Top Prospect Performances, August

Jamie Sabau

Spoiler alert: it's heavy on rookie ball hitters.

Stats as of August 14th.

(1) Ayendy Perez, 19, CF. DSL Angels.

August Stats:  1.2 WAR, hitting .385/.500/.513 with 7 SB's

Nice to a see a teenager top the list, though he turns 20 in less than a month, so he's old for a teenager. In fact, he's a dinosaur for the DSL. Still, I hope that the 5'9", lefty hitting center fielder gets a shot at stateside pro-ball, beginning next year. He'd be a good guy to lead off in Orem, and his patience might rub off on higher ceiling-ed Natanael Delgado and Ricky Martinez

(2) Mark Shannon, 22, CF. Orem Owlz

August Stats: 1.2 WAR, hitting .373/.415/.695 with 4 HR's and 2 SB

I think Shannon may turn out to be Orem's second best hitter at the next level, behind only Jose Rondon. He's your classic college tweener: he brings some pop from the left side, but probably not enough to man a corner at the highest levels, and a little speed, but probably not enough to man center or be a big steal threat at the highest levels.  Still, it looks like he can hit, with a discerning eye, bat speed, and a loopy swing that works best when he's pulling the ball, reminding me of Matt Long.  Shannon was a successful two-way player at UNLV before the Halos drafted him in the 24th round. Here's footage of him going yard for Orem.

(3) Michael Fish, 22, LF. Orem Owlz

August Stats: 1.1 WAR, ..435/.458/.913 with 4 HR and 1 SB

Fish!?!  I'm interested.

Basically, he's this year's Joel Capote, zipping up through Arizona and Utah on the back of an unbelievable hot streak. He's a right-handed hitter who really swings from the heals, and he's not missing much right now.  And there's that fabulous surname. That wonderful name that all but assures him a place in Anaheim.

Like Shannon, he's a senior sign, a 32nd rounder from Siena College.  Hopefully the power he's showing in Utah sticks in A-Ball next year.  Burlington fans could use something to cheer about.

(4) Taylor Lindsey, 21, 2B AA Travs

August Stats: 1.0 WAR. .311/.436/.689 with 3 HR and 1 SB.  9 BB/7 K

Taylor's only getting better as the season winds down, and the development of his pull power really stands out.  All of his over-the-fence pop is currently to right field, and he's launching some moonshots (see a long bomb here, and a lined shot into the wind here). I'd love to see him take batting practice in order to get a better feel for his raw power, but from what I've seen in games, the 21-year-old is showing average MLB pop.  There may be a touch more to come, depending on whether he gets strong enough to hit it out to all fields.  His main challenge will be to not fall too in love with pulling the ball, despite his growing skill in jumping on mistakes, because success going gap to gap has made him such a good hitter from 2011 to the present.

(5) Andrew Heid, 25, OF, AAA Bees

August Stats: 0.9 WAR.  .357/.370/.643 with 1 HR

Heid was drafted just one round after Calhoun in the 2010 draft, and initially drew more attention due to a stronger debut.  Like Calhoun, he was a college senior when he turned pro, so never faced much in the way of expectations despite showing more polish than just about everyone else on the field. No one would have said it back in the summer of 2010, but Heid is also a similar player to the athlete Calhoun ended developing into: he's patient lefty hitter and a good defensive outfielder capable of holding down centerfield. He doesn't have Calhoun's HR power, and that and a few untimely injuries have been the key differences.  However, he's a managers' favorite, a grinder, and could have a long career as a Quad A type.  Here's Heid ripping a triple.

(6) Steven Mateo, 20, 1B. DSL Halos

August Stats: 0.9 WAR. .333/.500/.606 with 1 HR.

The Efren Navarro of the Dominican Summer League.  Just a beacon of polish amidst a sea of tools. He's ancient for the DSL, and his value comes mainly from his ability to work counts and take walks. Given how few position players the Angels drafted this year (what, like 5 or something in the whole draft?), he has a good chance of making it stateside next year to fill out the AZL or Orem roster. I hope he gets a shot in the spring.

(7) Andrew Romine, 27, SS. AAA Bees

August Stats: 0.7 WAR. .360/.439/.560 with 1 HR and 2 SB

He earned his last call-up. I hope he hits a little more this time around in the bigs.

(8) Cal Towey, 23, 3B. Orem Owlz

August Stats: 0.7 WAR. .343/.558/.514 with 2 SB

He walks. Then he walks some more. He's hitting for a little pop in Orem, but not a whole lot given the context. He looks the part of a competent defender in the field, with good footwork and smooth actions, but also leads the Owlz in errors, so may not be quite as polished as he appears. Or it's just bad luck with rookie ball dirt, which is perfectly possible in Utah.  As one of the more polished draft products, he could make the jump to High A next year, but he may not have the bat speed to do a whole lot of damage beyond drawing a healthy number of walks.

