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Cow Tipping - Angels final farm report for 2016

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The minor league season is over and the Angels' farm system is starting to show some promise.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Affiliate Teams (from AAA to Rookie):

The major league season is winding down, and the minor league season(s) are over (except for the Orem Owlz who play until Monday).  How did the Angels' farm system fare in 2016?  Who were the standouts and who were the duds?  Is there hope for the future?

DSL Angels
Dominican Republic
Level = Rok , Dominican Summer League

Studs:

Rayneldy Rosario (CF, 18), had a great first season with the organization.  He hit .315 with 25 SB.  Rosario doesn't have much power and only slugged .361.
Johan Sala (CF, 18), was much improved from his 2015 season when he batted .223.  He hit .308 with a .392 OBP and stole 15 bases (though he was caught 8 times).
Hector Yan (LHP, 17),  Yan's first season was an impressive one.  He threw 30.1 innings and had a 0.89 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  He didn't allow any runs in 5 of his 7 starts.
Jorge Tavarez (RHP, 21), Tavarez went from a 5.93 ERA in 2015 to a 2.05 ERA this year.  He only walked 7 in 44 innings and he stuck out 40.  Shouldn't stay in Dominican League much longer.


AZL Angels
Tempee, AZ
Level = Rok , Arizona League

Studs:

Elvin Rodriguez (18, RHP),  Like Rivas, he was moved over to Tempe from the Dominican League this year.  His WHIP was a super low 0.78 and he had a 1.53 ERA.  He had 57Ks in 58 innings.
Cole Duensing (RHP, 18, 6th round pick in 2016), He only threw 13 innings, so should end up back in Tempe next year.  His ERA was just 1.38 and he struck out 11.
Max Bethell (22, LHP), In 51 innings during his debut season, he struck out 41, had a 2.09 ERA and 0.85 WHIP.  He only walked 9 batters and also had just a .191 BAA.

Others:

Nonie Williams (SS, 18, #6 in MLB Pipeline, 3rd round pick in 2016), Williams took some time to get adjusted (and still is adjusting).  He hit just .205 in the first half of the season but .277 with a .318 OBP in the second half.
Leonardo Rivas (SS, 18).  This young kid is in his second year with the org and played for the DSL and AZL Angels in 2016.  He hit .289 with a .413 OBP and stole 26 bases in 59 games.  He needs a lot more development before he could be major league ready.

Orem Owlz
Orem, UT
Level = Rok, Pioneer League

The Pioneer league is hitter friendly so keep that in mind with the stats below.

Studs:

John Schuknecht (RF, 22),  Was a 37th round pick that didn't show much power in Tempe, but he hit 6 HR in 61 AB when he was moved up to Orem.  Had a .923 OPS in his first season.
Keith Grieshaber (SS, 21), Grieshaber was drafted 16th in 2016 and also started out his season in Tempe.  He had a .320 AVG this year overall and hit .345 his last 10 games in Orem.
Cody Ramer (2B, 22), had an impressive .372/.421/.512 line in his first season, though he only played  about 21 total games.
Nick Flair (1B, 23), Flair struggled in his call-up to Burlington last year but landed back in Orem in 2016.  He's probably ready to move back up as he hit .347 in Orem with 8 HRs and is batting .550 over his last 10 games.  He does have about a 25% K rate.
Jack Kruger (DH, 21),  Kruger was a 20th round pick in 2016 and hit .347/.383/.439 in his time with Orem.  He started the season in the Arizona league.  Zero homeruns and a 10% K rate is kind of odd though for someone listed as a DH.
Zach Gibbons (LF, 22), picked up in the 17th round in 2016, Gibbons had a great year with a .340 AVG, 5 Hrs, 2 triples and 17 stolen bases.
Greg Bolton (RHP, 23), Bolton had a great first season in a hitter friendly league.  The 27th round pick had a 2.27 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 43Ks in 39 IP  He also only walked 6 batters all year.
Tyler Warmoth (RHP, 24), Warmoth was signed as an undrafted free agent back in June (he was 23 when he graduated college).  He racked up 41 Ks in 36 innings and had a 1.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.

Duds:

Bo Tucker
(LHP, 21), Bo doesn't know pitching (yet).  Takes time for some guys to develop.  Bo Tucker was a 12th round pick this year and had a 5.17 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP.

