Stock Up, Stock Down for Los Angeles Angels' Top 10 Prospects for Week of May 27

Rick SuterContributor IIJune 3, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Los Angeles Angels' Top 10 Prospects for Week of May 27

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    When it comes to an MLB organization’s top prospects, I would like to think that most—if not all— of them have Timbuk 3's '80s classic, "The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," constantly playing in their minds.

    Unfortunately, as the law of averages goes in the MLB, that is not always the case.

    Some players fail to hit at the higher levels while some players fail to pitch at the higher levels.

    Whatever the case, the proverbial MLB cup of coffee is rarely achieved, sinking a team's future aspirations of success.

    When you are an organization with a farm system ranked last by ESPN's Keith Law like the Los Angeles Angels have been, that point is only magnified.

    Now, that's not to say the Angels system is completely shot. There are a few prospects that have a chance to help the big league club, possibly sooner than originally predicted. 

    Things can also always change—wrong one day, right the next day.

    So now that I have that song stuck in you heads, let's take a look at the Angels' top 10 prospects, according to MLB.com, through the week of May 27, 2013, and see if things are going great and only getting better.

    Or not. 

     

    Note: Stats and scouting reports were provided courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

No. 1 Prospect: 3B Kaleb Cowart

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    2013 Stats

    .226/.286/.333, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 22 R

     

    Overview

    In a minor league system that is not highly rated, Kaleb Cowart raises the bar as a true prospect who can help the club in the future.

    The 6'3" right-hander showed signs of brilliance in spring training, displaying the bat speed and powerful arm scouts have listed as above-plus tools. However, he has struggled this year in Double-A Arkansas. 

    Cowart is predicated to begin his full-time tenure with the Angels starting in 2014, but the numbers he has produced in Double-A tell me that timetable is off. Alberto Callaspo's new deal was for two years with the team and it looks as though the team will certainly need his presence again next season. 

     

    Stock Watch: Down

No. 2 Prospect: LHP Nick Maronde

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    2013 Stats

    Minors: 15 games, 20.1 IP, 4.87 ERA, 26 K, 19 BB

    Majors: 3 games, 2.1 IP, 11.57, 2 K, 3 BB

     

    Overview

    Nick Maronde is a good-sized left-hander who has already earned time with the Angels' big league club in 2013, but after three games and an ERA of 11.57, he was quickly shipped back to Double-A Arkansas where he has also not been succeeding.

    Scouts have always liked Maronde's fastball and he has shown that his slider is also a plus, but his changeup is well below average and has kept him with only a two-pitch arsenal, making him useless for any lengthy amounts of innings.

    Some have questioned whether or not he is best suited for a starting role or a relief role. Although the starting option is not completely out of the question, I would guess the fact that he has no starts so far this season is an indication the Angels are going with the latter.

    With a bullpen that has gone through more facelifts than a Beverly Hills housewife, Maronde has not made a case, in a time when he has every opportunity with Zack Burnett out, to prove he can be the left-handed answer in the Angels 'pen.

     

    Stock Watch: Down  

No. 3 Prospect: 1B C.J. Cron

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    2013 Stats

    .313/.356/.478, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 23 R

     

    Overview

    C.J. Cron is simply impressive...at the plate. 

    He has power and good bat control for a big-framed guy. If he can adjust to more precise pitching as he gets closer to the big leagues, then 2014 could be Cron's beginning in Anaheim.

    He doesn't run very well—I get that—but neither does the guy he will one day replace—Albert Pujols. If Cron hits for the kind of power scouts predict he will, then running won't be that big of a deal anyway.

    His glove, however, might be a big deal. Whereas Pujols has found ways to flourish with his slow-footed defense, Cron has not, but that can always be an improvable facet of Cron's game, especially when his bat is strong enough to overshadow shortcomings on the defensive side. 

     

    Stock Watch: Up 

No. 4 Prospect: 2B Taylor Lindsey

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    2013 Stats

    .261/.320/.424, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 21 R

     

    Overview

    Taylor Lindsey is another rising prospect in Double-A Arkansas.

    More of an offensive-minded second baseman, Lindsey is hitting .261 with seven home runs this season. His aggressiveness and ability to get the most out of what he has reminds me somewhat of a taller Dustin Pedroia.

    That isn't bad company, though it's a Red Sox comparison. Sorry. 

    Lindsey is slated to make an impact in 2014, but with Howie Kendrick still being—well, Howie Kendrick—I just don't him getting a real chance. The fact his defense would keep him out of the "platoon role" category means there wouldn't be a real need to waste the roster spot, regardless.

    However, he does have the same kind of power Kendrick possesses so if there is improvement defensively, he will certainly make for a fine addition to the Angels' right side of the infield in the future.

     

    Stock Watch: Up 

No. 5 Prospect: RF Kole Calhoun

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    2013 Stats

    .387/.486/.581, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R

     

    Overview

    I have to give credit to Kole Calhoun. Although he was outmatched in spring training by a very impressive J.B. Shuck, he has kept progressing towards becoming a big league player.

