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Angels minor league infield depth report

Surprise - Roberto Baldoquin is not our top SS prospect - but we do have some good infielders in the pipeline.


In light of the looming MLB draft which is a few weeks away, we bring you our last and final part of our look into the Angels' farm system depth.  Part 1 was all about catchers, part 2 was pitchers, part 3 was outfield, are the final report will be on our infield depth.

Most of the prospects highlighted in all 4 parts are from the Jerry Dipoto years.  He was really good at finding mid-back end rotation pitchers and relievers with MLB potential and stocking up on middle infielders and catching talent.

If you've read all 3 of the previous parts, you will see we have very little outfield depth and not much at the corner infield spots either (though conversions to first base are usually not too difficult).  Of course with all the pitching depth that Dipoto acquired, it's not readily apparent that any of them would be a #1 - #3 type starter.

In summary, our farm system has:

  • Good middle relief prospects (though they are a dime a dozen)
  • A few #4/#5 starter types
  • A few good catching prospects
  • Outfield is mostly platoon and 4th OF types
  • Infield has some pretty good depth up the middle

Salt Lake Bees (AAA) / MLB

Kaleb Cowart, Bats Left, 24, 3B
1st Round Pick, 2010
5th in MLB Pipeline
Cowart was the top prospect in the system a few years ago.  The Angels signed him when he was just 18 years old after he hit .640 with 8HR in 25 AB his senior year.  He didn't play much in 2010, but in his age 19 season he had a .345 OBP with 7 HR in 72 games.  Cowart has a chance to prove himself in 2016, so we'll see what he makes of it.

Kyle Kubitza, Bats Left, 25, 3B
3rd Round Pick, 2011 (by Braves)
7th in MLB Pipeline
Kubitza is close to as good of a prospect than Cowart.  He has better discipline, but his contact isn't as good.  He also has better power and speed than Cowart but his fielding isn't quite as strong.  Kubitza has a high ceiling potential, but like Cowart hasn't fared well with his MLB cup of coffee so far and needs to prove himself in 2016.

Sherman Johnson, Bats Left, 25, 2B
14th Round Pick, 2012 
Johnson is well rounded and works pitch counts, finding a way to get on base. He tore up AA with a .481OBP in 19 games before being called up to Salt Lake this year.  He struggled initially but is finding his grove.  Some would like to see him called up soon and assuming he doesn't have a horrible year, we may see that by September.  Johnny Giavotella started his 2016 surge around the same time Johnson was called up to AAA.  Coincidence or fighting for the future of his job?  His plate discipline is a huge asset and he will probably land a big league lead off spot before too long.

Arkansas Travelers (AA)

Alex Yarbrough, 24, 2B
4th Round Pick in 2012
#29 in MLB Pipeline
Yarbrough has almost no power, average speed, a high K rate and low walk rate.  So what is there to see in him? He had all the potential for a starting MLB job and his defense continues to improve, but his offense is holding him back. If Yarbrough can mature a bit more at the plate, he could still land a starting 2B job but now has to contend with Johnson who seems to be passing him by.  He also was sent back down to AA in April so we'll see what he does with that.

Eric Aguilera, Bats Left, 25, 1B
34th Round pick in 2013
Essentially a Cron clone who bats left.  He has the potential to be an MLB starter but has others in line in front of him, including Cron.  Has good power, but a high K rate and doesn't walk much.  He has a .277/.317/.450 for Arkansas this year and Salt Lake doesn't really have regular first baseman which could help him move up possibly this season, if not in 2017.  Given that he is already 25, he should make the jump to AAA soon.

Andrew Daniel, 23, 2B
11th Round Pick in 2014
Daniel came as a project pick with no standout tools which have shown to be good as he has progressed.  He has great baseball IQ and makes it look very natural.  He was expected to start in High A this year, but is holding his own in AA and is batting .405 with a homerun over his last 10 games.  He's had a pretty good progression and if he keeps it up, could be MLB ready by 2018.

Angel Rosa, 24, 3B
7th Round Pick in 2014
Rosa lost playing time to Baldoquin in 2015, but may improve with more playing time.  May not be much upside though and he has struggled in the minors with a .183 AVG in 104 AB.  His ceiling is probably as a bench utility player.