(9) Mike Morin, 22, RHRP. AA Travs.

August Stats: 0.6 WAR. 2.57 ERA. 7 IP. 2 Saves.  6 k/2 bb

At last, a pitcher.  With Sappington facing tougher competition in AA, and most of the other 2013 high performers recouping from minor injuries, August has been a sad month for organizational pitching.  Morin hasn't done much to write home about, but he did do it in high leverage situations, and the formula that I used likes that, so there you go.

In case you don't have the full scoop on him, here it is: he commands his 90's FB well, and backs it up with an outstanding changeup and decent short slider.  The change is really his money pitch, with tons of deception and fade, and it's effective against both righties and lefties.  Best of all, he's shared his know-how. Mark Sappington's change has come a long way in the past couple of months - a long way, and it might even be his best secondary pitch now - and Morin played a key role in that.  According to Arkansas announcers, that is.  Who knows, really, but it's as good a reason as any.  Should the whole middle relief thing run its course, Morin might have a future as pitching coach.

(10) Brian Hernandez, 24, 3B, High A Inland Empire

August Stats: 0.6 WAR.  .340/.389/.480 with 1 HR

He's a stellar defender and a competent hitter.  Hernandez was overmatched this weekend against top Giant's prospect Kyle Crick, who made him look bad with good velocity, but Crick's done that to a lot of guys this year.  He fits the Inland Empire's line-up well, but with top prospect Cowart in need of another year of seasoning in Double A, it's not clear where Hernandez goes from here.

(11) Carlos Ramirez, 25, C.  AA Travs

August Stats: 0.6 WAR.  .296/.345/.593 with 2 HR.

Ramirez is here for two reasons: first, he's received more PA's in August at Jett Bandy's expense, as the latter has really hit a tough patch in the second half. Second, the Travs have been facing more lefties recently, and Ramirez really crushes them. To the tune of .282/.378/.538 on the year, versus .227/.320/.455 against righties. He struggles to catch up with velocity - younger guys, meaning legit prospects with heat, have limited him to a .198 batting average - but good catch-and-throw skills mean you don't have to hit a ton to claim a spot on the roster, and he's catching 42% of runners this year.  I will be really interested to see where his career goes, and with luck he has a shot at significant big league time. Best guess is that he spends a lot of time in AAA as the third or fourth man on a big league team's catching depth chart, with periodic call-ups.  Here's footage of him going yard.

(12) Matt Shoemaker, 26, RHSP, AAA Bees.

August Stats: .5 WAR. 3.79 ERA, 19 IP, 17 K/2 BB

Dude's a gamer.  He's thrown more innings this year than anyone in minor league baseball. He leads the PCL in strikeouts, and is posting the lowest BB per 9 of any qualifying starter.  He gets hit a ton, sure, but his HR rate isn't crazy given the context, and he just grits out innings. I'm a fan - he's just a guy I really enjoy watching - so am totally biased. I'd rather see him than Joe Blanton. Of course, give him enough big league time, and he might be Joe Blanton.  But hopefully the younger version, the one who still parked an FB at 91-93 mph.

(13) Dontrelle Willis

August Stats: .5 WAR. 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 5k/1 bb

D-Train!!! After walking the tight rope in the first inning of his Bee's debut, he settled down and was in control of the remainder of the game. Yeah, it was just one game, so I don't want to get too excited. Albuquerque's announcer had covered Willis in high school, so was favorably disposed towards him throughout the broadcast, and his only hint at current velocity was "it's not 93 anymore."  It sure looked slow.  But he put the ball where he wanted, mostly, and did that whole crafty-lefty-makes-jumpy-righty-bats-look-foolish thing.  Man, we are due a comeback story like this. I really hope he sticks with the org through the winter, and we get to see what he can do next year.

Update: He threw six innings of two run ball earlier today. That's a PCL gem right there.

(14) Cory Rasmus

August Stats: .5 WAR, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 6k/2bb

He's given up only one hit so far as a Bee.  His time with the Braves was forgettable, but his FB is fantastic. I've got a good feeling that Downs' parting gift to the Halos will pay off, and just maybe help us forget how the Braves fleeced the org for Jordan Walden (they taught him a change-up!!!  And it's "one of the better offspeed pitches in baseball." WTF!  Why couldn't we teach Walden to throw a decent change!).  That's all I've got on Rasmus, having not yet seen him yet in action. Hearsay that he sits in the mid 90's and rosy feelings.  And, taking a second look at that last link, the observation that he gets his highest wiff rate with his change-up.  Room him with Morin in the spring, will you Dipoto?

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