    However, I still believe that may not necessarily be day will be with the Los Angeles Angels. 

    Calhoun has all the tools. He has the defensive speed to play all of the positions in the outfield, a good eye at the plate to complement his gap-to-gap swing and though his power isn't a plus, his consistency at the plate is more than enough to make him a threat.

    He has only 62 at-bats this season in limited action due to a broken hamate bone that sidelined him in April, but he is making the best of that time. In 15 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, Calhoun is hitting .387 with three home runs, 15 RBI and a .466 OBP. 

    That production is proof Calhoun has too much talent not to be on a big league roster.

     

    Stock Watch: Up 

No. 6 Prospect: IF Luis Jimenez

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    2013 Stats

    Minors: .250/.298/.333,1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R

    Majors: .232/.264/.275, 2 RBI, 3 2B, 10 R

     

    Overview

    The Angels got a small glimpse of Luis Jimenez already this season because of injury to Alberto Callaspo. Unfortunately, it was not a lasting performance.

    The right-handed role player hit .232 in 24 games with the Angels, playing on both the right and left sides of the infield. Though he did a decent job filling the void while Callaspo was out, his 24 strikeouts in only 69 at-bats glorified his free-swinging approach that has hindered him at the lower levels as well.

    Currently, Jimenez is in Triple-A Salt Lake, where he is hitting .250 with 13 strikeouts and only 21 hits. The power potential may still keep him around this season with the Angels' big league club, but I would imagine that eventually Kaleb Cowart will jump over him in the depth chart.

    Though he is a pivotal athlete who can play all the infield positions, it would be difficult to see Jimenez sticking around in the future. Playing time will be sparse in the infield and he could be the odd man out. 

     

    Stock Watch: Down 

     

No. 7 Prospect: LF/RF Randal Grichuk

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    2013 Stats

    .243/.296/.491, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 27 R

     

    Overview

    Randal Grichuk has the power, arm and solid defense to get to the big league level, but the strikeout prone right-hander just has not been impressive enough overall to earn any real chance of breaking into the Angels' crowded outfield—either now or in the future.

    There's no question that he is talented with eight home runs in 48 games this year at Double-A Arkansas, 22 RBI and the scouts love his arm. 

    However, he has also stuck out 36 times in those 38 games. That’s a lot, enough to keep him from gaining ground on the Angels' other talented outfielders. 

     

    Stock Watch: Down

No. 8 Prospect: CF Travis Witherspoon

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    2013 Stats

    .183/.263/.339, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 25 R

     

    Overview

    As much as I liked Travis Witherspoon during spring training, he has certainly done his best to sway my opinion since then.

    The right-handed speedster has the talent and a great arm. I also liked his approach at the plate, though scouts say he fails at recognizing pitches. 

    However, his start to 2013 has been shaky at best. In 52 games at Double-A Arkansas Witherspoon has failed to reach the Mendoza Line, hitting a dismal .183 with a .263 OBP. His 50 strikeouts are only slightly less unimpressive than his meager 10 steals.

    If he can get it together, then he has a chance to be something special. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening in this organization.

     

    Stock Watch: Down 

No. 9 Prospect: RHP Mark Sappington

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    2013 Stats

    12 GS, 68 IP, 3.97 ERA, 65 K, 35 BB

     

    Overview

    Though just in High-A ball at Inland Empire in San Bernardino, Calif., Mark Sappington has shown an upside that should give the Angels a sign of hope for the future rotation.

    That's saying a ton considering Sappington was just drafted in 2012.

    With a 6'5" frame affecting the downward plane of his sinking fastball, Sappington uses the Crash Davis method of pitching, averaging around a 1.46 ground-out/fly-out ratio. His walk-to-strikeout ratio is not where it should be and may be the main reason opposing teams are only hitting .224 off of him while his ERA is 3.97. 

    He still has a long road ahead, mainly learning to pitch to more-accomplished hitters as he goes up the ranks, but his performance thus far has been impressive.

    At least in the world of social media, there should be credit given for a creative Twitter handle—@sappDIESEL.

    Well-played, young sir…nice touch.

     

    Stock Watch: Up

No. 10 Prospect: RHP Daniel Tillman

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    2013 Stats

    8 G, 8.1 IP, 8.64 ERA, 6 K, 10 BB

     

    Overview

    When it comes to Daniel Tillman, there is a lesson to be learned—"miles per hour" means very little if the pitcher can't control what is registering on the radar gun.

    That's a shame in Tillman's case. While he loomed as another bullpen fix for the Angels via their farm system, Tillman's lack of control has overshadowed his 98 mph fastball, leaving little hope for him to make an impact with the big league club—or even Triple-A.

    In eight games at Double-A Arkansas, Tillman has walked 10 and struck out six, posting an ERA of 8.64. Scouts still love his fastball and his slider has been rated above average.

    When his slider is on, you can see why he has averaged 11-plus strikeouts per nine innings. When it's off, you can see why he is struggling to last in Double-A. Unfortunately, he has been off more than on.

     

    Stock Watch: Down

     

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