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Wade Leblanc, Fine #6: Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2014

Taking a look at Wade Leblanc, Zach Houchins, and Mark Shannon, who put up some of the top performances on the Angels' farm.

Steven Bisig-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 for the ranking, but include FIP-based WAR for comparison.

34.  Wade Leblanc, 29, AAA. RA-9 WAR: 2.0. FIP-WAR: 2.5. 128 IP / 4.43 ERA / 22% k-rate / 8% BB rate.
He was good for the Angels last year, and good with Salt Lake. He deserved better than three trips through the DFA walk-of-shame and the non-tendering this winter. If he had options remaining, he’d still be an Angel. Good luck in Japan, Wade.

33.  Zach Houchins, 21, Orem. WAR: 2.0 .305/.362/.462 with 6 HR's and 4 SB's
Houchins was awful in the Midwest League, but prior to that he put up outstanding Pioneer League numbers. He received strong scouting reports in his pro debut, so despite the poor A-Ball showing, he still might wind up in the Cal League with a good spring.

32. Mark Shannon, 23, A & A+. WAR: 2.1, .287/.327/.429 with 13 HR's and 20 SB's
Good contact hitter with a pull-oriented approach. He has some power to right field now, but also pops out often, similar to Matt Long and Taylor Lindsey at the lower levels. Competent defender. Could stand to walk more, but generally a strong organizational player with fourth-outfielder upside.