Baseball America released its minor leagues "best tools" ranking this week, with five Angels' farmhands receiving top honors in a specific category. What makes these lists so much fun is that the managers of each league pick the players, granting a glimpse into how industry people value specific prospects.
Predictably, the Arkansas Travelers' cohort dominated the Texas League list:
- Mike Trout was Best Batting Prospect, Best Base Runner, Best Defensive Outfielder and Most Exciting Player.
- Garrett Richards, in a surprise showing, beat out well-regarded Cardinals' fire-baller Shelby Miller as Best Pitching Prospect of the Texas League. For good measure, he also received Best Breaking Pitch honors.
- Matt Shoemaker's fine season received props from the league's managers, who credited him with Best Control.
- Light-hitting Alberto Rosario was Best Defensive Catcher.
Those four players comprise all of the Travelers' representatives. Any guesses about who the fifth player is from the Angels' system to show up on one of the lists?
Efren Navarro. Managers voted him best defensive first baseman in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Last year, he received the same honor in Double A.