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Nick Maronde Is Good (Apparently): Top Angels' Prospect Performances of 2011

15)  Nick Maronde, 09/05/1989 -- lhsp, Adv Rookie Ball

5 wins, 0 losses. 51.1 IP, 2.10 ERA, 41 hits, 56 K/19 BB. 22 runs saved, 2.6 WAR

I was in Montana for six games worth of Owlz action in July, and still managed to miss seeing Maronde pitch because I had to run an errand in Missoula.  Two weeks later, Maronde's start was supposedly televised in Idaho, but for whatever reason MILBTV didn't distribute it, so I missed him again.  Frustrating.  At any rate, his numbers were outstanding. The scouting report, according to Tom Kotchman, is equally good: Maronde's fastball sits at 92-96, and touches 97. He tended to max out at around 94 when starting. Kotch called his change-up "above average,"  and it was certainly effective, helping Maronde limit righties to a .220 BA against.  The slider is "coming along."  Baseball America was more effusive about the breaking ball, saying that "neither righties nor lefties could square up his slider when it was at its best." BA added that Maronde incorporated a promising two-seam heater with dramatic sink after turning pro. 

On the other hand, it's all too easy to go gaga over pitchers who dominate in rookie ball, only to see them hit a wall in full season league, so while Maronde has the ceiling of a frontline lefty, he remains a very long ways away from reaching it. 

14) Taylor Lindsey, 12/02/1991 -- 2B, Adv Rookie Ball


.362/.394/.593 with 10 HR's and 10 SB's. +14 runs bat, +4 runs glove, 2.7 WAR

Did anyone guess the Lindsey would have the best season of the 2010 prep draftees? I sure didn't.  He raked, leading the Pioneer League in a swath of counting stats on his way to earning league MVP honors. He isn't very polished, lacking plate discipline in the generally understood sense because he walked in only 4% of his plate appearances; but the Angels might argue that he showed plenty of discipline, because you don't hit .362 unless you're jumping all over hittable fastballs and laying off of tough breaking pitches. His strikeout rate dropped steadily all summer, indicating that he was making adjustments and not letting the strikezone get away from him even as the competition improved. He used the opposite field effectively, hitting .353 with 10 doubles to the left side. His HR and stolen base numbers in short season ball suggest 20/20 potential in a full season league, though scouts don't project either his speed or power tools to be better than average.  Opinions regarding his defense at second base differ: some observers focus on his limited range and arm strength, while others tout his excellent present skills and feel for the position. Both camps praise his hands, as he committed only 7 errors to compile a .976 fielding percentage on some of the most challenging playing surfaces in minor league baseball. Lindsey outplayed expectations in his second pro season, so I'm excited to see what he does in the Midwest League.

13) Gil Velazquez, 10/17/1979 -- SS, AAA

.328/.399/.466 with 8 HR and 17 SB.  +9 runs bat, +0 glove, 2.8 WAR  

The Mets drafted Velazquez way back in 1998, making him the quintessential minor league veteran.  He plays everywhere in the infield, and does a pretty good job with the glove: TotalZone credits him with +6 runs from 2005 to 2009. Velazquez is a .240/.300/.324 hitter over his minor league career, so 2011 was his best year at the plate. It will be interesting to see if the Halos hang on to him in 2012 to pad the big league depth chart, or if they let him go in favor of slick-fielding Andrew Romine and Darwin Perez