A breakout season lead to a jump in every prospects list. However, Zach Borenstein deserves it with his plate abilities, helped with all his tools being average to above average. He won the 2013 California League Most Valuable Player Award, and nearly won the Triple Crown of the league. He is a special player that most teams want, and Inside The Halos voters love his talents enough to put him at the start of our top ten.
The thing that all scouts talked about with us were Borenstein's abilities at the plate. He has outstanding bat speed, which creates a lot of power. Something he needs to improve on is reading pitches. Other than that, he makes good contact from the left-side of the plate. His aggressiveness leads to a lot of ground balls, and not many walks, but also had lead to a lot of hits to the gap and extra base hits.
Along with the bat speed comes power. He isn't the most powerful guy despite the numbers but he has potential to hit 20+ home runs in the Major Leagues. It also helps that he has a frame (six-foot-one, 205 pounds) that is behind that swing with a lot of that being muscle. This is something you have to see in person to understand but he has broad shoulders and naturally looks like a power hitter. One thing to look at with his home run numbers is that nearly half came in very hitter friendly parks in the Cal League. He also spent half the 2013 season in a pitcher friendly park, and still managed to maintain his power though.
Borenstein has good speed. Not necessarily a "base-stealer" but it helps him cover ground well in the outfield. He is naturally suited as a left fielder, and has hardly any problems defensively. He has a good glove, good speed, and good range.
Borenstein is a very average player, with potential to be an above average player. There are no flaws in any of his tools, but they can get better.
Borenstein's numbers have become better with each season. Out of the draft in 2011, where he was taken in the 23rd round, he hit .274/.397/.451, while maintaining a low strikeout count, something not many young batters can do.
In his first full season, Borenstein dropped ever so slightly but started adding to his power numbers. His slash was .266/.339/.485, which he added 11 home runs, 25 doubles, and 50 RBI to.
2013 was a breakout season for Borenstein. He won California League Most Valuable Player honors, and missed the Triple Crown by 12 RBI, but both players ahead of Borenstein were in hitter friendly parks. His .337/.403/.631 slash was the most impressive in the entire Angels farm system, as well as his system leading 28 home runs, and 95 RBI. Along with these power numbers, Borenstein struck out just 18% of his plate appearances. Borenstein also hit the gaps well with 22 doubles and 7 triples. It was a record season for the Angels in High-A over the past few seasons.
Borenstein was invited to the Arizona Fall League at the end of the 2013 season where he struggled. He hit .136/.321/.227, with just one home run.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Borenstein has to prove that 2013 wasn't a fluke due to his time in the hitter friendly Cal League. He is a hard worker though and will most likely show that it wasn't, most likely going to Double-A out of Spring Training. The Angels have been somewhat aggressive with Borenstein, particularly due to his bat, but also have not awarded him a callup at any point during the season.
As for Borenstein's future with the Angels, it's difficult. He's an outfielder which the Angels have many. It will take a lot for Borenstein to make the jump to the Major Leagues but he has the talent. Borenstein's estimated time of arrival to the Majors from our voters is 2016 with a progressive approach in the minors.
Eric Stamets, Shortstop
Speed and defense. Eric Stamets is the fastest prospect with the best glove in the Angels farm system. This isn't just our opinion, but the opinion of every scout, coach, and professional who has seen him. Stamets has an outstanding future with the Angels organization. We give you a look at who this young man is, and what makes him so special.
Something outstanding about Stamets game is his ability to read pitches. You rarely see him swing and miss, and he makes contact the majority of his at bats. He has a short swing with a slap hitting motion, creating a lot of balls pulled the left field line and down the middle of the infield. Stamets does have the ability to hit the gaps well though.
When Stamets hits to the gaps, he shows off his incredible speed. When we say incredible, we mean it. He is the fastest shortstop in the Angels system, and if it wasn't for Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds, he'd be possibly the fastest shortstop prospect in Minor League Baseball. Stamets has the ability to steal 20-30 bases in the Major Leagues currently. He will get the green light more often with an aggressive coach, and will most likely show it during Spring Training with Mike Scioscia, an aggressive base running coach.
Stamets has hardly any power. He will hit a home run every so often, but don't expect more than ten, or more than five necessarily.
Stamets defensive game is flawless. This is where the comparisons to Erick Aybar happen, because of his defense. He has great range in both directions, and has an arm to back it all up. It is something special when a prospect comes out of the draft with this great of defense. He is a potential Gold Glove Award winner of the future.
Stamets was thrown right in to Low-A out of the 2012 MLB Draft where he was taken in the sixth round. In his first season of professional baseball, he had zero struggles. His batting slash was .274/.323/.347, and he struck out just 13% of his plate appearances. Stamets showed why he was such a great asset to the Angels system middle infield early.
