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Last year's Angels list

The Top Ten

  1. LHP Andrew Heaney
  2. LHP Sean Newcomb
  3. RHP Joe Gatto
  4. RHP Chris Ellis
  5. RHP Nick Tropeano
  6. 3B Kyle Kubitza
  7. RHP Cam Bedrosian
  8. 2B Taylor Featherston
  9. SS Roberto Baldoquin
  10. RHP Trevor Gott

1. Andrew Heaney
Position: LHP
DOB: 06/05/1991
Height/Weight: 6’2” 185 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #30 (Top 101)
2014 Stats: 5.33 ERA (25.1 IP, 26 H, 17 K, 6 BB) at major-league level, 3.87 ERA (83.2 IP, 75 H, 91 K, 23 BB) at Triple-A New Orleans, 2.35 ERA (53.2 IP, 45 H, 52 K, 13 BB) at Double-A Jacksonville
The Tools: 6+ FB; 6+ potential SL; 5+ potential CH

What Happened in 2014: Heaney pitched 137 1/3 innings across two levels, striking out a batter an inning in the process, but hit some resistance in his first taste of The Show.

Strengths: Repeatable delivery; athletic; easy arm action; fastball jumps on hitters due to deceptive release; comfortably operates in low 90s with arm-side run; will reach for more when needs it; can throw heater to both sides of the plate; snaps slider with a loose wrist; capable of changing shape; buries for chases and shortens for strikes; grades as present plus; flashes feel for change; displays bottom-dropping action.

Weaknesses: Fastball can grab a lot of plate; more of a strike-thrower than spotter with offering; command can get loose; velocity ticks up and down; can stand to add more strength to withstand rigors of position; at times struggles to maintain release of slider; starts too low for consistent chases; change lags behind other offerings; lacks turnover and high-quality action.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; no. 2/3 starter

Realistic Role: 6; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; achieved major leagues; command progression.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The clear top fantasy prospect in the Angels’ system, Heaney will get another crack at fantasy viability in 2015. He’s likely to be more of a contributor in the ratios than in strikeouts, but don’t sell him short on the latter—he has the potential to miss more bats with sharpened command. He should be a strong SP3 for a long time.

The Year Ahead: Heaney should have the inside track on a rotation spot with the big club this spring, and there’s little left for him to prove in the minors. When the left-hander is on, he flashes three major-league caliber offerings and an ability to work hitters in a variety of ways. The 23-year-old’s easy, balanced delivery allows the overall stuff to play up, and there is some deception baked in with the ball seemingly jumping out of his uniform, especially when delivering his heater. While Heaney’s athleticism and fluid actions allow him to repeat his mechanics, he can get into trouble working too much of the white and he’ll need to improve upon the fastball command in order to limit solid contact against elite hitters. Fortunately, the lefty has some potential command growth in front of him thanks to the ease in which he delivers the ball and his overall athleticism, so this hopefully will not linger as a long-term issue. The profile is solid and 2015 should serve as the first step in earnest towards Heaney establishing himself as a mid-rotation mainstay. He’s the clear-cut headliner in this system and one of the better left-handed arms percolating through the ranks across baseball.

Major league ETA: Made debut in 2014

2. Sean Newcomb
Position: LHP
DOB: 06/12/1993
Height/Weight: 6’5” 240 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st Round, 2014 draft, University of Hartford (West Hartford, CT)
Previous Ranking: N/A
2014 Stats: 7.15 ERA (11.1 IP, 13 H, 15 K, 5 BB) at Low-A Burlington, 3.00 ERA (3 IP, 3 H, 6 K, 1 BB) at complex-level AZL
The Tools: 6+ potential FB; 6 potential SL; 5 potential CH; 5 potential CB

What Happened in 2014: Newcomb showed off a workhorse build and four average or better major-league offerings during a strong spring for Hartford before being selected by the Angels in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Strengths: Big man; durable build; very easy arm; fastball jumps; heater works comfortably 90 to 94 mph and can reach 97; low-80s slider will flash plus with tilt; one-to-seven curve comes with solid depth in mid- to upper 70s; changeup will flash average with fade; can fill up strike zone with fastball; projects as innings eater; lots of room for growth given limited track record and exposure to advanced instruction.

