9) Taylor Lindsey, 12/02/1991 -- 2B, Adv Rookie Ball
.362/.394/.593 with 10 HR's and 10 SB's. +14 runs bat, +4 runs glove, 2.7 WAR
Ranking in a Nutshell: If I could do it all over again, I would slide Lindsey forward two slots in the rankings because of this new data point. Our Pioneer League MVP was the only member of the talented 2011 Orem Owlz to receive an invite to major league spring training camp, which probably means that he impressed the brass with a good showing in fall instructs. Success in that environment tends to carry over into the following season, so I'm pumped to see him play with the big boys in March.
My reasons for putting Lindsey towards the back end of this list were two-fold: he's a bat first prospect, projecting to have below average speed, arm strength, and athleticism; second, there are some question marks about the bat, because he may only be good for batting average down the road if the patience fails to develop and his pull power doesn't play as well at the upper levels. It's not exactly an apple to apples comparison, but growing into a player similar to Alexi Amarista is a likely outcome. Or he's a left-handed Howie Kendrick - awesomeness - but guys who hit well enough for us to forget about walks and power are rare. At age 20, Howie hit .367 in full season ball, so the bar for Lindsey heading into his age 20 season is very high if that's the kind of player he's going to be.
Track Record: Lindsey put himself on the prospect map in high school by batting over .500 in two consecutive seasons, yet most analysts considered him an overdraft when the Halos tapped him in the 2010 supplementary round. He signed quickly and put up a solid .284/.325/.407 line in Arizona rookie ball. That was good but not great, since Angels fans had just watched Mike Trout and Randal Grichuk hit .360/.418/.506 and .322/.352/.551 respectively in Tempe the season before.
Needless to say, Lindsey broke out at Orem, competing all season long with teammates Frazier Hall and Jerod Yakubik for the Pioneer League batting title, hitting for the cycle at one point, and ultimately winning league MVP honors. There were a lot of positives: his strikeout rate dropped each month, reflecting skill growth even as the competition around him improved; he rapped 10 doubles and hit .353 to the opposite field, abating previous fears that he was too pull conscious; he mashed lefties just as well as righties, hanging in against breaking stuff and putting up a .352 BA against them; and his defense was rock solid, even if scouts don't like his range or arm much. On the other hand, he walked only 4% of the time. That's entirely understandable since Lindsey discovered early in the season that he could mash anything thrown his way, but it's something to look out for at the higher levels.
Like Kaleb Cowart, Lindsey added a leg kick to his swing despite not using one in high school. You can't argue with the results, but I'll be interested to see if he continues to use it down the road. He has quick hands, a short swing, and generally makes good contact. His plate coverage is above-average, and he shows good instincts for both dropping the bat head and turning on balls for power.
Win the Lottery Ceiling: Lindsey may be much closer to hitting .300 with 15 homeruns in the big leagues than Owlz teammate Kaleb Cowart, but he's still a long, long ways off.