This past season was Stamets first full season as a professional, and exceeded his own expectations. Stamets dropped his strikeout percentage by two full points to 11%. Stamets showed he has good gap power with 28 doubles, and brought all of his batting numbers up to .281/.335/.375. Stamets also showed his speed, stealing 16 bases over the season.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Stamets is slightly older than another Angels middle infield prospect, Taylor Lindsey. He has put up almost identical numbers, and is a level behind Lindsey. We bring this up because it makes for an easy comparison. The Angels will most likely send Stamets to Double-A out of Spring Training for the 2014 season. Age is on their side, so there is no need to rush Stamets through the system.
Along with that, Stamets estimated time of arrival to the Major Leagues is 2016 when he will be 25-years-old. We expect Stamets to be an above average shortstop in the Major Leagues, possibly being compared to current Angels shortstop, Erick Aybar.
Hunter Green, LHP, Starter
A lover of all things outdoors, hunting, fishing, and baseball. Hunter Green, the Angels most recent first pick in the draft. We say first pick because the Angels did not have a first round pick, however, consensus says that Green was meant to go in the late first round. Sounds like a steal to us. The young man has a strong head on his shoulders, helped by a loving family. Hunter is a personal favorite of ours for not only his outstanding pitching, but his even more outstanding character.
Character doesn't always equate to talent, but luckily for Hunter Green, he has both. Green is still a young pitcher who weighs about 180 soaking wet, but he's only 18-years-old. When it comes to problems, who better to ask than... yourself? In an interview conducted with Hunter early in the off-season, he told us about what coaches are working on to improve his game.
"The biggest thing they've been working on with me is delivery. I've had some problems with leaking my front side and dragging, so they're just giving me a lot of drills and trying a new delivery with me just to help me stay back over the rubber so i can keep my velocity up. Sometimes I mess up in my delivery and my arm slot gets lower and I start losing feel for all my pitches."
Like we said, he has a strong head on his shoulders. Green's slight mechanics and delivery problems have effected his command of throwing strikes.
"I'd like to be a lot more consistent in the strike zone and bring my walks down, because I had a really hard time with that this year in my first season."
As for his pitches, he has three good ones. His fastball has an outstanding sinking movement to it, and sits anywhere from the high 80's to low 90's, with shades of 93. As Green mentioned, he could pick up some velocity, and it will also help that he's spending this off-season in the gym putting on weight. He said he added 15 pounds while in Rookie Ball, and is looking to add another ten this off-season, which would put him at six-foot-four and 200 pounds. With that, his velocity could pickup a few notches, and really make him a dominating left-handed pitcher.
Green's off-speed pitches have gotten "ten times better" since the draft according to Green. He changed the grip of his changeup and he now has almost perfect command of the pitch and can throw it in any count. It helped that he developed it by using it for his long toss and flat ground. His curve has developed well too, as he now uses it as his 0-2 count pitch, but also says he will use it in almost any count.
Green was sent to Tempe right out of the draft to spend time with the Rookie Ball AZL Angels. While he was there, he performed better than most 17-year-olds would. In eight games (seven starts). In his first start, he only went one inning, which is standard for the Arizona League, but he struck out a pair, walking none and allowing no hits, being a dominant pitcher for the afternoon. The rest of the season went pretty standard for the young man, as he finished the season with a 4.32 earned run average, and with his walk totals being very high (8.6 per nine), posted a 1.92 WHIP over 16.2 innings pitched.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Green showed us a small sample of what he has in the tank. With improvement and a strong showing at Spring Training, Green would like to head near his home town of Bowling Green, and land in Low-A Burlington for the 2014 season. It is likely that he could do it, but the Angels know he's young and time is on their side. Green will either spend time in Rookie Ball Orem, or Low-A Burlington out of Spring Training.
He's going to spend half of 2014 being 18-years-old, turning 19 in mid July. With that said, the Angels have no need to be aggressive with the young lefty. His estimated time of arrival to the Majors in our eyes is 2018. Although, he is something special and could become a star pitcher near the top of many rotations, including the Angels.
We rarely do this, but since we're such big fans of Hunter, we would like to wish him the best of luck (as well as all the prospects), in their future with the Angels.
Nick Maronde, LHP, Reliever
As a reliever, you have set roles in the bullpen. Nick Maronde did not start his career as a reliever, but is now, and is a gifted left-handed specialist. He has seen time in the Majors but is still at the Double-A level learning to develop himself. It is unspecified whether he'll be a full-time Angels reliever next season, or a part of the farm system, but it will help now with the American League Western Division getting new left-handed hitters with some serious bang.
Maronde has a pair of fastballs that sit in the low to mid 90's, which is good for a lefty. Maronde picked up a slight bit of velocity to his four-seam fastball over the past season and made him lose a slight amount of control while kicking back for extra gas. His four-seam sits mostly around 93-94. His two-seam breaks well away from right-handed batters and sits at 90-92.
Maronde has a high-end slider with a full sliding motion with a late drop. We say sliding because it breaks away from left-handed batters from the get go and all the way to the catcher's glove. This pitch sits in the mid 80's.
Maronde's changeup needs work on his follow through. This is one of the reasons he has been in the bullpen as opposed to the rotation.
Maronde has outstanding control on his slider, and has learned to command his fastball well lately after picking up some velocity. Control and command have never been much of a problem for Maronde, which will help him excel at the next level.
