Prospect Countdown Review : #51-74

Top 100 Prospect Countdown, Review of Prospects #51-74.


51. Alan Busenitz, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'1
WT : 180 lb.
DOB : August 22, 1990, Watkinsville, GA
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA)
Acquired : Drafted in 25th round (757th overall) of 2013 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : N/A


He may not be a household name, but Alan Busenitz gets the job done. We took a poll of our writers, asking them if they could use one reliever for an inning of work this past season, who would it be. Wanna take a wild guess on who the majority voted on? Yep, Alan Busenitz.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Busenitz has a three pitch arsenal, consisting of a fastball, curveball and changeup. All come with superior command, and though don't come with a "wow" factor are effective in every sense.

Busenitz's fastball sits in the low 90's, primarily in the 92-94 MPH range. It has good running and sinking movement which allows weak contact to be made when contact is made.

Busenitz uses his changeup and curveball effectively as pitches to keep batters off balance. His curveball is more of a putaway pitch, with late drop and a heavy break.

Busenitz has great control, and uses it to his advantage hitting his marks, which is most likely the strongest part of his entire game.

Busenitz is also hard to read from the plate due to his deceptiveness. He starts his motion with a high leg kick and hides the ball better than most, allowing the ball to be hard to read out of the hand.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Busenitz was named a First-Team All-Northeast Georgia selection his junior and senior seasons at Athens Christian High School due to his bat and arm, where he was a four-letter winner.

Following that, he spent some time at Georgia Perimeter College, where he lead them to a Conference Championship in his freshman year. Busenitz finished his sophomore season with a 6-1 record, 2.67 ERA, and 59 strikeouts in 57.1 innings pitched, helping him be named A first-Team All-Region Selection and First-Team All-District Pick.

Busenitz made two starts for Kennesaw State, where he had a 4.2 inning outing against Virginia Tech, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk. His second start, he went 5.2 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out eight.

In Busenitz final college season, he allowed 32 hits and 11 earned runs in 35 innings, while striking out 39, holding a 3.03 ERA. Busenitz struck out five in a three innings performance against Auburn.

Busenitz launched into Rookie Ball, and excelled having 2/3 of his performances going scoreless. He finished with a 2.33 ERA, 1.060 WHIP, and 5-2 record.

Busenitz may have put together the best statistical performance of the 2015 season for relievers in the Angels farm system. He finished the year with a 1.94 ERA, 1.090 WHIP, .217 against average, and 17 saves. Right-handed bats had fits against Busenitz, posting a .200/.265/.227 slash against him. Busenitz shut down lead off bats, holding them to a .179/.220/.268 slash.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Busenitz has shined at the Low-A level, and High-A is waiting for him in 2015. Busenitz could be a fast track from this point depending on how well he competes against tougher competition, and he could see time in Double-A by the All-Star break.

When drafted, not many would expect Busenitz to be a threat for the big club, but after some terrific years in the minors, how could he not be considered a potential threat for the big club's bullpen? At the pace he is currently at, Busenitz could see Major League time by the 2017 season.







52. Chris O'Grady, Left-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'4
WT : 220 lb.
DOB : April 17, 1990, Congers, NY
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
Acquired : Drafted in 10th round (327th overall) of 2012 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Second highest draft pick in George Mason history


Chris O'Grady has a nice advantage over the rest of the prospect class, and that's his natural way of things. He's a lefty, who can adapt to a relief role, or mid relief, or starting role, or he can pick up a bat and do whatever the heck you ask of him. The advantage is only so much of an advantage though with his set talents that come with it.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Finesse is the best word to describe O'Grady. He has outstanding control, which comes with good understanding of himself and a slow approach from the mound.

O'Grady has made some small quirks to his mechanics over the years that have allowed him to pick up a few miles per hour on his fastball, and also maintain and improve upon his already good control.

O'Grady is one of the masters in the organization at keeping the ball low, and has recently found ways to elevate his fastball on two strike counts and get batters to chase. With his command, he has little concern of being drilled when elevating the ball.

O'Grady's best pitch is his cutter, which allows him to be aggressive against right-handed bats and conservative against lefties. This pitch sat mostly anywhere from 84-87 when we saw him, but the gun was broken and we were told he was in the high 80's and low 90's all night.

O'Grady uses a slider as just another offering and something different to hurl at guys at the plate. He has a solid changeup that has become a swing and miss pitch at the higher levels. It isn't anything pretty, but his placement of the pitch lets him excel and keep batters thinking of what's coming.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

At Clarkstown North High School, O'Grady played only his sophomore and junior season on varsity, spending his senior season on the DL due to a knee injury. As a sophomore though, O'Grady put together 40 strikeouts in 46 innings, while holding a 1.62 ERA, and was named to the First-Team All-Conference Team both his sophomore and junior year.

After making just one appearances his freshman year (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 ER), O'Grady came out large in his sophomore season, with a 3-1 record and 4.06 ERA, while holding bats to a .264 average. O'Grady picked up his first college win against Georgetown where he went scorelss for six innings, allowing just four hits. O'Grady held right-handed bats to a .239 average. He was named to the all CAA All-Rookie Team.

In his junior season, O'Grady posted a 5.40 ERA with a 3-3 record. He lead the team in strikeouts at 58 in 53.1 innings pitched, and also lead the team in strikeouts per nine at 9.79, all while walking just 27 over the season. O'Grady picked up his first career save in the final game of the season, where he went four innings of two hits, no walk, no run baseball.

In O'Grady's final season and final 37 innings of college baseball, he thrived, posting a 1.22 ERA with 14 saves and a 2-0 record, while striking out 51 and walking just 20, the same amount of hits he allowed. O'Grady's 14 saves tied a single-season school record, and broke school records in opposing batting average (.163), and fewest runs allowed in a season (6), with the second best ERA in school history. For GMU, O'Grady sits third all-time in saves at 15, 20th in appearances at 52, and 11th in strikeouts at 156. O'Grady has nine of his appearances go hitless, which helped earn him First-Team All-CCA honors, a finalist in the NCBWA Dick Howser Trophy and Stopper of the Year, and a NCBWA Third-Team All-American, First-Team ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region Player and First-Team VaSID All-State honoree.

O'Grady had a little bit of culture shock in his first taste of pro ball right out of the draft, posting a 5.87 ERA and 1.826 WHIP. However, with runners on with two outs, bats were limited to a .125/.125/.250 slash.

In his second year of pro ball, after a quick three game stint in Rookie Ball, O'Grady leaped into Low-A and was terrific. O'Grady finished 2013 with a 2.17 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, and .230 against average. 10 of O'Grady's 15 relief appearances went scoreless, including seven of those going without a base runner.

O'Grady started in his final five games of the season and held a 1.29 ERA, 1.035 WHIP, and .233/.275/.320 slash. O'Grady held left-handed bats to a .182/.190/.182 slash, and held bats to going just 5-for-27 with runners in scoring position.

O'Grady continued to excel in High-A this past season with a 3.33 ERA, 1.207 WHIP, 1.828 BB/9, 8.713 K/9, and allowing just five home runs in 83.2 innings pitched in the hitter friendly Cal League. 31 of his 45 appearances went scoreless, including 20 of those being multiple innings of work.

In the eighth inning of games, where O'Grady pitched the most, he held a 0.82 ERA, allowing two runs in 22 innings of work, and striking out 24, while walking only three.

O'Grady earned a spot on the Arizona Fall League roster this past fall, and pitched in eight games, allowing two runs in his final outing, to hold a 1.42 ERA. O'Grady allowed just five hits in 12.2 innings pitched.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

O'Grady definitely showed his versatility and abilities to compete at the High-A level in 2014, which means he should go to Double-A in 2015, and deservedly so.

O'Grady is nearing a Major League career. It obviously helps with him being a lefty and a pitcher, but the talents are there as well. It is likely that he'll hit the Majors sometime between 2016 and 2017, but there is a shot he makes the sudden jump this next season like many before him this past season.





53. Angel Rosa, Shortstop/Third Baseman


HT : 6'2
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : September 19, 1992, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Alcorn State University (Lorman, MS)
Acquired : Drafted in 13th round (397th overall) of 2013 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Leadership


Angel Rosa is one of the quiet, darkhorse prospects in the Los Angeles Angels farm system. He's begun to slowly rise towards the top and it's taken hard work on his behalf to get there.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Rosa isn't going to "wow" you with his bat. He makes decent contact and has limited power, but finds way to stay competitive throughout his at bats. He has some swing and miss to his game, but has an aggressive style that allows him to put the ball in the field on most occasions.

Even with his aggressive approach, Rosa has a keen eye. This not only allows him to draw walks, but also see the ball well out of the pitcher's hand.

Rosa's power is somewhat quiet. He has some over the fence kind of power, but draws most of his pop from natural athleticism and strength. Quick bat speed allows him to have gap-to-gap power. He could be a 10 home run a season kind of guy.

Rosa's glove needs some work. He has above average range that allows him to get to the ball with ease, but will need to clean up some things to take that step and stay at short. His arm could use some extra oomph, but he has good baseball instincts that are well ahead of his time.

Rosa has good speed, and it an outstanding base runner. This may be the strongest point of his physical game.

We brought out physical game above, because Rosa's strongest qualities don't come necessarily on the field. Rosa's ability to be a leader for the younger international prospects is massive. When one of of us spoke of leaders in the organization, Rosa's name came up nearly every time.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Rosa held the best bat at Alcorn State in 2013, finishing with a .294/.372/.400 slash in 45 games. Rosa had 28 RBI and 27 runs scored to go with his numbers, and had 11 of his 47 hits go for extra base hits. Rosa stole 17 bases in 21 chances.

Rosa's first taste of pro ball was great, as he hit .278/.369/.333 in 14 games at Orem. He reached base safely in 13 of those 14 games. In his first seven games, Rosa went 10-for-26, and reached base in 17 of his first 33 plate appearances.

Rosa earned a callup to Low-A in his first season, where he picked up hits in 26 of his 37 games, reaching base in 30. He finished his Burlington time with a .270/.314/.412 slash, with 19 runs scored and 18 RBI, having 15 of his 40 hits go for extra base. He gave left-handed pitchers nightmares, picking up a .371/.410/.486 slash against them.

