Monday, December 3, 2012

Intro by David Saltzer - Senior Writer

By now most Angels fans have heard that the Angels farm system is “thin” on talent. And, in many ways, that is correct.

However, such a description truly does not give an accurate reflection on the overall state of the farm. While we, at are not such homers as to deny the obvious, we also believe that simply stating that the farm is “thin” is a misnomer. It does not explain how or why the system got that way. And, it implies that the overall system is void of talent, when in fact, there are several bright spots.

Understanding how the system got thinned out will help fans understand where the bright spots are in the system. Succinctly, the Angels organization has suffered from 5 key deficiencies.

First, the biggest reason why the Angels are short on talent relates directly to the success of the parent club. With the draft order in June being inversely related to the success of the Major League club, it’s not surprising that the Angels have been drafting near the bottom for most of the last decade. Although the Angels haven’t won a World Series in that time period, they have been winning enough to draft near the bottom of each round for most of the last decade. That makes acquiring the high-profile talent much more difficult. However, like everyone in the Angels’ front office, most Angels fans would prefer to win at the Major League level and draft near the bottom rather than vice-versa.

Second, the Angels have been signing high-profile free agents. Unlike the ‘90s when the Angels were under extreme financial limitations, Mr. Moreno has been more than financially generous for the fans. But, that comes with a price—the Angels have lost many of their first round draft picks over the past decade. The system can’t produce what it can’t acquire.

Third, farm has been depleted through trades. Last year alone, the Angels traded away 5 players who would have finished in the Top-10 to Top-15 range on this list (with most being in the Top-10). In order to land Zack Greinke, the Angels traded Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg, and Ariel Pena. To bolster the bullpen, the Angels traded Alexi Amarista and Donn Roach. Throw in Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin (both traded in 2010 for Dan Haren) and Alex Torres (traded for Scott Kazmir in 2009) and there are three more pitchers produced by the farm.

Fourth, the Angels have not had as strong of an international presence for the past few years. For over a year (from 2009-2010), the Angels acted without an International Scouting Director. With a growing segment players coming from the international talent pool, this failure has had a substantial impact on the system.

Finally, the system languished under the previous system’s conservative approach to player development. Previously, players often spent nearly a year of development at each level in the system. This slowed down their development and cost players some value as rival organizations saw that these players were behind the age-development curve.

Much of this, though is in the process of changing. While not everything can or should change (no one at would like to see the parent club lose just to get better draft picks), many items have been addressed by Jerry Dipoto.

First and foremost, Dipoto has revamped and improved the player development program. Players in the Angels organization have been challenged by jumping levels and moved into more age-appropriate levels for their talent. Many have thrived in spite of making substantial jumps in levels. They responded well to the challenge.

Additionally, Dipoto has instilled a new emphasis on skill sets for players and over the past year, has aligned many of the coaches to emphasize the preferred skills. In the coming years, this will become more apparent in the younger prospects in the system.

Finally, Dipoto has hired a new International Scouting Director and has again renewed the focus on acquiring the best talent from around the world. While the Angels have maintained a fine baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, the addition of a new International Scouting Director will help the Angels focus on scouring the entire globe to bring the best talent to Anaheim.

In spite of all of the above-mentioned handicaps, the Angels organization has still been producing Major League talent. Even with a “thin” set of prospects, the Angels managed to produce one of the greatest young talents in the game in Mike Trout. But, that is not all that they have produced. Last year, Nick Maronde and Kole Calhoun spent time in the Major Leagues. Both should be there in 2013. Hank Conger will get his long anticipated shot at a job on the Major League club. Andrew Romine won the backup infielder’s job. So, in labeling the organization as “thin” one has to remember just how much talent has been produced. does not want to delude readers into thinking that we refuse to acknowledge the shortcomings in the system. What we are saying is that there still is talent in the organization. In fact, we are very proud of our top prospects and believe that many of them would be top prospects in most organizations. Where we see the weaknesses in the system is in the middle-tier of the prospects and in the organizational players.

In reality, most prospects never will make it to the Major Leagues. However, they serve an invaluable role in making the few prospects who do make it better. They serve a vital role to help mold and shape their teammates. In that regard, the Angels are weak. Their role players and organizational players are not as strong as they have been in the past. This has had an effect on the development of players. Whereas in the past the Angels prospects developed in a winning tradition, this past year, most of the clubs failed to have winning records.

Additionally, when we say that the middle-tier prospects are not as strong as in the past, what we are saying is that most of the organization’s prospects are in the lower levels and are 2+ years away from making an impact. In the past, the Angels had more middle-tier prospects in Double-A and Triple-A. By no means are we knocking the quality or character of those players we ranked in the middle range.

Having prospects at those levels is invaluable for depth in case of an injury on the parent club. At this point, the organization is woefully short on players at both levels who could fill in for an injured Major League player on short notice. Whereas in the past the drop-off in production would be noticed due to an injury, now, it could be more devastating to the parent club. Thus, the organization is thin on depth at the upper levels and overall in terms of talent.

Overall, recognizes that the current Angels organization ranks in the bottom third to bottom quarter of all organizations. But, we also recognize that in spite of such an organizational ranking our top prospects are top prospects, worthy of being considered and valued in any organization.

System Review

Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Record: 73-71  Rank: 3rd  Games Back: 8.0

Summary: The Bees never really contended as a team and never seemed to fire on all cylinders. As mentioned above, this was one of the levels where the talent is thin in the organization. While 2012 was a difficult year for the Bees, things should improve in 2013. The Bees should see an infusion of pitching from the Double-A club and with some improved offense should have a better season next year.

Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Record: 62-78  Rank: 3rd  Games Back: 16.0

Summary: The Travelers renewed their partnership with the Angels for the next two years, and hopefully that should provide some better results for the team. The Travelers showed a major dichotomy in their talent. Their pitching was second in the league in terms of ERA. Their offense was last in terms of BA. Some of the dichotomy can be explained by the nature of their home field. However, the majority of the differences had to do with the differences in talent and the Greinke trade. The Greinke trade hit the team hard, taking two of the Travelers’ top pitchers and their top hitter. Next year, the Travelers should see improved offense coming up from Inland Empire and should have a better season.

Single-A Inland Empire 66ers
Record: 66-74  Rank: 5th  Games Back: 17.0

Summary: The Inland Empire 66ers had several of the Angels top prospects in the organization. Particularly, they had several offensive stars such as C. J. Cron, Taylor Lindsey, Randal Grichuk, Kaleb Cowart, and Travis Witherspoon. On the pitching side, they had Donn Roach (traded for Frieri) and Nick Maronde. Several of those players jumped levels either at the start of the season or in the middle of the season. Combined, these players should form a strong nucleus for the parent club in the next few years and should all continue to progress through the system.

Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Record: 53-86  Rank: 8th  Games Back: 25.0

Summary: In what will be the Kernels last year with the Angels organization, the Kernels struggled throughout the year. Next year, the Angels will affiliate with the Burlington Bees (yes, two Bees organizations in the system). Overall, the Kernels struggled on both sides of the game in 2012. With many of the Angels’ top hitters skipping the league, the Kernels failed to score enough runs to overcome their pitching struggles. Although several of the younger stars in the system and in the recent draft spent time in the Midwest League, especially in the second half, the team overall could not get on a winning streak. Depending upon how much the Angels push some of their recent draft picks, look for things to improve for the new affiliate in 2013.

Rookie-A Orem Owlz
Record: 35-41  Rank: 4th  Games Back: 98.0

Summary: In Tom Kotchman’s last year as a manager for the Angels, the Owlz failed to do what had seemingly been customary: make the post season under his leadership. It certainly wasn’t due to the lack of hitting. The Owlz led the league in many offensive categories. However, the pitching was a bit suspect, posting near the bottom in many categories. Many games were see-saws, with the offense getting a lead and the pitching handing it back. Depending on how much the new emphasis on pushing talent takes hold, several players from the Owlz could be in line to skip a level in 2013. Next year should be an interesting year for the Owlz as whoever fills the managerial role will have some big shoes to fill.

