U.S. Futures All-Star Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs to first during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels Top 20 Prospects for 2011
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too concerned about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get past the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize.
Feel free to critique the list, but use logic and reason rather than polemics to do to. The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Full reports on all of players can be found in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book. We are now taking pre-orders. Order early and order often!
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS:
Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Almost all Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all.
A major point to remember is that grades for pitchers do NOT correspond directly to grades for hitters. Many Grade A pitching prospects fail to develop, often due to injuries. Some Grade C pitching prospects turn out much better than expected.
Also note that there is diversity within each category. I'm a tough grader; Grade C+ is actually good praise coming from me, and some C+ prospects turn out very well indeed.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment for my full opinion about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
Los Angeles Angels Top 20 Prospects for 2011
1) Mike Trout, OF, Grade A: Complete package if his power fully develops, and still an excellent player even if it doesn't.
2) Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Grade B: Development continues along a steady path, should be a fine number three starter with some chance to be better than that.
3) Jean Segura, 2B, Grade B: He's for real. Could put up huge numbers in the California League, and this grade may be a bit too conservative.
4) Jordan Walden, RHP, Grade B: Can close if he maintains the control he showed late in the year.
5) Garrett Richards, RHP, Grade B: Much better than he was in college, has always had the stuff, just needed more consistency and to get away from metal bats.
6) Fabio Martinez Mesa, RHP, Grade B: I'm entranced with his K/IP and H/IP ratios and plus stuff. Needs better command of course.
7) Hang Conger, C, Grade B-: Borderline B, but I'm worried about his defense and he won't hit quite enough to be a regular first baseman for a good team.
8) Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Grade B-: This grade could go up (or down) pretty quickly...has great physical ability, pro statistical sample size is both unimpressive and too small to be meaningful.
9) Randal Grichuk, OF, Grade B-: Borderline C+, he's hit great in between injuries, but poor strike zone judgment will be a handicap at higher levels.
10) Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+, like Cowart, he's got plenty of talent but small pro sample size plus an injury question (late season sore elbow) make him hard to rank just yet.
11) Mark Trumbo, 1B, Grade C+: Borderline B-. He has tons of power and had a great year, but I've seen him strike out and look bad so often in person that I can't buy into the Salt Lake numbers completely.
12) Alexi Amarista, 2B, Grade C+: Another in the long line of Angels line drive hitting middle infield prospects. A small player at 5-8 (and looks smaller) but he has talent.
13) Daniel Tillman, RHP, Grade C+: Future closer? We need to see him above the Pioneer League, but I am optimistic.
14) Mike Kohn, RHP, Grade C+: Relief arm ready to help now.
15) Trevor Reckling, LHP, Grade C+: Command fell apart last year, but young enough to rebound.
16) Chevez Clarke, OF, Grade C+: High-ceiling, high-risk outfielder, could be a 20/20 player or a Double-A flameout.
17) Donn Roach, RHP, Grade C+: One of my favorite sleepers for 2011, 6.04 ERA in Pioneer League was misleading, love combination of strikeouts and grounders.
18) Luis Jimenez, 3B, Grade C+: Recovered from losing '09 to labrum injury. Quick bat but impatient.
19) Jeremy Moore, OF, Grade C+: Tools outfielder has made gradual progress, good speed and some power, but strike zone judgment remains an issue.
20) Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Grade C+: Angels like this line drive hitter from '10 draft, though he got mixed reviews from other teams.
OTHERS OF NOTE: Tyson Auer, OF; Dillon Baird, 3B; Ryan Bolden, OF; Kole Calhoun, OF; Angel Castillo, OF; Ryan Chaffee, RHP; Steve Geltz, RHP; Drew Heid, OF; John Hellweg, RHP; Gabe Jacobo, 1B; Tyler Kehrer, LHP; Justin LaTempa, RHP; Carlos Ramirez, C; Andrew Romine, SS; Max Russell, LHP; Chris Scholl, RHP; Wendell Soto, SS: Travis Witherspoon, OF.
Although not in the elite category right now, this is a solid farm system, with one player I regard as a sure-fire star in Trout, then a large group of Grade B/borderline B+ types, and plenty of B-/C+ to round things out. There is a mixture of pitching and hitting, and players from a wide variety of backgrounds. They seem to like picking tools players early in the draft, then mix in some polished college types in the middle and later rounds.
I like Chatwood, Richards, and Martinez-Mesa a lot, but all three have a question of some kind that needs to be answered this year. All three could be B+ prospects a year from now, maybe even A- if everything works out correctly. There is plenty of raw material to build a bullpen out of as well.
Trout is terrific, a good example of what you get when a tools player develops properly. If they can get Grichuk and Clarke to control the strike zone at higher levels, the outfield of the future will be excellent.