Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (30) | 2012 (18) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (26) | 2009 (25)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [78-84] AL West
AAA: [78-66] Pacific Coast League – Salt Lake
AA: [73-66] Texas League — Arkansas
A+: [69-71] California League – Inland Empire
A: [56-78] Midwest League – Burlington

Arizona Fall League PlayersMesa Solar Sox
R.J. Alvarez (RHP); Cam Bedrosian (RHP); Mike Morin (RHP); Michael Roth (LHP); Jett Bandy (C); Taylor Lindsey (2B); Zach Borenstein (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Kole Calhoun (OF); J.B. Shuck (OF); Grant Green (2B); Andrew Romine (3B); Dane De La Rosa (RHP); Michael Kohn (RHP)

The Run Down
The postseason is barely underway, but let’s get on with some 2014 baseball chatter because I just can’t wait.  As always, we’ll be easing you into these MiLB previews, starting with the poorest systems, and working our way toward the best as Opening Day approaches next spring.  So here we are at the bottom; The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Hoo boy, this is a thin, low-impact group.  Making matters worse, the Halos forfeited their first round picks in each of the past two seasons when they signed free agents Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols.  LA fans probably don’t want to hear this right now, but the Cardinals used their 2012 first round pick to draft Michal Wacha.  Ouch.  Take solace in the fact that you guys still produced Mike Trout, whose career WAR at age 22 is 21.1.  That’s insane homegrown output over the past two seasons, so I can’t feel too bad for you jerks just yet.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Kaleb Cowart, 3B:  The difficulty in jumping from A-ball to Double-A is duly noted.  It’s the toughest transition in pro baseball, aside from the leap to the big leagues, of course.  Kaleb Cowart learned this lesson firsthand in 2013, hitting .221/.279/.301 with 6 homers and 14 steals in his first year of upper levels baseball (quite the drop from the .276/.358/.452, 16 HR, 14 SB line he posted in 2012).  Still, it’s important to realize that Cowart is just 21-years-old and was among the youngest players in the Texas League this season.  He’ll likely return to Double-A Arkansas to begin 2014, where the Angels hope his considerable tools will begin to translate into measurable success.  He keeps the top spot in this top-10 thanks to a fantasy ceiling that cannot be matched by the other members of this weak Angels farm system.  ETA:  2015

2.  Taylor Lindsey, 2B:  I was tempted to lead this list with Lindsey because, for fantasy purposes, you gotta love bat-first second basemen, and that’s precisely what he is.  Ultimately, I sided with Cowart’s all-star level upside for the top spot, but there’s certainly an argument to be made for Lindsey.  The 21-year-old hit .274/.339/.441 with 45 XBH (17 HR) at Double-A Arkansas in 2013.  He carries the best hit tool in the organization and he’s the second baseman of the future in LA.  Lindsey will surface in 2014 if an opportunity presents itself.  ETA:  2014

3.  C.J. Cron, 1B:  After posting 27 homers along with a slugging average at .516 in the hitter-friendly environment of the California League in 2012, Cron managed only 14 long balls at Arkansas in 2013.  Still, reports on his raw power remain impressive and  30+ HR potential is still realistic with the hit tool is turning out to be more impressive than we initially projected.  The 23-year-old will likely move up to Triple-A in 2014, and if Cron can rediscover his power stroke, he’ll have an opportunity to surface in the big’s before year’s end.  ETA:  Late 2014

4.  Randal Grichuk, OF:  Los Angeles took Grichuk with the 24th overall pick in the 2009 draft.  They had the next selection too, and choose Mike Trout at #25.  It’s been tough for the 22-year-old to escape the Trout comparisons, which seem pretty silly considering there isn’t a prospect alive who should be held up to Mike Trout (fine, maybe Buxton).  In any case, Grichuk brings very real power-potential (22 HR at Double-A in 2013), but if that power is going to translate at the highest level, he’s going to need to improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition.  ETA:  Late 2014

5.  Mark Sappington, RHP:  A fifth round pick in 2012, Sappington has repertoire of a big league starter (FB, SL, CH), but delivery and command concerns have scouts wondering if the bullpen will be his final destination.  Should he find more consistency with regard to throwing strikes, however, Sappington could make for an intriguing fantasy starter with big whiff potential thanks to a plus, mid-90s fastball.  ETA:  2015

6.  Hunter Green, RHP:  As I previously mentioned, the Angels lost their 2013 first round selection when they signed Josh Hamilton.  That made the 59th overall pick their first in the draft, and with it, they took Hunter Green, a lanky high school southpaw.  As with most any high school draftee, there’s a long way to go with Green, but a projectable frame and big time velocity give him high-impact potential.  ETA:  2017

7.  Nick Maronde, LHP:  Maronde has surfaced at the highest level in each of the past two seasons, but he’s done so as a lefty specialist out of the Angels ‘pen, which is hardly attractive for fantasy purposes.  The Angels actually used the 24-year-old strictly in relief at the minor league level in 2013, but his long-term role is still unclear.  Many scouts believe his big, innings-eating frame will ultimately lead him into the rotation, where his fastball/slider combo will draw plenty of whiffs.  ETA:  2014

8.  Luis Jimenez, 3B:  Jimenez collected 110 big league plate appearances in 2013, hitting .260/.291/.317.  There’s not a whole lot of upside here, but the 25-year-old has proven that he’s advanced enough to warrant an extended look in the bigs.  ETA:  2014

9.  Mike Morin, RHP:  Morin, a 13th round selection out of UNC in 2012, burst onto the prospect radar in 2013 with impressive work between High-A and Double-A.  The 22-year-old posted a 1.93 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and a K/9 at 9.8 in 56 relief appearances across the two levels.  I typically avoid ranking relief arms in these top-10’s, but this is a particularly poor system, so Morin deserves some love.  ETA:  2014

10.  Eric Stamets, SS:  Stamets’s defensive ability should be enough to carry him to the big leagues, but there are major concerns regarding his bat.  The 22-year-old managed a line at .281/.335/.375 over a full season in the California League in 2013, and he’ll be in for a test when he steps up to the upper levels in 2014.  If he can keep improving his already-capable on-base skills, though, he’s got the wheels to steal plenty of bags at any level.  ETA:  2015