Rookie-A Arizona League Angels
Record: 23-33  Rank: 5th  Games Back: 15.0

Summary: Looking at standings for the Arizona League is a bit of a fool’s errand. Standings serve very little purpose other than to inculcate the players in a winning tradition. That did not happen in 2012 for the AZL-Angels. However, what did happen is that several players from last year’s dominant Dominican Summer League team made their first transition to the United States. Those players got their first taste of an entirely new life and culture. In our interview with Ty Boykin, a former manager of the AZL-Angels, he told about the importance of working with young players and international players and taking those steps to develop them into professional athletes. The long term success of this level will come in the next two years as fans start to see how these players turn out against higher level competition.

Rookie-A Dominican Summer League Angels
Record: 40-24  Rank: 1st  Games Back: 0.0

Summary: In 2011, the DSL-Angels dominated the competition. In 2012, the DSL-Angels continued to do the same. Led by their strong pitching, the DSL-Angels should start producing more talent for the Angels in the coming years. While the hitting was a bit lacking, it was able to do enough to win thanks to the pitching. In 2012, the Angels picked up some higher profile talent and in the coming years, this program should start bearing fruit for the organization.

Now without futher ado, Chuck Richter brings you our annual rich, in-depth, scouting report on the top 30 Los Angeles Angels prospects before passing the baton to Scott Stedman to give you insight on the latter half of the 31-50 list of Angels farmhands.

1. Kaleb Cowart (3B)
Bats: Both Throws: Right Height: 6’2”195 lbs. DOB: 6/2/92
(Cedar Rapids/Inland Empire): .276/.358/.452 with 16 HRs and 14 SBs

Kaleb Cowart's first full professional season with Angels, split between two levels (Cedar Rapids, IE 66ers), was a good one. The Halos 3B prospect showed signs of having solid power down the road clubbing 31 doubles, 7 triples and 16 home runs while demonstrating an advanced approach at the plate. Cowart's 45 walks in 69 games ranked fourth in the league during his time with the 66er's in High-A Ball (.358 OBP overall).

Scouts believe Cowart will be a 25 plus home run guy in the big leagues, a true middle of the order bat and all-star. Cowart fit the profile in 2012 driving in 103 runs. The scout I spoke to loved his ability to go the other way, with power as well. Coming out of high school, Cowart had more success and power coming from his natural right-side of the plate and his swing from the left-side resembled former Angel Adam Kennedy with a loopy offering, resulting in too many pop ups. Cowart corrected his approach from the left-side in 2012 and looked a lot more comfortable there in 2012, hitting 14 of his 16 home runs from the left-side, and hitting more line drives.

Defensively Cowart makes all the routine plays, looks good coming in on bunts and slow grounders and has the arm strength and accuracy to profile as a major league caliber third baseman. After a rough beginning to his career defensively, committing 16 errors in his first 66 games, Cowart committed the same amount of errors in 2012 in 125 games. Like former top prospect Mike Trout, Cowart earns praise for his ability to make adjustments, his incredible work ethic and is considered likeable by all his teammates. Cowart has just average speed, but runs the bases well.

A strong first half with the Inland Empire 66er's in 2013 could see the Angels 2010 first rounder follow Travis Witherspoon's 2012 path, getting promoted to Double-A at the mid-way point with the Arkansas Travelers.

2. Nick Maronde (LHP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’3” 205 lbs. DOB: 9/5/89
(AZL Angels/Inland Empire/Arkansas/Angels): 6-4, 2.21 ERA, 22 BBs, 97 Ks, 105.2 IP

After a solid start to his professional career in 2011, ranking atop the pioneer league's crop of prospects, Maronde was one of four players to make it to the big leagues from the 2011 draft class, despite missing May and June with injuries (back, elbow). Maronde looked good in a brief stint out of the Angels bullpen in 2012, striking out seven batters over six innings, while allowing just one run. 

Maronde attacks batters with an up-tempo delivery, with solid command of his fastball which sits at 91-93 MPH, touching 95. He's added a four-seamer with solid movement and throws an improved two-seamer with good sink. Maronde's out pitch is his slider, which is a plus offering. Maronde's changeup is a fringe-to-average offering currently, but will need to be refined if he's going to have success in the big leagues in the starting rotation, which he currently profiles as a solid #3 starter. Maronde repeats his delivery and is athletic around the mound.

The biggest concern for Maronde is his durability and arm action, which some scouts believe could cause trouble for the southpaw going forward. If Maronde isn't able to incorporate a decent changeup into his arsenal, he could be a solid late inning reliever with shutdown ability with that slider of his. The Angels have yet to announce what they want to do with Maronde going into the 2013 season, but one has to believe that a strong spring camp earns him either a spot at the back end of the rotation or late inning duties out of the bullpen if the Angels need a strikeout.

Our interview with Nick Maronde

3. C.J. Cron (1B, DH)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 235 lbs. DOB: 1/5/90
Inland Empire 66ers: .293/.327/.516 with 27 HRs and 123 RBI

How's this for an intro. In just 163 Minor League Games, C.J. Cron has put up a .296 BA, .877 OPS, 361 total bases, including 40 home runs, 37 doubles and 164 RBI. That's more than an RBI per game and he did it all with a torn labrum, an injury he suffered in his last season at Utah. Not a bad start to C.J.'s professional career after the Angels selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft.

C.J. has plus raw power, with the ball sounding loud coming off his bat. C.J. was well on the way to setting a Pioneer League record for the most home runs in short season play until he injured his knee, costing him a shot at the home run record. While his bat will carry him to the big leagues, C.J. needs to calm his aggressive approach at the plate, as he walked just 17 times in 557 plate appearances. Cron will  never be a gold glove first baseman, but he's not a liability there either, though his range is limited around the bag. Cron has below average speed.

Cron has Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales blocking him at first base so there's a good chance he ends up going the route of Billy Butler at the designated hitter spot if he crushes pitching at higher levels and improves his plate discipline. Cron will begin the season in Double-A Arkansas, though his 2013 debut may be delayed if the surgery he had on his torn labrum in August isn't fully healed.

Our interview with C.J. Cron 

4. Kole Calhoun (OF)
Bats: LeftThrows: Left Height: 5’9” 190 lbs. DOB: 10/14/87
(Salt Lake/Angels): .291/.352/.488 with 14 HRs and 13 SBs

Kole Calhoun quietly puts up the numbers and demonstrates all the attributes managers love in a ball player, yet he gets overlooked by scouts who are concerned his 5'10 frame leaves little for projection. Oh but big things come in small packages, right? Calhoun has posted a .309/.396/.525 slash line in 294 minor league games and made his major league debut in 2012 in a reserve outfield role.

A true blue collar ball player who possesses plate discipline and professionalism, Calhoun could start the 2013 in the outfield on a lot of teams. Calhoun demonstrates solid pop and gets himself in good hitters counts with an advanced approach at the plate, enabling him to drive the ball. Kole doesn't have to worry about being platooned, as he's hit lefties as well as righties throughout his minor league career. Average speed, but takes good routes in the outfield and is a smart base runner, giving him the ability to steal 20-25 bases. Calhoun has a strong arm and can play all three outfield positions, though he profiles better in right field. 

Former Angels Scouting Director Eddie Bane is high on this Arizona State Sun Devil who delivered with a .321/.478/.616 slash line along with 17 homers in 224 at-bats as a senior before Bane nabbed him in the 8th round. Look for Calhoun to at least lock up a spot on the bench out of spring training for the Angels, with an outside shot at claiming the right field job should Trumbo's second half woes at the plate carry over into spring camp. There's also a chance Trumbo could be given another crack at third base, giving Calhoun a shot at the right field gig. I suspect the very worst you're going to get out of Calhoun is a solid reserve outfielder and productive pinch hitter in the big leagues.

