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Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2016, Part 2

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Taking a look at the top prospect performances of 2016 on the Halos’ Farm.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels-Workouts Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

16) Nathan Burtness: LHSP. Age 21 2.0 WAR

2016 line, Rookie Ball Orem: 3.64 ERA over 54.1 IP. 41 K/15 BB, 61 hits allowed.

Key Numbers: 2 HR allowed, 75% strand rate.

Possible Future: 6th starter/swingman

Bertness put up good numbers in a tough hitters league. Classic crafty lefty numbers. Below average K’s, walks, and HR’s allowed, all while giving up a very healthy number of singles. Who knows if he can keep it up against better competition, but I’ll be watching.

15) Troy Montgomery: OF. Age 22 2.0 WAR

2016 line, split between Rookie Ball Orem and Single A: .291/.384/.461 w/ 7 HRs and 13 SB’s

Key Numbers: 13% BB rate and .194 iso versus righties

Possible Future: 4th outfielder for teams in need of a lefty bat.

Montgomery put up a better statistical performance than any of the other college outfield bats that the Halos drafted in 2016. If he can keep up the modest power and patience thing against righties in the coming years, he’ll earn his cup of coffee.

14) Chris O’Grady: LH Pitcher. Age 26 2.0 WAR

2016 line, split between AA & AAA: 3.29 ERA in 95.1 innings, 74 K/22 BB and 105 hits allowed

Key Numbers: 6 HR’s allowed, 76% strand rate.

Possible Future: Spot starter and long reliever

O’Grady’s had a busy offseason, first going to the Reds in the Rule 5 draft, and then returning to the Halos, where it looks like he’ll pitch for Salt Lake. The numbers here are extraordinarily close to Bertness’: plenty of weak contact that isn’t entirely captured by GB or popup rates. No doubt the Arkansas ballpark helped him last year as well. He didn’t break the 20% k rate barrier against lefties last year, so doesn’t really profile well for a LOOGY gig. Unless those numbers against same-handers improve, his opportunity will come as swingman.

13) Jared Ruxer: RHSP. Age 24 2.1 WAR

2016 line, split between A & High A: 3.08 ERA over 111 IP. 99 K/31 BB and 118 hits allowed

Key Numbers: .242/.295/.362 line v. lefties, .302/.347/.400 line v righties. Not sure if it means anything, but interesting.

Possible Future: Middle reliever

Good luck with the Royals.

12) Jared Foster: OF. Age 24 2.1 WAR

2016 line, split between A & High A: .276/.317/.422 with 9 HR’s & 9 SB’s

Key Numbers: . 329/.433/.600 v Lefties

Possible Future: 4th outfielder and pinch hitter.

He’s athletic. His approach is lacking. If he can keep wailing on lefties, he might crack a big league roster some day.

11) Michael Hermosillo: OF. Age 21 2.2 WAR

2016 line, split between A & High A: .317/.402/.467 w/ 6 HR’s & 10 SB’s

Key Numbers: 10% BB/14% K percentages

Possible Future: 4th outfielder and pinch hitter.

Hermosillo is an interesting contrast to Foster. He’s younger and may not have quite the same power/speed tools, but is much more skilled in the batters’ box. Hermosillo slammed lefties, but was almost as good against righties. His BABIP’s were elevated in his time in A-Ball, so look to his .267/.353/.400 line in the AFL—still pretty damn useful!--for a better reflection of his true talent.

10) Andrew Daniel: Infielder. Age 23. 2.3 WAR

2016 line, split between A & High A: .266/.331/.355 w/ 5 HR’s & 9 SB’s

Key Numbers: 26% line drive rate

Possible Future: Utility infielder

He was a line drive machine last year, and for a sizzling minute in July was among the hottest players in the minors, slamming a .378/.452/.571 slash that month. However, Daniel’s strikeout and walk numbers were just league average, and the distance pop below average. Proving at least some competence at shortstop would go a long ways towards helping him scratch out an MLB utility gig.

9) Connor Justus: Shortstop. Age 22. 2.3 WAR

2016 line, split between Rookie Orem & A-ball: .276/.394/.358 w/ 2 HR’s & 1 SB

Key Numbers: 12% BB rate

Possible Future: Utility infielder

He’s probably the present best defensive middle infielder in the Angels system, and worked a 16% walk rate/.432 BABIP to earn a promotion out of Orem. We’ll see if he hits in full season ball.

8) Hutton Moyer: Shortstop, utility. Age 23. 2.3 WAR

2016 line, split between A-ball & High A: .276/.341/.466 w/ 17 HR’s & 13 SB’s

Key Numbers: .301/.362/.524 slash v righties

Possible Future: Utility infielder

Moyer can really sock it to righties, which is a carrying skill largely lacking in the Halos’ farm system. The k-rate makes him a good bet to flame out in AA, but there’s upside here if he can keep the whiffs in check.