Weaknesses: Limited track record; control profile well ahead of command; can throw fastball to both sides but catches a lot of white and doesn’t command to quadrants; trouble finding consistent release with curve; will alter arm slot between curve/slider; changeup not yet in heavy rotation; can struggle to repeat mechanics and keep handle on big body; upper and lower half can get out of sync.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; strong baseline but more development/refinement required than typical first-round collegiate arm.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Though he may be a slower mover than other college arms, Newcomb still could claim a well-rounded SP3 ceiling for fantasy. The strikeouts could be tough to get unless a couple of secondaries play up to their potential, but the park will help him once he gets to the major-league level. He’s a strong third-round choice in dynasty drafts this year.

The Year Ahead: Newcomb’s profile is atypical for a first-rounder. The brawny lefty is a cold-weather collegiate arm with the body and raw stuff to warrant first-round selection, but his limited track record and inconsistent execution carry with them a fair amount of risk. Evaluators all agree the raw materials are here for developing a 200-plus inning mid-rotation arm, and Newcomb’s more fervent supporters insist that the stuff will jump across the board once he has a year of pro instruction under his belt. He needs to tighten up his game, starting with better repeating his mechanics and showing capacity to spot his curve and changeup to both sides of the plate. If he can pull himself into alignment mechanically such that he is working with a consistent batch of offerings, there is potential for Newcomb to take off quickly thereafter. He will likely jump to the High-A California League this spring and will progress as quickly as his stuff and performance allows, with a 2016 Anaheim debut attainable.

Major league ETA: 2016

3. Joe Gatto
Position: RHP
DOB: 06/14/1995
Height/Weight: 6’3” 205 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2014 draft, St. Augustine Prep (Richland, NJ)
Previous Ranking: N/A
2014 Stats: 4.50 ERA (2 IP, 3 H, 1 K, 0 BB) at rookie-level Orem, 5.40 ERA (25 IP, 33 H, 15 K, 9 BB) at complex-level AZL
The Tools: 6 potential FB; 5+ potential CB; 5+ potential CH

What Happened in 2014: Gatto put together inconsistent but promising performances between the showcase circuit and a cold-weather spring, and continued in that vein at the pro ranks with softer stuff in season but a solid showing through instructs.

Strengths: Pro body; room for more strength; stuff projects; easy arm, repeats well; upper-80s to low-90s fastball can reach mid-90s at present; curve will flash above average with downer action; shows feel for changeup in nascent stages; solid athleticism; steady demeanor; low-mileage arm.

Weaknesses: Present stuff lacks consistent pop; fastball can come flat and hittable over the meat of the plate; still developing feel for secondaries; inconsistent release can leave curve soft and slurvy; change can get firm, losing fade mid-80s and up; still learning the craft; needs to build up durability and hold stuff later into outings.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; rookie-level resume.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: This is exactly how sad the Angels system is these days. Gatto shouldn’t be more than a periphery arm in dynasty drafts, as his upside isn’t huge and he’s very far away from the majors.

The Year Ahead: Gatto joined Sean Newcomb as the top two 2014 arms out of the northeast, and the Angels were happy to pop the duo with their first two picks in the June draft. The former UNC commit has shown flashes of future mid-rotation stuff, including a plus fastball and two above-average secondaries in his curve and change piece. There is a fair amount of room for growth with Gatto, which is good because the present profile remains a good bit off from where he needs to be in order to realize his potential as a future number three. His ability to better maintain his stuff should increase as he continues to add strength through natural maturation, and his easy motion and solid athleticism should aid him in implementing pro instruction en route to solidifying his mechanics and finding consistency in execution. He should see significant innings in the Midwest League next year, where he will look to lay a sound developmental foundation from which to work.

Major league ETA: 2018

4. Chris Ellis
Position: RHP
DOB: 09/22/1992
Height/Weight: 6’4” 190 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 3rd round, 2014 draft, University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS)
Previous Ranking: N/A
2014 Stats: 7.04 ERA (15.1 IP, 17 H, 16 K, 8 BB) at rookie-level Orem
The Tools: 5+ three-way FB; 6 potential CH; 5+ potential CB

What Happened in 2014: The converted reliever logged 116 innings for Ole Miss, putting together a solid spring despite not missing many bats along the way, and was eased into pro ball via limited action at rookie-level Orem.

