24) Andrew Romine, 27, SS / U. AAA. 2.6 WAR. +2 bat, +5 glove. .287/.367/.391 with 4 HR and 15 SB
Romine contributed almost half a win in 47 games with the Halos last season, so the 2.6 minor-league WAR that he racked up with the Bees doesn't fully capture his overall 2013 performance. The slick-fielding 27 year old enters 2014 still in his physical prime, making him a valuable asset, if an option-less one.
Which makes the John McDonald signing such a head scratcher. Romine, surprisingly, wound up being the best fill-in at third base last season after Chris Nelson and Luis Jimenez both spit the bit. At this point, he's likely a better defender than Erick Aybar at shortstop. He switch hits (once again), and will get on base a little here and there. He may lack Izturis' flair with the bat in high leverage situations, but Romine really is an entirely capable fifth infielder, and the Halos have no reason to look elsewhere unless they have the opportunity to invest in a clear upgrade. 39 year old John McDonald is not that.
So is McDonald ok with heading to Salt Lake when Spring Training winds down, where he can mentor Taylor Lindsey, Nick Green, and Luis Jimenez? That seems unlikely, though the Bees could definitely use a shortstop. Perhaps, as Garrett Wilson suggests over at Monkey with a Halo, Dipoto has gone all in on the idea of importing chemistry into a soul-less Angels' club house, because he lacks the financial flexibility to do anything else? Is this another case of Dipoto pulling in a fringy D-Backs alum to needlessly bury homegrown talent?
I don't get it. A few years ago, I would have assumed that the FO was pursuing a subtle master-plan grounded in information infinitely better than mine. Screw that. This just looks like the Angels preparing to toss out a cheap, homegrown asset for no good reason.
23) Michael Fish, 22, OF, Rookie Orem. 2.6 WAR. +20 bat, +2 glove. .366/.422/.689 with 9 HR and 7 SB
Before Michael Fish, there was Joel Capote. Before Capote, there was Jerod Yakubik. Before Yakubic, there was Jake Rife. And before Rife, there was Roberto Lopez. Those names represent just a smattering of 22 and 23 year old outfielders who've burned bright in Orem, only to fall back to earth in full season league.
That said, none of them had the surname ‘Fish,' which clearly puts Mike into an entirely different category. Monkey With A Halo also provides a compelling list of reasons for why Fish might have gone under the radar only to land with the Halos in the 32nd round of the 2013 draft, including untimely amateur injuries and a late development of his power tool. In pro-ball, he showed a knack for contact while taking an extremely healthy cut, and supposedly he's even a decent outfielder capable of playing center. That's all good. On the other hand, he was an extreme pull hitter in Orem, sending every single one of his homeruns over the left field wall, which could indicate an experienced collegiate bat reaping a healthy "harvest" of rookie ball mistake pitches. That'll be a much tougher thing to do against better arms. Maybe he can keep it up at the higher levels. Maybe, if everything breaks just right, he's eventually Collin Cowgill with a touch more power, and a little less OBP? Full season ball will tell us more.