13 amateur innings before being signed by the Angels.

The Angels will most likely start Michael Kohn in Double-A Arkansas as the Travelers' closer. If the breaking pitch is there we are willing to bet that fans will see Kohn in the big leagues before the 2010 season is over. The consistency of his slider will determine whether Kohn profiles as a future setup man or closer down the road. Just ask Matt Anderson if you can get away with just a good fastball in the big leagues.

11. Mark Trumbo, (OF, 1B)
trumbosm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’4’ 220 lbs. DOB: 1/16/1986
Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .291-.333-.452

Scouting Report
: You have to wonder what type of season Trumbo would have had if it wasn't for his 1st half of struggles at the plate. After slugging 32 home runs between two levels in 2008, Trumbo got off to a horrid start, posting a .205 batting average after a month of play before turning it on in June. Trumbo took off from there and posted a .320/.361/.502 line in the second half. Abe Flores had this to say about Trumbo's 2009 Minor League season. "I think the guy who really stood out and really took off and really blossomed in the second half was Trumbo. I can’t say enough about him. He continues to impress and continues to improve. He ends up being resilient even in times where he does struggle and he ends up coming through it. There were some times in that first half where you were biting your fingernails and just wondering if he’d come through it. It’s kind of like being a worried parent. But he ends up working his way through it and I can’t give enough credit to the staff there."

With Kendry Morales settled in at first base, a positional change was in order to give Trumbo a greater chance of making the big league roster in the future. Trumbo was moved to the outfield, right field specifically, but showed he still needs work at the position. Abe Flores said "The people that evaluate him say that he was okay. So it is a work in progress."

As with any slugger who plays half of his games in Dickey-Stephens Park, we expected a drop off in Trumbo's power totals. Despite the reduced numbers, just 15 home runs in 533 at bats, Trumbo did club 35 doubles and can still hit them as far as anyone in the minor leagues. When talking about Angels' Minor Leaguers with power, Eddie Bane said "No one we have has Trumbo's power." Although Trumbo struck out 100 times and his swing can get very long, but for a power hitter 100 K's over a full season of at bats is an acceptable number.

Look for Trumbo to head to Salt Lake where his slugging percentage could spike into the mid-500 range, possibly surpassing his home run totals of 2008. While Trumbo may look a bit clumsy in right field, he's got the arm to handle the position. With a full season or two of time to improve on his routes and reads to the ball, he should be an adequate defender. The good news is that the position change didn't seem to bother his hitting while in Arkansas as he hit .350 and slugged .600 in 40 at bats as a right fielder with the Travelers in '09.

12. Fabio Mesa-Martinez, (RHP)

nophoto-2.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 190 lbs. DOB: 10/29/1989
Arizona (Rookie Ball): 3-2, 3.26 ERA, 92 strikeouts, 36 walks, 60 2/3 IP
Orem (Rookie Ball): 1-0, 3.86 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 2 walks, 7 IP

Scouting Report: Eddie Bane said "Martinez Mesa throws very hard. Up to 98 mph. He has a wicked slider that he just needs to command better. If he keeps in shape he will be something." Martinez led the Arizona Rookie League with 92 strikeouts. He accomplished the feat in just 61 innings of work. Martinez carries his mid to upper 90's fastball deep into games. Martine'sz slider can be a plus pitch, but as Eddie Bane mentioned he struggles, to command it. The changeup is a third pitch that has the makings of a quality pitch, but like the slider, it needs work.

Abe Flores said that the Angels will continue to use Martinez as a starter going forward. But like many hard throwers who struggle to come up with an offspeed pitch, there's always the bullpen in the cards if they are unable to develop his changeup to keep hitters off-balanced. The Angels will get a good look at Martinez in spring camp to check on the progress of his secondary pitches. That will determine if he starts the season off in Low-A ball in Cedar Rapids or Short Season A ball with the Orem Owlz.

13. Will Smith, (LHP)
WillSmithsm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’5’ 215 lbs. DOB: 07/10/1989
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 10-5, 3.76 ERA, 95 strikeouts, 24 walks, 115 IP

Scouting Report: Will Smith battled injuries and went on the DL twice (hamstring & lower back) in what was his first full season of professional ball in the Midwest League. Smith gave us a glimpse of what he can do on the mound in a playoff atmosphere with every game crucial in a short series. In his first playoff contest against Peoria, he allowed just two runs in seven innings of work, striking out seven while giving up just five hits and one walk. In his second playoff start against Burlington, Smith gave up just two runs in eight innings, fanning nine batters while giving up just three hits. Unfortunately, he lost that game on a two-run homer which he gave up in the first inning. Smith kept battling and kept the Kernels in the entire game, though he took the loss 2-1. All and all, despite the injuries, it was an impressive first full season of pro-ball for the 20-year old. Smith sported a 3.76 ERA and held the opposition to a .249 batting average.

A command guy, Smith's fastball sits in the 86-92 range, so he's not overpowering. Smith has a good pitchers' body, standing at 6'5 and 220 pounds -- so he can definitely add a few mph on his fastball down the road. His breaking ball is a solid offering and his changeup is effective. Abe Flores said he's a tough competitor on the mound and has a good tempo.

