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Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2015

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Taking a look at the best performances on the Halos' farm last year. Remember, this is not a traditional prospect ranking! It's based on just performance.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

16) Justin Anderson, 22, rhsp. 2.5 WAR. 3.41 ERA over 142.2 IP, 112 K/51 BB and 148 hits allowed.

Key Number: 0.3 HR per Nine innings pitched.

At one point I watched a lot of video on him, and took notes somewhere. I can't find those notes now. Usually I remember enough to run a good search, but, well, ehhhh. Here are the tidbits I do remember: Anderson sat right around 90 mph, and touched 93 mph. He had a decent breaking ball--it shows up in the numbers, where righties slugged just .322 against him--and a developing change that might be a split (at least, it looked that way on the screen). He does a good job keeping the ball down and away to lefties, and down and in to righties.

There's a bit of funk in his delivery, where he separates the ball from the glove when initiating the leg kick, and then tapping it against the outside of the glove as a timing mechanism before beginning his arm stroke. You usually see that with relievers, not starters, but it seems to work for him most of the time. Interestingly, the motion looks a lot smoother out of the windup than it does in the stretch.

The Halos drafted Anderson in the 14th round of the 2014 draft, and he presents as a classic fringe college righty. There are lots of these guys, but occasionally one becomes Matt Shoemaker or Ryan Vogelsong. Anderson's off to pretty good start.

15) Austin Robichaux, 22 rhsp. 2.5 WAR. 3.74 ERA through 142 IP. 92 K/50 BB and 136 hits allowed.

Key Number: 58% GB rate

Robichaux is interesting because of his reverse splits, posting a .649 OPS against lefties v .766 OPS against same-handers. Lefties struggled to get the ball in the air against him, grounding into the dirt 60% of the time on contact.  He did post a strong 56% GB rate as well against righting, but they also managed to pull the ball in the air much more. His height and fastball make him interesting, but he'll need more refining in order to be relevant.

14) Zach Houchins, 22, 3b/UT. 2.5 WAR. .253/.313/.401 with 14 HR and 0 SB

Key Number: 13% K-rate

Let there be no mistake: the farm sucks. But that doesn't mean that there won't entertaining affiliates in 2016, and Inland Empire's lineup is potentially among the brighter spots. Taylor Ward, Brendon Sanger, David Fletcher, Tim Arakawa, Natanael Delgado, and Wade Wass make for a nice projected 66er's lineup, but it's Zach Houchins who's my bet to turn heads in the Cal League. That's not to say that he'll be a big leaguer, necessarily, but he does combine a very good contact rate with some punch and defensive chops. The defense might be the separator: Baseball Prospectus had him at +11 runs at the hot corner last year, effectively naming him the third most productive position player in the system in 2015. So far he looks like a Luis Jimenez clone, but if he refines his approach and cuts down on the popups, Houchins might wind up better than that.

13) Nate Smith, 23, lhsp. 2.6 WAR. 3.86 ERA over 137.2 IP. 104 K/43 BB with 130 hits allowed

Key Number: .514 OPS allowed against lefties.

Smith, the 2015 Texas League pitcher of the year, would rank much higher on this list had I (1) added in his 3 games of pitching to a 3-0 record with a 1.97 ERA under the stars and stripes at the Pan American Games or (2) left out his last seven games of suckitude in the Pacific Coast League. Baseball America reports improvements in his slider, giving him a decent breaker to go with his strong fastball-change combo and get-me-over curveball, so he might be a little better still in 2016.

In no way is it probable, but if the Halos' were to develop their own Dallas Keuchel unicorn, this is what his minor league season might look like.

12) David Fletcher, 21, SS. 2.6 WAR. .311/.377/.414 with 1 HR and 17 SB's

Key Number: 28 BB/22 K

He's a true shortstop, making him unique in the Angels' system. Not that they need one, with Simmons locked in for the next half decade, but it's nice to know that there's a competent glove man kicking around in the lower levels of the farm. He's not Stamets-good in the field, much less Simmons-good, but he can pick it well enough. He's got the approach and the contact ability to not be a zero with the bat, so might wind up a glove-first utility guy down the road.

11) Andrew Daniel, 22, 3b/2b. 2.7 WAR. .264/.329/.422 with 9 HR and 11 SB

Key Number: 22% K-Rate

Daniels hits some and can hold down second and third in the field. The k-rate is high for a guy without plus power, but the versatility gives him a shot at backing up some big leaguers down the road. He joins a boom or bust Travelers infield in 2016. Real breakouts in Double A are rare, but come along now and then, and Daniel is a decent bet to be one. Maybe he winds up Tyler Featherston, minus the ability to fake it at short?

10) Kyle Kubitza, 24, 3b. 2.7 WAR. .271/.357/.433 with 7 HR and 7 SB's.

Key Number: 59% contact rate in the bigs.

Kubitza hasn't done much to change last year's projection. He's probably even slipped some since his 142 RC+, Double A breakout, as he followed that up with a much quieter 112 RC+ performance in the PCL. His power output dropped a bit, but it was the near-50 point plunge in BABIP that made him an average Triple A contributor.

To be more than that, he is going to have to cut down on the swing and miss.

9) Wade Wass, 23, C/DH. 2.8 WAR. .261/.360/.450 with 11 HR's and 1 SB

Key Numbers: 5 opposite field HR's

With the exception of Brandon Bayardi - and maybe Zach Houchins, as he moves into his mid 20's - Wass has the best right-handed pop in the system. The juice comes with plenty of strikeouts, but Wass gets his walks in too. This year, nearly half of those big flies went out to right field, which is an unusual and nifty trick for a young power hitter, even if it may not mean much.

Did you know that he's a catcher, too? Probably not a great one, but he's not bad either, catching 30% of runners, posting a reasonable passed ball rate, and looking fairly smooth behind the plate. He's not unathletic, and might work his way into a Napoli-light type backup role in the bigs. Not bad for a guy who went undrafted.

8) Michael Pierson, 23, 3b. 2.8 WAR. .395/.467/.528 with 3 HR and 17 SB

Key Number: .395 Batting Average

Pierson was within a couple of knocks of hitting .400 in his pro debut, which is pretty nifty. The 21st round senior sign is a versatile organizational guy who just might keep hitting, though the peripherals don't project nearly as well as the nifty batting average. My guess is that he remains below Arakawa, Houchins and Sanger on the depth chart, meaning that he'll be asked to anchor a fairly raw A-ball lineup in Burlington.