What makes Maronde such a good pitcher is his aggressive approach from the mound. You tend to hear the word approach with hitters, but Maronde has it from the mound. He is a "get the job done" kind of pitcher, and tries to get counts in his favor immediately, but still manages to paint the corners.
We haven't seen a player grow and progress like Maronde. He was drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft, and was sent to Rookie Ball where he posted a 2.14 earned run average and 1.101 WHIP while striking out nearly ten per nine.
2012 was something unique for Maronde. He began the season with three starts in Rookie Ball allowing one earned run, then made an immediate jump to High-A. In ten starts in High-A, Maronde put up some of the best numbers the league had seen with a .910 WHIP and 1.82 WHIP.
Maronde's 2012 wasn't done at that point either as he jumped to Double-A quickly, and appeared seven times (five starts) with a 3.34 earned run average and 1.299 WHIP. He never really dropped off, and on September 1st after the Texas League season ended, Maronde got a callup to the Majors, and appeared 12 times. While being a lefty specialist in the Majors at such a young age and young spot in his career, he posted a 1.50 earned run average with a 1.500 WHIP over just 6.0 innings.
2013 was similar for Maronde. He spent the majority of the 2013 season in Double-A, making 41 relief appearances, putting up a 3.51 earned run average, and with his walk count escalating quickly, his WHIP went up to 1.385. With a pair of callups, Maronde spent ten games with the big club, and it didn't go as well as his first time up. Maronde finished the 2013 season with a 6.75 earned run average and 2.250 WHIP while in the Majors.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
The Angels have been aggressive with Maronde, and it will be a mystery as to if he'll join the big club out of Spring Training or will be a part of the farm system still. We expect Maronde to spend most of his time in 2014 in Triple-A, with some callups over the season.
With the new bats in the American League West from the left-side of the plate (Prince Fielder, Shin Soo Choo, Robinson Cano), Maronde could be an asset as a left-handed specialist. He's seen Major League time already, and could be a full-time member of the bullpen in 2014. It is more likely that his "breakout" season will be 2015, when he can really shut down left-handed bats, but he will see Major League time in 2014.
Michael Morin, RHP, Reliever
A nasty three pitch arsenal, with one of the best changeups in the game, this prospect is an exciting one. Mike Morin, a future setup man in the Angels bullpen, comes in at number six. A breakout 2013 season isn't what turned Morin in to an elite prospect, but what he had that no one saw prior. Morin has the potential to be one of the most elite prospects in minor league baseball.
There are guys who were born to pitch, and Mike Morin is one of those guys. His command and control are beyond impressive. Strikes are plentiful from Morin and he places the ball exactly where he wants to. He challenges hitters well, and wins more battles than he loses (many more) from the mound.
Morin's fastball is pretty middle of the road. Velocity of the pitch sits in the low 90's around 91-93. Morin does a good job of keeping the ball low though, and at times will turn it in to a shoulder high, two-strike, chase fastball that is used as a strikeout pitch.
Morin has a curveball that is a "here's something new" pitch. It's nothing over the top spectacular, but it is effective, especially when he can throw it for strikes.
Morin's changeup is one of the best in all of minor league baseball, and once he hits the Majors, will be one of the best from Major League relievers. He can place it anywhere and use it in any count. Morin will become a strong asset to any Major League bullpen.
We asked a scout about Morin and of course the first thing he brought up was his changeup, but when we asked for a comparison, he said, "Jose Valverde, or better."
Morin came out of the draft strong, and his numbers were inflated by two poor performances out of his 24 appearances. Morin had two games where his location was off, walking five over the two games, allowing four hits, and a combined seven runs. If you take away these two appearances, Morin would have finished the season with a 3.24 earned run average, with a 1.230 WHIP. Instead, with these included, Morin finished the season with a 4.93 earned run average and 1.38 WHIP.
2013 was a breakout season for Morin that started in High-A, and ended in the Arizona Fall League. Morin was outstanding in the hitter friendly Cal League, posting a 1.85 earned run average, mostly due to allowing runs in just six of his 30 appearances. The most incredible numbers from Morin's High-A statistics were his .897 WHIP and 8.60 SO/BB ratio (1.2 BB/9 / 9.9 K/9).
Morin continued his success in Double-A in 2013. Morin had eight of his 26 appearances seeing ZERO base runners, and he boasted a 2.03 earned run average, 1.000 WHIP, and kept his walks and strikeout ratio nearly identical (1.5 BB/9 / 9.6 K/9).
Morin posted almost identical numbers in the Arizona Fall League to the rest of his season, finishing with a 2.03 earned run average and .83 WHIP, as well as not allowing a run in his first eight appearances (10.1 innings pitched).
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Mike Morin is possibly Major League ready now, but will most likely jump out of Spring Training in to Triple-A. We doubt anyone would be shocked if Morin didn't see Major League time during the 2014 season, and be a full time member by 2015. Morin has been used as a closer in the minors and college, but it is more likely that he will be used as a setup man in both Triple-A and in the Majors.
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