Rosa's second year at Burlington was a little down, finishing with a .246/.300/.372 slash, having 22 of his 99 games go for multi-hit games. Rosa scored 43 times, bringing 46 runs home with his bat, and hit 23 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, and stole 15 bases.

Rosa earned a callup to High-A following the Huston Street trade, and he shined in High-A, putting up a .348/.390/.464 slash in 28 games. Rosa reached base in 25 of his 28 games, and had 12 of those games go for multiple hits. In his final 18 games, Rosa went 28-for-74 and held a .378/.425/.500, picking up seven RBI, and scoring 11 runs.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Rosa should return to High-A for a full season in 2015, where he can face tougher competition, and prove that his late 2014 numbers weren't a fluke, but instead, his true talents.

Rosa's ETA to the Majors is not yet set. However, his talents at shortstop allow him a little more added power due to the lack of depth at the position. If we had to take a wild guess, we would say Rosa could be in the Majors by the 2017 or 2018 season.





54. Kurt Spomer, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'2
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : July 10, 1989, Omaha, NE
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Creighton University (Omaha, NE)
Acquired : Undrafted Free Agent 2012
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Favorite athletes are Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter / Favorite movies are all sports themed : Hoosiers, Rudy, Moneyball


From walking on to Creighton University in his hometown of Omaha, to being an undrafted free agent, Kurt Spomer has had a tough road to get where he is now. The clock is ticking for Spomer, but he's slowed it down drastically with a breakout year, and has become possibly the rarest prospect in the farm system, catching the attention of the big shots in the organization and is progressing towards a Major League career.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Spomer changed his game 180 degrees recently with a big change. Spomer, who in college was throwing in the low 90's from a high arching arm slot, has now taken a few notches off, and began throwing the ball from a sidearm/submarine motion. Who doesn't love a submarine pitcher... other than opposing batters? Spomer has picked up deception with this, and has kept batter's off-balance with a four-pitch mix, using it to change speeds and work effectively.

Spomer's fastball has dropped velocity with the slot change, going from 90-91, down to around 82-85 right out of the change. This past season, Spomer started touching higher velocity marks, sitting anywhere from 84-88 at any given time we saw him. It has a natural two-seam movement, giving more run thank sink to it, but still causing weak contact.

Spomer has a sweeping slider that has been very effective against right-handed bats, but has been picked up well from lefties. That may be the only trouble with sidearms is their pitching ability into lefties, but Spomer has shown promise around that and has allowed himself to become more aggressive against those odd-balls on the "other side" of the plate.

Spomer comes with a changeup, he's recently developed into his best pitch, and a future Major League knockout punch. With the movement attained, and steady arm side run, this pitch has swing and miss qualities and is very challenging to read out of the hand.

The thing that caught our attention above the rest was Spomer's fourth pitch. It made our Publisher go, "wow," immediately. Spomer has been developing a split-finger fastball that not only has a death drop at the end, but comes in with so much movement, an opposing batter once said it comes in like a knuckleball. We only saw it on rare occasions, but when it was used, it was unhittable.

The transition to submarine pitching was a huge mark in Spomer's career. This is nothing new though, as he's made transitions and been a fine tuned pitcher who listens to coaches better than most. Spomer's abilities to listen, compete mentally, and adjust are high marks on his scouting report. Spomer may come in as one of the hardest working prospects in the system

Spomer also may be one of the better athletes in the organization, being a four-letter winner in football, baseball, basketball, and track in high school.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

At Tri-Center High School, Spomer finished his senior season with a 8-1 record, 0.98 ERA, 81 strikeouts (12.78 K/9), and 14 walks (2.21 BB/9), in 57 innings pitched. Spomer also hit .486 with six doubles, nine home runs, 29 RBI, and stole 17 bases his senior year. He was selected the 2008 Male Athlete of the Year by Council Bluffs Daily Nonpariel newspaper. Spomer was also named to the First-Team All-Conference and All-District teams from his freshman through senior season, and was a second-team all-conference member and all-district honorable mention in his eight grade season (playing at Tri-Center). Tri-Center High school became the Western Iowa Conference Champions three times during Spomer's time at school, and he was also named a Member of the National Honor Society.

In his freshman year at Creighton, Spomer appeared in just three games of relief, having two of those outings go scoreless. Spomer followed this up with a 14 appearance sophomore season. He began with three straight scoreless outings, all one inning outings. Spomer finished his sophomore season with a 5.57 ERA and 1.281 WHIP.

Spomer was light's out in his junior and final season at Creighton. Spomer posted a 2.22 ERA, 0.986 WHIP, and picked up 13 saves, which were good enough for the season lead in the MVC. Spomer made 35 appearances for the Blue Jays, which is tied for fifth most in a single-season at the school, and his 13 saves were good enough for second most in school history for one season. Spomer had three stretches of nine or more innings worked where he did not allow a run, the longest coming from May 10-28, 2011. Spomer picked up the final out of the MVC Championship game, going perfect against Wichita State. Spomer finished being named to the Missouri Valley Conference Second-Team.

Spomer had an odd first season of pro ball, shining at some moments, and struggling at others. He finished with a 3.12 ERA and 1.413 WHIP, but picked up five wins and no losses in 20 appearances in relief. In appearances where he went more than one inning of work, he held a 1.64 ERA.

Spomer's second year of pro ball was a stellar one, finishing the season with a 2.49 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, .217 against average and picking up six saves in nine opportunities. Spomer had 36 of his 46 appearances go scoreless, including a stretch of 12 straight in late July to late August. Spomer had his ERA lifted by 56 points with a four earned outing, and could have finished with a 1.93 ERA without it. Spomer held right-handed bats to a .197/.265/.239 slash.

Spomer did quite a bit of traveling this past season, starting in High-A, making a trip to Triple-A, and finishing in Double-A. At the end of the season, combined from all three affiliates, Spomer finished with a 2.17 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, and .219 against average.

Spomer went scoreless in 29 of his 32 outings in High-A. He had one outing that got out of control, where he went one third of an inning, allowing six runs on four hits, and a walk. Taking that one game away from his season in High-A, Spomer would have finished with a 0.45 ERA instead of 1.79, and would have held a 0.900 WHIP, and .175 against average. Spomer held right-handed bats to a .135/.214/.157 slash, and held bats leading off to a .086/.111/.143 slash.

Spomer made four scoreless appearances in Triple-A, before heading south to Double-A. There, he found consistence instead of dominance. Spomer had nine of his 16 outings go scoreless, and never allowed more than two runs per outing. With runners in scoring position, Spomer held bats to goign 5-for-29, and 2-for-14 with RISP and two outs.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Spomer has shined at the highest levels in the Angels farm system. There's still some fine tuning to be done, and Double-A should do that in 2015. However, Spring Training could tell a different story. Spomer will get some time with the MLB club and be seen by all the scouts, coaches, and organizational members against fiercer and tougher competiton, some possibly MLB All-Stars. Spomer could be a serious threat out of Spring Training.

Spomer is oh so close to that final leap to the Majors. There's a slight blockade of relievers for the Angels, but Spomer is right there with them. He easily could be in the MLB by next season, but it is most likely, he'll be there as a member of the bullpen sometime in 2016.





55. Nick Wagner, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'3
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : October 26, 1990, Santa Ana, CA
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : California State University-Dominguez Hills
Acquired : Drafted in 31st round (929th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Has five family members who have played collegiate football, including his brother, Ryan / Favorite Athletes are : Bo Jackson, Darin Erstad, Teemu Selanne and George Parros / Big Anaheim Ducks fan / Big into community service, including attending Special Olympics events, house building in Tijuana and feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving


When it comes to loyalty and giving back, Nick Wagner stands out above the rest. Whether it's building houses in Tijuana in his missionary work, or playing whiffleball with kids in the Special Olympics, Wagner gives back to the community.

Being a good person outside the game is only lifted by his skills and talents on the mound. This hurler has closing qualities and could be a strong mover in the Angels farm system in the coming years on his trek to the Majors.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Wagner may be one of the better natural athletes on the mound in the Angels system, playing basketball and football in high school, and has taken that athleticism to the mound.

Wagner learned a changeup this past instructional league, which has yet to be seen in competition. This should allow him to be keep batter's off-balance and become even more competitive, but will need more development and use.

Wagner uses a combination of a fastball and slider to fool batters. His slider, which is registered as his best pitch comes with a heavy and late break. He uses this to read hitters' swings, and will go back to back or triple up on it if needed.

Wagner's fastball is a set two-seam, with strong sinking movement. It sits primarly anywhere from 92-93 MPH, but has hit a higher velocity range, tapping out at 97. This past season, Mike Hampton and Ryan O'Malley helped Wagner elevate this pitch and turn it into a chase fastball to both righties and lefties after the slider has set batters up.

Wagner uses simple mechanics, with quick arm speed and a quick hip turn, while staying closed throughout the majority of his motion. HE throws from a high 3/4 arm slot, and does not show signs of dropping his arm slot on his slider, which makes him hard to read at the plate.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

At Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Wagner hit .435 with 19 doubles, 24 RBI, and stolen 10 bases at a senior. Wagner was named a Trinity League First-Team selection. Wagner was part of his school's first victory over Mater Dei High School. He was also named a two-time Trinity League First-Team selection in football, as a safety, halfback and punter.

In his first season at the University of Oregon, Wagner played in the outfield instead of the mound, and put up a .185/.241/.222 slash, going 5-for-27 with two walks, and a double.

After a couple of surgeries, Wagner transferred to CS-Dominguez Hills. In 2014, Wagner mixed his time from the outfield and mound, putting together a .202/.305/.281 slash in 89 at bats. On the mound, Wagner held a 4.27 ERA in eight appearances, striking out 17 in 12.2 innings pitched.

Wagner's first taste of pro ball was excellent, having 13 of his 16 appearances in the AZL go scoreless, and had five of his final nine go perfect. He finished the season with a 2.75 ERA and 0.915 WHIP. Wagner struck out 14.64 per nine, and had a 8.0 strikeout to walk ratio (32/4).

