The Angels system is headlined by an electric prospect and one of the top two prospects in the game in Mike Trout. That said, the list becomes very jumbled and open to interpretation behind Trout with opinions varying wildly from one scout to another. There are a few power arms that have some potential to impact the big league club in a variety of ways, but most of them are at least two years away from the Major Leagues.
1. Mike Trout (OF)
One of the most dynamic prospects in the game, Trout’s prospect rating remains on par with consensus top prospect Bryce Harper. Trout is an 80-grade runner with above-average defensive abilities, a solid arm, plus-plus raw hitting ability, and average to above-average power. He has everything needed to become a superstar including an outstanding work ethic and plus makeup. He’s basically ready for the big leagues and the Angels will need to clear room for him at some point this season.
2. Jean Segura (SS)
The Angels shifted Segura to shortstop and he handled himself just fine after the move; showing enough defensive chops and arm strength to stick at the position. He owns outstanding bat speed and plus contact ability. Though he can get over-aggressive at the plate at times, he does have solid pitch recognition skills. His power is surprising given his size and he could max out with average home run pop down the line. Segura is also a plus runner though he was limited by a hamstring injury for much of 2011. With a wealth of average or better tools and no glaring weaknesses, Segura has everything needed to be a first-division regular in the middle of the infield.
3. CJ Cron (1B)
Surprisingly the Angels had Cron play after signing this summer, despite a shoulder injury that was known to require surgery. While playing he suffered a significant knee injury and could miss some time to start the 2012 season. There’s no hiding what Cron is and what he isn’t. He isn’t a good defender or runner but his bat certainly could make up for those deficiencies. Cron has god natural hitting ability and could hit around .280 at his peak with 20-25 home runs annually. He has more raw power than that but his swing can get long and sap some of his in-game power.
4. John Hellweg (RHP)
This is admittedly an extremely aggressive ranking for the 6-foot-9, 220 pound behemoth, but I’ve seen him at his best and talked to enough scouts that believe in his long term potential. With a shot in the rotation this year, Hellweg maintained his overpowering raw stuff and showed improved control. His fastball can sit in the mid-90s and when he throws strikes his steep downward plane and explosive life make him difficult to square up. Hellweg could be a mid-rotation starter or intimidating closer if he continues to put things together.
5. Kaleb Cowart (3B)
Cowart has the plus arm and power profile you’d like to see from a third baseman. He has plus raw power from both sides of the plate though he can get a little pull happy from the right side. He has solid barrel awareness for a player his age and though there is considerable swing-and-miss in his game, he made strides with pitch recognition in 2011. Though his arm is a plus-plus laser from third base, the rest of his defensive tools are lacking. He is not a good athlete and some question if he has the quickness and reactions to stick there or if he will be pushed to an outfield corner.
6. Garrett Richards (RHP)
Richards has a great frame and power fastball-slider combo that can be dominating at times. He can lose his mechanics at times and is prone to leaving the ball up in the zone at which point he gets knocked around pretty good. Richards lacks anything resembling a reliable change-up and can leave him vulnerable against lefties. Though he may profile as a back of the rotation starter, some scouts believe he could excel focusing on his fastball and slider in a late inning relief role.
7. Randal Grichuk (OF)
The big flaw with Grichuk remains his approach to hitting. He believes he can make contact with everything and as a result gets himself out much of the time. If he could learn to have a more consistent approach he could allow some of his tools to play better in games. He has plus-plus bat speed and he drives off his front leg well to create more power than his frame would suggest. He is an average runner and thrower that can play solid defense in left field. If the approach does not develop, Grichuk may have a hard time carving out a big league role, but if it does, he could develop into a solid regular.
8. Nick Maronde (LHP)
A third round pick in June, scouts are still waiting for Maronde’s performance to match the quality of his raw stuff. He can sit at 90-92 with his fastball and I have seen him up to 95 when he reaches back for more. His slider is generally below-average but he will snap one off occasionally that makes you believe more is in there. He lacks a consistent change-up and his command is still a ways off. He has back of the rotation potential if he throws more quality strikes with a fallback as a power lefty reliever.
9. Jeremy Moore (OF)
Moore is a very nice player that would profile better as a center fielder. As it stands, his defensive tools fit better in right field where his bat is stretched. He is an above-average runner with a solid-average arm but he doesn’t get outstanding jumps on the ball in the outfield. He has some juice in his bat and can dive the ball to the gaps with the potential for a number of doubles and 10-12 home runs if he played full time. Many scouts view Moore as a very good fourth outfielder who is ready for a shot at the big leagues.
10. Austin Wood (RHP)
Wood owns an electric fastball with plus boring action in on right-handers. He can dial it up to 97-98 mph at times and has touched 99 in some short bursts. He doesn’t always stay on top of his fastball and his release point varies with each pitch, causing him to leave the ball up regularly and get pounded more than he should. His change-up is well below-average and he hasn’t shown feel for spinning a consistent curveball. He profiles best in a relief role but his ceiling is limited as a one-pitch, max effort velocity guy.
11. Daniel Tillman (RHP)
Tillman is a classic fastball-slider reliever with plus velocity that sits in the 92-94 range and can touch higher on occasion. He complements his fastball with a hard, tight slider that will show devastating bite. He can overthrow his slider at times causing it to sit and spin but he has become more consistent with the pitch since signing. He profiles best as a setup reliever with a highly competitive mentality on the mound.
12. Taylor Lindsey (2B)
A converted shortstop, Lindsey has adapted quickly to second base though he will never be more than average there. He is a fringe-average to below-average runner with only modest range for the position. He does have an innate feel for hitting as he can barrel the ball consistently and drive it from line to line. He can get over-aggressive at the plate at times and he will need to wait for pitches he can drive against more advanced pitchers. He will have to hit at every level but he has a chance to be an offense-first second baseman on a solid club.
13. Nick Mutz (RHP)
An unusual pick in June, Mutz was not playing anywhere this spring before going in the ninth round to the Angels. He touched 93-95 mph after signing but his velocity fluctuated as he adjusted to the rigors of the game. His cutter shows promise but often stays on the same plane as his fastball. He could stand to develop something with more downward movement and a larger change in velocity. While the Angels may try him as a starter, he profiles best as a seventh or eighth inning reliever right now.
14. Mike Clevinger (RHP)
Clevinger is the definition of max effort. There are several moving parts to his delivery and he uses every ounce of strength he has on every pitch. With that he generates a plus fastball with riding life, a pitch that induces swings and misses on its own. His slider flashes plus potential when he stays on top of it and it could give him a late inning mix of two plus pitches he can go to in any count.
15. Cam Bedrosian (RHP)
Bedrosian went under the knife with Tommy John surgery this year and he will have a lot of work to do to regain his full prospect luster. Though he’s a smallish right-hander he has an excellent knowledge of pitching and surprises with a fastball that could sit at 93-94 mph before the injury. His secondary pitches lack polish and he will need to complete his repertoire as he returns from injury. If he makes some strides with even just a second pitch, he could fit in the back of a big league rotation.