7) Zach Houchins: Utility. Age 24. 2.3 WAR

2016 line, High A: .262/.312/.423 w/ 18 HR’s & 2 SB’s

Key Numbers: .302/.372/.566 slash v lefties

Possible Future: Utility infielder

Under key numbers, I could have just as easily listed the anemic .252/.295/.385 line that Houchins put up against righties. He’s got some pop and a good third base glove, but clearly has work to do.

6) Jose Rodriguez: RHSP. Age 21. 2.4 WAR

2016 line, High A: .3.14 ERA across 131.2 IP, 115 K/32 BB and 135 hits allowed

Key Numbers: 21% k-rate

Possible Future: 5th starter, but most likely swingman

The Halos have had a tough time transitioning command and control types like Rodriguez to High A in recent years, so 2017 will test him. That said, I’ve tracked J-Rod’s career since the DSL, so am excited to see what he and his plus change-up can do. He knows his craft.

5) Leonardo Rivas: shortstop. Age 19. 2.5 WAR

2016 line, DSL rookie & AZL rookie: .289/.413/.379 w/ 1 HR and 26 SB

Key Numbers: .279/.419/.372 w one HR against righties

Possible Future: MLB regular shortstop

What?!?! A potential regular? Rivas had an outstanding US pro debut, and answered my biggest question about him from last year: he’s a true switch hitter. He didn’t exactly light the world on fire from the left side, but did pair a 24% line drive rate with a 17% BB rate. Most of the admittedly peanuts-power as a lefty was to the opposite gap, which the optimist in me views as a positive: he hasn’t begun to really turn on pitches yet. Yes, pop is a huge question mark, but if he shows any—and I mean any—distance power next year, then he could give Jones or Thais a run for their money as top organizational prospect. There’s upside here.

4) Alex Blackford: RHSP. Age 25. 2.6 WAR

2016 line, AA: 3.07 ERA over 111.1 IP. 105 K/49 BB & 75 hits allowed.

Key Numbers: 18% pop-up rate, .219 BABIP allowed & 79% strand rate

Possible Future: 6th/7th starter

He’s not a velocity guy, but owns a solid 12 to 6 curveball and what I thought was a splitter when I last saw him, way back in 2014. Or it’s standard change-up with split action. Whatever. It works for him. He’s an extreme flyball pitcher, so PCL hitters who can lay off of the junk and then tee off into the thin atmosphere will test him. If we didn’t use up all of our unicorn magic with Shoemaker, Blackford might throw up a Marco Estrada-like season in the bigs, if given a shot. The pop-ups are a good sign.

3) Elvin Rodriguez: RHSP. Age 18. 2.7 WAR

2016 line, AA: 1.53 ERA over 58.2 IP. 57 K/14 BB & 32 hits allowed.

Key Numbers: Lefties fanned 31% of the time facing him, and hit just .107/.180/.232 overall

Possible Future: Who Knows J. He’s 18 and 6’3” /160

Rodriguez was statistical gold over the small, rookie league sample size: He demolished righties with a 24% k-rate and 48% GB rate, limiting them to a .177/.228/.224 slash, and of course simply annihilated lefties as stated above. Based on the one first-hand scouting report that I could find (coming from rwperu34 in the comments section at minor league ball J), Rodriguez threw 90-93 in Arizona with a lively curve and occasional changeup. From the numbers, I’d guess that the change-up is just as deadly as the bender, but that’s speculation. We’ll see more next year, probably in Orem but possibly Burlington if he turned heads in instructs. He was fairly stretched out in the DSL, so they might just challenge him with a full season workload. Like Rivas, he’s a decent bet to leap up prospect rankings this year.

2) Jordan Kipper: RHSP. Age 24. 2.8 WAR

2016 line, AA: 3.35 ERA over 153 IP. 85 K/41 BB & 147 hits allowed.

Key Numbers: 58% GB rate

Possible Future: Middle reliever.

Who knows what the next great Halos bullpen will look like, but it’s possible that specialist-in-the-making Kipper will be a part of it. His 9% k-rate facing lefties was appallingly low (especially considering the 10% walk rate), but he did induce ground balls 54% of the time on contact from opposite handers. Against righties, the groundball rate soared to 61%. Lack of strikeouts as a starter suggests that he’s headed to the bullpen once he leaves Arkansas’ friendly confines, but again, he might turn into the sort of dependable, highly specialized middle relief type that we’ve been lacking for years.

1) Troy Scribner: RHSP. Age 24. 2.8 WAR

2016 line, AA: 3.41 ERA over 132 IP. 117 K/56 BB & 98 hits allowed.

Key Numbers: .233 BABIP in the PCL

Possible Future: 6th starter / swingman

I’m really looking forward to watching Scribner pitch this year, because I want see that BABIP pixie dust hold up. There are some good statistical markers: the 11% pop-up rate was above average (if not crazy, like Blackford’s), and he whiffed a quarter of the opposite handers that he faced. But there’s little else in his profile to suggest that he can sustain this kind of success moving forward. Still, I’m eager to see if he can.