In Wagner's final seven outings of the season, he allowed just three hits in 10 innings pitched, striking out 13 and holding batters to a .093/.093/.125 slash. Wagner also struck out the side four times in his 19.2 innings of work.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Wagner should jump from Rookie Ball to Class-A in 2015, after a stellar outing in his first year of pro ball. Spring Training will note whether that will be Low-A Burlington or High-A Inland Empire.

Wagner could be a fast track guy to the Majors, due to his understanding of the game. 2017 is our best estimate at his quick arrival, but 2018 would be the another reasonable ETA for Wagner reaching the Majors.





56. Julio Garcia, Shortstop


HT : 6'0
WT : 175 lb.
DOB : July 31, 1997, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Switch
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2014 (Signed for $565,000)
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Big Albert Pujols and Mike Trout fan


Little is known about this prospect, but there is loads of hype behind his name. Julio Garcia was signed out of this last international signing period for $565,000, and is climbing the rankings of all prospect list.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Not much is known about Garcia's baseball qualities. He's a switch hitter who is very toolsy. His bat is why they signed him, but he has promise to stick it out at shortstop with his quick feet and good arm.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Garcia took some small steps in his professional career, taking in 18 games with the Dominican affiliate this past season. He posted a .162/.234/.176 slash. Garcia picked up hits in seven of his final eight games and reached in his final ten, picking up a sac fly RBI in the game he didn't collect a hit.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Garcia will spend the next few seasons with the Dominican affiliate and develop progressively. Time is on his side as he just turned 17 in the middle of this past season.





57. Zach Houchins, Third Baseman/Shortstop


HT : 6'3
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : September 16, 1992, Wilson, NC
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : East Carolina University (Greenville, NC)
Acquired : Drafted in 13th round (389th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Does not use Social Media


Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way. He said some stuff on social media once, got in trouble, that's in the past, so we can all move on.

Okay, that's done. Let's talk about a talented baseball player. Zach Houchins was considered a steal in the last draft, and for good reason. This toolsy player could develop into an elite prospect in the Los Angeles Angels farm system with time, and has dominated competition early in his professional career.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Houchins comes with a bit of free swing abilities, capitalizing by placing the ball all over the field. He has a great approach and above average understanding of the game. Houchins has good bat speed, which brings gap-to-gap power, and has some over the fence power as well.

One scout said Houchins doesn't have a "good arm, but a great arm." Houchins' glove and arm are already a league above of the competition. He played soccer in high school which makes sense for his quick feet and reaction to the ball.

Despite the good reaction, it's unlikely he'll be able to play shortstop consistently enough to stay at the position. This also comes with his speed, which isn't slow, but a little near average.

Houchins has experience at multiple defensive positions, giving him a slight edge, as he has potential to play the entire infield. Like we said above though, it is more likely he'll spend his time at third base.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

At Wilson Hunt High School, Houchins was a three-lettr winner and team captain. Houchins hit .350 as a sophomore and .470 with four home runs at a junior. Houchins began his senior season with a 17-game hit streak, and had 18 multi-hit games, and 12 multi-run games. He finished the season with a .537 average, six home runs, 14 doubles, 31 runs batted, 37 runs scored and a .747 slugging percentage. This helped earn him 3A North Carolina All-State and Big East Player of the Year honors. He was also named a two-time Big East All-Conference selection (2009-10)

In his first year or college ball, at Louisburg College, Houchins hit .349 with four home runs, 35 runs batted in, 27 runs scored, 14 doubles, a triple, and seven stolen bases, while slugging .640. Houchins had 19 multi-hit games, and 10 multi-RBI games. He followed this up with a sophomore year that saw a .394 average, 16 home runs, 59 RBI, 68 runs scored, 20 doubles, and two triples. Houchins drew 26 walks and stole 16 bases.

In his first year at ECU, Houchins hit .317 with five home runs, 42 RBI, four game winning RBI, and scored 34 times, all ranked second on the team. Houchins lead the team in doubles and triples at 18 and two. Houchins had 15 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games, and finished the season reaching base in 18 straight. Houchins ranked second in doubles in the Conference-USA, third in slugging percentage, and sixth in RBI. He was named to the Conference-USA All-Tournament Team, and Second-Team All-Conference USA.

Houchins put together a .347/.398/.450 slash in his final season at ECU, with 16 doubles, three home runs, 26 RBI, six stolen bases and 109 total bases in 59 games. He lead the C-USA with 84 hits, which also ranked 23rd in the nation. Houchins reached base safely in his final 12 games, and collected a hit in 47 of his 59 games, with 27 multi-hit games and 21 games in which he scored at least once. He was named a preseason First-Team All C-USA member, and finished the season as the Williams Jungle Hitter of the Year and a First-Team All-Conference USA honoree.

Houchins dominated in first taste of pro ball, posting a .388/.442/.626 slash in Rookie Orem. He collected 39 RBI and scored the same amount, while hitting 13 doubles, one triple, and six home runs. He reached base in 31 of his 36 games. He picked up 16 multi-hit games, including a stretch of six games straight where he went 16-for-28 with four doubles and two home runs. In 45 at bats with runners in scoring position, Houchins went 26-for-45 with eight extra base hits and a 1.478 OPS.

Houchins earned a call up to Single-A, where he reached base in 11 of his first 12 games. He did struggle against tougher competition, finishing with a .200/.258/.255 slash.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Houchins got a taste of Single-A, and it's most likely where he'll return in 2015. A strong Spring Training could earn him a spot in High-A, but it is most likely he'll return to Burlington to develop and see competition he struggled against early.

Houchins was drafted in the teen rounds, but this doesn't mean he doesn't have Major League potential. It's near obvious that Houchins will be a third baseman, which is an advantage for him due to the Angels lack of depth in the position. His current ETA is late 2018.





Mark Shannon, Outfielder


HT : 6'0
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : April 12, 1991, Littleton, CO
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)
Acquired : Drafted in 24th round (727th overall) of 2013 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets fan


One of the most underrated prospects in the organization, Mark Shannon is also one of the best grinders in the Los Angeles Angels system. A tough force from the left-side of the plate, and solid center fielder, Shannon is starting to turn heads and make some big noise in his early career.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Shannon was described by UNLV coach, Tim Chambers as, "the best centerfielder I have ever coached." Shannon is a natural center fielder, with good speed, a grinding passion, and an above average glove.

Shannon is known for laying out and making the big play when necessary, but his instinct allows him to not make mistakes in doing so. He has electric break to the ball, and can cut down space with ease. His glove is far above average, and could be one of the best outfield gloves in the system.

Shannon is a natural athlete, playing wide receiver and point guard in high school, and has taken that to his game, with a mix of speed, power, and grinding ability. Shannon may have the best ability to play while banged up and has a high standard for competition.

Shannon has a good amount of power from the left-side of the plate, helped with an uppercut swing and good bat speed. He has good contact ability, and despite the uppercut swing, has been able to avoid swing and miss qualities due to his quick hands.

Shannon has great arm strength, splitting his college days as a pitcher and outfielder. This has helped him cut down the running game against him.

We don't like drawing comparisons, but if you've read this steadily, one name might come to mind (Kole Calhoun?). Though Shannon doesn't have the natural abilities Calhoun did when he was coming through the minors, he has some very similar qualities. Don't let this make you believe he'll be a Kole Calhoun or better, or worse. Mark Shannon is Mark Shannon, and could fit well as a fourth outfielder, or eventual split time outfielder.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Shannon was a three-letter winner at Chatfield Senior High School, where his team finished with a 33-12 record over the last years when he attended. Shannon helped Chatfield to a third-place finish in the Colorado State Championship his junior season. He was named an All-Conference honorable mention as a sophomore, and was honored as a First-Team All-Conference and All-State member his junior and senior seasons.

Shannon was a standout at Northern Colorado University. During his one season with NCU, Shannon put up a .326 batting average in 40 games, with three home runs, six triples, and eight doubles, six stolen bases, with 34 runs batted in and 34 runs scored. Shannon also posted a 6-3 record on the mound in 14 appearances with a 4.52 ERA, 64 strikeouts in 83.2 IP, and one complete game. Shannon was named the 2010 Great West Conference Newcomer of the Year, and earned Louisville Slugger and Ping Baseball All-American honors.

Shannon transferred to Central Arizona the following year, where he put up a .294 batting average with one home run, nine double, 25 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases in 54 games. Shannon also compiled a 8-2 record with a 2.19 ERA, and 48 strikeouts in 49.1 IP. Shannon allowed just eight extra-base hits and walked just 18 batters in his two save season. Shannon was selected to the ACCAC All-Conference and NJCAA All-Region Teams. With all this, Shannon helped lead CAU to a ACCAC Conference Championship, Region 1 Championship, NJCAA West District Championship and runner-up finish at the NJCAA World Series.

In his final college season, at UNLV, Shannon posted a 6.11 ERA in 35.1 innings pitched, striking out 30 and walking 18. He struck out seven in a start against Southern Utah. At the plate, Shannon hit .313, with five stolen bases.

Shannon earned an early spot at both Rookie Ball affiliates, going to Orem after eight games in Tempe. In Orem, Shannon put up a .300/.364/.526 slash in 54 games, with 33 RBI and 50 runs scored. Shannon reached base in 20 of his first 21 games in Orem. Right after that streak was broken, Shannon went on a 15-game hit streak, and reached base in 22 straight. Over that stretch, Shannon posted a .376/.448/.688 slash, with 23 runs scored and 19 runs batted in.

Shannon continued with his hot bat in Class-A in 2014, hitting .284/.327/.474 in his first 26 games. Shannon reached in 19 of his final 20 games in Class-A and was a nightmare leading off posting a .364/.364/.727 slash.

Shannon earned a callup to High-A, where nothing ceased, where he reached base in 80 of his 107 appearances. He finished the season with a .288/.327/.419 slash, bringing in 53 runs with his bat, and scoring 58 runs. Shannon collected 37 multi-hit games. With runners on with two outs, Shannon went 28-for-86 (.326) with 27 runs batted in.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Shannon thrived at the High-A level, and is destined for a season in Double-A come 2015. For a player who might be the best centerfielder at the higher levels, facing tougher competition will be a great test for Shannon to see if his bat and level of play matches the soon to be future of baseball.

