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Alex Yarbrough: Top Angels Performances of 2014

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Taking a look at Alex Yarbrough and Wade Hinkle, who put up some of the top performances on the Halos' farm in 2014.

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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.

26.  Alex Yarbrough, 22, AA. 2.3 WAR (my calculation). 0.5 WARP (Baseball Prospectus calculation, which includes their fielding runs above average calculation). .285/.321/.397 with 5 HR's and 6 SB's

The Halos have talked Yarbrough up since the 2012 draft, but this offseason Dipoto went out and acquired two quad-A types-plus Baldoquin-to bury him on the depth chart even as he advanced to AAA. I suppose, of course, that they removed Yarbrough's biggest obstacle in Howie Kendrick at the same time, but my guess is it wasn't due to seeing the former as a long-term option. The farm's current resident "grinder" put up his usual impressive counting stats last year, taking home Texas League MVP honors, but the rate stats are all worrisome, and with regression hint at more replacement level-ish performance than league average. His defensive numbers are worse: in my model, I only docked him a few runs for his lack of range in the field, but BP has rated him a minus 15 and minus 19 defender over the past two years, which makes him quite the outlier in their system.

27.  Wade Hinkle, 24, A+.  2.2 WAR. .295/.405/.493 with 9 HR's (but 37 total extra base hits) and 2 SB's over 348 PA's

Injuries may have kept Hinkle from experience a full, Zach-Borenstein-in-the-Cal-League type breakout, but the first baseman hit well enough to be worth tracking in the upper minors next year. He's a lefty swinger with some pop and patience, which is the kind of guy the new Angels' regime values far more than the old, so we may get to see him face some big league competition in Arizona as soon as this spring.