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Prospect Watch - Early season review

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Taking a look at the top 10 Angels prospects, and how they are performing early in the 2016 campaign

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels may not have a single top prospect in Baseball America, or ANY top prospect list for that matter, but there could still be some talent stashed away on the farm. Some incredibly talented baseball players were NEVER top prospects.  You may recognize some of those names like Robinson Cano, Josh Donaldson, and Jose Bautista.  Yeah those guys are alright I suppose.  So - don't give up hope in our farm system yet, even though we have some serious rebuilding to do. Finally, a fun stat from 2014 - 39% of 3+ WAR players had never been ranked as a top prospect.  So let's take a look at the Angels top 10 (according to Baseball America) and see how they have started off their seasons.  Perhaps we hiding a diamond or two in the rough somewhere?

2016 performances of the Top 10 Prospects:

Rank Name Position Team Level Notes
1. Taylor Ward C Inland Empire 66ers A Adv Only 3 Ks in 25 AB and a .240/.367/.240 slashline.  The good news is he doesn't strike out much, but he also limited power and his average is down from last year.  He is still walking at a good clip.
2. Jahmai Jones OF AZL Angels Rok Season starts in June
3. Nate Smith LHP Salt Lake Bees AAA Smith had 1 game and he pitched it well to the tune of a .88WHIP, 1.59ERA and 5Ks through 5.2 innings.
4. Victor Alcantara RHP Arkansas Travelers AA Alcantara had a great first start with 6IP, 8K, 3 hits, 1 walk and 0 earned runs
5. Jake Jewell RHP Inland Empire 66ers A Adv Someone didn't tell Jewell he wasn't throwing batting practice.  In 2 starts so far he has given up 17 hits through 8 innings of work.
6. Grayson Long RHP Burlington Bees A First solid start of the year in the books.  Only 1 ER through 5 innings with 7 Ks.
7. Joe Gatto RHP Burlington Bees A It's already been up and down for Gatto who now has a 4.5 ERA and one great start + one not so great start to show for it.
8. Kaleb Cowart 3B Salt Lake Bees AAA Cowart is off to a fantastic start in Salt Lake with a .375/.444/.524 line.  He has struck out 7 times in 24 AB but his 6 RBIs and 9 hits are making up for that.
9. Jaime Barria RHP Burlington Bees A 8 hits and a walk through 3 innings is not the start he probably wanted.
10. Chad Hinshaw OF Arkansas Travelers AA Ouch.  Hinshaw is off to a terrible start, striking out 9 times in 22 at bats and hitting only .182.

Prospect Notes:

Many scoffs happened at the signing of Taylor Ward in the first round of the 2015 draft.  Really?  Another catcher?  Who is this guy? While our farm system is filled with catchers, it's hard to deny Ward's 2015 slashline of .348/.457/.438. We will probably see him get some starts in AA this season, and possibly even AAA late in the year (f his season progresses well) if/when Jett Bandy gets called up in September.

Despite not giving me a ball when I sat behind the Angel's dugout in spring training, Nate Smith remains one of my favorite pitching prospects.   We will likely see him in Anaheim by September.

Victor Alcantara has climbed a level every season since 2013.  Will be interesting to see what he can do in Arkansas this year.  He is known for being inconsistent and has changed his delivery for 2016 to be entirely from the stretch.

Picked up in the 5th round in the 2014 draft, he struggled in the rookie league through 2014 but put up decent enough numbers in 2015 to move from A to high A for 2016.

At 6'6 and 215 pounds, Grayson long is a big dude.  Long is a simple pitcher with a strong and accurate fastball who was picked up in round 3 of the 2015 draft.

Joe Gatto was a mid season All Star in Orem last season and a second round pick from 2014.

Kaleb Cowart had 46 at bats with the Angels in 2015 but only hit .174.  He'll get called up again at some point this year - at the very least in September when rosters expand.

Jaime Barria doesn't even turn 20 years old until July.   Not bad to be pitching in A ball for a teen from Panama.

Chad Hinshaw is pretty good at stealing bases and really good at striking out with a 23% strikeout rate which has skyrocketed to a staggering 41% early in this 2016 campaign.