Strengths: Three-way fastball plays above average in the 88 to 93 mph velocity band, coming with sink, cut, and run; upper-80s cutter can miss barrels and tie up oppo bats; off-speed comes with some arm-speed deception and works well off heater, drawing soft contact; power curve will flash average to a tick above, with solid bite; high-waisted with solid extension to home; recent convert to starting with limited mileage.

Weaknesses: Saw stuff back up some in pro debut; may lack consistency in breaking ball to miss bats with regularity; can struggle to spot curve; lacks impact velocity; reliant on moving fastball around zone and altering finish; thin frame does not portend significant increase in bulk; limited track record as starter; some issue maintaining quality of stuff later in games.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4 starter/late-inning reliever

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; limited track record as starter and 15-inning pro resume.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Ellis is like Gatto, but worse. Unless your league rosters more than 300 prospects, he shouldn’t even hit your radar.

The Year Ahead: Ellis is an interesting projection case, as the rangy frame comes with narrow hips and does not necessarily point to a significant increase in bulk. The same, Ellis handled a significant jump in innings (over 130 total innings pitched between amateur and pro ball), and while there was some downtick later in games and over his pro appearances, the former Rebel looks to have initially taken well to his conversion from the pen. In order to turn over pro lineups consistently, Ellis will need to continue to develop his breaking ball to the point where it is a dependable offering that can help to change hitters’ eye level and keep bats off the fastball/changeup plane. If that development never manifests, the fastball and change-up might be enough to keep hitters honest, and in any event could play well out of the pen. The Angels should continue to ease Ellis into rotation work, as the righty will be taxed for the first time with starting on less than a full-week’s rest. He should see mostly sub-Double-A time in 2015, with an eye to a full season of upper-level ball in 2016 with continued development.

Major league ETA: 2017

5. Nick Tropeano
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/27/1990
Height/Weight: 6’4” 200 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 5th round, 2011 draft, Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY)
Previous Ranking: Factor on the Farm (Houston Astros)
2014 Stats: 4.57 ERA (21.2 IP, 19 H, 13 K, 9 BB) at MLB Houston, 3.03 ERA (124.2 IP, 90 H, 120 K, 33 BB) at Triple-A Oklahoma City
The Tools: 6 CH; 5+ FB; 5 potential SL

What Happened in 2014: Tropeano put together a strong Pacific Coast League campaign, leading the league in ERA and WHIP while striking out almost a batter per inning, before receiving a four-start September cup of coffee.

Strengths: Solid strength; built to shoulder a major-league workload; low-90s fastball effective down in the zone; works effectively to both sides of the dish; changeup is plus offering with arm speed and slot deception, late tumble; natural deception in delivery with some jerkiness serving to disrupt hitters’ timing; solid control profile; improved sequencing and comfort working forwards and back.

Weaknesses: Breaking ball is fringe average at present; not a consistent weapon; slider can lack bite and has tendency to hug swing plane; will run into trouble repeating release; can get imprecise in the zone; fastball lacks impactful velocity; reliant on deception and location; thin margin for error against major-league lineups; needs consistent breaking ball to turn over major-league lineups.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; no. 3/4 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; major-league ready.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Before the Heaney trade, Tropeano was an interesting AL-only and deep-league target for 2015, but now he looks to be on the outside looking in for this year. Still, he should be on the near-term radar on deep leaguers as a boring option who could get a few starts and put up decent ratios.

The Year Ahead: It’s not a sexy profile, but Tropeano offers plenty of value as a solid bet to provide 175-plus innings in the back of a big-league rotation. The command profile isn’t yet where it needs to be in order for him to find consistent success at the highest level, but he is far enough along in his development that he could finish this refinement with the big club if he earns a spot in the opening day rotation. Should he return to Triple-A it shouldn’t take long for Tropeano to find his way to the Halos, be it via a spot start/swingman capacity or as a rotation member. The overall stuff probably limits his ceiling to that of a fringy number three, but the floor is reasonably high and the progress he has shown over the past year with respect to improved comfort in sequencing and pounding the lower “U” of the strike zone with his fastball are both solid indicators that he has the ability to make the final adjustments necessary to stick in the bigs, long term.

