Angels projected rosters are up. As many stars that they have on the Major League team, there minor league system is really, really thin right now. In my opinion it is one of the worst in the big leagues right now, with the White Sox as another that comes quickly to mind. That being said, they do have the best young player in the game, so it's not like the future isn't bright in L.A. Just a few notes:
1. Hank Conger vs. Chris Ianetta is an interesting position battle to watch in Spring Training. Conger has a ton of upside and has looked very good at the plate in Spring Training so far, going 4-for-5 with a HR and a 2B. Ianetta is still penciled in as the starter, but it's a very light pencil.
2. There's no room for Vernon Wells, so the veteran OF is probably going to be relegated to a bench role.
3. Bill Hall has a very good chance to make the team as a super utility guy, as he's learned to play a little bit of OF to go along with 2B, 3B and SS. I loved him when he was with the Red Sox, seems like a really cool guy and I hope nothing but the best for him.
4. The organization's starting pitching is embarrassingly bad. Outside of Nick Maronde, who is possibly best suited to be a bullpen guy, they really have no real interesting starting pitching prospects. One guy to possibly keep an eye on, A.J. Schugel, got roughed up pretty badly today. Makes you wonder why they traded two of their best rotation prospects, Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg, for half a year of Zack Greinke. They also traded Donn Roach, early in the year, but did get a good return for him, in stud reliever Ernesto Frieri.
5. Most of the guys to really keep an eye on this year will be with AA-Arkansas for most of the year. This list includes C.J. Cron, Taylor Lindsey, Randal Grichuk, and probably Kaleb Cowart at some point. All of those guys hit reasonably well in the hitter friendly California league with Inland Empire.
6. As brilliant of a first round selection Mike Trout was, the Angels have really struck out with their 1st round picks other than that in recent years. Cron and Grichuk look potentially promising, but are not full blown studs, and the rest have really struggled. Two 2010 draftees, Chevy Clarke and Ryan Bolden, are probably on their last chances with the organization after struggling to hit at the Mendoza line since being drafted. Kaleb Cowart, also in the 2010 draft, has also been fairly dissapointing, but showed signs of his potential last season, cracking many Top 100 prospect lists this year.
7. The Angels did not have a draft pick last year until the 3rd round, where they selected a RHP from Florida Atlantic, R.J. Alvarez. He is a bullpen arm who should progress pretty quickly through the system.
Overall Farm System Grade: D
Top 10 Prospects
1. Kaleb Cowart, Inland Empire
2. Randal Grichuk, Arkansas
3. Nick Maronde, Salt Lake
4. C.J. Cron, Arkansas
5. Taylor Lindsey, Arkansas
6. Kole Calhoun, Salt Lake
7. R.J. Alvarez, Burlington
8. Travis Witherspoon, Arkansas
9. Alex Yarbrough, Inland Empire
10. A.J. Schugel, Arkansas
HM: Wade Hinkle, Zach Wright, Luis Jimenez, Austin Wood, Eswarlin Jimenez, Mark Sappington, Eric Stamets, Steve Geltz, Cameron Bedrosian