The Angels minor league system has star power, if there were such a thing in a farm system. The sexy names with high ceilings and virtually unlimited talent, I'm talking about your Trouts, Richards', Grichuks, Skaggs', Martinez's, Waldens, Recklings, Congers and Bourjos'. We've got em' all. But what about the lesser known guys that no one lists on the top prospect reports? Turns out, the Angels have quite a few that don't turn up on any lists but are extremely serviceable.
Brad Coon - He's 26 and went to some no name university. But ever since being drafted, he's turned heads. HIs first two years in the minors he swiped 55 and 56 bags while maintaining a career average of .284. He has now settled down in SLC, where they just don't steal bases. He plays every spot in the OF and is only a Reggie Willits/Terry Evans injury away from Anaheim.
Tommy Mendoza - Being a starting pitcher in our system must be rough. So many big names, and Mendoza was never one of them. Kind of got hit around in A ball and had to repeat Cedar Rapids. Then in AA, something just clicked. Over 20 starts he compiled a 3.36 ERA with a respectable K/BB ratio, so we promoted him to SLC for a few starts and it was more of the same, 2.91 ERA. I haven't the slightest idea if you'll ever see him in an Angels uniform, but I can assure you, performances like that get lots of attention from other scouts preparing for the Rule 5 draft.
Ryan Mount - A local product drafted in the 2nd round, his career thus far has been more about hype, then result. But still, there's tons of talent there. He's a defensively capable 2B, capable of 20-30 HR's annually and a respectable BA. Don't expect huge numbers, as Arkansas is where HR's go to die, but if he gets promoted to SLC any time, his inflated numbers will open some eyes. IF HE CAN STAY HEALTHY.
Gabe Jacobo - Here's one player that should generate more buzz than he's getting. He's a 23 year old 1B that put up monster numbers at Sac State and rookie ball and a short stint in Cedar Rapids. Over a full year in CR his batting average slipped down from the .320's to .257, which is rather unexplained but he still managed to collect 46 XBH. He's in Rancho, more of a hitter's paradise this year and we should see him put up numbers that resemble his ability. .280 30 DB 20 HR. Just got a game winning bases loaded hit off the wall in the 13th inning tonight.
Roberto Lopez - He's a 24 year old OF/1B that hasn't generated much buzz yet, but potentially could. HE was a late round draft pick out of USC, never hit for power, until he got to rookie ball, where he collected 41 XBH in only 67 games. Last season in the pitcher friendly confines of CR he put up respectable numbers over 3/4 of a season (.274 18 DB 11 HR). Expect more from him in Rancho this year, much like Jacobo.
Only time will tell if any of these guys make it big. But they all have promise, especially Jacobo and Lopez, corner infielders and OF with considerable upside and collegiate success in a system rather shallow in their specific positions.