Major league ETA: Debuted in 2014

6. Kyle Kubitza
Position: 3B
DOB: 07/15/1990
Height/Weight: 6’3” 215 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 3rd round, 2011 draft, Texas State University (San Marcos, TX)
Previous Ranking: NR
2014 Stats: .295/.405/.470 at Double-A Mississippi (132 games)
The Tools: 6 arm; 5+ potential power; 5 potential hit; 5 potential glove

What Happened in 2014: The third baseman spent the 2014 season in the Southern League, where he hit .295 with 50 extra-base hits, and made his way to Los Angeles this offseason as part of a package exchanged for Ricardo Sanchez.

Strengths: Strong body; good size; quick stroke; strong wrists and forearms; can barrel up offerings with backspin; power to tap into; drives ball into both gaps well; willing to use the whole field; patience at the plate; not afraid to hit with a strike or two; will methodically look for pitch; plus arm; plenty of arm for hot corner; quick feet; soft hands.

Weaknesses: Can be awkward with footwork in field; will needlessly rush plays; average reactions; can miss in the zone; clear spots to work to—chases up and away in the dirt; hit tool will likely play fringe average; swing more geared toward line drives; over-the-fence power a question; no real lead offensive tool; not much growth left.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; above-average regular

Realistic Role: High 4; bench player/below-average regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; 132 games at Double-A; defensive profile.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The recently acquired third baseman ranks as the second-best fantasy profile in this system, which is as much of a statement about the Angels as it is Kubitza. There’s a chance he could hit .260 with 15-20 homers, which would make him a usable third baseman in most non-shallow formats.

The Year Ahead: Kubitza took his biggest step forward as a pro this past season in Double-A, proving he could handle advanced competition and continuing an upward developmental trend toward a big-league debut. That debut could very well come at some point in 2015 with a similar showing in Triple-A, with Kubitza stepping in as the top third-base prospect in the Angels’ system. Nothing truly pops off the page for Kubitza outside of the arm, but the bat, power, and glove can all play right around average, forming a solid baseline for major-league production. The aesthetics of the third baseman’s games don’t sing to observers, but he makes it work, and should at minimum provide a decent option as a limited utility type. The perfect-world scenario is that Kubitza continues to blossom to the point where a solid-average hit/power profile, combined with average defense, come together to provide an above-average everyday profile in the aggregate.

Major league ETA: 2015

7. Cam Bedrosian
Position: RHP
DOB: 10/02/1991
Height/Weight: 6’0” 205 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, East Coweta HS (Sharpsburg, GA)
Previous Ranking: Factor on the Farm
2014 Stats: 6.52 ERA (19.1 IP, 23 H, 20 K, 12 BB) at MLB Los Angeles, 7.71 ERA (7 IP, 5 H, 10 K, 6 BB) at Triple-A Salt Lake, 1.11 ERA (32.1 IP, 10 H, 57 K, 10 BB) at Double-A Arkansas, 0.00 ERA (5.2 IP, 1 H, 15 K, 2 BB) at High-A Inland Empire
The Tools: 6 FB; 5+ potential SL

What Happened in 2014: Bedrosian opened the year with two dominant months between High-A Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas, holding opposition bats to a .079 batting average while striking out almost two batters per inning over 24 frames, and sped through seven Triple-A innings before an uneven 19-plus inning stint out of the Angels pen to close the year.

Strengths: Power pairing in mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider; fastball features a little giddy up; pitches aggressively with offering, including on the inner half and up in the zone; slider flashes plus with late bite; will occasionally drop a fringy curve as a change-of-pace pitch; late-inning mindset; fortitude for high-leverage work.

Weaknesses: Can get loose in the zone with the fastball; slider isn’t yet a consistent plus offering; can overthrow out of the zone and come around, on occasion; change is often too firm, coming flat up in the zone.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; late-inning relief/second-tier closer

Realistic Role: 5; late-inning relief

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; major-league ready but power-reliever volatility; Tommy John in the file.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Any time you have a high-end relief prospect in a good park, there’s a temptation to invest, but he’s at best third in line for saves, so even if he’s very good, there’s no guarantee he ever gets there.