Our interview with Kole Calhoun

5. Luis Jimenez (3B)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 217 lbs. DOB: 1/18/88
Salt Lake Bees: .309/.334/.495 with 16 HRs and 17 SBs

Luis "Lucho" Jimenez continued his solid minor league campaign with a fine 2012 showing in Triple-A. Jimenez posting a .309/.334/.495 slash line to go along with 16 home runs, 38 doubles and 85 runs batted in just 122 games. In six seasons of minor league action, Jimenez boasts a .302/.338/.518 slash line.

Jimenez has a quick, smoke stroke at the plate and stays back and drives breaking balls well. Some scouts wonder if Jimenez's power will play out in the big leagues since he's such a free swinger, but his plate coverage bodes well in RBI situations, as he's been clutch over the years with men on base with quite a few late inning heroics. Jimenez has 390 RBI's in 529 minor league games. While Jimenez has posted solid minor league numbers, his plate discipline is a concern, as he's walked just 98 times over six minor league seasons. Jimenez is average defensively, makes all the routine plays and possesses a strong arm, but he's heavy footed which hurts his range. Lucho has below average speed but he's reads pitchers well, giving him the ability to steal 15-20 bases a season.

If Jimenez turns heads in Tempe he could challenge Alberto Callaspo for the starting third base job and serve as a major league bridge to Kaleb Cowart's arrival down the road.

Our interview with Luis Jimenez

6. Randal Grichuk (OF)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 195 lbs. DOB: 8/13/91
Inland Empire 66ers: .298/.335/.488 with 18 HRs and 16 SBs

The Angels 2009 first round selection in front of Mike Trout started the season off slowly but picked it up as the campaign progressed, with the focus on staying healthy for a full season. Grichuk not only stayed healthy, but showed flashes of becoming that slugger Angels' Scouting Director Eddie Bane thought he'd be when he drafted him. Grichuk clubbed 18 home runs, 30 doubles and nine triples, while hitting .298 for the 66ers in 2012. Grichuk  has quick, strong wrists and above average power that's still coming.
Grichuk plays a solid right field defensively and possesses a strong arm. One scout I spoke to recently likened him to Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur. Like Francoeur, Grichuk has poor plate discipline however as he posted just a .335 OBP, walking just 23 times against 92 strikeouts in 2012. Grichuk has average speed and improved his baserunning in 2012. Under Scioscia, he could easily steal 20 plus bases a season.

The Angels knew Grichuk would have to log quite a few minor league at bats before he'd be major league ready and with their current outfield situation they can most certainly be patient with him to develop better plate discipline and in-game power. Grichuk is coachable, displayed a solid work ethic and he's eager to improve his game at the next level, which will be in Double-A Arkansas to start the 2013 season. The big test for Grichuk at the next stop is how he adjusts at the plate against better pitching and if he can improve his plate discipline.

Our interview with Randal Grichuk

7. R.J. Alvarez (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 180 lbs. DOB: 6/8/91
Cedar Rapids Kernels: 3-2, 3.29 ERA, 11 BBs, 38 Ks, 27.1 IP

Alvarez went 9-7 with a 5.17 ERA as a starter in his first two seasons at Florida Atlantic, but shined in the Cape Cod League as a reliever and the Angels were watching as they started R.J.'s professional career in the Orem Owlz bullpen where he posted a 0.53 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 34 innings.

Opposing hitters have to face Alvarez's high effort delivery which causes deception to go along with a 95-97 MPH fastball, clocked as high as 100 MPH. Alvarez slider is a true knockout punch to go along with his heater. Alvarez has a changeup, but he didn't use it with the Owlz and may never since he's expected to remain in the bullpen. Alvarez throws across his body and at times it can affects his command.

The Angels want Alvarez to move quickly so its possible he starts the season with the Inland Empire 66ers. With a strong minor league season, its not out of the question we could see Alvarez in August or September to bolster the Angels bullpen. 

8. A.J. Schugel (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 190 lbs. DOB: 6/27/89
Arkansas Travelers: 6-8, 2.89 ERA, 55 BBs, 109 Ks, 140.1 IP

Schugel is an athlete who has lettered in baseball and hockey at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands, Colo. His father, Jeff, is a professional scout for the Angels. Schugel has posted back to back successful seasons in Low-A and Double-A ball, posting an impressive 2.89 ERA against a good crop of offensive talent in the Texas League.

Schugel has an average fastball that sits around 89-93 MPH with good life and sink, coming at hitters on a downhill angle. His changeup is very good and keeps hitters guessing, generating swings and misses. Schugel has a slurvy breaking ball that needs tightening up if he wants to continue his success against tougher competition. Schugel has exceptional command and a good idea of how to put away a batter by pitching to contact or via the strikeout.

Schugel will begin the season in Triple-A with the Salt Lake Bees unless Mike Scioscia is impressed with his spring performance. There's a chance Schugel could compete against Richards and Maronde for the fifth spot in the rotation. If Schugel tightens up his breaking ball he profiles as a #3 starter. If not, he could be a good back of the rotation starter possessing a good fastball/changeup combo.

9. Taylor Lindsey (2B)
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’0” 195 lbs. DOB: 12/2/91
Inland Empire 66ers: .289/.328/.408 with 9 HRs and 8 SBs

Lindsey was a surprise pick in the 1st round supplemental portion of the draft in 2010, going 37th overall. Lindsey didn't disappoint and won the Pioneer League (Rookie-Ball) MVP award in 2011 posting a .362/.394/.593 slash line, along with nine home runs and 46 RBI's in just 290 at bats.

Lindsey has impressive hand-eye coordination in what is an unorthodox approach at the plate --a buggy-whip lefty stroke-- helping him hit for a high average with a good contact rate. Lindsey, struck out just 66 times in 589 plate appearances in High-A ball. Lindsey goes the other way well and hits both lefties and righties with the same success. There's not a lot of power in Lindsey's stroke, but enough to hit for 10-15 home runs once he fills out. Lindsey is not fast and won't steal a lot of bases, but he's a good base runner. Lindsey's footwork and range at second base are average defensively and his arm is fringy, but he's made strides since his opening act in 2010.

Look for Taylor Lindsey to begin his 2013 campaign with fellow prospects Grichuk, Witherspoon, Cron and possibly Cowart in Double-A Arkansas. If Lindsey can be a little more selective at the plate and continue to improve defensively, he could be a solid #2 hitter in the Angels lineup down the road that could hit .300 and score a bunch runs sandwiched between Trout and Pujols.

Our interview with Taylor Lindsey

10. Eswarlin Jimenez (LHP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’1” 187 lbs. DOB: 11/27/91
(Cedar Rapids/Inland Empire): 8-6, 3.38 ERA, 20 BBs, 73 Ks, 117 IP

The Dominican southpaw enjoyed a solid first full season in the states by posting a 3.38 ERA over 117 innings after three successful campaigns in the Dominican League.

Eswarlin possesses a fastball that sits in the low 90's with good sink, a very good changeup and solid breaking ball that he commands very well down in the zone. Eswarlin has given up just seven home runs over 355.1 innings pitched, which is a result of his downward plane to the plate, good sink and excellent command. Jimenez is not afraid to pitch to contact, as hitters hit .309 against him in 2012, but he holds runners well, has a good pickoff move and has the repertoire and smarts to get out of a big inning unscathed.

Look for Jimenez to start the season with the High-A 66ers and continue to progress as a starting pitcher. His 117 innings was the most he's pitched over a full season, so look for the Angels to stretch him out to see if he can endure 150+ innings in his second professional season in the states. Jimenez profiles as a #3 if he can get his innings up and generate a few more swings-and-misses and less hits against him. If not, he profiles as a good back of the rotation starter who can generate a good amount of groundballs.

11. Travis Witherspoon (OF)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” 190 lbs. DOB: 4/16/89  
(Inland Empire/Arkansas): .268/.360/.418 with 13 HRs and 34 SBs

Witherspoon doesn't get enough love in the arena of prospect publications, but he oozes tools and ability to become a solid major league centerfielder. One scout I spoke to likened him to Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos defensively, that should have more success on the bases paths and more over-the-fence power. Witherspoon really took the Angels advice in the instructional league and was more selective at the plate, drawing 57 walks while posting a solid .350 OBP across two levels in 2012.

