The Baseball America website has published its 2012 Top Ten Angels Prospects and their list matches the one made for Halos Heaven by our minor league analyst Ryan Ghan pretty closely. Add in the recent prospect rankings of John Sickels at SBN's Minor League Ball and a clear picture begins to emerge of just who Angels fans should be on the lookout for in the coming years.
- Mike Trout (1, 1)
- Jean Segura (3, 3)
- Garrett Richards (2, 2)
- Johnny Hellweg (4, 7)
- C.J. Cron (5, 6)
- Kaleb Cowart (7, 5)
- Taylor Lindsey (9, 4)
- Daniel Tillman (<10, 10)
- Ariel Pena (<10, <10)
- Nick Maronde (6, 9)
Both Halos Heaven and Minor League Ball included Luis Jimenez as their #8 prospect with Ryan Ghan adding Kole Calhoun as his #10 Angels prospect. But the uniformity of the lists indicates a thin system with easy to spot studs. Last season's BA Top 10 featured five prospects appear on the big league team: Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger, Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Walden, Trout and Richards. Two from last year (Fabio Mesa-Martinez and Cam Bedrosian) were injured for 2011, leaving Segura and Cowart as the only 2011 top prospects still in development.
Knowing the makeup of the 2012 big league club, the only thing holding Trout in the minor leagues is the weight of the Bobby Abreu contract and the untradeable lightness of being of Vernon Wells. Richards is on the fifth starter bubble with Jerome Williams, Brad Mills and Trevor Bell. Segura was injured for most of 2012 and may repeat the Cal League at least in April. With the apparent healing of Kendrys Morales and the Abreu-Wells bottleneck, Cron is not Anaheim-bound until 2014 at the earliest, even with rocket development fast-track and all. Ryan Ghan already noted that his #9 selection of Lindsey would have been #7 in light of the Spring Training invite that the infielder received earlier this month.
Considering the current depth of the Angels, the only position player breakout season that might earn a call-up (beyond Trout's inevitable move to Anaheim) for good is Lucho Jimenez, as the weakness at 3B just begs for a storybook addition if Trumbo is clumsy and Alberto Callaspo stays just an unnoticed blip above league average. Lucho was added to the 40-Man roster this offseason, so stranger things have happened.
For 2012, though, it seems the Angels "story of my life" is the story of their depth keeping the farm to develop away from the bigs.