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Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2014

Taking a look at the top performances of Angels', and former Angels', prospects in 2014.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Keep in mind that this is not a traditional top prospect list because it focuses entirely on 2014 contributions. I rank guys according to advanced metrics which, for position players, include batting runs above average (now from Fangraphs), positional adjustment, and a replacement level calculation that scales the total to "Wins Above Replacement" (though the concept of replacement level doesn't really apply to minor leaguers, obviously). Defense is a best guess, though I'd like to think it's an informed one. I use a standard "runs allowed based" WAR formula for pitchers.

You'll note that today's guys did not make the usual 2.0 WAR cutoff that I've used for past rankings. They're also not Angels' prospects anymore. Both of these features will remain true for the next couple of days. In light of Dipoto's restless turnover of the Angels' farm system, I wanted to track the performance of former Angels' prospects relative to their retained peers. A sort of score keeping if you will, an ongoing accounting of Dipoto's ongoing creative destruction that has made and remade the farm in his image over the past three years.

Did he sell low? Or did Dipoto turn perceived value into present assets before industry consensus caught up with his own evaluations? Those are questions that are impossible to answer now, but here's the data that we do have:

Ricardo Sanchez, 17, Arizona Summer League. 0.5 RA-9 WAR / 0.9 FIP WAR. 38.2 IP / 3.49 ERA / 24% K-rate/ 12.1% BB-rate. Now with the Braves.

Sanchez collected strong scouting reports throughout the summer to accompany the strong strikeout percentage. He sits at 90-91, touching higher, and folks who saw him loved the curveball. Baseball America (and everyone else) reports a change-up still in its nascent stage, which is obviously understandable for a seventeen-year old kid. Top prospect list protocol dictates projecting a ceiling, but in this case, that seems looney: Sanchez could wind up anything. And did I mention that he was still 17?

The pitching-rich Halos (how weird is it to say that?) shipped him off to the Braves last month in exchange for a certain Kyle Kubitza. They did that despite internetz consensus that a good 2015 will put Sanchez into elite prospect territory -- even now Baseball America calls him a fringe top 100 prospect -- while the older, relatively unheralded Kubitza is much closer to contributing at a position of need. That's unusual. "Future" value for "present" value, despite everyone involved being a prospect with the full six+ years of club control. Sanchez' youth, upside and mystery could put this transaction into the record books as among the worst ever. While not-an-especially-likely scenario, that is the reason these types of trades are so rare. Execs simply do not like to expose themselves to that sort of risk. He has guts, our Dipoto does.

Taylor Lindsey, 22,  AAA. 0.1 WAR. .238/.306/.372 with 10 HR's and 7 SB's. Now with the Padres.

The Padres likely felt that Lindsey was their chief prize in the Street deal last July, but he was putrid through the end of summer. My feeling is that he's a better defender than many of the reports say, giving him a decent floor at least, but the bat remains an open question. He initiates his swing with a giant leg kick, which complicates his timing and results in too much weak contact on his bad days. There were a lot of bad days in 2014: he popped out frequently and pulled the ball excessively, as he's always been prone to do, but without the compensating thunder that he showed in Arkansas. Just far too many weak ground balls tapped to second.

That said, when the timing is right -- when he's right -- Lindsey looks the part of first-division starter and potential all-star due to sneaky double-digit homerun power and an instinct for contact. He may yet prove a nice left-handed bat on the edges of the new Padres' righty-heavy line-up.

Ahh, the Padres.  Bless'em. They're cute.