Garrett Richards and Roberto Lopez: Top Angels Prospect Performances #9-#10

10) Roberto Lopez, 10/1/85 - 1B/OF/C, High A, AA

.282/.357/.439 with 12 HR. +12 bat, +6 glove, 3.06 WAR

Lopez' final numbers were surprisingly good given the lackluster .239/.324/.370 line he managed in 325 double A plate appearances.  Due to his tough home park, that batting line translated to -4 runs below average (97 OPS+), which is a tad disappointing for a bat-first prospect. He was much more impressive in the Cal League, where he opened the season with a .346/.408/.544 line (+16 bat). He also flashed a +5.7 glove in right field, though the small sample size that luck played a role in some or all of those contributions. Beginning in instructional league last year, the Angels have been teaching him to catch, and he spent a total of 35 games behind the dish in 2010. His passed ball and error numbers reflected his inexperience, though he did catch a surprisingly good 26% of opposing basestealers, which is just a hair below average. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Angels are about developing him as a catcher in 2011, when he will likely remain in Arkansas and hit near the middle of the order.

9) Garrett Richards, 5/27/88 - RHSP, Single A, High A

12 wins, 5 losses. 143 IP, 130 hits, 3.52 ERA, 149 K/43 BB. +11 runs saved, 3.09 WAR

Richards handled his transition to High A well, even improving his K/BB ratio at the tougher level to an impressive 4.5 over his final seven starts of the season, though the hits fell a little more frequently behind him.  All in all, his professional career thus far has been a success given the volatility of his college track record, and while his stock isn't quite as high now as it was following his sparkling pro debut, when pundits speculated that he would jump all the way to AA to begin 2010, he's undoubtedly one of the Angels' better prospects. I still worry that he's too hittable, but consensus rates the quality of his stuff quite highly.  By now you are probably familiar with his CV: a lively fastball that sits in the low to mid 90's, a sharp slider, a solid curveball, and a surprisingly good change-up, giving him the full four pitch arsenal.  My favorite Richards moment of the season actually came in spring training, when he blew away Ken Griffey Jr. with a 97 mph fastball at the letters.  2011 is going to be a huge year for Richards, as he will have to overcome his consistency issues against upper minors competition. Look for him in Arkansas come April. 

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