Top Prospect Performances: Class of 2012, Getting It Done

USA TODAY Sports

Keep in mind that this is not a traditional top prospect list because it focuses entirely on 2013 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.

Michael Snyder, 23, 1B. High A. 2.0 WAR, +14 bat, +0 glove.  .280/.337/.506, 25 HR's, 0 SB's.

In terms of raw power, Snyder is in the conversation for tops on the Halos' farm. I'd pay good money to see him, Cron, Borenstein and Mark Trumbo take batting practice side by side, and I suspect that Snyder would give even our recently departed big man a run for his money. He launched 13 of his bombs in power-suppressing Inland Empire, which is almost double the total that any Angels' prospect has managed there since the Halos partnered with the 66'ers (Calhoun, Grichuk and Borenstein all hit 7 in that park. Cron trails the pack at just 5.). And that pop is of the proverbial foul-pole-to-foul-pole variety:  ten of his homeruns left the park to dead center or the opposite field.

So why doesn't he generate more buzz?  First, at 23 he's on the old side for the lower minors. Second, he lacks draft pedigree, having waited until the 23rd round of the 2012 due to blooming late in college. Third, there's the 25.3% K-rate.  His power comes with the cost of a long swing, which opens him up to contact issues, and the punchouts aren't likely to go away. Lastly, he's not a particularly gifted fielder, and will have to work hard to remain adequate at first base.  Advanced AA pitching will pose a challenge to his overall production, but he has a real shot at hitting more dingers than any Angels' prospect in the Trav's home park since that cavern opened back in 2007.

Christopher O'Grady, 23, LHSP.  A. 2.1 WAR.10 runs saved. 53.2 IP, 2.18 ERA.  46K/11BB

Our 2012, 10th round pick was a late climber, surpassing the 2 WAR threshold by giving up just 6 runs in his last 31 innings in Burlington while putting up a sterling 26 K/5 BB ratio.  He also sprinkled in that lefty secret sauce of suppressing BABIP while inducing 53.4% groundball rate.  That makes him a prime candidate for regression, sure, but all of those GB's will help him in the Cal League, and maybe he evolves into an effective lefty specialist down the road. Given the dearth of other starting options for Inland Empire next year, it seems likely that he'll get a crack at that rotation. There's not a lot of current information out there on the quality of his stuff, except for an anecdote about having learned a change-up last offseason. At any rate, the stats all present as finesse lefty.

Wade Hinkle, 23, 1b.  A.  2.1 WAR. +15 bat, +0 glove. .270/.359/.435, 13 HR, 2 SB

The Halos preferred Snyder's raw power to Hinkle's more rounded hitting skills, so left the latter to anchor an under-gunned Burlington line-up through a long, painful summer.  While he popped only thirteen homeruns - two fewer than he hit in short season rookie ball in 2012 - he did maintain steady OBP and doubles production throughout the campaign, and finished with a respectable .270/.359/.435 line.  Unlike most young sluggers, he uses the opposite field well, and showed that can drive the ball out to any part of the park on those occasions when he did get ahold of one.  I suspect that his numbers will jump in the Cal League.

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