Look for Smith to begin the season with the Quakes in 2010. The CAL League should prove to be a real test for Smith, but like Brok Butcher showed a couple years back, if you command your pitches down in the zone you can have success despite the favorable hitters' parks and environments.

14. Trevor Bell, (RHP)
Bell_Trevorsm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’2’ 186 lbs. DOB: 10/12/1986
Arkansas (Double-A): 4-3, 2.23 ERA, 51 strikeouts, 20 walks, 68 2/3 IP
Salt Lake (Triple-A): 3-4, 3.15 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 15 walks, 71 1/3 IP

Scouting Report: Trevor Bell had just an incredible season and really a bounce-back season after he was demoted to the pen in 2008 to work out some command issues and consistency of his secondary offerings. Abe Flores really nailed it when he had this to say about Trevor Bell. "I thought he did marvelous. I thought, hey, a number one competitor. I think that the breaking ball was a little bit of a concern, but his fastball command was good. His changeup was good. He needs to continue to develop and get in work and a consistent breaking ball. But, he had fastball command. He was tenacious. He attacked the strike zone with what he had night-to-night so you knew what you were getting. He just grew up."

In 2009, Trevor Bell earned a promotion to the big leagues after posting a combined 2.70 ERA over 22 starts between two levels, including two complete game shutouts with the Salt Lake Bees. The big leagues were not as friendly to Bell, as opposing hitters boasted a .412 batting average against him in eight appearances, including four starts.

Bell has a fastball that sits in the 92-94 range, touching 96 mph at times. The fastball has some good life to it and when he keeps it down in the zone with a good tempo, he can be tough to hit when he works in a changeup and breaking ball over for a strike. The latter pitch, as Abe mentioned, needs some work, but it is a promising pitch (slider) with good depth when he can command it. Because Trevor works so quickly and hits his spots with his fastball, he gave up just six home runs in 140 innings of work in the minors. Bell is a good athlete and defends his position well off the mound. A fierce competitor with a strong work ethic, Bell has the ability to become a solid middle of the rotation starter if it all comes together for him.

If the Angels go into spring training without signing a replacement for John Lackey, Trevor Bell will battle Matt Palmer, Anthony Ortega and Sean O'Sullivan for the fifth spot in the rotation. A good spring could also give Bell a shot on the big league roster as a long reliever.

15. Jordan Walden, (RHP)
JordanWaldensm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’5’ 240 lbs. DOB: 11/16/1987
Arkansas (Double-A): 1-5, 5.25 ERA, 57 strikeouts, 29 walks, 60 IP

Scouting Report: One of the biggest disappointments of 2009 was Jordan Walden. With all the hype of Walden starting the '09 season with the Travelers tabbed as the #1 Angels prospect by many writers and observers, Walden battled command issues, a drop in fastball velocity and injuries -- which led to two DL trips, the last one shutting him down for the season after facing just two batters in a July 13th start.

Both Eddie Bane and Abe Flores confirmed to us in previous interviews toward the end of the 2009 minor league season and again in the fall that Jordan Walden will work out of the bullpen in 2010. That could change however with a strong showing in spring camp, especially if his right forearm is sound. Most of all, the Angels just want to keep him on the field so they can continue to develop his pitches.

When Walden is right, he throws a fastball in the low-to-mid 90's, touching 97-98 mph. The slider is a solid pitch, but at times it can flatten out, losing the sharp bite. The changeup is a work in progress and it will determine whether Walden makes it to the big leagues as a starter or reliever, if he can remain healthy and continue to develop his secondary offerings. If healthy, Walden should start the season again with the Arkansas Travelers possibly working in tandem with Michael Kohn in save opportunities.

16. Sean O'Sullivan, (RHP)
SoSully.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 230 lbs. DOB: 9/01/1987
Arkansas (Double-A): 1-2, 5.30 ERA, 14 strikeouts, 0 walks, 18 2/3 IP
Salt Lake (Triple-A): 6-4, 5.48 ERA, 48 strikeouts, 20 walks, 69 IP
Los Angeles (Majors): 4-2, 5.92 ERA, 29 strikeouts, 16 walks, 51 2/3 IP

Scouting Report: Sean O'Sullivan had two really standout games in 2009, one for the Triple-A club and one for the big league club against the San Francisco Giants on the road in interleague play. On July 28th Sean O'Sullivan had a perfect game going against the Oakland Triple-A club, but eventually walked one. After 122 pitches, O'Sullivan finished the game with a no hitter, striking out seven and earned the 2-0 over a good hitting club.

In his Major League debut, O'Sullivan threw a gem. In seven innings against the San Francisco Giants, Sean gave up just one run on five hits, striking out five and earned his first major league win. O'Sullivan started his major league career with a bang, going 3-0 in five starts for the Angels, with a 3.72 earned-run average before struggling in his next four starts in August. Sean did finish the season in fine fashion earning the victory against the Texas Rangers with five solid innings of work.

