Welcome to a new feature here at FB365, the 2012 5×5 Prospect Rankings series! Since there is a difference between studying prospects in keeper leagues versus re-draft leagues, we decided to give you the best of both worlds. First, you’ll find a list of the top five prospects within the organization in terms of long-term value in relation to fantasy baseball. Second is the top five prospects for 2012 and 2012 only.
First up, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 15 minutes from the In-N-Out on Tustin Ave…
1: Mike Trout-OF: He barely qualifies as a prospect coming up just seven at-bats short of losing his rookie eligibility. Regardless, Trout is a special talent. He reached the majors before his 20th birthday, and has the type of upside that could one day make him a top half of the first round fantasy talent. He epitomizes what it means to be a five-tool player, but more importantly to fantasy gamers, he could be a five category star. Guys that hit for a plus average with above average power and plus speed are a rare breed, and Trout fits that mold.
2: Jean Segura- 2B/SS: Segura was initially developed as a second baseman, but the Angels decided they wanted to see if he had enough range to play shortstop in 2011. Most scouting reports I’ve read suggested his defense looked solid there. Unfortunately, the oft injured Segura only played in 52 games this year due to a hamstring injury. He was able to follow up his injury shortened minor league campaign with a trip to Arizona to play in the Arizona Fall League, and is now playing in the Dominican winter league. Even having only played in 44 games at the High-A level, I’d expect the Angels to start him in Double-A in 2012. Segura profiles as an offensive minded middle infielder, whether that is at second base or shortstop remains to be seen. He currently has plus speed, has displayed a strong walk rate, and hits for a high average. That combination will help him be a stolen base asset in fantasy games. Segura’s developing power could turn into mid-teens home runs in the majors.
3: Kaleb Cowart- 3B: This two-way high school star was considered a first round talent in 2010 both as a fielder and a pitcher. Cowart wanted to hit, and the Angels were keen on developing him as a switch-hitter with power potential. He’s a work in progress, and a player that will require patience and some dreaming on the tools maturing.
4: C.J. Cron- 1B/DH: The Angels nabbed Cron in the first round of this year’s draft for one reason, and one reason only, and that is his bat. At best, he profiles as a below average defensive first baseman. That means he’ll need to hit to have value. He signed quickly, and was able to log 34 games in the Rookie Level Pioneer League. Like in college, he crushed the ball ripping 13 home runs in 143 at-bats. His 6.3 percent walk rate was underwhelming, but the sample is way too small to get worked up about. He should move through the system fast.
5: Taylor Lindsey- 2B: He’ll need to stick at second base to justify this ranking, which is no guarantee, but his bat will be above average there. Lindsey is a left-handed batter that could hit for average and a bit of pop. I’ve yet to read a scouting report that talks up his speed and base running, but he has at least shown moderate success in swiping 18 bases in 25 chances in his young career. He’s a long ways away from reaching the majors, so like Cowart, he’ll require patience.
Los Angeles Angels Top-5 Prospects for 2012
1: Mike Trout- OF: See above, but don’t expect everything to come together for Trout just yet.
2: Garrett Richards- SP: Richards debuted this season for the Angels starting in three games and appearing in four others as a reliever totaling 14 innings. The results were underwhelming, but his lively fastball makes him intriguing. The beauty of his time in the bigs is that there is some PITCHf/x data available on the youngster. According to Texas Leaguers data he threw a four-seam fastball that averaged 94.5 mph, a slider, cutter and change-up. Scouting reports support all of which except the cutter, which means they may have been mis-classified. Baseball America also mentioned a 12-to-6 curveball being part of his repertoire in Richards 2011 Baseball America Prospect Handbook write-up. His fastball and slider are considered his best offerings. While he was able to miss bats in the low minors, that didn’t translate to the Double-A level. There are also concerns about his across the body delivery voiced by some. If Richards is unable to succeed as a starter, he could end up used as a power reliever.
3: Daniel Tillman- RP: Relief pitchers have a funny way of getting fast tracked when things click. Tillman was a college closer at the Division II level, and has been used in the same capacity, for the most part, by the Angels in the low minors. His fastball has plus velocity, but neither of his secondary offerings (slider and change-up) are great. Tillman has been able to strikeout better than a batter per inning in his minor league career to date, but his control needs a bit more refinement. His best bet to contribute in fantasy leagues in 2012 is to help those in leagues that include holds.
4: Jean Segura- 2B/SS: This is admittedly a long shot, but the upper minors is unexciting and the Angels were aggressive with Trout.
5: Ryan Brasier- RP: There isn’t much current scouting information widely available on Brasier, but he throws hard and took to transitioning back to closing from starting well. The surface stats aren’t great, but he was able to strike batters out and demonstrate passable control at times. He finished the season in Triple-A, and considering the fungible nature of relief pitchers, could conceivably be in the Angels pen early in the season. It would take a lot for Brasier to end up saving games for them this year, but Jordan Walden doesn’t have much track record, and the same could have been said of another Los Angeles reliever, Javy Guerra, before this season.