Shannon has been fast tracked since the draft, and for good reason. He has Major League talent, and next year's test will be the perfect scenario to figure if how close he is. Currently, his ETA to the Majors is 2017, but it could be much sooner.





59. Brian Loconsole, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'2
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : August 10, 1990, Geneva, IL
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL)
Acquired : Drafted in 20th round (607th overall) of 2013 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : READ PLAYER INTRODUCTION!!!


You all know that story about Michael Jordan getting cut from his High School team? You know, he was a freshman, hadn't fully grown, and it honestly isn't all that big of a deal? Wll, Brian Loconsole was cut three times in high school and never threw a pitch for Glenbard North High. Far and away, our favorite story in the countdown, and one of the best across minor league baseball, Brian Loconsole has faced all kinds of bumps in the road, and is now a professional pitcher, and is starting to become a recognized one.

Unlike other prospects, before we jump into the scouting report, and other sub headings of this article, we're going to tell you about Brian's journey to where he is. He threw for a couple summer league teams, and didn't get much attention from scouts or colleges until his catcher's mother dared him to try out for the Western Illinois baseball team, as a walk on. Loconsole threw eight pitches, and that was all it took to earn his spot as a walk on. Loconsole red-shirted, and sadly, his coach passed away, and he had to go to Moraine Valley Community College to pitch due to his lack of experience and a spot on the roster.

What did he do? He won Pitcher of the Year honors at the school. He returned to WIU, and was rewarded in his second season at the school, being named the closer with a scholarship for his final season of college. He went on to break the single-season record and career saves record at the school, and was drafted at the end of the season by the Los Angeles Angels. What a story, right?


SCOUTING REPORT

Loconsole is masterful with his fastball, throwing it for strikes. It has good cutting movement, allowing weak contact in the 92-95 MPH range. Loconsole uses this pitch in all counts, primarly to get ahead in the count, but can also use it as a put away pitch, as it has swing and miss qualities to it.

Loconsole has an off-speed offering, that is a standard slider. It comes with a decent break, and he can command it to both sides of the plate. This pitch has qualities of being a put away pitch, but has been used mostly to setup his cutter and changeup.

Loconsole has a changeup, but it's a little fringy. For a power arm, like Loconsole, he will need to clean it up just a little bit to be able to use it effectively at the higher levels.

Power arm is one of the best terms we've heard when it comes to Loconsole. This power comes from incredible arm speed and use of his entire frame. Loconsole, listed at 215 pounds, and he uses his weight to his advantage, firing from his core, to shoulders, to arm. Loconsole uses his legs well, as well, and creates added power with a quick, yet steady hip turn. All of this is improving with experience on the mound, and so has repetitive mechanics, helping him in every aspect of his game.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Loconsole may not have pitched in high school, but he was a standout football player, being named a member of the IHSA Class 8A Runner-Up. At Moraine Valley Community College, where Loconsole was named Pitcher of the Year, he put up a 3.06 ERA in 78 innings pitched.

Between his sophomore and junior season, Loconsole hit some struggles in the road. In a combined 18 appearances, and 26 innings pitched, Loconsole posted a 6.57 ERA, and 2.153 WHIP. 3

Loconsole's senior season was a completely different story, as in 22 appearances and 28.1 innings pitched, he posted a 2.86 ERA with nine saves (single-season and career school record). From March 12th to 23rd of 2013, Loconsole appeared in four straight games, picking up a save, and was named the Summit League Pitcher of the Week. Loconsole finished his senior season, with a .242/.338/.282 against slash.

Loconsole's first year of professional baseball was one to forget quickly. He finished the season with a 9.11 ERA, 2.325 WHIP, and .392 against average.

Loconsole put up far and away some of the best releiver statistics in the Angels farm system this past season. He appeared in 34 games (fourth on the affiliate), and had 24 of those go for scoreless outings. Loconsole finished the season with a 1.68 ERA, 0.990 WHIP, .208 against average, and .257 against on base percentage.

From the seventh inning or later in games, Loconsole had a 1.15 ERA, 0.921 WHIP, and limited bats to a .192 average and .237 on base percentage. Loconsole held bats leading off innings to a .097/.152/.129 slash, striking out 14 of 62, and walking only three.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Loconsole dominated the competition in Low-A during the 2014 season. It's almost obvious to assume he'll be moving up next season, and pitching in High-A. With a strong Spring Training though, Loconsole may get the advanced approach, and make the leap to Double-A.

Loconsole was drafted as a middle rounder, which makes some assume he's not a Major League talent. However, with what he's shown already in his short minor league career, how could you not believe he might be a future late inning man? Our estimate on his ETA is late 2017.





60. Jonathan Arias, Utility Infielder


HT : 6'2
WT : 170 lb.
DOB : January 31, 1996, Bani, Peravia, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2013 (Signed for $65,000)
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : Developed by Miguel Delgado


A product of Miguel Delgado, Jonathan Arias came up as a fireball offer for the Los Angeles Angels, and they nabbed him at a young age planning to develop him towards a future in the big clubs infield, across the entire field.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Arias has nearly a perfect frame for an infielder, at six-foot-two, and 170 pounds. He has broad shoulders, which allow him to use his upper body as a lever weight. It may not sound natural when you first think of it, but it does help him keep balance throughout his positioning.

Arias has good range to both sides, and comes with an average arm, which could take him away from the shortstop position. He could grow a little more into his body which could add arm strength, keeping him through the entire infield. His instint in the field is what will carry him through his career.

Arias has a line drive swing, with gap-to-gap power. He has a very aggressive approach, and tends to swing early in counts, connecting on fastballs as opposed to off-speed pitches.

Speed may be the thing Arias needs to improve on to excel to the next level, as he's not the fastest in the bunch. He has average speed, and will not surprise you on the base paths, but comes with good instinct on the base paths, giving him an advantage going from base to base.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Arias was overmatched at a 17-year-old at the international level, putting up a .148/.213/.176 slash in his first year of pro ball. Arias did excel in one aspect of the game, and that was with runners in scoring position with two outs. He went 4-for-16 in the scenario, walking twice, and picking up four RBI.

Arias second season of pro ball was exceedingly better than his first. He finished the season with a .308/.336/.376 slash, reaching base safely in 25 of the 32 games he appeared in. Arias began the season going 14-for-31, picking up hits in 10 of his first 11 games, and having five of those games go for multiple hits.

Arias gave right-handed pitchers nightmares, going .330/.356/.412 against them. From the fifth to eighth innings of games, Arias went 22-for-55 (.400), with a .915 OPS.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Arias made strides forward this past season, but it is most likely another year of development in the Dominican. However, this doesn't mean there is no possibility he comes stateside to play in Rookie Ball.

Arias has shown promise through the entire infield, so the Angels will most likely keep moving him around progressively until they find a position he's blatently better at, or they may keep him as a utility infielder throughout his career.





61. Lianmy Galan, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'3
WT : 165 lb.
DOB : August 23, 1996, La Vega, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2014 (Signed for $115,000)
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : High Socks / Former shortstop


In front of 100 scouts, Lianmy Galan strut his stuff, and impressed nearly everyone. The Los Angeles Angels were the most impressed apparently, going big and spending $115,000 to sign him, and he has not let anyone in the organization down.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Galan is a natural athlete, coming originally from the infield, but is now turning his attention to the mound. His athleticism has allowed him to stay steady throughout his work, and not lose stamina early in his career.

Galan pitches with ease, throwing from a near direct over his head arm slot, with a quick arm, and staying closed throughout most of his motion. He needs to hide the ball better, but this will come with time on the mound. He has a short arm stroke, making the ball come at a deceptive speed.

Galan's fastball sits consistently anywhere from 88-93 MPH, and has room for velocity growth as he grows into his body. It has natural sink, and could eventually become a natural sinker. Scouts say he has an upside of 94-95 MPH range once he fully develops and repeats his mechanics. He has good command of this pitch and uses it to setup his off-speed offerings and get ahead in counts early.

Galan has a fringy off-speed pitch, that could turn into a slider with time. It has a weaker break than you'd expect, but could turn into a slurve like pitch with an awkward break, in a downward spiral, like a curve.

Galan is developing his changeup, and had a good feel for it this past season. It still needs work, coming in with minimal break, but has what looks like the most promise of all his pitches. This pitch could turn Galan into a serious threat in the rotation, mixed with his fastball.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Galan's first professional season ended abrutly, with an apparent injury that is currently unlisted. Before going down for the season, Galan posted a 1.50 ERA, 0.791 WHIP, .157 BAA, and 2.41 GO/AO. As a starter, Galan allowed just one run, and had a pair of hitless/scoreless four or more innings pitched outings. Left-handed bats were limited to a .153/.143/.053 slash against Galan. Galan allowed just three extra-base hits all season (all doubles). Situationally, Galan had slashes of .217/.250/.304 while leading off, .143/.189/.171 with runners on, .125/.125/.188 with runners in scoring position.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Galan needs some more fine tuning, and the Angels will most likely use the Dominican affiliate to do this. He'll be able to stay home, and develop at a proper pace with a full season against raw competition.

Galan's signing makes us believe the Angels see him as a future Major Leaguer. With that, he has not set ETA at the moment, but could come stateside and prove his worth to coaches in the next two seasons. If he continues at the pace he's already at, Galan could be a Major League talent by the 2020.





62. Deyvi Castillo, Outfielder


HT : 6'1
WT : 175 lb.
DOB : August 13, 1997, Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2014
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Owns around 10 pairs of Nikes / Owns a baseball cap from nearly every MLB team


Once again, the Los Angeles Angels found a hidden gem in the international market. This time, a 17-year-old, who has lurked his ways into our countdown, and created some sound early on the international level. Many teams were after Castillo in the lower market, but the Angels came out winners, not only in getting him to sign a contract, but getting a gem of an outfielder.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Castillo's biggest strength is his ability to play center field. With good range and break to the ball, he has a strong side already. Add his uptapped speed, and you've got a good element in center field. With coaching, Castillo could be the best defensive center field in the farm system very soon.