Abe Flores had this to say about Sean O'Sullivan after the conclusion of the 2009 season. "When you see him he’s a big-bodied guy. You think he’s going to throw rockets. He doesn’t. He’s about pitchability—mixing, matching sequences. He has a three pitch mix. He can throw three pitches. You can see that the wheels are turning. Sometimes it seems like he’s picking at the zone instead of really nailing that pitch and getting it or a quality strike. And that ends up getting him in trouble because his pitch counts increase and his outings become a little shortened because of his pitch count".

Sean brings a fastball in the low 90's, and, when he keeps it down in the zone, he's effective. Scioscia raved about his changeup, a pitch with good fade and sink down in the zone. His breaking pitch is a solid third offering that has some late bite to it. To confirm what Abe said about attacking the strike zone instead of "picking at the zone", Sean was aggressive in the strike zone in both his Major League debut and Triple-A no-hitter. If O'Sullivan can maintain his attack, he could be a solid middle of the rotation starter down the road.

Like Trevor Bell, O'Sullivan will battle Palmer and Ortega in spring training for the vacant spot in the rotation if the Angels do not sign a starting pitcher before spring camp. O'Sullivan is a starting pitcher not a reliever, so if he doesn't crack the rotation he'll return to Salt Lake to begin the 2010 season.

17. Tyler Skaggs, (LHP)
TylerSkaggs.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’4’ 180 lbs. DOB: 07/13/1991
Arizona (Rookie Ball): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk, 6 IP
Orem (Rookie Ball): 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 4 IP

Scouting Report: The Angels were happy to nab Skaggs with their 40th overall 1st round supplemental pick in the 2009 amateur draft. A projectable, lanky, 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds frame, Skaggs has an athletic build that should develop more muscle down the road without gaining much weight. In an amateur showdown between two coveted arms, Skaggs matched against Bryan Berglund and came out on top with over 50 scouts on hand. The southpaw struck out 12 batters in five innings of work, giving up just an unearned run. Skaggs posted a 1.80 ERA and fanned 13 in 10 innings of work between the AZL Angels and the Orem Owlz in his professional debut.

Skaggs has an old-fashioned over the top windup that gets a lot of forward movement from his back leg driving off the rubber. While his fastball sits in the 88-92 range right now, some scouts believe he'll eventually work in the low 90's consistently, hitting 95 mph. Skaggs curveball has a true over-the-top rainbow effect to it that generates swings and misses. His slider is a new pitch that is a work in progress, much like his changeup which shows flashes of being a plus offering.

There's a lot to be excited about when talking about Tyler Skaggs and we should see a lot from Tyler with the Orem Owlz in 2010.

18. Andrew Taylor, (LHP)
AndrewTaylor.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Left 6’2’ 190 lbs. DOB: 08/18/1986
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 3-0, 1.23 ERA, 83 strikeouts, 19 walks,
51 1/3 IP
Rancho Cucamonga (High A): 1-0, 9.53 ERA, 8 strikeouts, 8 walks, 5 2/3 IP

Scouting Report: What Abe Flores called a "pleasant surprise" to a solid crop of young relievers in the organization, the southpaw Andrew Taylor posted incredible numbers in his first full season of professional ball. In 51 1/3 innings of work with the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Andrew Taylor fanned 83 batters and posted a minuscule 1.23 ERA, holding the opposition to a .166 batting average. Taylor didn't give up a home run all season in the Midwest League although he did give up two home runs and six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings when he was called up to fill a spot in the High-A Rancho bullpen. During that time with Rancho, Taylor did fan eight batters.

This lefty comes at hitters with a 90-95 mph fastball with late life and run. His slider is a true swing-and-miss pitch with a hard break that he keeps down in the strike zone. Shows a solid changeup at times too. Taylor commands his pitches well and is aggressive in the strike zone.

Look for the southpaw to begin the season in High-A ball, possibly as the Quakes closer. Taylor will be surrounded with some talented company in the pen featuring Chris Scholl, Vladimir Veras, Nick Pugliese, Kevin Nabors and Jeremy Thorne. Taylor could be a future setup man or even closer with the two-pitch knockout punches he brings in the latter innings.

19. Chris Pettit, (OF)
ChrisPettit2.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 195 lbs. DOB: 08/15/1984
Arizona (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .357-.471-.429
Salt Lake (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .321-.383-.482
Los Angeles (Majors): AVG-OBP-SLG: .286-.286-.286


Scouting Report: Pettit was a regular on our weekly prospect hotlist during the 2009 Minor League season, hitting over .400 in early June before breaking the hamate bone in his left hand. Pettit returned to action in July and struggled in his return, hitting just .175, before turning it on in August hitting at .321/.398/.505 clip. Pettit finished the 2009 season with a solid .325/.385/.487 line, earning a September call up in which he got his first major league hit.

Some scouts wonder if Pettit is a solid 4th outfielder or starting left fielder on a big league club in the mold of a righthanded version of Bobby Abreu. One thing is for certain, Pettit has five average tools across the board. With a good approach at the plate, Pettit is able to work the count for a walk or put himself in a good hitters count to get good wood on the ball. There's enough power in his swing to generate 15 home runs a season. Pettit is a good baserunner and was successful in 18 out of 20 stolen base attempts. He profiles better in left field where his arm and range will play out, though he's athletic enough to play centerfield in a pinch with his tick above average speed. Pettit gets good reads on the ball off the bat.