Spoon had an excellent first half for the Angels High-A club posting a .319/.399/.470 slash line to go along with 10 doubles, 5 triples and 7 home runs.  He also stole 25 bases and played a very good centerfielder defensively, earning him a spot on the Cal League All Star club before he was promoted to Double-A Arkansas where he couldn't continue his first half success. The speedy outfielder struggled in the second half against tougher pitching to the tune of a .202/.288/.351 slash line.

Witherspoon is a centerfield with plus plus speed, but he also has a strong and accurate arm to profile in right field. If Spoon can continue to improve his plate discipline, Angels fans can dream of one of the best defensive outfields ever to touch Angel Stadium's grass in Trout, Bourjos and Witherspoon. 
Look for Witherspoon to roam the outfield with his Arizona Fall League teammate Randal Grichuk in Arkansas (Double-A) to start the 2013 season.

Our interview with Travis Witherspoon

12. Sherman Johnson (3B)
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 5’10” 180 lbs. DOB: 7/15/90
Orem Owlz: .269/.424/.407 with 3 HRs and 8 SBs

Johnson played a key role in leading Florida State to a 50-win season for the 24th time in school history. Johnson hit .412 in Omaha going 7-for-17 at the plate in four games. Four of his seven hits went for extra bases as the senior third baseman registered three doubles and a home run. Johnson's name will forever be part of CWS history as one of two players to hit a home run during the College World Series at both Rosenblatt Stadium and TD Ameritrade Park. 

Johnson, one of Ric Wilson's college amateurs selected in the 2012 draft has an advanced approach at the plate with a very good contact rate. For his opening act in Orem, Johnson posted a .427 OBP, walking 49 times vs. 40 strikeouts, with an .834 OPS. Johnson has some pop in his bat and reminds some scouts of Alberto Callaspo. Johnson hangs in well against left-handed pitching and comes up big in pressure situations. Not a burner, but good speed, enough to steal 20+ bases a season. Johnson like Callaspo is an exception defender at the hot corner. Good range and lateral movement, Johnson has the arm to stick at third base, but he could be moved to second base down the road.

The next stop for Johnson is most likely Low-A Burlington where he'll get his first taste in full season pro ball. Its possible he could skip a level like Taylor Lindsey, though, and begin his 2012 campaign with the High-A 66ers. One other thing to note on Johnson is that he could move to second base down the road I'm told.

13. Austin Wood (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 225 lbs. DOB: 7/11/90
Cedar Rapids Kernels: 5-12, 4.30 ERA, 72 BBs, 109 Ks, 127.2 IP

So far the results in college and professional ball haven't matched the type of stuff that Austin Wood possesses. In his final season in college, Wood posted 5.61 ERA as a Junior at USC.

Austin Wood brings a heavy fastball that can hit 99 MPH on the radar gun, but sits in the 92-96 range. Wood had trouble with the Kernels keeping his fastball down in the zone and his power stuff was minimized after falling behind way too many hitters. Wood also has a plus slider that has a sharp bite, generating a good share of swings and misses. He has a good feel for his changeup with good fade, but I didn't see him use it as much as we're told he did in his final season at USC. Repeating his delivery was also an issue in 2012 which is why he struggled with his command, walking 72 batters across just 128 innings. Wood is athletic and fields his position well. 

If Wood can do a better job at repeating his delivery, keep his plus fastball and slider down in the zone, show his changeup more often and do a better job at getting ahead of hitters, Wood has the makings of a solid #3 pitcher. If not, he'll struggle as a starter and may force the Angels to work him out of the bullpen where his fastball/slider could play out well.

14. Mark Sappington (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’5” 209 lbs. DOB: 11/17/90
Orem Owlz: 1-1, 5.15 ERA, 16 BBs, 34 Ks, 36.2 IP

The Angels selected Sappington in the 5th round of the 2012 amateur draft out of Rockhust, Mo., a Division II school where he went unnoticed after three years of competition. Sappington signed quickly and got to work immediately with the Orem Owlz.

The tall, physical frame allows Sappington to work in the 94-95 range with his fastball, reaching 97, with heavy sink due to a downhill angle which generates a good portion of groundball outs. Sappington also throws a good slider, though inconsistent at times, and a developing changeup which looks average right now. There's a lot of movement in Sappington's delivery which causes deception, but there's cause for concern that it could corrupt his mechanics and command.

Ric Wilson had this to say about Mark Sappington when I asked if he would stick in the rotation or be moved to his bullpen where his good fastball/slider would play out well. "I think at this point Chuck he will continue to start. He is working on some mechanical things and it takes a lot of reps to figure it out, but he has big stuff and his secondary pitches improved as the season progressed all the way through instructional league. He loves to learn and he is not afraid to take it to the mound as he learns it." Look for Sappington to start his first full season at Low-A Burlington as a starting pitcher.
15. Eric Stamets (SS)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’0” 195 lbs. DOB: 9/25/91
Cedar Rapids Kernels: .274/.323/.347 with 1 HR and 7 SBs

Director of Scouting Ric Wilson snagged Stamets in the 6th round after Sappington and the Angels sent him straightway to Low-A ball where he held his own and demonstrated gold glove defense.

Eric Stamets has two plus tools, speed and defense at shortstop. With well above-average speed, Stamet's home-to-first times is in the 4.1-second range from the right side of the plate. He stole 100 bases in three seasons at Evansville. Stamets' speed also helps him cover a lot of ground at shortstop, where he's shown soft hands and a strong arm. Offensively, Stamets is a slap hitter who makes solid contact, but he has no power and little extra base pop. Slapping at the ball will play out well with his plus speed and should allow Stamets to hit for a high average if he can catch up to top tier fastballs as he advances through the minors.

Stamets played in 62 games at Cedar Rapids, so he may be ticketed for High-A with the Inland Empire 66ers. 2013 should be a telling season to see whether the Angels have a good find in Stamets as a future starter, or the next Andrew Romine, destined for a utility spot on a major league roster.

16. Alex Yarbrough (2B)
Bats: Both Throws: Right Height: 5’11” 180 lbs. DOB: 8/3/91
(Cedar Rapids/Arkansas): .275/.307/.393 with 0 HRs and 7 SBs

After hitting .380 as a Mississippi junior, the Angels were pleased to see Yarbrough still around and selected him in the 4th round with their second selection in the 2012 amateur draft after R.J. Alvarez. Yabrough, a switch hitter, has a patient approach from both sides of the plate which gives him the ability to work the count and ultimately turn on pitches with his excellent hand-eye coordination, bat control and quick wrists.

Scouts believe Yarbrough will hit for a high average with some extra base power. An offensive minded-second baseman, Yarbrough won't wow you defensively, but he makes all the plays and should be able to stick at the position. His arm is fringe-average. Yarbrough isn't nearly as fast as Stamets, but has enough wheels for double-digits in the stolen base department.

Look for Yarbrough to join Stamets in High-A ball with the 66ers in what could be the most dynamic double-play combo in the California League.

17. Jonathan Walsh (OF)
Bats: Both Throws: Right Height: 6’2” 208 lbs. DOB: 11/14/90
Orem Owlz: .300/.411/.522 with 9 HRs and 1 SB

Drafted in the 11th round as a catcher, the Angels moved him to the outfield where they feel can utilize his 6' 2, 210 lb physical frame. Walsh didn't disappoint as the switch hitter out of Texas hit .300 with a .411 on-base percentage and .522 slugging pct with the Orem Owlz.

Walsh has a good idea at the plate and it showed in short-season rookie ball with the Owlz as he walked 46 times against 46 strikeouts in his debut. Walsh has the body and swing to produce some power down the road, clubbed nine home runs, 16 doubles and four triples in a brief stint with Orem.Walsh has fringe-average speed, but his arm is strong so he could stick in right field. Look for Walsh to head to Burlington to begin his first full season of professional ball, though it's not out of the question for him to begin in High-A after a good showing in short-season A ball.

