5) Caleb Adams, 22, Of. 3.4 WAR. .298/.390/.438 with 7 HR and 10 SB
Key Number: 28% K-rate
Adams put himself on the map last season in a big way, punching a ticket to the Arizona Fall League and a profile on the Halos' website, where he ranks as the Angels' 26th best prospect. He had a great year, but will face an intense challenge when he reaches the upper levels. He's not likely to keep putting up .427 BABIP's, so the strikeouts will have to come down. He fanned 43% of the time in Arizona.
4) Kaleb Cowart, 23, 3B. 3.5 WAR. .285/.363/.442 with 8 HR and 12 SB
Key Number: 61% Major League Contact Rate
Is there such a thing as minor league player of the year award? If so, Cowart locked it up last year.
Yes, he stunk through two straight seasons and over 1,000 PA's in Double A. That is a substantial sample size for measuring true talent, and it remains the most compelling statistical footprint that we have for our former 2010 first round draft pick. Odds are, it's indicative of Cowart's future. This is probably all we need to know.
But it's spring. Crocuses are studding the Portland gardens outside my window, trees are sprouting green, and our favorite legion of players is assembling in Arizona. Happy Spring.
Cowart's just 23, younger than either Kyle Kubitza or Chad Hinshaw. He has a decent MLB debut and half of a strong Triple A campaign under his belt. He possesses a strong glove and first-rate arm. If you're going to make any leap of faith this spring, let it be with Cowart.
3) Albert Suarez, 25, rhsp. 3.8 WAR. 2.98 ERA through 163 IP. 121 K/40 BB with 142 hits allowed
Key Number: Just solid across the board.
Another year, another independent-ball-turned-Double-A standout for the Halos. He was very goodâRucinski goodâlast year. This year is unusual though, in that more than half of Salt Lake's projected rotation project as proven MLB depth. There's just nowhere for Suarez to build on his breakout 2015 in the organization, so he's headed to the SF Giants system for 2016.
2) Eric Aguilera, 24, 1B. 3.9 WAR. .327/.392/.532 with 17 HR and 14 SB
Key Number: Age 25 / .394 BABIP
In 2014, there was Wade Hinkle. Dennis Raben too, if you want to include a journeyman. Then, in 2013, Zach Borenstein. All guys who put up numbers similar to Aguilera with the 66er's. All guys who couldn't repeat at the next level. Aguilera has a broad set of skills: he's athletic, possesses average power and speed tools, receives increasingly positive defensive reviews, and just might keep hitting. Arkansas is going to press him, and a bump in either his power or contact skills will really help.
1) Sean Newcomb, 22, lhsp. 4.9 WAR. 2.38 ERA through 136 IP. 168 K/76 BB and 97 hits allowed.
Key Number: One plane ticket to Atlanta
It'll hurt to spend much time on this one.
Did the Halos get the return necessary for a shot at contention this summer? Yes. Did they give up someone who's likely to be good for a long time? Yes. Sending Newcomb packing is a roll of the dice on 2015 and 2016. Damn the front office if they don't go deep into the post season this year or next.