As just about every actual fan in baseball knows, the Angels farm system is abysmal. However there are a couple reasons to look forward to the names I'll briefly bring up, namely because it shows the Angels resurgence in the Latin market which, along with keeping first round draft picks, will help right and replenish the system. Ahh replenish, what a great word. Let's jump into it!
Born on October 23, 1995 just turning 18, Delgado signed with the Angels out of the Dominican Republic last August for $280, 000 making the sweet swinging lefty the biggest signing bonus they've given to an international player in recent years. Here's a video of Delgado along with a solid description of his tools. He hit .271/.311/.422 (.733 OPS) 16 2B, 3 HR, 33 RBI, and drew 11 walks against 43 K's in 192 at-bats for the AZL Angels rookie team in his age 17 season.
The big international signing news last year on Feb. 29 was Jairo Beras with the Rangers, but that same day the Angels made a nice signing, adding Dominican righthander Eduar Lopez for $45,000. Lopez, 17, trained with Tony Arias (no relation to the Reds Latin American director) in Azua and would have ranked first in the Dominican Summer League in strikeouts per nine innings (14.0) had he thrown enough innings to qualify. He finished with a 3.54 ERA, 83 strikeouts and 23 walks in 53 1/3 innings. Lopez isn't tall but he has a strong, compact frame (6 feet, 180 pounds) along the lines of Johnny Cueto and an 89-91 mph fastball that hits 93. Lopez racked up strikeouts by getting ahead of hitters with his fastball, then burying them with a late-breaking curveball with tight snap in the strike zone.
Per baseballamerica.com, another example of the Angels fixing the minor league system for some potential diamonds in the rough. But a 14 K/9 ratio is intriguing at 16 as is a Johnny Cueto comp.
Along with these names are centerfielder Ricky Martinez who has serious power potential, left handed starter Edisson Rosario, and promising bullpen arm Ramon Rodriguez. Yes these guys are raw and obviously no sure fire things, but it's good to see the Angels being more prominent in the international market. Since former international director Clay Daniel was fired on July 2, 2009, the exchanging and replacing of scouts, and an overall conservative approach towards the market the Angels haven't done much to help a farm system that has been depleted by trades and losing draft picks due to free agent signings.
Jerry Dipoto and former co-worker with Arizona, Carlos Gomez, have teamed up determined to change how the farm system will be handled through the Latin market. Dipoto seems like more of the type to be conservative with prospects and draft picks then we've seen in his first two seasons as GM, it will be interesting to see if Arte has learned his lesson and him, along with JeDi, team up to turn the organization around into a more fluid one like the St. Louis Cardinals or Boston Red Sox.
With trades this off-season with our "surplus" of position players, keeping our first round picks by not signing the Cano's, Pujols', and Hamilton's of the world, and continuing to direct resources back into the international market, the Angels could be on their way back to having one of the games best minor league systems.
It will take time but the Angels have the greatest player in the game and need to be able to build around him. This is just step one...baby steps.