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Angels PRE-SEASON Top 20 in Review

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Los Angeles Angels PRE-SEASON Top 20 in Review

This is the PRE-SEASON Top 20. These grades are PRE-SEASON. Anyone who complains about the grades or ratings based on 2006 performance will be rapped firmly across the knuckles with a bat autographed by Daryl Sconiers.

1) Brandon Wood, SS, Grade A
Hitting .289/.373/.567 with 26 doubles and 15 homers for Double-A Arkansas. Power production is excellent. Main worry is strikeouts; 90 whiffs already in 263 at-bats. He's drawing walks but the Ks concern me.

2) Howie Kendrick, 2B, Grade A-
Hitting .398/.436/.674 in 52 games for Triple-A Salt Lake, but just 3-for-26 in major league action. He'll be fine in the long run.

3) Kendry Morales, 1B, B+
Hit .317/.360/.472 at Salt Lake, now at .231/.286/.365 in 26 games for the Angels. Like Kendrick, I expect he'll be fine in the long run.

4) Jered Weaver, RHP, B+
Won his first four major league starts in brilliant fashion. He has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues and is ready for a rotation spot.

5) Erick Aybar, SS, B+
4-for-12 in the majors, .303/.351/.480 in Triple-A. I think he's ready to hit something like .260-.275 in the majors now, but will need more time to develop power and reliable on-base skills.

6) Jeff Mathis, C, B
Just 4-for-39 in major league action, .310/.346/.456 for Salt Lake. Has he been passed by Napoli? It would be ironic if he has....scouts have always preferred Mathis' pure athleticism to Napoli's power.

7) Thomas Mendoza, RHP, B
4-5, 4.97 in 15 starts for Class A Cedar Rapids, 77/20 K/BB in 92 innings, 98 hits allowed. More hittable than expected, but his control is good. Needs more time to develop.

8) Steven Shell, RHP, B-
Combined 4-4, 3.39 with 47/19 K/BB in 77 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Throwing strikes, but I think he needs a good dose of Triple-A before being pushed into a full major league role.

9) Nick Adenhart, RHP, B-
9-2, 2.08 in 14 starts for Cedar Rapids, 89/21 K/BB in 90 innings, 72 hits and just two homers allowed. Doing great, throwing hard, throwing strikes, no ill effects from Tommy John procedure.

10) Alberto Callaspo, 2B, B-
Traded to Arizona, hitting .313/.385/.418 for Triple-A Tucson. I think he will slot best as a reserve infielder.

11) Michael Collins, C, B-
Hitting .295/.358/.406 for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Good solid line drive bat, but hasn't developed much home run power.

12) Trevor Bell, RHP, B-
Just activated from extended spring, threw five shutout innings in his first start for Orem in the Pioneer League.

13) P.J. Phillips, SS, C+
Just activated from extended spring, is 2-for-6 at Orem.

14) Sean Rodriguez, SS, C+
Hitting .298/.359/.526 for Rancho, with 14 homers, showing surprising power. Strikeout rate has spiked this year and his walks have dropped, so the power boost is not without cost. Will be interesting to see if this holds at higher levels.

15) Joe Saunders, LHP, C+
8-3, 2.50 in 15 starts for Salt Lake, 72/24 K/BB in 101 innings. Doing very well especially considering PCL pitching environment. A major league sleeper for late in the year?

16) Hainley Statia, SS, C+
Hitting .264/.337/.354 in 63 games for Cedar Rapids. Not much power, overall somewhat disappointing but he is young.

17) Mike Napoli, C, C+
Hitting .290/.421/.570 in 35 games in the majors. I think his average will come down, but the power and walks should remain. Think Mickey Tettleton.

18) Ryan Mount, SS, C+
Just activated from extended spring training. 2-for-9 so far at Orem.

19) Gustavo Espinosa, LHP, C+
Extended spring training.

20) Drew Toussaint, OF, C
Hitting .241/.327/.432 with 10 homers for Rancho. Showing some power but not dominating the way a player his age (23) needs to in A-ball.

I think the Angels and their fans should be happy. Weaver looks great, and I still expect Wood, Kendrick, and Morales to be a solid offensive core by 2008. Napoli has done very well, and Adenhart's full recovery from Tommy John surgery is good to see.