A hard worker, Pettit will go into spring training looking to battle Reggie Willits for the 5th outfield spot. If the Angels feel that (DH) Hideki Matsui is outfield ready, they may not need a fifth outfielder, in which Pettit will find himself back in Triple-A hoping to stay healthy and build off his solid 2009 campaign.

20. Ryan Chaffee, (RHP)
Chaffeesm.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 200 lbs. DOB: 5/18/1988
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 8-8, 4.33 ERA, 121 strikeouts, 65 walks, 116 1/3 IP

Scouting Report: Chaffee notched 23 starts in his first taste of professional ball in the Midwest League and was solid up until the final full month of the season, hinting that Chaffee could have run out of gas. In 116 1/3 innings Chaffee limited the opposition to a solid .206 batting average, striking out 121 batters. The downside is that Chaffee walked 65 batters, translating into a 4.33 ERA for the season. Most of the damage, however, was done in the month of August were he was pounded at a .301 clip resulting in a 9.82 ERA in five August starts

Chaffee needs to do a better job of getting out of jams as he posted a 8.83 ERA with runners on and a 13.94 ERA with runners in scoring position. Be that as it may, the Midwest League All-Star fared well before August, posting the following earned run averages per month: (April 3.60, May 2.96, June 2.10, July 3.86), so there's some optimism going forward with Chaffee who is still crafting his arsenal of pitches and command.

Abe Flores had this to say about Ryan Chaffee at the end of the 2009 minor league season. "A multi-slot guy. Kind of a Dave Cone type approach. Two slots. A very, very good slider when it is right. A plus slider when it’s right. Good changeup. Not overpowering, but has to be effective with his command and his location to make it all work." Chaffee's fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range, but can run it up to 93-94 on occasion.

Chaffee heads to Rancho Cucamonga with Tyler Chatwood, Will Smith and Manual Flores who was promoted there late in the season in '09. If he keeps the ball down and harnesses his plus slider, he should put up decent results in the CAL League. Chaffee has the makings of a solid middle of the rotation starter on a good team if it all comes together for him.

21. Jon Bachanov, (RHP)
JonBachanov.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’4’ 210 lbs. DOB: 01/30/1989
Arizona (Rookie Ball): 4-0, 3.14 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 4 walks, 28 2/3 IPOrem (Rookie Ball): 0-0, 2.70 ERA, 5 strikeouts, 1 walks, 3 1/3 IP

Scouting Report: Jonathan Bachanov, the Angels supplemental first round pick in 2007, was an afterthought for many fans going into the 2009 season due to his injury-related absence on the field. In 2009, he finally made his professional debut for the Angels in with the Arizona rookie club and later with Orem -- and he showed just why he was drafted so highly by Eddie Bane and staff. Slowed from Tommy John surgery in '07, Bachanov was eased back by pitching in relief -- and in 32 innings of rookie ball he posted a 3.09 ERA and fanned 52 hitters between two stops. More impressively he walked just five batters, showing no signs of rust.

Bachanov has a fastball that sits at 92-93 which he commands well, peaking at 96 mph. The slider is a plus offering that looks to be a true out-pitch. Bachanov also throws a solid changeup, though it's a pitch seldom uses.

Bachanov could move quickly if he stays in relief and with his stuff he could be a potential late-inning closer or a solid starter if he becomes comfortable with featuring the changeup into his arsenal going forward. Look for Bachanov to move to Cedar Rapids to start the 2010 season, but don't be surprised if he begins the season with the Quakes either, making up for lost time.

22. Tyler Kehrer, (LHP)
TylerKehrer.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’3’ 210 lbs. DOB: 03/23/1988
Orem (Rookie Ball): 3-3, 4.75 ERA, 57 strikeouts, 22 walks, 55 IP

Scouting Report: Kehrer was drafted 48th overall in the June '09 amateur draft and like Garrett Richards was drafted based on stuff and projectability. Kehrer, a southpaw, had a rough beginning to his pro debut, but flashed good stuff striking out 57 batters with the Orem Owlz in 55 innings of work. Tyler battled command issues in his professional debut resulting in 22 walks and a 4.75 ERA, leaving several of his pitches up in the zone when behind in the count.

Equipped with low 90's fastball with good tailing action, Kehrer can run his four-seamer up to 95-96 mph. His slider flashes plus potential when it's on, freezing righthanded hitters as it sweeps in down in the zone. Kehrer is still working on the changeup as he doesn't have a good feel for the pitch right now, but showed it has some potential when he occasionally worked one in against opposing Pioneer League batters. Kehrer should begin the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and could have a breakout season if he improves the command of his secondary pitches.

23. Carlos Ramirez, (C)
CarlosRamirez2.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 5’11’ 205 lbs. DOB: 03/19/1988
Orem (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .376-.500-.638

Scouting Report: Nobody had a better professional debut than the Arizona State backstop. Carlos Ramirez, who looks a lot like a young Bengie Molina in body and size, swung the bat a lot like Joe Mauer with the Orem Owlz. Ramirez posted .376 batting average, .500 on-base percentage and .638 slugging pct. resulting in 1.138 OPS. Unfortunately, he did not qualify for the batting title as he finished the season 15 plate appearances short, but he did finish first in the Pioneer League with a .500 on-base percentage. Ramirez demonstrated that he was a run producer and had a knack for driving in runs. In 42 games the slugger drove in 36 runs.