Castillo has a swift swing and maintains a good plane, allowing him to make plus contact. He has a long swing, but with no fringe or hitches. Castillo's power is questionable at the moment, but he has shown signs of strength to both sides of the field.

Castillo does have some swing and miss problems which could be coached out. His eye is good, but it's still obvious he's a young player, who makes most of his mistakes at the plate on bad pitches. His gap-to-gap abilities will be the defining difference in being an average player to a good player.

Castillo has a good frame at such a young age and will grow more while adding sustained muscle. This should turn him into a better athlete, adding power, speed, and strength.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Castillo had a good first season as a 16-year-old, putting up a .238/.289/.292 slash, with 20 runs scored, 21 runs batted in, and 13 stolen bases. Castillo picked up a hit in 31 of his 52 games, picking up multiple hits in 10 of those games.

In 13 games from June 11th to 26th, Castillo put up a .333/.375/.490 slash, with eight runs scored, five stolen bases, and 10 runs batted in.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Castillo is still young, and as goes for that, will need some more fine tuning on the international side of the game. Castillo will spend 2015 with the Dominican Summer League affiliate.





63. Jared Ruxer, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'3
WT : 190 lb.
DOB : July 29, 1992, Indianapolis, IN
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)
Acquired : Drafted in 12th round (359th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : Favorite TV show is "Eastbound and Down" / Favorite candy is Snickers / If he could have dinner with any three people, it'd be Peyton Manning, Roy Halladay and Reggie Miller


Jared Ruxer had Tommy John surgery two days before the 2014 Draft. He was originally projected to go in the third or fourth round range. The Los Angeles Angels took a risk, and stole him in the 12th. Why do we say stole? Because Ruxer has potential to be the next big thing in the Angels system once healthy. He may not pitch in 2015, but be ready for one of the most illustrious picks in Angels history with an opportunity to be a complete stud on the mound.


SCOUTING REPORT

Ruxer has a three pitch arsenal, consisting of a four-seam fastball, curveball, and changeup. He uses these pitches effectively to keep batters off-balance by commanding his fastball early in counts and mixing speeds at the end.

Mechanically, Ruxer is very sound. He has a long motion and hides the ball well, throwing from behind his right shoulder at a three/quarter arm slot.

Ruxer's fastball may be his best pitch, sitting in the 91-94 MPH range, and could begin to pick up velocity as he fills into his body and has a healthy arm. It has good running movement, allowing him to keep batters guessing. His command of this pitch is darn near flawless.

Right now, Ruxer's changeup looks a little shady, but it has a load of promise. This pitch tends to allow him to keep batters off-balance early in counts, and it has some swing and miss qualities to it.

Ruxer's off-speed offer is a curveball with a sweeping motion. We haven't seen much of it, but scouts say it could be a very reliable two-strike pitch and have the ability to fool batters even if they know it's coming due to it's heavy drop.

With Tommy John costing him the rest of his 2014 season, Ruxer should be able to come back in late 2015 or 2016 as a stronger pitcher. Rehabillitation will be the key to his full recovery and whether he'll pitch next season or not. Ruxer did throw for the first time since surgery a few weeks ago though and is on pace for a 12 month recovery.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Ruxer was a three-letter winner at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, and was selected in the 29th round of the 2011 draft by the Cleveland Indians. This was helped by a senior season that saw a 6-1 record, 3.04 ERA, and 59 punch outs. In the previous two seasons, Ruxer combined for a 11-3 record, 96 strikeouts, with his ERA sitting at 2.12 his junior year, and 3.21 his sophomore season. In 2011, Ruxer was named to the Indianapolis All-State, All-Confrerence, and All-County first team honors. He was also ranked as one of the top 300 prep players in the nation in 2011 by Perfect Game USA.

Ruxer put together a stellar season his freshman year at Louisville, going 8-3 with a 3.38 ERA, and 1.202 WHIP. He was named the Big East Pitcher of the Week after going six shutout innings, with six strikeouts against the #1 ranked, Kentucky. Ruxer was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, NCBWA All-American, and honored as a Third Team All-Big East. Possibly the biggest honor of them all was being named the Big East Rookie of the Year.

Ruxer hit a sophomore slump, posting his worst ERA to date, at 5.63 in his second season at college. He was removed from the rotation and couldn't find a groove at a reliever, having three of his 12 relief outings go scoreless. Ruxer did strikeout 35 in 38.1 innings pitched.

In his final season of college, Ruxer gained his masterful work, posting a 2.27 ERA, with a 7-1 record, and 1.035 WHIP, holding batters to a .229 average. Ruxer put together some of his strongest career performances, striking out 11 against Toledo on March 1st, seven on March 9th against Miami, which was part of a six innings, scoreless performance. Ruxer's season ended early, on May 10th, due to an elbow injury. Batters finished with a .229/.290/.288 slash against Ruxer.


EXPECTED FUTURE:

Tommy John takes anywhere from 12-18 months to recover from, and Ruxer had it this past June. It is likely that even with a quick and healthy recovery, he may not pitch in the 2015 season

Ruxer was a high risk, high reward kind of draftee. With that said, the Angels believe he has Major League talent. Ruxer has not pitched in professional baseball and his return will give everyone a better idea of when his ETA could be. Right now, we'll list it as not applicable.





64. Gabriel Santana, First Baseman


HT : 6'2
WT : 180 lb.
DOB : August 18, 1995, Porlamar, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2011, signed for $180,000
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : Coaches kids during the off-season on how to play professional baseball


From the moment Gabriel Santana turned 16, he was known as a professional baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have put a lot of trust in Santana, signing him for $180,000 as soon as he could possibly be signed. Santana has not disappointed so far, and should be able to show his talents stateside in the coming years.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Santana was originally signed as a catcher, but after just a few appearances, it was evident that his future was elsewhere. However, Santana took his catching skills to first base, where he now has an above average glove. He also has good range and initial reaction to the ball. One thing most first basemen lack is a strong arm, which Santana attains, helping him create more double play opportunities.

Santana has a strong swing and good approach at the plate. He keeps his bat path steady throughout the strike zone. This allows him to make not just more contact, but better contact, allowing him to square the ball up with ease.

Santana has gap-to-gap power and can spread the ball all over the field. He has good bat speed, which has added power. Also adding to his power is his physical development, as he's began growing into his frame and adding muscle.

With the good approach, Santana has a keen eye at the plate, allowing him to take pitches out of the zone and swing at the right pitches. He has been overmatched at times, but has not shown swing and miss problems for the power he attains.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Santana had some time after signing to prep with the Angels before taking in his first taste of pro ball. However, Santana got a full taste with a full season in 2012, where he put up a .240/.330/.270 slash as a 16-year-old. Santana hit safely in his first seven games, putting up a .500/.586/.542 slash over the span. In his final 24 games though, Santana hit just .157/.247/.184.

Santana's second season was similar to his first, as he put together an eight-game hit-streak in the middle of the season, where he went 12-for-29 over the span. Santana finished the season with a .206/.300/.216 slash. Santana's best performance came on August 8th, ten days before his 18th birthday, where he went 4-for-5 with three RBI.

Santana had his best season to date last season, where he put up a .248/.323/.359 slash with 30 runs batted in, 32 runs scored and six home runs. Santana struggled at the beginning of the season, causing concern, going 13-for-80 to start the season (.162), reaching base just 23 times in his first 24 games.

Santana found his game again though, going 19 for his next 41 (.463), and reaching base 24 times in ten games. Santana finished his final 27 games with a .257/.336/.356 slash, with 14 runs scored and 12 runs batted in.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Santana came over for instructional league, and impressed coaches and scouts, most likely enough to bring him stateside for 2015. This will allow Santana a chance at stronger competition and prove his talents in his late teens.

Santana's signing wasn't something the Angels took lightly, and that hasn't changed. The Angels expect him to be a Major Leaguer in the future, but there's a few problems factoring in. First base is a road block and they've stripped him of his catching duties. Once in the states, an ETA and plan should be more clear when it comes to Santana.





65. Garrett Nuss, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'1
WT : 180 lb.
DOB : April 15, 1993, Winter Park, FL
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Seminole Community College (Sanford, FL)
Acquired : Drafted in 7th round (217th overall) of 2013 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Uncle, Ed, played for the Red Sox farm system / Sports stirrups


Garrett Nuss was a no-brainer when it came to the countdown. The kid is electric from the mound, and pretty much always has been. Being drafted exactly 18 years after other electric righty, A.J. Burnett, the Los Angeles Angels may have found one of the best hidden gems in baseball.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Nuss comes with a pair of fastballs, one a natural four-seam, and the other a sinking two-seam. His four-seam sits consistently anywhere from 89-93 MPH, tapping 95 on rare occasions, with his sinker tapping the high 80's on most occasions. Both pitches has average sink, but can flatten out on occasions.

Nuss has an average changeup, that is used for deception due to his arm speed while throwing it. It has natural run and sits in the low to mid 80's. It will need development to create more movement, but it is not bad or weak for his age and experience.

Nuss has a pair of off-speed offerings, consisting of a slider/curveball combo. His curveball has a 12/6 drop in the mid 70's which has started to disappear from baseball in general. It comes with heavy drop, and is used most effectively in two-strike counts. It does however need to develop, and come out of the hand with more ease to be effective at the higher levels.

His slider is near what the curve is, dropping from the high arm angle and falling at a heavy rate. It comes in similar to the curve, but has near 10 MPH more velocity. He's used this as an effective groundout pitch, and a setup pitch as well.

A perk to Nuss' game is his frame, which is athletic by nature. He has room to add muscle, which will come with body development and age. He's broad shouldered, and stays strong through the latter innings, which will also improve with gained arm strength, creating better stamina.

Nuss has the ability to make his velocity deceptive due to his arm angle, throwing nearly directly over top to a downward motion, and is repetitive with this motion with all his pitches, creating an even harder time for batters. Nuss pitches best with an aggressive approach.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Nuss was a four letter winner at Mount Dora High School as a pitcher and first baseman, and in his senior season lead them to the state final for the first time in school history. Nuss put together a 0.86 ERA with a 11-1 record, and 116 strikeouts in 66 innings in his senior season, helping him get drafted (did not sign) by the New York Yankees in the 32nd round of the 2011 Draft.

