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Clay Fuller and Manuarys Correa: Potential Breakout Prospects of the 2006 Cohort

While neither Clay Fuller nor Manuarys Correa made the Halos Heaven top 30 Angels Prospects list this year due to disappointing seasons, they both have significant breakout potential in 2010.

Clay Fuller, cf, 6/17/87  - .235/.338/.361, 86 OPS+ with 10 HR and 30 SB's

Well that sucked.  After a standout, 4.8 WAR season in A-ball, Fuller flopped in the Rancho Cucamonga park that's seen so many other young Halos break out....

While Fuller's strikeout and walk rates remained eerily consistent with last year's numbers, warding off total collapse, his BABIP dropped from a strong .343 to an average-ish .304, which is just not enough to make him a viable performer with so many K's and so few HR's.  It wasn't a luck-driven fluctuation in BABIP either:  his line drive rate halved from 19% to 10%, while his popup and groundball rates increased, indicating that he wasn't squaring up the ball. That killed both his batting average and isolated power (ISO), which fell from a solid .165 in a difficult pitchers' league to .126 in the hitters' paradise California League. 

Further undermining his performance was a very weird fluctuation in his platoon splits: he's only switch-hit for 3 seasons now, and up to now was better from his natural right side - in '08, his spits were .310/.406/.440 from the right, .243/.369/.421 from the left.  This year, his pop slipped from the left, but otherwise he stayed consistent at .241/.366/.390; but he tanked from his right side, at .221/.269/.295 over a substantial 149 AB's.  Are the problems with his swing fixable?  The fact that he still sees the ball as well as he does (all of those walks!) and the flashes of brilliance that he has shown in the past (for example, a .325/.434/.602 line in July of '08) make me think so, but this is going to be a crucial year for him.  I think the Halos keep him in Rancho and hope he regains his stroke and his confidence.

Manuarys Correa, rhsp 1/5/89 - 8 Wins, 10 Losses. 4.47 ERA over 163 IP, 69 SO/43 BB

Manuarys Correa gets the prize for most puzzling prospect of 2009. Scouts still like his 90-93 mph fastball and plus secondary offerings, but he struck out only 3.81 batters per 9 IP. While the Halos seem more willing than most organizations to look past lower K-rates, a 3.81 K/9 is usually a sign that a guy is on his way out of professional baseball. Frankly, I really don't know how to value him with any certainty, so I think it would be wise to let him show improvement in the more forgiving Midwest League before testing his stuff in the California League. He's a guy that could make a huge jump next year, or disappear entirely from the prospect map.