Nobody questions whether this kid will hit, as he's hit wherever he's played, bringing enough power to become a true asset in the middle of the lineup if he can stick behind the plate. Ramirez is a slow runner and lacks athleticism, but blocks and receives well behind the plate. His arm is average. He threw out 32% of basestealers while with the Owlz. Ramirez also calls a good game and takes over in a leadership role with the pitcher, calling his own game, as he did in college with Arizona State. The only question mark surrounding Ramirez is, can he stay in shape and keep his weight down so that he can continue to improve defensively behind the dish. Mike Napoli has shown he can hit, but Mike Scioscia will always prefer a defensive guy behind the plate who can work well with the pitchers, over a slugger that's sluggish with catchers gear on.

24. Chris Scholl, (RHP)
Scholl_Christian_5_1_20094.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats:Right Throws: Right 5’11’ 195 lbs. DOB: 10/27/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 3-2, 3.42 ERA, 90 strikeouts, 37 walks,
84 1/3 IP

Scouting Report: Chris Scholl finished the season in incredible fashion as a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels bullpen. In his last 21 innings Scholl didn't allow an earned run, giving up just one unearned run, while striking out 37. The lone run came from an inning that Scholl battled some control issues, walking three in the inning. In his last three appearances out of the bullpen Scholl worked in three innings per game striking out six in each of those games, 18 overall during that three-game span.

Abe Flores, in our end-of-year Minor League Review, had this to say about Scholl. "Really had a remarkable finish having those consecutive scoreless innings and those no-hit innings I should say. That really took us a bit back because in the beginning he was a bit of a smaller stature guy. He tended to be a bit flat with his stuff. His angle improved. The crispness of his breaking ball improved. And his ability to locate his pitches out of the middle of the plate improved."

Scholl throws a low 90's fastball that touches 94 with good action and sink. The breaking ball, as Abe mentioned, improved and was a true swing-and-miss pitch down the stretch for Scholl. The combination between Scholl and Taylor at the back end of games for Rancho could prove to be a dynamic lefty-righty duo for the Quakes in 2010.

25. Dillon Baird, (3B)
DBaird.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’3’ 190 lbs. DOB: 01/13/1988
Orem (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .372-.452-.567

Scouting Report: The combination of Ramirez and Baird in the Orem Owlz lineup catapulted the club to the best regular-season record in the Pioneer League and to success in the playoffs. While teammate Carlos Ramirez missed out by 15 plate appearances for the batting title, Baird had enough and finished the season with the title hitting at a .372 clip. If that wasn't impressive enough, Baird posted a 1.019 OPS, showing good plate discipline and the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field with authority. After a successful pro debut for Baird, he will most likely begin the 2010 season with the Kernels at the hot corner.

When we asked if Baird would have enough pop for a corner position, Abe Flores had this to say: "It comes down the road. He’s more of a line-drive straight gap kind of power, but it may come. But I am going to say this very conservatively. He can turn on balls because his game is based on using the whole field—making hard contact. He is a big physical kind of guy. I don’t want him jerking balls out or losing plate coverage to do that. We don’t want to take away one of his strengths and that is basically plate coverage." When we asked Abe to compare him to someone in the major leagues, Abe had this to say: "He’s kind of a bigger J.T. Snow. He is pretty good on defense. We are definitely going to try him at 3rd [base] which probably doesn’t require as much power as 1st[base]. He is pretty nifty and has good feet and a strong accurate arm. He just doesn’t have a lot of experience playing 3rd base."

The Angels and Eddie Bane may have a steal in the 11th round of the draft on their hands with the selection of Dillon Baird. Keep an eye on Baird's progress all minor league season long at

26. Robert Mosebach, (RHP)
Mosebach-1.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’4’ 195 lbs. DOB: 09/14/1984
Arkansas (Double-A): 2-0, 0.34 ERA, 16 strikeouts, 9 walks,
26 1/3 IPSalt Lake (Triple-A): 2-0, 2.23 ERA, 31 strikeouts, 18 walks, 40 1/3 IPLos Angeles (Majors): 0-0, 7.71 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 1/3 IP

Scouting Report Taken by the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft after the 2008 season, Mosebach was offered back to the Angels last April. Eddie Bane, who drafted Mosebach in the ninth round of the '05 draft, could not be happier. Mosebach had a stellar return to the Angels organization, dominating the opposition out of the pen to the tune of a 1.49 ERA and limiting the opposition to a .197 batting average while earning 13 saves along the way. Mosebach was promoted to Anaheim over the summer, but the results in just under three innings of work were less than spectacular, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks. Mosebach got some work in over the winter in the Dominican Republic and continued to look solid out of the pen with a 2.70 ERA over 16 games.

