25) Patrick Corbin, 7/19/89 - LHSP, Single A, High A
13 wins, 3 losses. 118.2 IP, 109 hits, 3.87 ERA, 106 K/28 BB. +7 runs saved, 2.20 WAR
Corbin actually got better after advancing from the pitching friendly Midwest league to the hitting friendly Cal League, which suggests to me that he's racing up a steep development curve. Despite the "raw" tag and a significant amount of projection remaining in his frame and stuff, the athletic, 21 year old lefty has improved his poise and control rapidly since turning pro 16 months ago. He'll be missed.
24) Brandon Decker, 3/22/88 - 1B/DH, Advanced Rookie Ball
.341/.429/.653 with 13 HR. +20 bat, +0 glove, 2.30 WAR
Decker attracted less attention than previous Pioneer League beasts Carlos Ramirez, Dillon Baird, Roberto Lopez, and Chris Pettit, likely because his athleticsm and defensive value pales in comparison to those other guys. Still, a big left-handed bat is a rare and valuable thing in the Angels' system, and Decker's a good bet to anchor the Kernels' lineup come April. With the Owlz' and AZL Angels' lackluster 2010 records, Cedar Rapids risks fielding its most unimpressive team in years, so Kernels' fans have to hope Decker keeps raking. Sean Smith didn't do TotalZone figures for rookie ball players, so I'm giving Decker the benefit of the doubt and putting him down as neutral in the field.
23) Travis Witherspoon, 4/16/89 - CF, Advanced Rookie Ball
.309/.365/.472 with 10 HR and 20 SB. +4 bat, +10 glove, 2.39 WAR
Baseball America preferred Witherspoon's bat and ceiling to that of every other Halos' rookie ball player except Chavez Clarke's and, presumably, Kaleb Cowart (who didn't have the AB's to qualify for any of the league rankings). They saw improvement in his plate coverage, pitch recognition, and discipline, though his K-rate remained well over 20%. He's an intriguing prospect, but seeing some success while repeating the Pioneer League at age 21 is no breakout. The glove score above is NOT from Total Zone, but rather based on what he did last year in the league, scouting reports, and my own guesswork. I'm very curious to see how his approach at the plate holds up in full season ball - he'll need to continue improving in that area quickly.
22) Andrew Heid, 12/14/87 - OF, Advanced Rookie Ball
.362/.435/.505 with 9 HR and 9 SB. +16 bat, +0 glove, 2.41 WAR
Witherspoon and Heid, Heid and Witherspoon. Seems like every time I write about one, the other pops up next. As I've said before, Heid is the antithesis of Witherspoon, undersized, older, and possessing non-elite tools. Nonetheless, he knows how to handle the bat, prompting Bane and Co to tag him with a ninth round pick, which is noteworthy for a college senior with his profile. He will likely head the Kernels' attack at the head of the lineup come spring.
21) Matt Long, 4/30/87 - OF, Single A
.305/.382/.446 with 4 HR and 23 SB. +14 bat, -6 glove, 2.42 WAR
Long is a similar player to Heid, drafted as a senior by the Halos, though not until the 30th round. He's a little taller and perhaps a little faster than Heid is, and put up a comparably good season, serving as a dynamite situational hitter and catalyst at the top of the Kernels' order (in the process helping both Trout and Segura to look very, very good). I was a little surprised to see his low ratings with the glove, since he looked like an asset in the field when I saw him in the spring, but Total Zone measures only range for outfielders, so does not credit Long for his best defensive tool: he has a terrific arm that plays up due to accuracy, allowing him to rack up an impressive 14 assists in 2010. Giving him credit for those runs saved would likely have bumped him up a few notches here. He's a nice player to have around.