Inland Empire 66ers (Adv A)

David Fletcher, 22, SS
6th Round Pick in 2015
#10 in MLB Pipeline
Fletcher, who just turned 22, has passed up Baldoquin as our top SS prospect in the system.   He had a spring training invite and has 5 hits with 8AB and put up a .625/.700/.875 slash which is pretty impressive, though a small sample.  Fletcher had a standout season in Orem with a .391 OBP that included 12 doubles and 4 triples in 160 AB.  He is struggling a bit in High A this year only a .169 AVG but he has a .231 OBP and only an 16% K rate.  He may be a bit of a victim of bad luck with a BABIP of only .203.   He has also used his speed to swipe 8 bases in 20 games.  Fletcher definitely has every day MLB potential if he can improve his bat.  Fletcher has good plate discipline and contact but lacks any real power.  His speed is an asset, as well as his fielding.  He will, at the very least, become an MLB utility player by 2019 give or take, if not a regular starting SS.

Roberto Baldoquin, 22, SS
Signed as free agent in 2015
Baldoquin got a few more reps than Fletcher in Spring Training and hit .357 in 14 AB.  He actually had a worse OBP than AVG which shows you his discipline problem.  Baldoquin has been injured and has barely played so far in 2016 (18 AB).  Last year he hit .235/.266/.294 for the 66ers.  He had a 24% K rate and only walked 9 times.  He stole 4 bases but was caught 5 times.  There is not much we have seen from him so far that impressive.  Myself, like so many others didn't see much in him and he may turn out to be one of Dipoto's biggest duds.  He doesn't have much power and his speed is modest at best.  He also is lacking in plate discipline so far in his young career.

Jeff Boehm, Bats Left, 23, IF
13th Round Pick in 2015
His 5 tools basically average out but he has above average power potential which has yet to emerge.  He's old for high A ball and may not move up to AA next year if he keeps struggling.  He's hitting just .204 in 2016.  There is no major league ETA at this point for Boehm.

Zachary Houchins, 23, 3B
13th Round Pick in 2014
Houchins moved up on the radar after he hit .388 with Orem in 2014. He followed that up with a .313 OBP and 14HR in 2015 with a low K rate.  Right now he's hitting .194 for the 66ers so may need to progress a bit more before Arkansas.  He's still slated to be a future MLB starter who has some power.

Hutton Moyer, Switch Hitter, 23, 2B
7th Round Pick in 2015
Being the son of major leaguer Jamie Moyer probably helps you out a bit.  However, he's been just ok so far, but his career is young.  He is an above average fielder and a switch hitter who is better from the right side of the plate.  His defensive skills make him a future potential bench piece.

Ryan Sebra, 22, 1B
Signed as undrafted free agent in 2015
Sebra is a first baseman who has hit zero homeruns in his short career so far but did well with AZL and finished with a .346/.436/.432 slash line.  Probably not a high ceiling for a guy that went undrafted, but his rookie season made some take note and he will have a lot of work to do if he is to become MLB ready.

Burlington Bees (A)

Jake Yacinich, Bats Left, 23, SS
8th Round Pick in 2014
#27 in MLB Pipeline
Starting to get old for his level.  He has speed and good defense but the concerns about his bat have been warranted so far.  He is a .256 career hitter in the minors.  He hasn't really had a good season yet, and I wouldn't be surprised if he drops off the MLB pipeline prospect after the 2016 draft.

Michael Pierson, Bats Left, 24, 3B
21st Round Pick in 2015

Pierson is definitely old for his level but he played college ball.  He put up ridiculous numbers for Orem last year with a .395/.467/.528 and 17 SB in 5 games.  A ball has been a little hard on him so far in 2016.  He now needs to prove that he is the real deal after lighting up rookie ball post draft.

Jared Walsh, Bats Left, 22, 1B
39th Round Pick in 2015

A great find in the lower rounds, has the potential to be a MLB starter.  He slowed down a bit so far in 2016 but hit .325/.384/.542 his first season.  He has a career 14% K rate so far which is really good and his walk rate is an equally impressive 10%.

AZL Angels (Rookie)

Julio Garcia, 18, SS
International signing in 2014
#15 in MLB Pipeline

Garcia has the potential to be a strong defensive SS with good speed.  He is REALLY young so you can probably overlook his 25% K rate a bit.  His AVG has gone up slightly each year.  He was signed to rookie ball just past his 17th birthday and will turn 19 in July.  He's toolsy and has a high ceiling potential, especially if he can gain more discipline at the plate.