While Angels fans didn't see the same type of results Mosebach showed in the minors in '09, they certainly saw the type of fastball he brought to the table, registering at 97-98 mph a few times, touching 100 once. Mosebach also works in an average slider, but it doesn't always have the sharp bite -- which is why Mosebach's strikeout ratio isn't the best(47 K's in 66 2/3 inn). Mosebach's fastball however can be tough to center up, allowing opposing hitters to hit just one home run against him over the entire minor league season in '09. In 2008, he gave up just six home runs as a starter over 177 1/3 innings.

Look for Mosebach to get a crack at a bullpen role in 2010 with the Angels. Since moving to the pen, Mosebach can rare back and bring the gas much like Boston's Josh Bard, though with less frequency.

27. Tommy Mendoza, (RHP)
Mendoza.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 195 lbs. DOB: 08/18/1987
Arkansas (Double-A): 7-7, 3.36 ERA, 86 strikeouts, 31 walks, 128 2/3 IPSalt Lake (Triple-A): 2-1, 2.91 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 11 walks, 21 2/3 IP
Scouting Report: Like Mosebach, Mendoza was another 2005 draftee from Eddie Bane. And, like Mosebach, Mendoza had great season in 2009. Overall Mendoza posted a 3.29 ERA between Arkansas and Salt Lake over 24 starts. Just 23 years old, Mendoza made it to all the way to Triple-A after getting hammered in the CAL League in 2008. There's an outside chance with an early strong impression in Arizona this spring that Mendoza could be in the mix for the open fifth starter job should the Angels not sign or trade for a starting pitcher.

Mendoza works in a 92-93 mph fastball, touching 94. His curveball is an average offering on some contests and a plus pitch at other times. He lacks the consistency of the break, but he commands it well. When it's on, it has a quick downward bite that will generate some swings-and-misses. His slider and changeup are average offerings, but enough to give the hitter something to think about.

28. Mason Tobin, (RHP)
Tobin_Mason-1.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’4’ 220 lbs. DOB: 07/08/1987
Rancho (High-A): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks,
2 2/3 IP

Scouting Report: Mason Tobin opened the season as the Quakes closer in 2009 with a ton of excitement surrounding his new role as fireman. He ended up going under the knife having Tommy John surgery after just 2 2/3 innings of work and a couple months after rehab.

Be that as it may, Tobin brings a lot to the table from the mound. His fastball before the surgery was sitting in the 92-93 range with with all kinds of sinking action and armside run to it. He could always rare back for something extra with his four-seamer, touching 97. The slider is a plus pitch, but it can get slurvy at times and he occasionally left it up in a hitter's wheelhouse. His delivery, which isn't fluid, combined with his size on the hill, causes a bit of an intimidation factor to the hitter.

Tobin could be ready to go by mid-May, but should be ready to start throwing on flat ground by the time camp opens up in Tempe next month. There's a chance Tobin gets back on the mound for the Quakes in 2010, but the Angels will be slow in bringing him along after surgery.

29. Pat Corbin, (LHP)
corbin3.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’3’ 165 lbs. DOB: 07/19/1989
Orem (Rookie Ball): 4-2, 5.05 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 11 walks,
46 1/3 IP

Scouting Report: The Angels plucked Chaffee from Chipola (Fla.) JC in last years' draft and then took the southpaw Corbin this year in the 2nd round of the draft from the same school. An athletic body, Corbin is tall and lanky at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. He played Basketball and Baseball a year before transferring to Chipola at Mohawk Valley (N.Y.), and is said to be able to dunk a basketball from a standstill. Corbin's first taste of professional ball with the Orem Owlz wasn't all that impressive, as hitters hit .291 off him, giving him a 5.05 ERA at season end, but he did manage to strikeout a batter an inning in 46 innings of work.

Corbin is projectable with loose arm action which should provide more velocity as he gets stronger. Currently his fastball sits in the 89-93 mph range with natural sink and good action into righthanded hitters. He commands it around the plate, but doesn't always know where it's going because of the movement. The slider is more of a slurve with good tilt to it. The changeup is a work in progress, but it showed flashes of being a solid offering as the season went on.

Corbin should join Kehrer, Richards and possibly Fabio Martinez Mesa and Tyler Skaggs in Cedar Rapids in 2010 -- in what could be the best starting five rotation in the Midwest League, if not, the most talented one at least.

30. James Mallard, (1B/DH)
mallard-3.jpg picture by chuckster70

Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 265 lbs. DOB: 08/23/1990
Arizona (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .297-.360-.468

Scouting Report: The Angels finally signed Mallard just a year after they tried to sign him for the first time back in the '08 amateur draft. Mallard hit .449 with 10 homers and 58 RBIs at Hillsborough Community College, earning honorable mention All-American honors by the NJCAA. Jamie Mallard has drawn a crowd for a long time for his ability to hit tape-measure home runs going back to when he was young. He was also featured in a Sports Illustrated column that note that highlighted the top five power hitters in the country under 22 in 2002, when he was only 11 years old. Mallard is also the Godson of former Major Leaguer Carl Everett. One person said: “Jamie Mallard probably has the most power I have ever seen in terms of recruiting. He has the type of power that in BP both teams stop what they are doing and they watch how far he hits the ball. He hit a home run out of Tropicana Field in Tampa at 13 years old. And it shows up in the games too, he’s not just a five o’clock hitter. Hand Size, hand speed and bat speed equal big power with Jamie. And he moves well for his frame of 250 pounds. He has soft hands, is agile and has plenty of arm strength.” Mallard hit well in his pro debut too, slugging five home runs in 30 games, while driving in 28 runners for the Arizona Angels squad.

