Andrew Heid, Ayendy Perez, Tommy Field: Top Angels Prospect Performances

"Hard to wait." Annie Ghan-McCoy - Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

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.

(18)  Andrew Heid, 25, OF. AA/AAA.  2.8 WAR, +18 bat, +2 glove.  .305/.393/.452 with 6 HR and 7 SB

Heid has a reputation for being a baseball rat; that no-tools, all-grit, white-guy type for whom managers and the local faithful get emotional. He's earned the reputation, putting up solid numbers since his amateur days at Gonzaga University and showing no decline in performance while ascending through the system.  Will that performance translate the MLB level?

The first comp that comes to mind is our own rookie of the year candidate, J.B. Shuck.  He and Heid share similar statures, upper minors slash lines, and reputations.  However, the comparison breaks down once you look at their K's. Last year Heid struck out 3.5 times as much as Shuck ever did in AAA at similar ages (21% k rate versus 6% k rate) while walking just 2% more often.  The real driver to his performance wasn't frequent contact, but rather outcome following contact: Heid put up combined .385 batting average on balls in play across both Arkansas (.365) and Salt Lake (.413), a performance that Shuck never came close to matching.  Certainly that represents a good measure of PCL "luck", but there's more to it than that.  Heid hits more balls in the air than Shuck ever did, and with more power (outside of Salt Lake even). Not so much homerun power, but extra-base power.  So his quality of contact is generally "better," at least according to that metric.

So here are my questions, and I don't really have great answers (yet): first, what helps these marginal, non-power guys more?  Groundballs, or flyballs with a few additional extra-base hits? Second, how many guys can strike out 20% of the time in the minors with non-elite power and still make contributions in the bigs?

(17)  Ayendy Perez. 19, CF.  Rookie Ball DR.  2.9 WAR, +15 bat and +0 glove. .317/.430/.389 with 0 HR & 41 SB

He was good in the Dominican Summer League last summer. Really good. Here's to hoping that the 5'9", lefty-hitting spark plug can keep it up against American college boys.

(16)  Tommy Field, 26, ss/u. AAA.  2.9 WAR + 15 bat and +0 glove. .303/.391/.484 with 11 HR and 6 SB

Field is younger and potentially better than most minor league journey-men - he's just entering his prime - so swiping him off of Colorado's scrap heap was a good move on Dipoto's part.  He's the practically perfect player for the Bees: defensively versatile, he'll slot into the line-up regardless of organizational roster moves; he walks plenty, so will be a good influence on the young and hacking; and, like Heid and Matt Long, he hits more balls in the air than your average up-the-middle player, which is a good thing for your PCL batting average on balls in play, if questionable for your MLB outcomes. The Halos kept him on the 40-man, so it looks like they're planning to send him back to what should be another competitive Salt Lake club come springtime.

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