The Year Ahead: It’s tough to envision a better start to a season than Bedrosian spun off, and despite less-than-attractive pure production between Triple-A Salt Lake and Anaheim, a lot of the characteristics that contributed to Bedrosian’s early-month domination remained with him over the balance of the season. He is a traditional power arm that relishes the opportunity to challenge hitters with his fastball, and at his best can deploy his slider with great effect thanks to its fastball-like trajectory and late action. He was roughed up a bit against more advanced bats, but through further exposure the former Georgia-prep product should be able to tease out the nuance in approach necessary to unwrap major-league hitters, including proper in/out sequencing and better picking his spots to challenge hitters up in the zone. He could break camp with the Angels, but a return to Salt Lake to continue to hone his craft could do him some good, as well. Either way he stands a good chance of providing solid value for Los Angeles in 2015 and could ultimately compete for the ninth-inning job.

Major league ETA: Debuted in 2014

8. Taylor Featherston
Position: 2B/SS
DOB: 10/08/1989
Height/Weight: 6’1” 185 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 5th round, 2011 draft, Texas Christian University (Forth Worth, TX)
Previous Ranking: NR
2014 Stats: .260/.322/.439 at Double-A Tulsa
The Tools: 5 potential hit; 5 glove; 5 run; 5 arm

What Happened in 2014: Featherston put together a solid all-around showing over 127 Texas League games before impressing evaluators with steady hands and an advanced approach during the Arizona Fall League.

Strengths: Balanced profile; compact stroke with slightly above-average bat speed; generates hard contact with carry; solid power to gaps with over-the-fence strength to pull; feel for strike zone; chance to grow on-base profile; clean actions in field; steady defender; arm to turn two and handle left-side action; lower half works across dirt; good feel for game.

Weaknesses: Profile lacks impact; limited ceiling; lacks carrying tool; can be beat up in the zone; can struggle to adjust behind in count; vulnerable to same-side spin and off-speed, particularly behind in count; bat can be led out of zone.

Overall Future Potential: 5; average major leaguer

Realistic Role: High 4; below-average regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; high-minors success.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Feel free to ignore Featherston in anything other than 18-team leagues and deeper. If you play in a format that fits into that category, he could be usable as an unexciting middle-infield option. I mean, he is behind Josh Rutledge on the depth chart.

The Year Ahead: Featherston has the potential to grow into a useful everyday player and could thrive in a utility role or as the right-handed half of a platoon. His compact stroke works well across the zone, and he shows a high level of comfort in the box, particularly against oppo-side arms. There is enough juice in the barrel to keep pitchers honest, and low double-digit home run totals are attainable. Defensively, the TCU product has the actions and arm to handle short, but the range is shy of ideal for an everyday gig. He profiles as a quality utility glove who can provide positive value across the dirt and whose defensive versatility could be further expanded to include an outfield corner should the Angels so desire. Featherston will have an opportunity to break camp in a utility capacity and figures to see action in Anaheim one way or another in the near future.

Major league ETA: 2015

9. Roberto Baldoquin
Position: SS
DOB: 05/14/1994
Height/Weight: 5’11” 185 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2015, Cuba
Previous Ranking: N/A
2014 Stats: N/A
The Tools: 5 potential power; 5+ potential hit; 5+ potential glove; 5 arm

What Happened in 2014: Baldoquin defected from Cuba in pursuit of a major-league gig and inked with Los Angeles for $8 million this offseason.

Strengths: Tracks well for age and experience; shows feel for the strike zone and the foundation for on-base production; can produce hard contact to the gaps across the hit zone; room to grow into some over-the-fence power; hands play up the middle; quick hands; smooth transfer; clean from receipt to release, helping arm play up.

Weaknesses: Some length from load to contact; inconsistent launch can pull barrel off plane and out of zone; swing length could lead to adjustment issues, particularly against more advanced secondaries; lateral quickness may be a step slow for shortstop long term, particularly if lower half fills in further; inconsistent international competition; limited relevant track record.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; above-average regular

Realistic Role: High 4; below-average major leaguer/utility

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; yet to debut; uneven international competition.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There are going to be owners in all leagues who reach for Baldoquin in dynasty drafts this year just because he’s a Cuban guy who signed for a large amount of money. Don’t let that fool you though, this isn’t a special talent. While he could be a middle-infield option in time, and a stronger one in points leagues, taking him before the middle of the third round is a poor decision.