Nuss was named to many honors, including; Rawlings All-American First Team, Rawlings All-Region First Team, All-Central Florida Baseball First Team, 2011 PG National Top 100 Prospect List by Baseball America. Nuss was also the first high school pitcher to participate in the Central Florida Collegiate Summer League, where he led the league in strikeouts.

Nuss spent his first year in college at the University of Central Florida. At UCF, Nuss held a 2-0 record in 19 games, while holding a 3.89 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 44 innings. Nuss had six appearances of going three or more innings of one-hit, no run baseball.

Prior to being drafted, Nuss spent his final college season at Seminole C.C. where he posted a 5-2 record, 2.59 ERA, and struck out 8.62 per nine. Over his 62.2 innings of work, he allowed 57 hits and walked 20.

There was a little bit of culture shock for Nuss right out of the draft, as he struggled against professional competition. In his first taste of pro ball, Nuss posted a 5.15 ERA, with a 1.559 WHIP, while allowing batters to a .319 average. Nuss did show signs of brilliance, having six of his nine starts go with two runs against or less.

Nuss made a major turn around this past season, performing as one of the best starters in the rotation for the Burlington Bees. Nuss finished the season with a 3.76 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .265 BAA, and 5-1 record. However, his season was cut short due to an unlisted injury.

Nuss never lifted his ERA above 4.25 at any point in the season, and had 15 of his 20 starts go five innings or more, allowing three runs or less.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Nuss put together an outstanding season in Low-A, and he could become a high end starter in High-A come 2015. A strong Spring Training could put Nuss as the Inland Empire 66ers Opening Day starter next season.

Every sign going forward is that Nuss will be a Major Leaguer, and with the Los Angeles Angels. The real question is when and what he'll be doing? Nuss is currently a starter, and for the time being, it will stay that way, but he has signs that show he may be well suited for the bullpen. Nuss' current ETA for the Majors is 2018.





66. Jordan Kipper, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'4
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : October 6, 1992, Phoenix, AZ
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
Acquired : Drafted 9th round (269th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Grandfather, Thornton, played in MLB for four seasons / High School and College teammate of Kevin Cron, C.J.'s brother


Jordan Kipper grew up under the wings of great baseball minds, his family. Bruce, Jordan's father, coached him through his pre-college career, and his grandfather, Thornton, helped. Thornton, who helped win a college World Series with Wisconsin in 1950. Jordan used this help to excel him to professional baseball. Kipper was drafted twice, before finally signing with the Angels when he was taken this past draft and has torn through the lower levels of the Los Angeles Angels farm system.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Kipper has a gift that came from genetics, and that's his body. That may have sounded a little weird, but Kipper has the perfect pitchers body, with a good height of six-foot-four, and has the right muscle, allowing him to stay smooth and athletic by nature.

Kipper's best pitch is his sinker fastball. It has good movement, and is a natural sinker, rather than two-seam with run. This pitch sits in the 88-93 MPH range, and with his added velocity and physical growth into his young body, could pick up a few ticks as he moves forward.

Kipper's off-speed offer is a slider that sits in the low to mid 80's. It has late break, and has been utlitized well against right-handed bats. It has swing and miss potential.

Where Kipper shines is his ability to throw strikes with his highlight pitches. He commands these pitches well, and has no trouble finding the zone if needed to get to the point of setting himself up to put a batter away.

Kipper throws a third and fourth pitch, but has shyed away from his changeup since taking over a relief-only role. He still has it in his arsenal, but it needs strong development to be used effectively at this point. Kipper's fourth pitch is his curveball, which sets up his slider, but still needs strong development.

Kipper has made some adjustments to his mechanics, helping add a few miles per hour velocity and bring a little extra arm action in to play. With that, Kipper has also added better command.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

At Mountain Point High School, Kipper was a three letter winner. Kipper was teammate of Kevin Cron (C.J.'s brother), and played with him at TCU as well. Kipper earned honors as a 2011 Perfect Game All-West Region honorable mentions, 2010 Perfect Game underclassman high honorable mention, and All-American honors. Kipper's biggest moment was hitting a walkoff single in the Class 5A Division I Championship in his final high school at bat.

Kipper spent two seasons at Central Arizona College, where he held a 19-5 record. Kipper allowed 40 runs over 172.1 innings pitched (2.08 ERA), while striking out 149 (7.78 per nine). Kipper was named to second-team All-American honors as a sophomore, and was a first-team All-Conference Performer. Kipper was named the Central Arizona Male Athlete of the Year as a freshman.

Kipper shined in his senior season at TCU, posting a 3.23 ERA while limited batters to a .234 average. The Horned Frogs went 11-6 in games he pitched, and 10-2 in games he started. Kipper posted six quality outings in 12 starts, and was fourth on the Frogs pitching staff in innings pitched at 75.1. Kipper struck out 8.84 per nine, and he was named to the Big 12 Baseball Championships All-Tournament Team.

Kipper jumped into Rookie Ball out of the draft, and jumped well, posting a 2.73 ERA, and 3-2 record in 14 relief appearances. Kipper kept batters off the base paths well, putting up a 1.291 WHIP, allowing 8.9 hits per nine, and walking just 2.7. Kipper kept bats quiet, and weak, having three of his 26 hits allowed go for extra base (two doubles, home run), and had a 1.67 GO/AO rate.

In his final 11 appearances, Kipper held a 1.66 ERA, .204 against average, and 1.153 WHIP, while striking out 18 in 21.2 innings pitched. Nine of Kipper's 14 outings went scoreless, including eight of his last 11.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Kipper shined at the Rookie Ball level, and will more than likely make the leap to Class-A in 2015. He has age on his side, which means the Angels can work steadily with him, but that doesn't mean he could see time in High-A before the end of next season.

Kipper was drafted with the Majors as the future plan. With this being the plan, Kipper may take a steady route to the show, being coached the whole way. Kipper's current ETA for the show is 2018.





67. Eric Alonzo, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'2
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : August 28, 1991, Buford, GA
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA)
Acquired : Drafted in 40th round (1,199th overall) in 2014 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Lives by his old coach, Craig Young's, motto, "Big Time Is Where You're At" / Giving professional lessons for $20 dollars an hour


Possibly one of the highest rising prospects in the Los Angeles Angels system is Eric Alonzo. Coming in to his professional career, he wasn't well known of, being taken in the 40th round, but he has listened to coaches and began to turn heads in the right way. We welcome you to learn more about one of our personal favorite prospects.

SCOUTING REPORT:

Alonzo comes with a four-pitch arsenal, consisting of a fastball, slider, curve, and changeup, and has quality command of all his pitches.

Alonzo picked up on his fastball, going from 87-90 at the beginning of his professional career to now pitching consistently anywhere from 89-93 MPH. Alonzo contributes this to his coaches helping him make a mechanical adjustment to stay closed longer.

Alonzo has a wipeout slider with late break, and heavy drop. He commands this pitch to both sides of the plate, allowing him to pitch away from right-handed bats and in to lefties. This pitch sits in the low 80's.

Alonzo uses his mid 70's curveball, with a sweeping motion, to throw strikes and setup his slider.

Alonzo has a changeup that is inconsistent at the moment. It was a strong pitch to keep batter's off balance at the beginning of his pro career, but lost it's edge near the end. It has good break in the 80-85 MPH range, but will need to develop more.

Alonzo creates weak contact, and keeps the ball low with minor mistakes, helping him be one of the best groundout pitchers currently in the Angels system.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Alonzo was a gem at Mill Creek High School. With the Hawks, Alonzo bat .320 with four home runs and 14 hit by pitch his senior season and .390 with a home run his junior season. While on the mound, Alonzo held a 2.13 ERA with a 8-1 record, going 3-0 in the playoffs. Alonzo was twice named an All-County Honorable Mention, and was named the April and March Player of the Month his senior season.

Alonzo spent two seasons at Middle Georgia State, where he helped lead them to two regional appearances and two conference tournament titles, with one regular season title. He spent time on the field with other Angels prospect, Bo way at MGS where they both won a conference and tournament title.

In his sophomore season at MGS, Alonzo held a 2-2 record with a 3.38 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 14 appearances. He also struck out eight in six innings of the GCAA All-Tournament Game.

Alonzo transferred to Georgia Southern, where he held a 3.61 ERA and 3-4 record over 27 appearances. He struck out 42 and walked just 16 over 52.1 innings. Alonzo helped lead GSU to a SOCON Conference Tournament victory from the loser's bracket and went to the Florida State Regional Tournament.

Alonzo performed at a high level in his first taste of professional ball, posting a 2.01 ERA and 1.277 WHIP, while striking out three more than he walked (27 K, 9 BB). Alonzo held bats to a .252/.298/.333 slash and had 11 of his 16 outings go scoreless.

Alonzo shined in situational matters, keeping batters to going 13-for-65 (.200) with runners on base, and 5-for-30 (.167) with runners on with two outs. Alonzo held bats to a .239 on base percentage with runners on, and a .394 OPS with two outs.

With runners in scoring position, Alonzo kept batters to going just 8-for-42 (.190), and a .234 on base percentage (.182/.217/.227 slash with RISP with two outs in 22 at bats).


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Alonzo has performed well at the Rookie Ball level and has the age to prove himself at the next level. It could be expected that he'll be in Class-A come 2015, pitching in the Burlington Bees bullpen.

Alonzo has made strides forward in his early career, and will be able to show his worth at the higher levels. This will be the tell tale sign of whether he'll be able to perform at the highest level, and with the big club. 2015 will be one of the biggest seasons in Alonzo's career.





68. Delfo Terrero, Left-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'4
WT : 200 lb.
DOB : December 17, 1996, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2014
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : N/A


Not knowing much about this prospect intrigues us to say the least. Terrero has not only impressed the voters on our ballots who put him in the top 100, but also has turned the heads of coaches, who give him high praise moving forward.