Our interview with Jonathan Walsh

18. Michael Clevinger (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 217 lbs. DOB: 12/21/90
Cedar Rapids: 1-1, 3.73 ERA, 13 BBs, 34 Ks, 41 IP

Clevinger was one of many Tom Kotchman signings out of Florida, drafted in 2011 out of Seminole State (JC) where he racked up 52 strikeouts in 32 innings as a closer. The Angels moved him to the Kernels rotation where he saw some success before an injury to his arm shelved his 2012 season in late May.

Clevinger showed a solid fastball in the 92-95 range before his season ended early, along with a plus hard slider and a major league caliber changeup. Clevinger's delivery has a lot of effort and moving parts, thus he losses command of his pitches at times and is unable to repeat his motion to the plate.  Clevinger should be all systems go in February and if he can stay healthy and smooth out his mechanics, the Angels have a pretty good #3 down the road with three above average offerings. If not, look for Clevinger to at the very least pitch out of the bullpen.

19. Steven Geltz (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’10” 180 lbs. DOB: 11/1/87
(Arkansas/Salt Lake/Angels) 3-1, 3.10 ERA, 23 BBs, 71 Ks, 61 IP

Geltz got off to an amazing start in Double-A with the Travelers as he struck out 37 in 25 1/3 innings in relief, posting a miniscule 0.36 ERA as opponents hit just .148 against him. Geltz then got promoted to Triple-A Salt Lake where he got knocked around a bit, but still posted a solid 33/33.2 K/IP ratio which later saw him get a cup of coffee with the Halos in September, logging two innings of work.

Geltz has a solid fastball that generates swings-and-misses due in part to his deceptive delivery in which he brings the ball back behind him and low before releasing it over the top. While his heater isn't devastating, he hides the ball before bringing the heater, clocked in the 93-95 MPH range. Geltz gets most of his strikeouts up in the zone as his fastball tends to rise on hitters. The righthander also throws a tight slider (85-86 MPH) that gives left-handed hitters trouble. In fact, Geltz had more success against lefties than he did righties, much like ex-Angel Scot Shields.

Look for Geltz to get a long look in Tempe next spring for a bullpen spot with the big league ballclub.

Our interview with Steven Geltz

20. Daniel Tillman (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 185 lbs. DOB: 3/14/89
(Inland Empire/Arkansas): 2-6, 6.44 ERA, 33 BBs, 52 Ks, 43.1 IP

Tillman got tuned up pretty good against tougher competition in Double-A Arkansas, posting a 12.10 ERA through 20 appearances as opposing hitters hit .303 against him. Tillman also struggled with his command, walking 19 in 19 1/3 innings of work. The good news is, Tillman righted the ship after a demotion to High-A ball, posting a 1.88 EA, saving eight ball games and fanned 31 in 24 innings of work while opposing hitters hit just .127 against him.

Better pure stuff than Geltz, Tillman has a 93-96 mph fastball with good sink that he backs up with an 80 mph plus slider that he locates down in the strikezone. Tillman offers both plus pitches with the same motion and the same 3/4 arm slot, adding deception to his two offerings. He has an average changeup, but doesn't use it as much now that he's working out of the bullpen. Tillman will have to go after hitters at higher levels if he's going to advance and have a shot in the Angels bullpen down the road. The Angels will try Tillman out in Double-A again and if successful, he could get a cup of coffee in September (2013).

Our interview with Daniel Tillman

21. Wade Hinkle (1B)
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’0” 225 lbs. DOB: 9/5/89
Orem Owlz: .338/.433/.586 with 15 HRs and 1 SB

Hinkle was drafted No. 837 overall by the Ric Wilson and company, with an emphasis on collegiate players with good plate discipline under Dipoto's guidance. Hinkle hit above .300 in his two seasons at K-State, including  .330 with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 49 RBI in 2012. The first baseman also tied a school record with 48 walks this past season - a mark that led the Big 12 - while his 10 homers tied for fourth in the league.

Though older than we like to see in Low-A ball, Wade Hinkle was one of the best hitters in the Pioneer League, clubbing 15 home runs while demonstrating a patient approach at the plate, finishing his first taste of pro ball with a solid .443 on-base percentage and 1.030 OPS.

Hinkle has a smooth lefthanded stroke that generates some pop to all fields. Hinkle stays in well against southpaws and that carried over to Orem where he had a .419/.519/.677 slash line against lefties. Hinkle is an erratic first baseman defensively, as he committed 14 errors at the position with the Owlz, but he'll need to learn a corner outfield spot anyhow -- most likely left field -- if he's going to have a chance with the Angels. Hinkle has an average arm, but his speed is below average. 

Look for Hinkle to begin his 2013 minor league campaign with the Inland Empire 66ers and if he hits like he did in his first taste of pro ball, don't be surprised if the Angels get him an outfield glove to move him along quickly.

Our interview with Wade Hinkle

22. Michael Snyder (3B)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 230 lbs. DOB: 6/17/90
Orem Owlz: .332/.393/.531 with 8 HRs and 3 SBs

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder out of Florida Southern and younger brother of former first round pick of the Orioles Brad Snyder was selected in the 23rd round of the 2012 amateur draft. Snyder Was named first team All-Sunshine State Conference in 2011 and 2012 and also first team All-Region by Daktronics, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and American Baseball Coaches Association.

Snyder is a big, strong presence who possesses plus plus power, both in batting practice and in-game contests. Snyder hit eight home runs, clubbed 25 doubles and posted a .531 slugging pct. in his first taste of pro ball with the short-season Orem Owlz. Snyder has a good idea at the plate with the ability to square up mistakes into the gaps or over the fence. Snyder's swing can get long at times when he tries to muscle up and hit the ball out of the park. Defensively Snyder is a work in progress at the hot corner as he lacks the lateral movement and range, but he did do a better job in Orem, making the routine plays. Snyder has the arm strength to stick at thirdbase, but he'll need to improve the accuracy of his throws, due in part to poor footwork. Snyder has below average speed.

Snyder could skip a level and head to the Inland Empire 66ers club to begin his first full season of professional ball, but he'll most likely be asked to log more games in an attempt to improve his overall game, so Burlington may be his first stop in 2013.

23.Ryan Brasier (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’0” 205 lbs. DOB: 8/26/87
Salt Lake Bees: 7-3, 4.37 ERA, 24 BBs, 54 Ks, 59.2 IP

Brasier started off the first couple months of the season in fine fashion only to fade as the season went on with the Salt Lake Bees. Brasier picked it back up in winterball, posting a 2.86 ERA, with 10 saves, a solid K/IP rate (25/22) and has held opposing hitters to a .202 BAA.

Brasier has a quick, short arm delivery that he uses to throw two solid pitches, a 93-95 MPH fastball with good sinking action and a hard-biting slider that generates swings and misses. Brasier gets in trouble when he gets both offerings up in the zone, even when he's ahead in the count. Brasier has a changeup, but rarely throws it now that he's pitching out of the bullpen exclusively.

Look for Brasier to challenge for a bullpen spot out of spring training in what should be an interesting competition between him, Geltz, Taylor, Carpenter, Maronde, Sisk and possibly Chaffee for a final spot on the roster.

24. Zach Wright (C)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 205 lbs. DOB: 1/10/90
Cedar Rapids Kernels: .268/.385/.419 with 6 HRs and 1 SB

Wright closed out his collegiate career earning second-team All-Conference USA honors after batting .294 (62-for-211) with five home runs, 12 doubles, 39 RBI and 41 runs. The three-time Johnny Bench Award Watch List member swiped a career-high 10 bases, collected 15 multi-hit and 11 multi-RBI games, while recording five game-winning RBI. During his four-year career, the Goldsboro, N.C. native batted .279 (176-for-630) with 35 home runs, which ranks seventh all-time on ECU's home runs chart. He started 171 of 194 games played, roped 38 doubles, had 133 RBI and scored 134 runs.