Burlington Bees
Burlington, Iowa
Level = A, Midwest League

A lot of borderline studs here but I used the .300 AVG line and (3.00 ERA) as the cutoff for the Bees and only Lund made that mark.

Studs:

Brennon Lund (OF, 21), Ended the year with a .307/.360/.406 line overall.  His number came down to more normal levels when he moved up to Burlington but he still had a good season there with a .316 OBP and 8 SB in 9 attempts.

Duds:

Brendon Sanger (IF - #15 in MLB pipeline), This 4th round pick from 2015 hit only .230 this year.

Joe Gatto (RHP - #7 BBA Prospect), hasn't pitched since June 24th when he went on the DL.  He had a 7.03 ERA up until that point.
Jordan Zimmerman (2B, 21), Probably wants to forget about his second half and look forward to next year.  Zimmerman hit .422 in Orem, but only .154 in Burlington.  He almost doubled his K rate when he moved up to A ball.

Others:

Matt Thaiss (1B, 21 - #1 in MLB Pipeline), Ended the season with a .292 AVG overall (hit .276 in Burlington), with a .361 OBP, 6HR, and 4 triples in 67 games.
Troy Montgomery (CF, 22), had a good season overall with a .291 AVG and .384 OBP.  He hit just .261 in A ball, but still had a .340 OBP.
Jahmai Jones (OF - #2 BBA Prospect, 18), Jones is still really young and needs some time to develop, but has done a great job so far.  He hit .280 overall this year with a .360 OBP and 36 SB.
Connor Justus (SS, 21 - #15 in MLB Pipeline), hit .276 but had a .394 OBP.  He drew 32 walks to his 53 Ks.
Michael Barash (C, 21), only caught 10 out of 59 base stealers but had a .348 OBP on the season with 3 homeruns.
Jaime Barria (RHP, 20 - #7 in MLB Pipeline), This youngster spent his season in Burlington and had a respectable 3.85 ERA.  He also had a .282 BAA and 1.32 WHIP.

Inland Empire 66ers
San Bernardino, CA
Level = A+, California League

Not a lot of good stuff came out of the California League for the Angels this year.  The 66ers were 2nd from last in team ERA (4.93) and WHIP (1.46) and also had the least strikeouts (1092) and saves (15).  They also had the worst OPS (.677) and fewest HRs (80) in the league.

Studs:

Michael Hermosillo (LF, 21), Had a .317/.402/.467 line overall in 2016.  He hit .309 with 4 HRs in the 40 games he played for the 66ers.

Duds:

Jake Jewell (#5 BBA Prospect), had an awful year with a 6.31 ERA and 1.87 WHIP.  He also gave up 10 HR in 137 innings.
Roberto Baldoquin (SS, 22 - #23 in MLB Pipeline), Hit .198 on the year so that investment is really working out well.  Baldoquin's OPS was only .507 and even worse - his advancement appears to be stalled at the High A level.
Jeremy Rhoades (RHP - #24 in MLB Pipeline), Most 66er pitchers fared poorly this year, and Rhoades was no exception with his 5.72 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.  He also gave up 15 HRs in 141 IP.

Others:

Taylor Ward (C - #3 in MLB Pipeline), Had a pretty meh year overall, but improved from his pretty bad first half.  He hit .249 overall and threw out about 38% of would-be base stealers. Ward hit only .224 with 1 HR in the first half of the season, but then hit .274 wit 9 HRs in the second half.
Jared Ruxer (RHP), had a 1.44 ERA in A ball but it jumped to 5.18 for the 66ers with a .306 BAA in 11 starts.
Grayson Long (RHP, 22 - #11 in MLB Pipeline), Long had a 1.58 ERA for Burlington in 8 starts  before going on the DL.  After his DL stint, he landed in the Inland Empire where he gave up 8 runs in 14 innings over 3 starts, including 5 home runs allowed.