SCOUTING REPORT:

We truly don't know much about Terrero sadly. We know he has pair of off-speed pitches that go with a plus fastball that sits in the 89-91 range, and could possibly tap 92-93.

What we do know is that lefty is young, and lethal, with a good frame, limiting batters to weak contact, but has some command issues, which will be fixed with experience and coaching.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Terrero was signed and spent this past summer with the Dominican League affiliate. There, he posted a 2.57 ERA and 1.571 WHIP over 21 innings of work. Terrero limited runs, but had trouble keeping runners off the base paths, walking six per nine and allowing 8.1 hits per nine. Terrero did have eight of his 12 appearances go scoreless and never allowed more than two runs to come across.

Terrero held lead off bats to a .105/.150/211 slash and held bats to going 3-for-15 with runners on with two outs (2-for-11 with runners in scoring position with two outs).


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Terrero is still young and that's a benefit for the Angels. He should stay international with the Dominican affiliate for 2015, where he'll be able to pitch a whole season and show his true value.

Terrero has the benefit of being a left-handed reliever, which is vital in the Angels organization. This could help him come stateside within the coming years, where he'll be able to prove if he's Major League talent or not. Terrero is best suited for the bullpen.





69. Wade Wass, Catcher/First Baseman


HT : 6'0
WT : 210 lb.
DOB : September 23, 1991, Pensacola, Florida
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
Acquired : Undrafted Free Agent 2014 (Drafted 402nd overall in 2012 June Draft by Baltimore Orioles)
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Roll Tide / Instagram name is "@wassfordays" / Wearing the Orem Owlz mascot head in his Twitter picture


Some how, some way, Wade Wass was passed up in the past draft. This powerful catcher has as much promise as top round draft picks, and is currently showing that in the Los Angeles Angels farm system. The Angels not only found a gem, but someone who can be a strong asset to any team he plays on.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Wass has some serious pop. This comes from wildly fast bat speed and the use of his strong frame, allowing him to contain his legs and stay back in his swing, while using his strong upper body to add strength to his swing.

With his power comes gap-to-gap power, and importantly, his opposite field power, where he can spray chart the baseball well. He doesn't have great speed, so you won't see many triples, but he has no trouble getting to second base safely on balls to the gap.

Wass has a good eye, but has some swing and miss problems, which comes naturally from a power hitter. This can be coached out, and become a strength in his game, drawing long at bats and more walks, due to his good pitch recognition.

Wass came to the Angels due to needed depth at the catching position. He has a good arm, and good release, but may need to have his receiving skills progress. He uses his big frame to block pitches when needed, and has shown this as a promising part of his game.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Wass helped lead Pensacola Catholic High School to a 23-5 record and perfect 10-0 record in league play his senior season, with a .367 batting average, 10 home runs, and 33 runs batted in. He was named to a Florida Region honorable mention selectin by Perfect Game USA. He was named to the 2009 honorable mention Preseason High School Underclassmen All-American selection by Perfect Game USA in his junior season.

In his freshman year at Meridian Community College, Wass bat .370 with 11 home runs, with 39 runs batted in and 42 runs scored. He shined at an even larger level in his second season, batting .427 with 23 dingers, 18 doubles, and 67 runs batted in. He also held a .568 on base percentage, helped by 46 walks. This helped him be named as a first team Region 23 member by the National Junior College Athletic Association and earning a draft spot in the 13th round by the Baltimore Orioles.

Wass opted out of a professional career to continue his college career at the University of Alabama. In a preseason scrimmage, Wass suffered a broken right ankle and then upon his return, broke his wrist on a hit by pitch. Wass earned medical redshirt eligability after having season-ending surgery to his hand.

In his final season at 'Bama, Wass put up a .302/.388/.462 slash. He lead the team in doubles (19), and lead the team in batting average (.311), doubles (11), slugging percentage (.505), hit by pitch (8), and on-base percentage (.410) in SEC play. Wass hit five home runs and collected 34 RBI, helping name him to the All-SEC Second Team.

Wass jumped into Rookie Ball after being signed and put up video games numbers, slashing .341/.461/.606. Wass had 12 of his 39 games go for multi-hit games, and reached base safely three times in a game 11 times. Wass had a slash of .423/.543/.808 against left-handed pitchers. In his final 14 games, Wass had a slash of .444/.568/.755, and with 16 runs attributed to.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Wass will be playing at one of the Class-A affiliates, and tougher, older competition in 2015. Spring Training will be the tell tale of whether he'll be in Low-A or High-A, but it is more likely he'll land with the Burlington Bees next season.

Being a catcher with a big bat can always work in your favor. For Wade Wass, he has these qualities and it could help him advance to the Major League levels. He'll need to prove himself at the higher level affiliates, but there is little doubt that this undrafted free agent has big club qualities and potential talent.





70. Ronald Muck, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'0
WT : 195 lb.
DOB : August 23, 1991, Park Ridge, IL
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of Illinois (Champaign, IL)
Acquired : Drafted in 30th round (899th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : D.J. on the side, "DJ R3GOSUAVE"


Need a new walkout song or a setup man? Ronald Mucks has you covered. The part-time D.J. and full-time baseball player's favorite athlete is C.C. Sabathia due to his dominance on the mound. well, Ronald Muck is now a professional baller himself and is dominating right-handed bats at the lower levels of the Los Angeles Angels farm system.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Muck is an athlete, being a five letter athlete in high school, playing baseball and football. He has used this on the mound to his advantage, being able to use his entire body through his mechanics.

One of the quirks to Muck's delivery is a slight stall during his leg kick. He comes from a full delivery, and brings his glove and leg up at the same time, before a strong stride forward with his full body. This allows him to maintain both velocity and command, while also adding deceptiveness.

Muck's fastball sits in the 92-94 range, and is naturally a cut fastball. This allows batters to be fooled slightly by the movement, and it provides weak contact with pitching in the lefties and outside to right-handed bats.

As of right now, our scouting report is not full, due to our lack of knowledge on Muck's off-speed pitches. We do know he has a slight slurve-ish type pitch, that could either be a slow slider with late downward break, or a fringy curveball.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Muck was a three-letter pitcher at Maine South High School, breaking the school single-season record of 98 strikeouts in his junior season, and threw a perfect game and posted a 0.77 ERA in his sophomore season, the same year he helped lead the school to a Regional Championship. In his senior season, Muck posted a 12-4 record, 2.48 ERA, and 113 strikeouts in 80 innings of work. This came with a .370 batting average with six home runs and 38 runs batted in, helping lead his team to a Maine South sectional title.

Muck has multiple accolades during his high school career, including being named the Pioneer Press North Stars Player of the Year in 2010, Bugle Newspaper Male Athlete of the Year in 2010, All-Area selection by the Chicago Sun-Times from 2008-10, and All-Central Suburban Conference pitcher in both 2008 and 2009. Muck was named the number 38 prospect in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report.

Muck's freshman year at Illinois was brief, pitching in just nine appearances, four that went scorless. He finished with a 4.50 ERA with one save in 10 innings pitched. Muck finished his junior season with a 3-1 record, two saves, and 2.70 ERA. Over 26.2 innings pitched, Muck struck out 19, and walked nine. His ERA was the second lowest in the Fighting Illini bullpen.

Muck finished his college career with a 3.38 ERA, and 1-4 record. Muck shut down bats with a .196 against average, and a .132 against average in Big Ten games. Muck struck out 27 over 32 innings of work, including six in one game against Nebraska on May 16th.

After being drafted, Muck went straight to Rookie Ball, where he put together eight strong performances, five that went scoreless. Muck allowed three runs in 14.2 innings of work, and striking out 23 for an average of 14.11 per nine. Right handed bats were limited to going 4-for-33. Muck struck out 17 of the 34 right-handed batters he faced in Rookie Ball.

Muck earned himself a callup to Low-A, where he struggled continued to pitch well against tougher competition. He finished the season posting a 4.64 ERA, mostly due to a four run outing. Muck continued to strikeout as many guys as possible, keeping his aggressive path with 25 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Muck spent limited time as a professional, but landed in Class-A where he excelled. This makes us believe a second season, and possibly a full one with the Burlington Bees will be the case for Muck in 2015.

Muck is progressing well, and didn't stop against tougher competition. With a strong season in 2015, more will be known about Muck, and an ETA for the Majors can be properly made.





71. Cole Swanson, Left-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'5
WT : 200 lb.
DOB : April 5, 1992, San Diego, California
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : Concordia University (Irvine, California) / San Diego State University (San Diego, California)
Acquired : Drafted 19th Round (577th overall) of 2013 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Coached by Tony Gwynn


This bullpen lefty isn't just a loogy. Cole Swanson has shined in every aspect, from high school, to college, to professional baseball. Coming in as one of the underdogs in the 2013 draft, Swanson can now be recognized as a steal, and prove himself at the higher levels of the Los Angeles Angels farm system.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Swanson has a powerful, three-pitch mix, consisting of a fastball, curveball, and changeup. Swanson's fastball sits in the low 90's, tapping 93 at times, with good cutting movement at the end. This has helped him create weak contact.

Swanson has uses his changeup deceptively, as a pitch he can use in any count to keep batter's unbalanced at the plate, and can also use it as a put away pitch. Swanson's curveball is becoming a good pitch, and has potential to be a great pitch.

Swanson throws very similar to Angels great, Troy Percival, with a small kick and motion towards the plate, throwing from a deceptive high angle. He hides the ball well, and uses his arm speed as his biggest weapon.

Since becoming a pro, Swanson has adjusted his mechanics to use his whole body and added slightly better command and velocity. This is still something he'll need to work on, but at the moment, it's working well for him.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Swanson was a three year letter at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, recording four saves and a 4.36 ERA his sophomore year. He followed that with a 2.87 ERA his junior season with a 7-3 record while striking out 48. In his Senior season he was named an All-Avocado League honorable mention his senior season, after compiling a 2.59 ERA. Swanson finished his high school career going 12-8, with a 2.96 ERA and .247 BAA.

Swanson's freshman year at San Diego State was among the best all-time at the University. Swanson finished the season going 4-2, with a 3.23 ERA, and 1.230 WHIP. This helped him to be named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American squad by Collegiate Baseball magazine. He was also honored with an All-Mountain West Conference second-team selection. His ERA in was ranked eighth-best in the Mountain West and his .218 against average was ranked fourth.