The Angels sent Wright straight to Low-A (Kernels) where he held his own posting a .268/.385/.419 slash line with six home runs. Wright has a patient approach at the plate with some pop in his bat, giving him a shot to be a good offensive contributor from a premium position. Defensively Wright has a strong arm and does a good job blocking balls in the dirt which should get Mike Scioscia's attention. Wright had a .991 fielding pct. at East College. 

Look for Wright to begin the season in Inland Empire for his first full season of pro ball. Wright has a chance to be something special if he continues to improve on both sides of the ball.

25. Ryan Chaffee (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” 195 lbs. DOB: 5/18/88
(Inland Empire/Arkansas): 7-1, 2.60 ERA, 36 BBs, 84 Ks, 65.2 IP

After struggling for two straight seasons as a reliever and starter, Chaffee finally put it all together in 2012 pitching out of relief. Chaffee did a better job of repeating his delivery, which improved his control and command of his pitches. Across two levels, Chaffee posted a 2.60 ERA while fanning 84 batters over 65 1/3 innings, holding the opposition to a 1.83 BAA.

Chaffee gives opposing hitters different looks and arm slots when on the mound. His fastball sits in the 88-93 MPH range with some tailing action. He also throws an over-the-top 12 to 6 curve, a frisbee type slider from the sidearm slot, while showing an average changeup to compliment his fastball. Chaffee hides the ball well, adding deception to his offerings. Chaffee did a better job of getting ahead of hitters in 2012, attacking the strikezone with regularity. If he can continue to be aggressive against opposing hitters like he did in 2012, with the kind of stuff he has, he could be a nice addition to the Angels bullpen. Look for him to start his 2013 minor league campaign where he finished his 2012 season in Arkansas, possibly as the Travelers closer.

26. Brandon Sisk (LHP)
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’2” 220 lbs. DOB: 7/13/85
Omaha (Triple-A): 3-2, 8 saves, 2.54 ERA, 73 strikeouts, 32 walks, 67.1 IP

Acquired from the Royals for Ervin Santana, Sisk posted solid numbers out of Omaha's bullpen in Triple-A, fanning 73 batters in 67 1/3 innings with a 2.54 ERA. Sisk has compiled a 2.59 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP, striking out 376 batters in 340 1/3 innings over his minor league career. Not bad for a guy who nearly walked away from the game of baseball five years ago, struggling to come back from an elbow injury out of college which saw him in independent ball before getting noticed by the Royals.

Sisk comes over the top with a 88-93 MPH fastball and a solid changeup with good fade that he gets swings and misses on. His slider is solid, but he is still developing consistency with it. Sisk has success against both righties and lefties due in part to a deceptive delivery where he hides the ball well. Sisk will get a shot to make the Angels bullpen out of spring training, but he'll have a bunch of competition from other Angels farmhands.

27. Joel Capote (OF)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’11” 108 lbs. DOB: 12/8/89
(AZL Angels/Orem): .339/.439/.508 with 5 HRs and 11 SBs

The Angels selected Joel Capote in the 28th round after he earned second team All-America status in 2012 with a .401 batting average, 85 hits, 39 RBIs, 62 runs scored and 39 stolen bases. Capote helped STU to their first Sun Conference Tournament crown this season, and a berth to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.

Capote, like Hinkle, was a bit old for the Pioneer League, but like Hinkle that didn't stop him from from enjoying some success at the plate. Capote posted a combined (AZ Angels - Orem Owlz) .339/.439/.508 slash line while playing excellent defense for the Owlz. Capote makes solid contact and has good plate discipline, giving him a chance to move quickly through the minors. Capote has solid average speed, but is still learning how get good reads on the pitcher. Defensively Capote takes good routes to the ball, using his speed to run down would be extra base hits.

With some of the Angels college draftees heading to High-A, Capote could find himself in Low-A Burlington and hit atop their lineup to start the 2013 season.

28. Andrew Taylor (LHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Left Height: 6’2” 195 lbs. DOB: 8/18/86
(Arkansas/Salt Lake/Angels): 3-4, 4.54 ERA, 29 BBs, 56 Ks, 61.1 IP

Andrew Taylor has flip flopped between starting and pitching out of the bullpen for the past couple seasons, seems to have found his niche with the Angels as he was promoted in September for a cup of coffee, though Major League hitters treated him unkindly. Taylor gave up three earned runs on three hits, while issuing four free passes, resulting in a 11.57 ERA to start his major league career.

Taylor, like Sisk, is a lefthanded bullpen arm who throws a low-90s fastball along with a sharp slider that he can put away hitters with. Taylor needs to do a better job at keeping the ball down, as he's given up too many long balls for a reliever. It would behoove Taylor to work in an offspeed pitch every now and then to keep hitters off-balance, but the Angels will give him a shot at cracking the major league roster for a spot in the bullpen if he has a strong showing in Arizona.

29. Nick Mutz (RHP)
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” 190 lbs. DOB: 6/15/90
(AZL Angels/ Cedar Rapids): 0-4, 11.14 ERA, 9 BBs, 13 Ks, 21 IP

Mutz left NAIA Dakota State after his 2010 season and did not pitch for anyone the following spring. Ric Wilson received a tip on him and brought him into a predraft workout. Mutz threw a bullpen session and that's all Wilson and the Angels needed to see to draft the fireballer in the ninth round of the 2011 draft. After a solid opening act in Orem last season (2011), Mutz was shelled in what was a brief season that ended early due to an arm injury in 2012. In 18 relief appearances, Mutz posted a 11.14 ERA while opposing hitters hit .408 against him.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound righthander has a solid average fastball in the 93-96 MPH range, a good slider that darts away and down on righties and low and in on lefties. Though he's pitched in the bullpen to this point, the Angels like him as starting pitcher going forward. Mutz shows a good feel for his changeup, but it's an offering that still needs work.

Mutz will get another crack in Low-A ball if he's healthy and has a good showing in spring camp. Definitely an arm to keep an eye on going forward as the Angels really like his fastball/slider combo and developing change.

30. Drew Heid (OF)
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 5’10” 175 lbs. DOB: 12/14/87
(Inland Empire/Arkansas/Salt Lake): .264/.361/.356 with 6 HRs and 18 SBs

The Angels selected the Gonzaga outfielder in the 2010 amateur draft in the 9th round. Just 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Heid doesn't excite scouts, but he can hit. As a sophomore Heid posted a .386/.475/.523 slash line, .355/.408/.479 as a junior and .395/.467/.614 as a senior, breaking Larry Patterson's 1977 school record for most hits in a season with 92. He also batted .403/.484/.566 in the West Coast Collegiate League in 2008 and .427 in the Alaska League in 2009, hitting a 100 points higher than his closest rival. Heid finished his 2012 minor league campaign with the Salt Lake Bees, posting a .265/.361/.357 slash line, with six home runs and 18 stolen bases.

Beyond his bat, Heid has little to offer other than a future 4th outfielder/pinch hitter off the bench in the big leagues. Heid has little power (15 home runs in 944 PA). He has average speed, though he takes good routes to the ball in the outfield, but his arm is fringy.

I could see Scioscia liking a player like Heid down the road as he reminds me of Orlando Palmeiro, a 4th outfielder Sosh really liked when he took over as manager of the club in 2000. For now, Heid should start his 2013 minor league campaign in Triple-A.  

Our own minor league analyst, Scott Stedman, contributed to the scouting reports on prospects 31-50 below.

31. Reid Scoggins (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 3", Weight: 210 lb.
Born: July 18, 1990 in Dallas, Texas, US (Age 22)
(AZL Angels/Cedar Rapids): 1-0, 4.43 ERA, 18 BBs, 41 Ks, 20.1 IP

Scoggins was a 15th round selection in the 2012 draft, with the Angels banking on his fastball.  Reports this season show Scoggins hitting triple digits on the gun multiple times.  His fastball/slider combination is vicious but sometimes he has no idea where it is going, as seen by his 8.0 BB/9.  Basically, Scoggins is Nuke LaLoosh. In his recent chat with, Ric Wilson described Scoggins as "A young Junior College guy [we took] out of Texas big arm 95-98 with a power slider".  If Scoggins can find some command, he profiles as a future closer.