His defense and keeping his weight down are going to be the real questions going forward. Abe Flores commented on Mallard a couple months back. "At this point it is all bat. He needs to get himself as fit as he can to increase his mobility and enhance his defense. He has to really get more functional on defense to really have value. He’s got bat speed and he’s got recognition—he’s got some juice in that bat. Definitely once he gets himself into that batter’s box he’s a presence."

If Mallard comes to minor league camp in Tempe in good shape and shows improved defense at first base, there's a chance he and Baird could be at the corners for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. If not, they'll keep him back in extended spring training to work on defensive drills at first base. Could Mallard be the next Ryan Howard or the next Walter Young (Pirates)?

Here's a quick scouting report on prospects 31-50 by David Saltzer

31. Gabe Jacobo, (1B)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 190 lbs. DOB: 4/14/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .257-.317-.427

Tale of two seasons. Posted a .652 OPS pre-all star break and an .817 OPS afterward. Needs to relax at the plate and stop pressing in order to succeed.

32. Terrell Alliman, (OF)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 185 lbs. DOB: 10/15/1988Orem Owlz (Rookie Ball): AVG-OBP-SLG: .307-.387-.396

Athletic outfielder with good speed and a strong arm. Shows good patience at the plate (26 walks vs. 27 strikeouts) and should provide more power down the road (1 home run in 382 minor league at bats).

33. Luis Jimenez, (3B)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 170 lbs. DOB: 1/18/1988
AZL-Angels (Rookie): AVG-OBP-SLG: .Did Not Play

Recovering from a season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum, should be back on track in 2010. Needs to reestablish himself as a premier power threat at the hot corner.

34. Freddy Sandoval, (3B)
Bats: Both Throws: Right 6’1’ 200 lbs. DOB: 8/16/1982
Salt Lake (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .297-.364-.449
Majors: .182-.273-.455

A dark horse to win a bench job for the Angels as the corner infielder backup. Not spectacular in any area, but solid in all areas.

35. Jeremy Moore, (OF)
Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’1’ 190 lbs. DOB: 8/15/1984
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A) – Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .281-.335-.454

A “toolsy” player with good speed and some power who is refining his game. Needs to work on being a tougher out and improving his frequency of contact. Strong arm, could play in right field or center.

36. Ariel Pena, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 186 lbs. DOB: 5/20/1989
Arizona (Rookie Ball): 5-4 3.91 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 15 walks, 49 1/3 IP

Young Dominican with a lively arm. Could add more velocity as he matures. Needs to refine secondary pitches. Worked as both a starter and reliever last year, but should stick as a starter.

37. Ryan Mount, (2B)
Bats: Left Throws: Right 6’0’ 190 lbs. DOB: 8/17/1986
AZL-Angels (Rookie) - Arkansas (Double-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .259-.308-.364

An offensively-minded 2B, Mount struggled with injuries in 2009. Limited to just 88 games, Mount did not get into a solid groove. Should open the season at Double-A, but with a strong start he could earn a quick promotion to Triple-A, where more power should be present.

38. Fernando Rodriguez, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 215 lbs. DOB: 6/18/1984
SL (Triple-A) - Ark (Double-A): 4-2, 4.20 ERA, 77 strikeouts, 43 walks, 79 1/3 IP
Majors: 0-0, 27.0 ERA, 1 strikeout, 2 walks, 2/3 IP

Converted into a reliever last year, Rodriguez struggled at first at Triple-A and the Majors. Dropped to Double-A, Rodriguez exploded for a 3-1 record and 1.28 ERA earning him the MiLBY award. Added velocity, especially late in the season, but needs to work on his command.

39. Robert Lopez, (1B)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 195 lbs. DOB: 10/01/1985
Cedar Rapids (Low-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .271-.365-.415

Lost his rhythm at the plate due to injuries and settling into a “rusty funk”. Still, Abe Flores is very high on Lopez’s steadiness as a player and labels him a run producer (67 RBI's in 94 games in 2009).

40. Andrew Romine, (SS)
Bats: Both Throws: Right 6’1’ 190 lbs. DOB: 12/24/1985
Rancho Cucamonga (Single-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .278-.351-.349

Gifted defensive shortstop with good on-base skills and speed. Needs create more offensive opportunities and improve his stolen base ratio to be considered a real value to a major league team.

41. Vladimir Veras, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 150 lbs. DOB: 1/10/1986
Cedar Rapids (Low-A) - Rancho (High-A): 3-4, 11 Saves, 3.00 ERA, 59 strikeouts, 18 walks, 54 IP

Wiry build with a power arm. Fastball hits mid 90's with ease. Needs to work on his command. As a reliever, Veras has the arm strength to stretch out for more than just one inning.