Swanson's second season at SDSU was not as strong as his first, finishing with a 4.78 ERA and 1.639 WHIP, helping him finish his career as an Aztec with a 4-3 record, 3.62 ERA, 1.332 WHIP, 7.93 H/9, 4.05 BB/9, 7.07 K/9, and 2.93 XBH/9.

Swanson transferred to Concordia University, just up the I-5, and posted a 3.53 ERA, with a 1.165 WHIP. Swanson finished the 2013 college season with a 8-4 record, and allowed just 7.9 hits per nine, walked 2.49 per nine, while striking out 7.39 per nine. He held bats to a .240 against average, .298 on base percentage, and .372 slugging percentage.

Swanson shined in his first 13 appearances of professional baseball, posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.185 WHIP, and .232 against average. However, in his final three appearances, he allowed eight runs on 13 hits and three walks in four and a third innings of work.

Last season was similar to his first pro year, as he allowed seven runs in his final six and a third innings of work, jumping his ERA from 3.53 to 4.35. Swanson shut down left-handed bats, holding them to a .176/.288/.275 slash. Swanson not only shut down lefties, but also right-handed bats, holding them to a .203/.283/.336 slash with just eight extra base hits in 143 plate appearances.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Swanson has shown excellence in the bullpen at both the Rookie Ball and Class-A level. It won't take a strong Spring (though, it wouldn't hurt) to put him in High-A to face tougher competition in 2015.

Swanson has shown promise as a loogy in the bullpen, and that will help his value heading towards the Major Leagues. Swanson could be pitching in the big club's bullpen by the 2017 season.





72. Ben Carlson, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'3
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : November 30, 1990, Greenville, South Carolina
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina)
Acquired : Drafted 40th Round (1,207th overall) in 2013 June Draft
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : True Professional on and off the field


The Los Angeles Angels have had a pair of deep drafts the past two seasons, and ended the 2013 draft with a hidden gem, Ben Carlson. Carlson has found his place with the Angels, and is working towards a strong career in the minors, and hoping to take that all the way to the top.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Carlson comes with four pitches, but none as strong as his changeup. Carlson describes this pitch as a pitch he "loves" to use in every count, as he uses it strongly as a punch out pitch.

Carlson's has a pair of fastballs, a natural four-seam, and a sinker. Both of these pitches sit in the high 80's and low 90's, sitting anywhere from 88-92, and touching 93 on occasions. Carlson relies on this sinker to attain weak contact and ground outs.

Carlson has a slider that he's improving steadily. It has gotten progressively better each year and particularly in his final few games of this past season.

Carlson has simple mechanics, throwing from a three-quarter arm slot, and adds a "funky little leg kick" in his motion. Carlson said he was slightly robotic until college, and then gained smooth mechanics, and the leg kick came natural.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Carlson finished his final season at Furman with a 5-3 record, 4.64 ERA, and .298 against average over 30 appearances, all in relief. Carlson pitched 52.3 innings, allowing 65 hits, 29 earned runs, 11 walks, and struck out 45. Carlson did hold a 0.54 ERA with 17 strikeouts over his first 11 appearances (16.2 IP).

Carlson jumped into Rookie Ball right out of the draft, and shined as one of the stars of the AZ League, being named a post-season All-Star, and leading the league in saves with 10. Carlson had 19 of his 21 starts go scoreless, and had nine go for perfect work. He finished the season with a 1.73 ERA and .242 against average.

Carlson continued his success this past season, throwing 40 scoreless outings in 52 appearances, 11 straight from mid April to mid June. He finished the season with a 2.60 ERA, .266 against average, and 1.309 WHIP. Carlson walked just 2.32 per nine over the season, and struck out 8.49 per nine.

From April 10th to August 17th, Carlson held a 1.38 ERA, limiting bats to a .255 average and .292 on base percentage. He struck out 47 batters over the span, including a pair of back-to-back, five strikeout performances in relief.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Carlson put together a grand season in the Class-A bullpen, making us believe he'll make the jump to High-A and face more experienced competition. He should continue to be a late inning threat in the bullpen through his minor league career.

Carlson was taken in the 40th round, which many say is a tough road to reach the Majors, but Carlson has made strides forward at every level, not only staying with the competition, but thriving against it. This will be his make or break point when heading towards the Majors. We believe Carlson is not just a minor league filler, but also a future Major Leaguer talent, who could help the Angels bullpen in upcoming years.





73. Exicardo Cayones, Outfielder


HT : 6'0
WT : 185 lb.
DOB : October 9, 1991, Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : N/A
Acquired : Traded from New York Yankees in exchange for Vernon Wells (2013)
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes :


When you're traded for A.J. Burnett, you have to have some value. However, when Exicardo Cayones came over from the Yankees for Vernon Wells, many Los Angeles Angels lovers had no idea who he was. Now, his name is being tossed around again, but not as just a name in a trade, but as a noticeable prospect inthe Angels farm system.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Exicardo Cayones plays a very "free game." There isn't much naturalness to his game, and he tends to adjust in whatever manner he finds can help him, which honestly, is really cool.

Cayones has a free swing, allowing him to just take a hack at the ball and place it eratically, which is something coaches have been working on with him for some time. What's positive about it though, is that he's putting the ball in play.

Cayones has limited power, but can put the ball to the gaps, and create headwind with his speed. Cayones has explosiveness out of the box and on the paths, allowing him to steal bases, and be aggressive with ease.

Cayones has good pitch recognition, being able to lay off the bad ones and find the good ones. This has been the calling card for Cayones thus far in his career.

A strong point to Cayones' game is his defense. With the electric speed, he manages to make up space towards the ball in the outfield, and rarely makes mistakes once there. His arm is slightly above average, and he has shown flashes of that extra "oomph" when needed to get the overly aggressive runner.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Cayones broke out on the international scene, after being signed as 16-year-old in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the Venezuelan Summer League, Cayones put up a slash of .302/.396/.424, and had 16 of his 65 games go as multi-hit games.

Cayones' second year of professional baseball was his first stateside, putting up a .263/.369/.362 slash. In his eighth to 13th games of the season, Cayones went 15-for-22, reaching base in 18 of 25 plate appearances.

Cayones reached base in 20 of 27 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2011, and posted a .293/.389/.427 slash before being bumped up to the Short Season A. Cayones struggled against the tougher competition in his final teen year, and finished the season with a combined .228/.333/.325 slash.

After being traded for A.J. Burnett, Cayones kept up his struggles in his only year with the New York Yankees. In 47 games, Cayones finished with a .228/.374/.291 slash. Cayones did manage seven multi-hit games his only season in pinstripes though.

In Cayones' first year with the Halos, he put up a .233/.344/.322 slash, having career highs in power numbers at the Class-A affiliate, Burlington Bees. Where Cayones excelled was in the first inning, going 11-for-30 (.367) in the first frame of games with a .906 OPS.

This past season, Cayones split time between both Class-A affiliates, posting a .269/.375/.370 slash in a career high 95 games. While with the Bees, Cayones held a .297/.433/.432 slash against right-handed pitchers, and held a .322 batting average in the first five frames of games, with a .921 OPS.

Cayones picked up a hit in 25 of his final 37 games in High-A, and collected a .284/.361/.365 slash while with the Inland Empire 66ers. Cayones put up clutch numbers, batting .312 with a .825 OPS in the eighth inning of later in games.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Cayones has spent the last two seasons jumping between both Class-A affiliates. It seems that 2015 will be spent full-time in the High-A affiliate, Inland Empire 66ers.

Cayones has been tossed around and somewhat forgotten multiple times in his minor league career. However, there is no reason not to believe that Cayones has the capability to reach the Majors as a fourth outfielder, with his plus defense and explosive play.





74. Angel Almao, Utility


HT : 5'10
WT : 145 lb.
DOB : November 5, 1994, Maturin, Monagas, Venezuela
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : International Free Agent 2012
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : High Socks / Smiling 24/7 / Champion of selfies


Good things come in small packages. The Los Angeles Angels found a good thing in a small frame, with Angel Almao. This utility prospect has worked his way through all the roles the organization has put him up to, and excelled in each.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Almao has three strong points to his game. His diversity, glove, and speed. Almao has the making to be the perfect utility tool for the Angels, but has some tweaks to be made.

As for his speed, he runs very stalkishly, with small strides, but quick feet. This allows him to jump out of the batter's box and on the base paths, meaning a large amount of stolen bases and infield hits.

Almao has a strong glove that he can use in any part of the outer infield, and in the outfield as well. He has a quick jump to the ball, but has a strong arm behind him, allowing him to be quick in the field all around.

Almao makes good contact for his size, and creates a small amount of power with good bat speed. There aren't many holes or hitches in Almao's swing, but his small size does damage his gap to gap ability.

Patience is another strong point of Almao's game, as he has a good eye and can read the ball well out of the pitcher's hand. This, as well as his speed, allows him adequate chances to reach base, and nab bases while on.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Almao jumped on the scene in his first year of professional baseball, putting up a .242/.353/.253 slash at 17-year-old. Almao picked up hits in his first three games, and in his final five games of 2012, and had five multi-hit games, three of which were three hit games. In the eighth inning of later, Almao had a .454 batting average and .992 OPS.

Almao's second season did not go as well as the first, as he hit just .202, but still found ways to reach base with a .311 on base percentage. Almao did find positives while facing left-handed pitchers, putting up a .261/.346/.261 slash.

Last season, Almao put together his best season, putting up a .254/.381/.300 slash, reaching base safely in 51 of his 63 games. Almao reached base in 18 straight games from early July to early August, batting .355 over the stretch, with a .518 on base percentage, all while striking out in just 11% of his plate appearances.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Almao will be on his way stateside in 2015, showing his worth in Rookie Ball. With a strong Spring Training, Almao could be thrown into the mix of higher Rookie Ball, and the Orem Owlz. Almao is far from the Majors currently, but has some tools that will help him get to that level. His ETA is currently 2019.




For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout.


Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.




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