32. Matt Long (2B/OF)
Bats: Left, Throws: Right Height: 5' 11", Weight: 175 lb.
Born: April 30, 1987 in Mountain View, California, US (Age 25)
(Arkansas/Salt Lake): .282/.350/.462 with 12 HRs and 23 SBs

The only thing working against Matt Long at this point is age.  He has hit for average and power at all levels but he has been slightly "old" for every level.  Long makes good contact, has some pop and runs very well.  To make himself more versatile, Long transitioned from the OF to 2B in 2012. With a solid lefty bat, Long could become a utility guy off the bench for a Major League club.  Unfortunately, like Carlos Ramirez, Long is Rule V eligible this year so his future with the Angels is in the air at this juncture.

33. Matt Shoemaker (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 2", Weight: 225 lb.
Born: September 27, 1986 in Wyandotte, Michigan, US (Age 26)
Salt Lake Bees: 11-10, 5.65 ERA, 45 BBs, 124 Ks, 176.2 IP

Matt Shoemaker enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 in which he had a 3.15 ERA between Arkansas and Salt Lake in 177 innings.  Shoemaker, who has a plus-plus beard, sits 90-93 MPH with a decent slider and an effective splitter.  He's a strike-thrower who attacks hitters and isn't afraid to pound the zone.  In 2012 Shoemaker started working on a cutter, which showed some promise. Shoemaker is Rule V eligible this season, but if he remains with the Angels, look for him to compete for a long-man role in the bullpen. 

34. Michael Roth (LHP)
Bats: Left, Throws: Left Height: 6' 1", Weight: 210 lb.
Born: February 15, 1990 in Greer, South Carolina, US (Age 22)
Orem Owlz: 0-2, 4.92 ERA, 11 BBs, 21 Ks, 22 IP

Michael Roth is well-known for his college success with the South Carolina Gamecocks.  He was the captain for the team during his sophomore and junior year, and compiled a 1.91 ERA during his college tenure.  Ric Wilson in his chat with Angelswin said he is "anxious" to see Roth "come out fresh."  The southpaw Roth sits in the high 80's with a spectacular change up, and a solid curveball and slider combination.  Look for Roth to begin the 2013 season with the Burlington Bees, the Angels new low-A ball affiliate.

35. Ty Kelley (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 4", Weight: 220 lb.
Born: August 18, 1988 in Columbus, Georgia, US (Age 24)
(Cedar Rapids/Inland Empire): 6-1, 1.66 ERA, 22 BBs, 61 Ks, 59.2 IP

Ty Kelley is a guy who burst onto the scene in 2012.  He was signed as a non-drafted free-agent in 2010, and struggled in the minors until the 2012 campaign.  The 6'4" righty put up a terrific season with the Kernels and 66ers, and has the perfect body to build off of his success.  In fact, Kelley lead the entire Angels minor league system in ERA and saves. Given his age, Kelley could start the season with the Arkansas Travelers and move his way up the depth chart with the Angels fairly quickly. Kelly possesses a fastball, change up, cutter and slider. His fastball sits in 90-94 MPH range,  touching 96 MPH. Keep an eye on this upcoming reliever.

36. Jett Bandy (C)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 4", Weight: 210 lb.
Born: March 26, 1990 in West Hills, California, US (Age 22)
Inland Empire 66ers: .247/.318/.386 with 7 HRs and 1 SB.

As a 31st round pick, odds were, and are, stacked against Jett Bandy.  However, his defensive skills and patience at the plate show that the selection may have been an extremely valuable one.  In his first full season, the big-bodied Bandy struggled to consistently square up the ball, but reports on his defense were terrific.  With the ever-thinning Angels catching depth, look for Bandy to start 2013 in Arkansas.  It also never hurts to have a plus-plus name such as Jett Bandy.

37. Jose Rondon (SS/3B)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 1", Weight: 160 lb.
Born: March 3, 1994 in Villa de Cura, VE (Age 18)
(AZL Angels/Orem): .264/.318/.373 with 1 HR and 6 SBs

Not many 18-year-olds signed out of the Dominican are playing stateside.  Jose Rondon is one of those exceptions.  Rondon has a great hit tool and reports indicate that he has great baseball instincts and that his make-up is off the charts.  The power is expected to come as he continues to age (he's only 18!). A full year in Orem would give Rondon a chance to fully display his skills to the baseball world.  Out of the lower rated prospects, Jose Rondon is one who could skyrocket to one of the top spots in the upcoming years. 

38. Cameron Bedrosian (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 0", Weight: 205 lb.
Born: October 2, 1991 in Senoia, Georgia, US (Age 21)
Cedar Rapids Kernels: 3-11, 6.31 ERA, 52 BBs, 48 Ks, 82.2 IP

Cameron Bedrosian endured a very rough year after coming back from Tommy John surgery, but all is not lost.  Bedrosian is still just 21 years of age, and the fastball velocity (low to mid 90s) is still present.  The struggles were nearly expected, so don't read too much into the results.  The fastball, slider, curve combination has the former first-round pick set-up for success. He now just needs to stay healthy and build up the arm strength. wouldn't be surprised if Bedrosian repeated low-A ball in 2013 to regain his command and return to his prior form.

39. Austin Adams (RHP)

Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 2", Weight: 180 lb. 
Born: May 5, 1991 in Tampa, Florida, US (Age 21)
Orem Owlz: 0-1, 5.46 ERA, 15 BBs, 31 Ks, 28 IP

Stats may be deceiving for pitchers in the Pioneer League, and such is the case with Austin Adams.  Adams, an 8th round pick in the 2012 draft, features a low 90s fastball, serviceable change-up and devastating curveball.  Ric Wilson rated Adams' curve as the best curve in the entire Angels system.  The 10 K/9 IP ratio for Adams shows serious promise that he has the swing-and-miss stuff for the back-end of a bullpen.

40. Wendell Soto (SS)
Bats: Both, Throws: Right Height: 5' 9", Weight: 170 lb. 
Born: May 11, 1992 in Sarasota, Florida, US (Age 20)
(Orem/Cedar Rapids): .282/.339/.436 with 9 HRs and 12 SBs

Wendell Soto was selected in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft, as a slick-fielding shortstop with potential with the bat.  Thus far, Soto has struggled to deliver his offensive tools in game situations. However, in 2012, Soto started to make the adjustments at the plate to deliver on his promise. For now, Soto will stick at SS. But, with his build, won’t be surprised if he is moved to the other side of the bag down the road.

41. Yency Almonte (RHP)
Bats: Both, Throws: Right Height: 6' 3", Weight: 185 lb. 
Born: June 4, 1994 in Miami, Florida, US (Age 18)
AZL Angels: 0-0, 6.00 ERA, 1 BB, 0 Ks, 3 IP

Pitchers as projectable as Yency Almonte rarely sign out of high school.  However, the Angels got lucky with Almonte, signing the 17th rounder.  The 18-year-old has a fastball in the low 90s and unspectacular yet respectable secondary pitches.  Ric Wilson described Almonte as having "big upside" but with limited in-game action so far, we will just have to wait and see.

42. Carlos Ramirez (C)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 5' 11", Weight: 210 lb. 
Born: March 19, 1988 in Tucson, Arizona, US (Age 24)
Arkansas Travelers: .204/.312/.276 with 2 HRs and 4 SBs

Many Angels fans were surprised when Carlos Ramirez was left eligible for the Rule V draft, and for good reason.  Not only does Ramirez have a track record of being a solid hitter, but his defense is second to none, with Ric Wilson naming him the best defensive catcher in the organization.  In fact, Ramirez threw out 37% of would-be base-stealers this season.  Yes, Ramirez did struggle in a tough hitting environment in Arkansas, but he still managed to get on-base at a good clip.  The future is cloudy for Carlos Ramirez, but if he is not selected in the Rule V draft this off-season, he could work his way up to the 3rd catcher on the Angels depth chart.