The Year Ahead: The investment made in signing Baldoquin says everything that need be said with respect to the Angels’ belief in his ability to develop into their shortstop of the future. Should the body and range ultimately force the Cuban native off of the six spot, he should find a home across the bag at the key stone, where his quick release and firm carry on his throws would serve him well at the margins and turning two. With solid foundational value in the glove, the ultimate ceiling on the profile will be tied to Baldoquin’s feel to hit. There is enough bat speed and projected strength to dream on an impactful bat, with his contact ability determining the extent to which he is able to tap into that potential. The upside is an above-average hit and on-base profile with average aggregate power production skewed to doubles, all wrapped in an up-the-middle defensive profile. He should spend the bulk of 2015 in Double-A, though the Angels will not shy away from challenging him should he prove worthy of an accelerated development plan.

Major league ETA: 2016

10. Trevor Gott
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/26/1992
Height/Weight: 6’0” 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 6th round, 2013 draft, University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
Previous Ranking: NR
2014 Stats: 2.83 ERA (28.2 IP, 22 H, 29 K, 16 BB) at Double-A San Antonio/Arkansas, 3.16 ERA (31.1 IP, 28 H, 31 K, 9 BB) at High-A Lake Elsinore
The Tools: 6 FB; 5 SL

What Happened in 2014: The former Kentucky closer had no issue navigating his way through a hitter-friendly Cal League through the first half of the season or handling advanced Double-A bats in the second half, leaving him a step away from his major-league debut.

Strengths: Plus fastball sits low 90s with lots of weight; very difficult to lift down in zone; flat trajectory coupled with sink draws lots of soft contact; slider can be swing-and-miss offering when properly set-up; shows some feel for changeup; willing to throw change and slider early in count; maintains focus and mechanics with runners on; brain and stomach for high-leverage situations.

Weaknesses: Slightly undersized; fastball can lack plane and angle; can be hittable waist and up; has tendency to overthrow slider; when slider and change are not effective, fastball can lose effectiveness; bat-missing ability could be limited against major-league bats without more consistency and precision with slider.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; late-inning relief/second-tier closer

Realistic Role: 5; late-inning relief

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; fewer than 100 pro innings; reliever-volatility risk.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Take everything that I said about Bedrosian, but tone down the excitement a notch. Gott has the stuff to be a good major-league reliever, but there’s just no reason to own him in fantasy leagues right now.

The Year Ahead: It was a strong 2014 campaign for the former sixth-rounder, with Gott pounding his way through two levels, reaching Double-A after just 67 professional innings. Because the righty lacks significant plane and angle on his heater, the pitch relies heavily on late sink and an ability to throw to both sides of the plate to avoid hard contact. The slider is an adequate partner for the fastball and could grow into a true swing-and-miss offering once he finds a slightly tighter handle on the pitch and is better able to utilize it with precision and consistency. While he doesn’t need the changeup in order to succeed out of the pen, there is enough feel for the pitch to project it to fringe average or better with continued developmental focus. Gott is ready for Triple-A and should be afforded the opportunity to further refine his arsenal at that level with the Angels armed with adequate right-handed relief options at present. He profiles as a capable late-inning arm, long term, and could see some time in Los Angeles this summer should the need arise.

Major league ETA: 2015

Prospects on the Rise:

1. RHP Victor Alcantara: While the likely future for Alcantara and his double-plus fastball remains in the pen, 2014 represented an encouraging step forward in the power-righty’s efforts to grow into a viable starter. His mid- to upper-90s heater proved too much for Midwest League bats to handle, allowing him to power through 125 innings in spite of a slider and split-change than both continue to register as below average offerings. Further, the control likewise remains below average at present, though the Dominican native found a little more consistency in his execution this past year, helping him to find the strike zone with a little more regularity than in years past. While the ramp up in innings and overall production were positive signs for Alcantara, he will need to show more progress in 2015 in building his secondaries up to fighting weight while finding more pitch-to-pitch uniformity in his choppy mechanics if he’s to find a long-term home in a rotation.

