10) Kole Calhoun, 10/14/1987 -- Of/1B, High A
.324/.410/.547 with 23 HR and 20 SB. +33 runs bat, -3 glove, 4.0 WAR
Ranking in a Nutshell: Balance. Calhoun provides a combination of right-now lefty hitting skill, patience, and pop that is otherwise lacking in the Angels' system. Despite the glut of outfield/DH types currently clogging the Angels' twenty-five man roster, the logjam will clear by 2013, and having a cheap internal candidate to grind out quality at-bats behind the middle of the order could facilitate the kind of lineup "continuity" that Scioscia loves to talk about (usually when bemoaning its absence). Calhoun could play the Scott Spiezio/Brad Fullmer role on the next Angels' championship team.
Or his skills never fully translate to the big leagues and he tops out as a Quad A player. It's not the same kind of risk that the toolsey preps banging around in rookie ball run, but it is risk all the same.
Track Record: Calhoun's a baseball rat. After going undrafted after high school, he landed in Yavapai Junior College and raked over two years, finally drawing the notice of the big college programs. ASU picked him up for the 2009 season. He had a good campaign, and really exploded in the College World Series, when he went 9 for 16 with a 3 HR's, including a big grand slam. He closed his amateur career in 2010 by leading the PAC 10 in walks, and was drafted by the Angels after earning his Bachelors of Science. He played well in Orem, but got a little lost in the mix.
He really exploded in 2011, apparently after having to mount a lobbying campaign with the Angels' coaches to allow him to skip a level (much to the chagrin of Cedar Rapids Kernels' fans, who didn't have much to watch this year). Voice of the 66er's Sam Farber called him "the best player on the field most nights, and we played against some pretty good prospects." According to the runs created statistic ("RC"), he was the eleventh most productive bat in all of the minor leagues.
Calhoun deserves his props for the impressive season, but he was also twenty-three in High A, so hasn't really proven anything yet. He will have to keep hitting from the get-go in Arkansas to remain in the picture, and that's not an automatic. Ten years ago, another left-handed college masher, Mike O'Keefe, put up an almost identical .330/.381/.526 season in High A, only to stall over the next three years in Double A.
Win the Lottery Ceiling: A Matt Stairs-caliber bat who provides OBP and some pop out of the sixth or seventh spot in the line-up. Calhoun also has a history of playing above his modest defensive tools, so he could serve as a quality corner guy in his prime.