Arkanas Travelers
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level = AA, Texas League

Studs:

Alex Blackford (RHP), This 37th round pick in 2013 had a great year with a 3.07 ERA and .189 BAA.  He's walking a batter about every other inning but improved from his career stats in almost every category this year.
Eduardo Paredes (RHP, 21), Struck out 75 in 70 innings and walked 20.  He had a 3.33 ERA and 1.19 WHIP overall in 2016.
Edward Paredes (LHP, 29), Signed a free agent over the winter, he's had a pretty amazing year.  Paredes' ERA was just 2.27, BAA was .167, and his WHIP was 1.05.  He also struck out 53 in 43 innings.  He has been playing independent and Dominican ball the past few years and at age 29, seems primed for a AAA bump and probably a spring invite next year.
Jordan Kipper (RHP, 23), Kipper was a 9th round pick in 2014 and has worked his way up quite well (he even skipped over A ball).  This young righty had some amazing starts this year, including 7 innings of 4-hit shutout ball on 4/15, 8 innings of 2-hit shutout ball on 4/26, a near perfect game on 5/17 when he had a no-hit complete game shutout allowing just one walk, 7 innings of 2-hit shutout ball on 6/7, and 7 innings of 4-hit shutout ball on 8.28.  Kipper BY FAR had some of the best pitching performances of any pitcher in this system this year.  His final stats were 3.35 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and .258 BAA.

Others:

David Fletcher (SS, 22), The 2015 6th round pick ended the season with a .280 AVG and .322 OBP.  His numbers in AA were slightly better than his numbers in High A, so he seems to be adjusting to the higher level well.  He also had a .985 fielding percentage which is pretty good at his position.
Eric Aguilera (1B), one of our few 1B prospects hit .270 this year with 14 HRs but lost two weeks of his season after he was suspended for "attitude" problems.
Alex Yarbrough (2B, 25), This 4th round pick from 2012 isn't progressing the way he should be.  He spent some time in Salt Lake last year and earlier this year before being sent back down.  He din't perform well either time in AAA and had a pretty mediocre season for Arkansas this year with a .265 AVG and .304 OBP.  He only made 2 errors in 239 chances.
Victor Alcantara (RHP - #4 BBA Prospect), had a rough second half and ended up with a 4.30 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.  He walked a batter almost every other inning.

Salt Lake Bees
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level = AAA, Pacific Coast League

The Angels rosters has been a rotating door of AAA players this year and there are some who spent some time in Salt Lake that are currently on the big league roster.  I've tried to keep this mostly to players who spent all or most of their time in the minors this year AND didn't get a callup - ie., Kaleb Cowart won't be on this list, nor would Choi or Ortega who both put up great numbers in AAA.

Studs:

Troy Scribner (RHP), he took his ERA down when he moved from AA to AAA at the end of July.  He threw a complete game shutout for the Bees and had a 3.41 ERA which is great in the PCL.  
Keynan Middleton (RHP - #24 in MLB Pipeline), We should see this fireballer in the pen next year (most likely).  He was amazing for Arkansas but had a few hiccups in Salt Lake.  Overall he had a 3.41 ERA in 2016 along with a 1.14 WHIP and .196 BAA.  He had two bad appearances for the Bees - both of which were at home in the hitter friendly Smith Ballpark.

Duds:

Kyle McGowin (RHP - #19in MLB Pipeline), He's been good at eating up innings, but had a 6.11 ERA for Salt Lake.  He'll probably get a spring training invite next year, but may need another year to cook in Utah.
Greg Mahle (LHP, 23), his future seems uncertain now but he's still relatively young.  Mahle didn't pitch that well for the Angels and he pitched even worse in AAA with a 7.71 ERA and a .353 BAA.  You can only blame so much on the PCL being a hitters league...

Others:

Sherman Johnson (2B, 26), tore up AA this year earning an early call-up, but only hit .226 in Salt Lake, though he did have a .332 OBP and 16 SB.  This dude knows how to draw a walk.
Cal Towey (RF, 26), once a top prospect, Towey has dropped off the top 30 list.  He has a .267/.386/.417 career line and he'll be 27 in February which is a bit old for AAA. We may see him as a 4th outfielder in 2017 which may be his ceiling, though he might also get a shot at the LF spot.  He hit 9 HRs in 78 games this year for the Bees.
Nate Smith (RHP - #3 BBA Prospect), had his moments in 2016 but never seems to stick there for long.  He's a #5 pitcher at his ceiling probably.  He had a 4.61 ERA and 1.40 WHIP this year.