Jose Rodriguez and Kyle Johnson, Top Angels Prospect Performances

J. Meric

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.

(19)  Jose Rodriguez, 17, RHSP. DSL. 2.8 WAR, 12 runs saved.  44 IP, 1.64 ERA, 38 K/12BB

This is a name to remember. The Halos kept a tight reign on Rodriguez' work load, giving the seventeen year old only two starts, but he worked enough two-inning outings to accrue plenty of value. Halos' farm director Bobby Scales reports that the most impressive thing about Rodriguez is not his current velocity (yet - who knows what the lanky 6'2" teen will grow into), but his instinctive feel for a change-up and makings of a good breaking ball. That gives the 17 year-old the full starter's repertoire (did I mention he's just a teen?).  He didn't rack up crazy numbers of whiffs, but he posted a well-above average 15% pop-up rate, which is a good indication that the change-up is getting hitters way out in front. He's one of the guys who I'll be watching closely in 2014.

You know, the Halos didn't get much credit for it, but they did do a decent job of adding volume in the teenage pitching department. Yes, every system has a few Latin teenage pitchers with upside, but the Halos were more aggressive than usual with the 16-17 year old group, adding Rodriguez, Ricardo Sanchez, newly signed Lianmy Gilan (hat tip, our own angelsownredsox), Crusito Mieses, Andres Heredia, Jaimie Barria, and Engerberg Rosales to the system over the last year.  Lottery tickets one and all, but at least the Halos are putting themselves in a position to cash in should some of those guys explode.

(20)  Kyle Johnson, 23, OF. A. 2.8 WAR, +15 bat, +1 glove.  .308/.416/.421 with 2 HR and 30 SB

What's most remarkable about Johnson's line above is that he did all of that damage in 300 AB's. Had he stayed in the Halos' system, he may have been in the running for top performer.  Johnson was an OBP machine with tremendous smarts and enough speed to do damage on the basepaths, as well as a competent outfielder with a decent arm. About the only ding to his otherwise promising 4th outfielder profile is that he hits right-handed, but there are places for those guys too, especially if the onbase skills hold up.

You may remember that Johnson went to the Mets in the Collin Cowgill trade (which, in retrospect, was really the major indicator that a Bourjos trade was all but inevitable). The best thing that I can say about that was, at least Dipoto didn't send Matt Shoemaker, whom the Mets reportedly wanted.  Johnson cooled off when he hit the Florida State League.  However, he still showed a well-rounded skillset, and may just yet make it as a Cowgill type with a bit more on-base savvy.

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