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Alexia Amarista: Best Angels Prospect Performance #1

1) Alexia Amarista, 20 - 2B, A-Ball

.319/.390/.468 with 4 HR and 38 SB's. +18 bat, +20 glove

Only three players have put up better seasons in the Halos' system over the past five years: Brandon Wood in 2005, Howie Kendrick in 2005, and Sean Rodriguez in 2006. That's some pretty good company for Amarista, whom Baseball America failed to even mention in their Midwest League's top 20 prospects, despite the fact that he won the batting title, was voted best defensive second baseman by the league's managers, and was younger than half of the guys who made the top 20. The reason for the snub, of course, is Amarista's height - he's 5'6" or 5'5," depending on who you ask, though he's built like a cornerback - which means he may be maxed out physically. This is more of a scouting/projectability issue, which is not my area of expertise, so take my feelings on the matter with a grain of salt. Screw BA on this one. With  Amarista's blend of batting eye, high contact rate, speed, gap power and consistency, he's likely to continue producing with the bat as he ascends through the minors (unlike, say Clay Fuller from last year, who in retrospect lacked the contact rate and consistency). And even if advanced pitching causes the bat to tail off at the higher levels, the glove alone will continue to make him an interesting prospect. Is his ceiling huge? No, but there's enough here statistically not to write him off.

One last thing: Fangraphs credits Amarista with a +27.5 bat, due to the massive park factor they use and an added premium for speed. I'm not sure he was that good, but I would concede that his true value likely fell somewhere between the 5.75 wins ("WARP") I have him down for, and the ~6.5 wins that the fangraphs' numbers would suggest. In a 144 game minor league season, that is phenomenal.