43. Pedro Toribio (SS)
Bats: Both, Throws: Right Height: 5' 10", Weight: 158 lb.
Born: July 21, 1990 in Santiago Rodriguez, DO (Age 22)
AZL Angels: .379/.397/.526 with 0 HRs and 7 SBs

Pedro Toribio was signed as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican and spent 4 years on the Angels Dominican Summer League team.  Toribio's biggest tools are his speed and hitting—both of which show some promise.  His defense is above average. Toribio’s lack of patience and age hold him back from being a true top prospect, however he could climb the list if he continues to hit like he has. 

44. Jeremy Berg (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 0", Weight: 180 lb. 
Born: July 17, 1986 in Ventura, California, US (Age 26)
(Arkansas/Salt Lake): 2-2, 3.75 ERA, 19 BBs, 74 Ks, 74.1 IP

Jeremy Berg is a guy who is hard to slot in a prospect list.  His peripheral stats are consistently wonderful but his stuff just doesn't seem to match it.  With a submarine pitching style, Berg has a fastball in the mid to upper 80s and a frisbee-like slider.  His control is excellent, with a career 3.86 SO/BB ratio and a career 1.15 WHIP. Unfortunately, Berg is yet another Rule V eligible player.

45. Arjenis Fernandez (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 4", Weight: 195 lb.
Born: July 29, 1993 in San Francisco de Macoris, DO (Age 19)
(DSL Angels/AZL Angels/Cedar Rapids): 4-3, 4.79 ERA, 32 BBs, 46 Ks, 77 IP

Arjenis Fernandez was a big-time signing out of the Dominican a year ago.  The Giants originally agreed to terms with Fernandez, but they didn't like his physical results so the Angels snatched him up.  Fernandez has a big frame, sits 88-93 with potential plus off-speed stuff.  Look for Fernandez to begin 2013 with Burlington, and potentially shoot up the Angels top prospects list.

46. Gabriel Perez (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 0", Weight: 185 lb. 
Born: June 3, 1991 in Gualete, Puerto Plata, DO (Age 21)
Orem Owlz: 8-1, 5.06 ERA, 25 BBs, 78 Ks, 80 IP

Gabriel Perez was one of the integral pieces of the 2011 DSL Angels championship-winning team.  In 2012, he made the jump to the States and certainly held his own.  Perez possesses a fastball, slider, and change up that all have a chance to be average to above-average pitches as he continues to grow and learn as a pitcher.  Expect Perez to join Fernandez in the Burlington Bees rotation in 2013.

47. Lay Batista (RHP)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 2", Weight: 180 lb. 
Born: August 4, 1989 in Santiago, Santiago, DO (Age 23)
(Cedar Rapids/Inland Empire): 7-7, 3.64 ERA, 55 BBs, 85 Ks, 121 IP

Lay Batista is an out-getter.  Not much more, not much less.  He works with a two-seam fastball, change up and slider but sometimes struggles with his command.  Should he begin to throw more strikes, Batista could be viewed as a potential back-end of the rotation starter.

48. Kody Eaves (2B)
Bats: Left, Throws: Right Height: 6' 0", Weight: 175 lb. 
Born: July 8, 1993 in Pasadena, Texas, US (Age 19)
AZL Angels: .261/.328/.400 with 2 HRs and 6 SBs

A 16th round pick out of high school, Kody Eaves is a guy that Ric Wilson describes as a player, "that we like with some upside to the bat."  Eaves has a smooth stroke from the left side with legit gap-to-gap power that he consistently showed with the AZL Angels.  Eaves, like many Angels players past and present, has a plus grit-factor, if you will.  He's a scrappy player who can beat you in more ways than one.

49. Andrew Ray (OF)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 6' 1", Weight: 195 lb. 
Born: May 1, 1991 in West Monroe, Louisiana, US (Age 21)
Orem Owlz: .283/.301/.517 with 6 HRs and 0 SBs

Andrew Ray was a 5th round selection in the 2011 draft but he struggled with the Owlz in the 2011 season.  This year, however, he started to show the upside he has with the bat.  His power is still developing, and in 2012 he demonstrated more of it during games. But, it's unlikely that Ray will turn into anything the Angels envisioned unless he cuts down on the strikeouts and begins to take the walk.  Defensively, Ray has an above-average arm and adequate corner outfield range.

50. Zach LeBarron (LHP)

Bats: Left, Throws: Left Height: 6' 3", Weight: 200 lb.
Born: June 18, 1990 in Bennington, Vermont, US (Age 22)
AZL Angels: 4-3, 2.70 ERA, 20 BBs, 53 Ks, 66.2 IP

Zach LeBarron was signed as an un-drafted free agent this year but put up surprisingly good numbers.  His fastball sits in the upper 80s with secondary stuff that is slowly coming along.  By simply being a left-handed pitcher, LeBarron's chances of moving up in the Angels system are greatly increased.

Best Tools: (By Los Angeles Angels Director of Scouting, Ric Wilson)

Best Hitter for Average - Taylor Lindsay
Best Power Hitter - CJ Cron
Best Strike Zone Discipline - Alex Yarbrough
Fastest Baserunner - Eric Stamets
Best Athlete - Travis Witherspoon
Best Fastball - Mark Sappington , Austin Wood , Reid Scoggins , AJ Alvarez all 95-98 MPH
Best Curveball - Austin Adams
Best Slider - RJ Alvarez
Best Changeup - Michael Morin
Best Control - Nick Maronde
Best Defensive Catcher - Carlos Ramirez
Best Defensive Infielder - Eric Stamets
Best Infield Arm - Caleb Cowart
Best Defensive Outfield - Travis Witherspoon
Best Outfield Arm – Kole Calhoun

See the entire live chat we had recently with Angels Director of Scouting, Ric Wilson here

Reaction from former Angels Director of Scouting, Eddie Bane:

Chuck;  the prospect list is really sharp. Taylor Lindsey would be much higher on my list. He's the best hitter in the organization including Cowart and Cron and a much better defender then the average guy thinks he is. Obviously I am biased, but I'm biased on most of these guys.  I would have Cowart and Lindsey interchangeable.  Last year after Orem  everybody saw what Lindsey could do and doubted Cowart so it changes all the time.  They are both 20 year old players that have already been successful at the high A level.  Big year in 2013 for both of them, but they are still ahead of the curve.

As far as prospects go the goal of any system should be to provide homegrown talent at every position.  If you look at the Angels they have a catcher, couple 1B's, a 2nd baseman, shortstop and 3 outfielders that are all homegrown. I don't think any other organization can touch that.  Pitching-wise Weaver, Richards, Maronde are all homegrown as is a lot of the bullpen. When you take into account the Skaggs and Corbin trade then you can see what is happening.  They also made the decision to trade Hellweg and Segura for what now appears to be a two month rental, (which is just bad luck, because I probably would have done the same thing for Greinke).

Now Ric Wilson is supplying the talent to the Angels with Jeff Malinoff a major help and they will get a lot of good players, but you are right in that they need to get back into the international market in my opinion.

Willy has already given them Maronde and that was an outstanding pick in my mind.  Incredible value.  I do think this group will take more college type players like Kole Calhoun and that is certainly one way to go and I just decided the best way generally was to go high school and it worked out to where the system put 3 players in the 2012 All Star game.  That's pretty good value also.

Thanks for writing Chuck and I will say that my focus is on the Red Sox and our progress, but I will always watch how the Angels are doing and I have a lot of respect for Jerry, Scott and obviously Willy (Ric Wilson).

- Eddie 

A special thanks to Ric Wilson, unnamed pro scouts, the entire Inland Empire 66ers and Orem Owlz organization, as well as contributors: Eric Notti, David Saltzer, Scott Stedman, Jeremy Long and Rick Dykhuizen for their part in the Top-50 Los Angeles Angels prospects list.

Here is our 2012 Top-50 Los Angeles Angels Prospects
Love to hear what you think!

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