42. Anthony Ortega
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’0’ 170 lbs. DOB: 8/24/1985
Salt Lake (Triple-A): 2-1 9.64 ERA, 5 strikeouts, 6 walks, 18 2/3 IPs
Majors: 0-2, 9.24 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 6 walks, 12 2/3 IP

Rushed to the majors to fill a hole, Ortega tried pitching through an elbow inflammation only to make the injury worse. Shut down for the rest of the season, Ortega’s name has been spotted still on Reagins depth chart for backups to Palmer.

43. Baudilio Lopez, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 190 lbs. DOB: 11/20/1990
Arizona (Rookie Ball) - Rancho (High-A): 4-2, 3.64 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 17 walks, 47 IP

Good fastball that hits 92-93, touching 95 mph. Lopez has a solid breaking ball which profiles as a plus pitch. The changeup is coming along. Came in second in strikeouts in the Dominican League as a starter in 2008.

44. Josh Blanco, (LHP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’2’ 190 lbs. DOB: 11/16/1989
Arizona (Rookie Ball): 3-2 3.04 ERA, 63 strikeouts, 13 walks, 50 1/3 IP

Good fastball in the 89-93 range. Southpaw is up and coming. Breaking pitch and changeup are developing nicely.

45. Pil-Joon Jang, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 190 lbs. DOB: 10/12/1986
AZL-Angels (Rookie): 6-3 3.93 ERA, 72 strikeouts, 10 walks, 82 1/3 IP

Finesse pitcher with excellent control. Can keep hitters off-balanced with solid secondary pitches. Velocity is a bit light now, but should increase as he gains strength.

46. Terry Evans, (OF)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 200 lbs. DOB: 1/19/1982
Salt Lake (Triple-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .291-.341-.520

At age 27, Evans is getting too old to be considered much of a legitimate starter. As a bench player, Evans could find himself as a 4th outfielder who will provide some pop and speed in a reserve role. In a pinch, Evans could fill in nicely in either left or right field.

47. Manual Flores, (LHP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left 6’2’ 170 lbs. DOB: 6/01/1987
Cedar Rapids (Low-A) - Rancho (High-A): 9-7 3.75 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 26 walks, 153 2/3 IP

Always around the plate, good command guy who works in three average pitches. Fastball sits in the 88-90 range, touching 91 mph. Still young and filling out, could add more velocity.

48. Nick Pugliese, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’1’ 205 lbs. DOB: 09/18/1985Cedar Rapids (Low-A): 3-2 2.52 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 6 walks, 35 2/3 IPRancho (High-A): 0-0, 7.04 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 5 walks, 7 2/3 IP

Comes at batters with a funky three-quarters slot, Nick Pugliese had some pretty dominant numbers this past season. 90 to 92-93. Aggressive, tough. Pitches. Competes. He can work the corners. His breaking ball was enough. Really a pleasant surprise. His velocity picked up. He just kept coming on.

49. Jeremy Haynes, (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 180 lbs. DOB: 5/28/1986
Rancho (High-A): 0-5 4.36 ERA, 67 strikeouts, 51 walks, 66 IP

Moved to the bullpen since the changeup wasn't developing, Haynes fastball velocity increased to the mid 90's with sinking action. His slider gives him a good second pitch in a relief role.

50. P.J. Phillips, (OF, SS)
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’3’ 170 lbs. DOB: 9/23/1986
Rancho Cucamonga (High-A): AVG-OBP-SLG: .233-.274-.371

Move to the outfield led to a relaxed approach at the plate. Carried that approach into the AFL where he posted a .281/.333/.422 line. Still needs to work on pitch recognition and plate discipline.

Here's a count of the total amount of prospects in the top 50 list per position.

First baseman: 3
Second baseman: 3
Shortstops: 1
Third baseman: 3
Catchers: 2
Outfielders: 9

Lefthanded starters: 7
Righthanded starters: 11

Total Starters: 18

Lefthanded relievers: 1
Righthanded relievers: 10

Total Relievers:

Total Players: 50

Keep an eye on: Justin Bass, Clay Fuller, Rolando Gomez, Eddie McKiernan, Ryan Aldridge, Matt Crawford, Angel Castillo, Darwin Perez, Glen Beltran, Bobby Wilson, Michael Anton, Julio Perez, Robert Fish, Ivan Contreras, Manaurys Correa, Hainley Statia, Steven Geltz, Demetrius Washington, Jake Rife, Brok Butcher, Jose Perez.

Special thanks to Abe Flores, Eddie Bane and all of our area scouts for the reports on these prospects all year long. To David Saltzer for his help on this feature and insights. I'd like to also thank Phil Richmond and Tyler Plewe for their photo contributions. To a few of the prospects on the list who contributed their own pictures for this feature.
Love to hear what you think!

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James said...

Awesome job guys! Great List!

Anonymous said...

Chuck - you can't use W/L record to evaluate pitchers. Palmer's K:BB ratio was awful (69:55), and fortunately it appears the Angels are smart enough to see beyond the 11-2 W/L record. Bell, Loux, and O'Sullivan were terrible.

Nick said...

Chatwood actually went to Redlands East Valley High School. just sayin...

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

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