5) Trevor Reckling, 20 - LH SP, High A, AA
9 wins, 9 losses. 154.1 IP, 2.68 ERA, 122 SO/78 BB. +25 runs saved
The most heartening commentary I heard about the Angels' farm system all year was Eddie Bane repeating, "Reckling has the stuff to get major league hitters out right now." Sure it's his job to plug his players, but that doesn't mean he didn't believe it. Reckling debuted in AA while still a teenager, making him the youngest player in the Texas League for much of May and June. He looked the part: clearly raw, he struggled with his control to the point of walking 13% of the batters he faced while racking up high pitch counts; but the quality of his stuff would secure the timely punch-out or double play, allowing him to escape jams time and again. His K and groundball rates slipped slightly after his promotion, but given the growing gap between his age and competition's, I'm not worried. He's got a reputation for being an athletic, smart player, so most commentators expect his control to improve as he gains more consistency with his quick, whip-like delivery. Still, we're going to have to keep watching the walk rate, because that appears to be the last hurtle he must clear before claiming a middle-of-the-rotation job in the MLB.
Again, remember that this list is based entirely on statistical performance in 2009, and is not a traditional "best prospects" ranking.