2. RHP Jeremy Rhoades: The Illinois State standout enjoyed a loud spring with time spent both in the rotation and in the pen. After being selected by Los Angeles in the fourth round of the June draft, Rhoades worked three-inning stints at rookie-level Orem, alternating between starting and relief work, bringing his aggregate innings total for the year above 115 innings between amateur and pro ball. Rhoades’s go-to pitch is a mid-80s slider that he wields with precision to both sides of the plate against lefty and righty bats alike. He can tighten the pitch up to a shorter upper-80s breaker with cutter action, as well, and does a good job using that variation to bridge the gap to his low-90s fastball. Despite a big pro body capable of handling a starter’s load, Rhoades doesn’t maintain his stuff particularly well late into his outings, and he likely profiles best as a reliever where his fastball can regularly reach the 94/95 mph range and his slider could better play as a primary offering. He should start 2015 in Low-A, and could move quickly if and when the Angels opt to shift him into relief, full time.

3. LHP Greg Mahle: Mahle racked up 70 innings for UC Santa Barbara this spring, almost exclusively in relief, and logged another 37 for Angels affiliates after being drafted. Despite the hefty workload, Mahle continued to show well throughout the summer and into fall instructs, keeping hitters off balance with a fastball, changeup, curveball mix dealt from multiple arm slots ranging from true sidearm all the way to a three-quarters release. It isn’t overpowering stuff, but it comes with a deceptive, fast-paced motion that is difficult to time and can lead to a high level of unease in the box. His fastball and changeup each grade out as average offerings that play up due to his quirks, and while the curve is inconsistent in both shape and bite there is potential for it to ultimately settle in as a reliable third weapon. Mahle should step into the pen for High-A Inland Empire to start 2015 and could speed through the system in short order if he can find a little more consistency in execution.

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2015):

1. C Carlos Perez: An advanced glove with strong catch-and-throw skills, Perez could break camp as the reserve backstop for the Halos and has the defensive chops to settle into that role, long term. He will flash occasional pop at the plate and has enough feel for the barrel to make use of his strike-zone awareness, giving him a chance to provide some offensive value, albeit as a down-order stick. If he proves capable of leveraging his feel for the zone and occasional power, he could eventually develop into an everyday backstop at the major-league level.

2. LHP Nate Smith: Smith carved his way to Double-A Arkansas last year in spite of an average fastball and just 35 innings of pro experience entering the year. His bread and butter is an above-average to plus changeup that comes with deception and late dive. His curve comes and goes, and will need to be tightened up in order to consistently play against top-tier righty bats, but Smith’s overall feel and ability to work forwards and back with three offerings should be enough to allow him to operate as a back-end arm or swing man in the near future.

3. 2B Alex Yarbrough: It’s a ho-hum profile outside of the hit tool, which some evaluators grade out as high as plus. The utility of his barrel awareness and feel for contact is somewhat limited by an aggressive approach that eats into his on-base profile, but provided Yarbrough is able to maintain a high enough hard-contact rate he should prove an asset with the bat at the major-league level in some capacity. He is a fringy defender at the keystone and lacks the range or arm to profile well in a utility role, so his bat will need to shoulder the load.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/89 or later)

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Tyler Skaggs
  3. Andrew Heaney
  4. C.J. Cron
  5. Sean Newcomb
  6. Joey Gatto
  7. Chris Ellis
  8. Nick Tropeano
  9. Josh Rutledge
  10. Kyle Kubitza

Without the wunderkind Mike Trout, this list is probably the worst collection of talent since BP started putting together 25U lists. With him, however, they’re probably in the top half of baseball. Seriously, he’s that good. There’s nothing to say about Trout that hasn’t yet been articulated in every piece of baseball media the last few seasons. It’s important though, especially in this age of the 24-7 media cycle where everyone yearns for instant gratification, to take a step back and realize that we’re watching history unfold. Trout is not only a generational talent, but his three full seasons supersede all but a small collection—few enough to count on one hand—in terms of overall production. It’s often difficult to realize when you’re in the moment, but this is a guy who isn’t to be taken for granted.

In terms of mere mortals, Tyler Skaggs still looks like a middle of the rotation pitcher, but can flash more. He had plenty of ups and downs throughout his developmental path, yet at the ripe old age of 23, already has 180 innings worth of big-league experience under his belt. While he’s had limited success thus far in terms of run prevention, the stuff far outweighs the numbers, and his peripherals point to a pitcher who was unlucky in 2014. All of his fielding independent stats pointed to a league-average pitcher last year. Moreover, he regained three miles per hour of velocity, averaging 92 mph on his fastball last year, as opposed to an average of 89 mph in 2013.

