(Salt Lake Bees OF, Jeremy Moore)
By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
During the 4th inning of Monday night's game (5/9/11), Vernon Wells had to be helped off the field as he ran out a grounder to first base. With the announcement that Wells would be going onto the 15-day disabled list with a right groin injury, the Angels will need to promote someone to fill out the roster. The question now becomes: who should the Angels promote?
Most likely, the Angels will recall Reggie Willits. However, they shouldn't be so quick to recall him. Instead they should use this opportunity to look towards the future and either give Tyson Auer or Jeremy Moore their first taste of the Major Leagues.
Since his demotion, Reggie Willits has not been impressive. His paltry .200/.304/.250 line isn't going to spark the Angels' offense. He has yet to steal a base in 12 games. By now the Angels know what he will bring to the table--as does the rest of the American League--and it isn't much.
So, the Angels should view this injury to Vernon Wells as a chance to look towards their future. With the vast majority of Wells' ABs going to go to Abreu or Amarista in LF, the Angels should consider giving Jeremy Moore or Tyson Auer a cup of coffee in the Major Leagues. Both have far more long-term value than Willits, and both still have potential upside as prospects.
In Jeremy Moore, the Angels could get a bat off the bench who can hit for some power and can run the bases with some speed. He can also play all three outfield positions.
In our annual Top-50 Prospect List for the 2011 season, AngelsWin.com ranked Moore as the 13th best prospect in the system overall and said: "Last year was the year it all came together for Jeremy Moore. For years he’s been a “raw” 5-tool talent. But last year, he became refined. Not only did Moore post a solid season for Double-A Arkansas, he followed it up with an impressive AFL performance, posting a .343/.395/.543 line with 2 HRs and 8 SBs in 70 ABs." By calling Moore up to the Majors, they can have their most senior evaluators determine Moore's full value and make long-term decisions such as whether or not to trade him, develop him as a full-time starter, or if he projects to a bench role.
If the Angels believe that Moore's development would best be served by playing everyday in Triple-A, they could get a look at their future backup OFer. Going into the 2011 season, AngelsWin.com ranked Auer as the 24th best prospect in the system and said the following about him "With plus speed and plus defense, Auer projects to be at least a capable 4th outfielder and solid defensive replacement. But, at the same time, he could carve out even more of a niche for him, and, if an opportunity arises, could force his way into more playing time."
One definition for "luck" is that luck occurs when hard work meets an opportunity. The Angels should recognize that the injury to Wells is an opportunity to see if all the hard work that Moore and Auer have put in over the years in the Minors will pay off in the Majors. With limited playing time, neither Moore or Auer will do substantially worse than Willits will do. Yet each brings unique skills that Willits does not, and each has the potential to earn a spot onto future Angels' ball clubs.
What do you think Angels fans? Sound off in our poll here to vote for whom you think the Angels should promote to fill Vernon Wells' roster spot.
Edit: The LA Times' Mike DiGiovanna is now reporting that the Angels have indeed recalled outfielder Reggie Willits to take Vernon Wells' roster spot.