A new, post-Trout era is dawning for the Angels' farm system, but it's not quite as apocalyptic as it might have been a year ago. While depth remains a serious issue, breakout seasons by Cowart, Maronde, and Witherspoon balance things out a bit. In my estimation, the Halos have three top 100 prospects, though they all place at the back half of that list. Definitely not a top 15 system, but things could be a whole lot worse. Cowart in particular flashes star-level talent.
- Kaleb Cowart - Barely 20 years old and rapidly maturing at the plate. Discussion question: what's more impressive for a 20-year old A-Baller, a .434 on-base-percentage, or a .672 slugging percentage?
- Nick Maronde - Threw 7 no-hit innings with 10 K's Tuesday. On the Richards track now, he could see MLB time by the end of next year if his command holds up in AA.
- Jean Segura - Next Halos' supersub in the mold of Figgins and Izturis? Packs more punch than either of them, plays plus defense at second and probably third, holds down shortstop, but how will his plate discipline and baserunning skills mature?
- C.J. Cron - He's having an underwhelming season - it's essentially Mark Trumbo's age-22 season in the Cal League, minus 33% of the HR's - but still, tons of power. As Trumbo taught us, you don't forget about that, even when it's the only tool going for him.
- John Hellweg - Dude's been on fire lately. In five second-half starts, he's averaged seven innings per while yielding only a 1.80 ERA and .175 BAA. His K/BB ratio in that time is 26/9. I'd rather role the dice on his potentially plus-plus FB and slider than any of the following arms.
- Ariel Pena - More present command than Hellweg, but it's still not great. Low to mid-90's FB, great slider. Will his change-up come around?
- Kole Calhoun - He hits, plays a solid corner, and can convincingly fake it in CF. He should be a valuable piece to the next six Halos' clubs.
- Taylor Lindsey - In retrospect, he was rushed to the Cal League. He's put the bat on the ball well enough, but his secondary skills could use some refinement. I haven't seen him play this year, and I wonder how he's hanging in against offspeed stuff.
- Travis Witherspoon - Looked like he was carrying over a breakout season into AA before going down with a quad strain. Historically a streaky player, it remains to be seen whether the defense & baserunning whiz will keep hitting at the higher levels.
- A.J. Schugel - He's a wildcard. Very good natural ability, and his secondary pitches are sharpening up, but he remains raw. If I were in charge, I'd leave him, Pena, and Hellweg in AA to begin next year to continue their refinement. While all of them are posting solid seasons, none are giving off that "I'm ready to dominate at the next level" vibe. I'd want to give them a chance to improve their peripherals before moving them up. There's no reason to rush.
Received Consideration: Steve Geltz, Luis Jimenez, Ryan Brasier, Alex Yarbrough, Eric Stamets, Zach Wright, Austin Wood, Mike Clevinger, R.J. Alvarez