Cal Towey: Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2013

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.

(3) Cal Towey, 23, 3b. Rookie Ball Orem. 4.4 WAR, +33 bat, -2 glove.  .316/.487/.533 with 7 HR and 11 SB

The big offseason news regarding Towey is that he's donned the tools of ignorance, at least on an experimental basis.  If it takes, the move to catcher could be career-making, because Towey's odds of contributing at the major league level rise exponentially if he can handle receiving duties.  The Halos have tried this sort of thing before with at least one other Pioneer League masher whom I can think of - the attempt was unsuccessful - but if the gambit works here, it will be exciting.

The Halos are making the extra effort with Towey due to the hitting clinic that he put on in the Pioneer League. He entered Orem on fire after the Halos popped him in the 17th round of the 2013 draft, and he just got hotter as the summer wore on.  Like, shorty-fire-burning-on-the-dance-floor kind of hot.  He batted .345/.530/.552 over the last four week of the season, and ripped right handers overall at a .330/.490/.600 clip. He showed some pull power, yanking six bombs over the right field fence and another to dead center, but he doesn't have a great amateur track record for pop and his primary contribution will likely always be in the OBP department.  Not only did he lead short season ball with 67 walks, but also managed to get himself plunked 15 times in addition. The .390 BABIP that propped up his BA and slugging in Orem is due for regression, so my guess is that slash line in full season ball will look much more like his college line of .287/.424/.458 than his pro debut. If he can maintain anything close to that OBP, he'll still earn his promotions.

Towey received some bad press for his defense at the hot corner last season. He led the Owlz with 17 errors with an .899 fielding percentage, so the glove wasn't great. However, everyone makes errors on Pioneer League dirt, and in the seven or so games that I saw him, Towey impressed with his footwork on difficult plays and looked proficient in everything else. Not exciting, but proficient.  For what it's worth, Baseball Prospectus' defensive metric has him at +4 runs in the field compared to his rookie ball peers.  I, for one, will reserve judgment until seeing him more next year.

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