Jeremy Berg, Jarrett Grube, & Lay Batista: Top Angels Prospect Performances

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESS

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.

(25) Jarrett Grube, 31, RHSP. AAA. 2.4 WAR.  5 runs saved. 149 IP, 4.11 ERA. 153 K/58 BB.

Grube first signed with the Halos midway through the 2012 season after a disastrous stint in the PCL with the Mariners' affiliate.  His numbers rebounded with the Travellers, unsurprisingly - that home park does wonders for a pitcher's stat line - but he also helped himself by striking guys out.  Lots of guys. He carried that success over into 2013 in a return to the PCL, serving as an above average innings eater in a league where Quad A arms go to die. His fastball is far from overpowering, dipping into the high 80's frequently, but he leans heavily on a good change-up and slider, often pitching backwards to get ahead in counts, and induces a lot of swings and misses. I don't know what his contract with the Angels looks like, but he did not become a minor league free agent this year, so will presumably head back to Salt Lake in April. As a spot starter, the Halos could do a lot worse, and I bet Grube could be successful in a scrap against MLB teams when they don't know what's coming (just don't over-expose him!).  He's probably ninth on the rotation depth chart at present, and remember, we used eleven starters last year.

(26) Lay Batista, 23, RHSP. AA. 2.4 WAR. 7.4 runs saved. 122.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 105 hits, 89 K/43 BB.

Batista leaves the Halos after serving for five years as a dependable organizational arm, having put up a 3.42 ERA over 358.1 total innings. He was a competent, if never over-powering swingman. Here's what I said about him back in July after watching him pitch:

Sort of a funky Jon Garland type. He hides the ball well with a herky-jerky delivery, can really slow down the game's pace, throws mostly strikes from a three quarters angle, and at his best induces weak contact with a sinking fastball, slurvy breaking ball, and change-up. He's undoubtedly benefiting from the pitching friendly characteristics of his home park.

(27) Jeremy Berg, 26, RHRP.  AAA. 2.4 WAR, 20 runs saved. 78.1 IP, 2.87 ERA, 72 K/ 18 BB

I was surprised that Berg had not takers after the Halos left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft, but so it's gone for the righty side-armer throughout his entire career.  It'll take injuries and some more fine work on his end in Salt Lake to earn a shot at big leaguers.  His fastball doesn't exactly wow at 81-84 mph, but his 69-70 mph curveball has surprisingly good shape and his mid 70's change give hitters something else to think about.

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