Over the next month, we'll take a look at the best prospect performances of 2012. Keep in mind that this is not a traditional top prospect list because it focuses entirely on 2012 contributions. I rank guys according to advanced metrics which, for position players, include batting runs above average, positional adjustment, defense, and a replacement level calculation that scales the total to "Wins Above Replacement" (though the concept of replacement level doesn't really apply to minor leaguers). I use a standard "runs allowed based" WAR formula for pitchers. I also incorporate the "bullpen chaining" adjustment derived by the Halosphere's own rallymonkey5.
16) Eswarlin Jimenez, 20, LHSP - 2.5 WAR, +9 runs saved. 117 IP, 3.38 ERA, 136 hits, 73 K/20 BB
Jimenez is a sleeper for 2013 because he "scouts" better than the numbers indicate. He‘s an athletic lefty with a strong frame, a firm FB that usually sits in the low 90's, and a sharp looking curveball. He defends his position well and virtually shuts down the running game. His delivery is compact and should serve him well with more experience, though he was prone to slipping into ruts where he threw across his body too much, loosing momentum towards the plate and spinning off the mound. When he does that, he leaves the ball up in the zone. He coughed up a lot of hits over the course of the year, yielding a .309/.349/.452 slash line against, largely due to a .352 BABIP. He's going to need to improve on that by keeping the ball down in the zone more consistently (pitching in front of better defenses won't hurt, too). Most importantly, he needs to boost his K-rate. He did better as the season went on, fanning just under 20% of the hitters he faced after June 1st, but that's only a step in the right direction. He did, however, limit the long ball, which is a good sign. Right now, his stuff and results look a lot like former Angels' prospect and present Royals' farmhand Will Smith. Jimenez might end up better due to superior athleticism, but he has a long ways to go.
17) Paul McAnulty, 31, 1B, DH - 2.4 WAR , +18 bat, +0 glove. .258/.373/.511 with 25 HRs and 1 SB
In late July of last year, McAnulty began his transition to the next phase of his career by leaving the Bees to serve as a player-coach for the Arkansas Travelers. I'm looking forward to seeing what his next step is, and imagine he will catch on as a hitting coach somewhere in the minors. Baseball America lists him as uncommitted, but my hope is that he continues his career in the Angels' organization. The minor league veteran is the prototypical "professional hitter," having cultivated a patient approach over eleven minor league seasons that yielded a .294/.383/.495 career slash line with 171 homeruns. I would absolutely love to see him continue his present role with Arkansas in the coming year: who else could you want chatting patience with current Travs' hitting coach Nathan Haynes and prospects Randal Grichuk, C.J. Cron, Taylor Lindsey, Travis Witherspoon, and Kaleb Cowart over microwave burritos at a north Texas rest stop? He would also provide balance, walks and thump to the middle of the projected Travs' lineup without blocking any of the current prospects, potentially taking the team to the next level. I imagine he'll wind up with a more traditional role on another club, but Travs' fans deserve to be spoiled a little after years of disappointing rosters.