Jose Perez, Mason Tobin, Baudillio "Badass" Lopez, Robert Fish, Fabio Martinez Mesa, Ryan Chaffee, Shane Loux, Nick Green, Jeff Boshers, Barrett Browning, Ariel Pena, Orangel Arena, Joshua Blanco, Michael Anton, Jonathon Bachanov, Trevor Bell, Giancarlo Alvarado
Jose Perez is a promising 21 year old who moved through three levels last year, racking up lots of k’s and flashing superb control. He should spend significant time in Rancho this year, where he’ll need to keep the ball in the park. Mason Tobin’s low-to-mid 90’s sinking fastball and power slider get lots of love from scouts, but he’ll also have to show better control this year. He, Trevor Reckling, Jose Perez, and Michael Anton could form a dynamite rotation in Rancho even if Walden advances to AA. I absolutely love Baudilio Lopez, who as a 17 year-old demolished the DSL. I’d like to see him come stateside next year, but the Angels are generally conservative with their young pitchers and there are a lot of older guys vying for spots ahead of him, so he might return to the DSL for another campaign. Robert Fish posted great peripherals in the Midwest League, but with poor results - he’s another guy to watch this year at Rancho, as he could really step it up. He’ll have to, because there are guys behind him who should earn promotions in ’09. Fabio Martinez Mesa will come stateside in ’09 following a great campaign in the DSL, and we’ll get a first-hand look at the damage his reportedly tremendous fastball can do. He’s a candidate for the Advanced Rookie League Orem rotation, but that picture is getting crowded in a hurry due to too many live young arms. Yes, folks in the know are in love with Ryan Chaffee, but I want to see the Junior College product throw up a line in professional baseball before putting him in the upper echelon of our prospects. Buzz around the web has him teaming up with Will Smith in Cedar Rapids in ’09. Shane Loux may break camp this year with the big league squad - he’s an efficient groundball guy who had an inspiring career resurgence with the Halo’s last offseason, and could be a solid swingman and spot starter in the big leagues. There could be no worse match than Nick Green and the Bee’s home park in Salt Lake - a flyball pitcher like Nick will get wrecked there, even if he could put up respectable numbers with a California marine layer over his head. Yet another solid pitching prospect harvested in the ’08 draft, Jeff Boshers had a better groundball rate and BA against in Orem this season than highly touted Will Smith; they’ll both head to Cedar Rapids this year. Barret Browning gets lots of k’s and groundballs, but with poor results over ’08 in A+, AA and the Fall ASL; he’s 24, so he’s going to have to step it up soon. Ariel Pena and Orangel Arena both overpowered the DSL, so we’ll see what their next step is in the US; I imagine they’ll bounce between the Halos’ rookie teams in competition with the Halo’s ’09 draftees. Southpaw Joshua Blanco gives the Halos yet another reason to feel great about their ’08 draft: as an eighteen year-old, he coasted through the ASL on his low 90’s fastball, striking out over a batter an inning. He should form a solid 1-2 punch with Tyler Chatwood as they advance through the system. Michael Anton overcame serious injuries from a car crash to make an impressive professional debut in ’07 - he led the Arizona League in k’s - but got shelled in the California League last year. He’ll give it another go in ’09. Jonathon Bachanov is supposed to be our jewel form the ’07 draft, but injuries have kept him off the field so far. Trevor Bell was a supplementary first round pick from the ’05 draft, but his career stalled as a starter, he appears to have turned the corner as a reliever, and could now advance quickly through the system. Giancarlo Alvarado put up a great line in AAA, impressively resurrecting his career - I hope he gets the opportunity to toss a couple of big league innings next year.