Big right-handed power hitters tend to take longer to develop, if they ever come around at all, and C.J. Cron fits right into that ilk. He has plenty of strength and raw power, but fails to tap into it at full utility due to rough plate discipline. He only walked 3.9 percent of the time last year in the big leagues, a number that makes it virtually impossible to give him extended reps at 1B/DH. He’ll never be an on-base machine, but needs to improve his selectivity in order to let some of the power manifest. He has the upside of a second-division first baseman, with a below-average glove to boot.

The good news for Josh Rutledge, and well, all of us really, is that Erick Aybar plays shortstop and doesn't often get hurt, so Rutledge doesn’t have to fill in for the obligatory Troy Tulowitzki injury. He had a gigantic home/road split, a .315/.374/.467 line at Coors, and a much more pedestrian .215/.265/.333 away from the hitters' haven. The 250-point OPS gap is not uncommon to Rockies hitters, but Rutledge will have to make more hard contact in a park that isn’t as conducive to hitters. —Jordan Gorosh

A Parting Thought: There’s no sugarcoating the lack of depth in the system, or the limited impact presently populating the upper minors, but a solid crop of 2014 draftees and an intriguing collection of international signees making their way to the low minors give some hope that a restocking of the system is already underway.

Nick J. Faleris is a practicing structured finance attorney and Sports Industry team member in the Milwaukee office of Foley & Lardner LLP. The views he expresses at Baseball Prospectus are his own, and not necessarily those of the law firm.

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heterodude
2/06
First of all, the obligatory "where would Ricardo Sanchez fit onto this list?" Secondly, has the opinion changed much at BP regarding Natanael Delgado? He got a little bit of hype during Spring Training and the back-field notes, but his season definitely seemed to fizzle. I wasn't sure if the tools are there or were they ever really present in the first place.
NickFaleris
2/06
Sanchez would have been #3 or #4; he was jostling with Gatto. A former BP prospect team member/now pro scout got an early look at Delgado during 2013 instructs and pretty much nailed him in that first look. Upside bat/power, limited defensive profile, and lack of overall feel. Delgado has made some progress as to the latter but still sits as a high risk proposition. It's a long developmental burn, and he has yet to take that first significant step forward. If/when he does, he could build momentum pretty quickly. So, I can say my opinion hasn't really changed on Delgado, but I'm sure there are voices at BP who might be higher on him as the profile currently stands.
Muboshgu
2/06
Not exactly saving the best for last...
mbeemsterboer
2/06
Here's a fun one... If the Halos decided to trade Trout, how far would their system climb?
NickFaleris
2/06
Fun but impossible question to answer. But we'll try! Let's assume only prospects come back. Add two high quality ML ready prospects and two or three more upside kids a few years away. You're left with Heaney plus two more quality ML ready talents, Newcomb/Gatto/Ellis/3 more high ceiling types, a cluster of high floor/low ceiling upper-minors ML contributors/bullpen arms, and a cluster of upside complex level/international kids. Could be a borderline top ten system at that point.
deltarich
2/06
Thoughts on Sherman Johnson?
NickFaleris
2/06
Gamer, but college product from top tier conference who still hasn't reached Double-A. Players can come on late, but don't let Cal League numbers unfairly inflate your expectations.
Mark68
2/06
Where would Heaney be now on the Marlins' or Dodgers' (since he was with them for a few hours) lists?
NickFaleris
2/06
Heaney was #1 on Marlins list. Would have been #4 on Dodgers list.
jkaflagg
2/06
Does Gatto really profile as a guy who should start in Lo-A ball next year, or do you think the Angels will fast track him due to the thinness of their system ? Sounds like more of a guy who could use another year of short-season rookie ball to me.....
NickFaleris
2/06
He's on the old side (turns 20 this June) and has enough physicality to handle a full season load.
oldbopper
2/07
I am not surprised but it looks like Kaleb Cowart has disappeared into the ethernet.
lewist
2/07
I believe he made the "we hardly knew ye" list in prospect review earlier
NickFaleris
2/09
Could reemerge as a pitcher -- book isn't closed on him.