Even with 100 prospects filling out our countdown, there are some we just have to note as "Best of the Rest." It's not to say these prospects are any worse, but in all honesty, we may have passed a few up by accident. 10 voters, all with differing opinions, sometimes, you just miss out on the guys with high projectability.
All the players in this "Best of the Rest" article received votes in one way or another from our 10 voters. Some as high as getting into the 50's and 60's on some ballots. We won't mention who, and to keep from any concerns on rankings, we listed all the extra prospects in alphabetical order.
Here's just a little more access to the farm system you're beginning to fall in love with, and showing how much depth there actually is. The Angels farm system has been attacked with things such as "one of the worst in baseball," but what those saying that don't realize is how much average talent is there, as opposed to the highlight prospects. Without any more delay, here are your "Best of the Rest" prospects in the Angels farm system.
Justin Anderson, Right-Handed Pitcher
Anderson is a nice guy to take a gander at. The Angels took him in the 14th round of this last season as a raw lefty with some knowledge of how to put guys away. He struggled out of the draft between both Rookie Ball affiliates, but there's enough promise to throw those numbers away right now.
Grant Gordon, Right-Handed Pitcher
Gordon lacks size, but makes up for it with smart pitching. He has trouble commanding his low 90's fastball, which shouldn't pick up much velocity with his physical projection being near finished. Gordon works quick, and attacks batters with his fastball, putting them away with his average curveball. He needs to begin repeating his mechanics to heal his control woes, but could suit well as a bullpen piece in the future.
Brandon Gildea, Catcher
Gildea is a good mix of steady contact and a good arm. Behind the plate, Gildea has a quick release and moves well with a proper catching build. Some scouts have said with his good arm, and a nice glove, he could move to third base, giving him more playing time to get a true projection. At the plate, you'd like to see him take more pitches, but he can really square the ball up, and provide some decent line drive power.
Raymundo Gonzalez, Right-Handed Pitcher
Gonzalez has been taking in time in the Dominican, and showing his talents. He comes suited with a mid 90's fastball with some sinking action, and could add a few ticks with full physical development. Gonzalez comes with an average slider and curveball mix as well. He has good control for a youngster with a fire arm, and could be coached into a nice reliever, who could take over seventh inning scenarios, but this won't be fully estimated until he sees time state side.
Drew Heid, Outfielder
Heid has been roaming the Angels farm system for quite some time, and is at the point in his career where he needs to make some noise to remain in the system. Best case scenario for him is to be traded with the Angels outfield depth, but he is one of the hardest workers in the system, and could find his way into a fourth or fifth outfielding position with a little bit better numbers at Triple-A.
Nate Hyatt, Right-Handed Pitcher
Hyatt came over to the Angels in what is known as the "Kyle Kubitza/Ricardo Sanchez" trade, but it seems the Angels knew what they were doing acquiring him. He comes equipped with a high 90's fastball that touches 98, and brings a decent slider with him. Hyatt compares well to Dane De La Rosa, due to his high velocity, but struggles in hitting the strike zone with regularity.
Stephen McGee, Catcher
The Angels obviously have a passion for McGee, giving him a Spring Training invite to play with the big boys. He fits the Scioscia style as a defensively minded catcher, hardly making mistakes behind the plate, and has a cannon to tag along with it. With names like Jett Bandy and Zach Wright ahead of him, it's hard to say he's the best defensive catcher in the system, but he's right there behind them, which is actually still a compliment. As for his bat, it's pretty defensive catcher-esque. He does have the ability to take a lot of pitches and find ways on base in different ways though.
Adam McCreery, Left-Handed Pitcher
Standing tall at six-foot-eight, McCreery already has some cool deception to him, thanks to his Kevin Garnett height and mentality. He's been put in the bullpen, but has starter potential, though time in the bullpen may see a rise in his velocity and the organization won't have to stress on working on his rough mechanics nearly as much. His fastball is thrown downhill in the high 80's, touching 90 at times, with a curveball that comes in as "okay." McCreery could turn into something special though as he progresses to face tougher talent, and he learns to command his pitches a little better.
Darlyn Mota, Infielder
Another Dominican prospect who comes in a little different. He's had trouble making contact, but is still young enough to be coached into a better swing. He has an advanced approach at the plate, taking a high load of pitches and reaching base enough to where his bat isn't as concerning. He has enough power to get by right now and will add some power with physical development. He has nice speed, and could be a decent glove at second base once state side.
Jeff Malm, Left-Handed Pitcher
A little bit of a fun project for the Angels, Jeff Malm used to be a power prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays. When it didn't work out at the plate for Malm, he decided to make a small career change and takes his talents to the mound. As a high-schooler, Malm was throwing 87-92 MPH with good command, but that's about all that's known when it comes to his pitching abilities. The Angels aren't taking a big risk with him, as they'll throw him in Single-A this year, and see what he can do from there.
Jeremy McBryde, Right-Handed Pitcher
When the Angels signed McBryde to a Major League contract in October, many had questions about who he was and why the Angels were giving him such a large opportunity. He has yet to see Major League time after seven years in the minors, but has some nice promise. He really limits right-handed bats, helped by a wipeout slider and 91-93 MPH fastball. He's somewhat of a project, but McBryde will compete for a spot in the bullpen out of Spring Training this year.
Keinner Pina, Catcher
A small catcher with some decent tools. Pina is similar to a catching version of Darlyn Mota. He has the ability to reach base in ways despite being a guy who doesn't make a lot of contact. He's young and mature, and knows how to be tricky at the plate with an advanced approach. Defensively, Pina is just too small to make a trip state side as a catcher right now, but has all the tools to remain behind the plate. It'll be interesting to see what's done with Pina with time and physical addition.
Luis Pena, Right-Handed Pitcher
Pena is unique because there isn't a lot known about him, but you can't ignore one earned run on seven hits and three walks in 16.1 innings pitched this last year. He was suspended 50 games before throwing a professional pitch after testing positive for boldenone (equipoise), an anabolic steroid used to treat horses. The drug has side effects that increase muscle growth, red blood cell counts and appetite. As long as the bad drug days are in his past, and he can continue to put up numbers like he did last year, he'll be under our radar for some time as we learn more about him.
Austin Robichaux, Right-Handed Pitcher
Robichaux is a unique guy, with a decent arsenal and oddity to him. He has a sinker-fastball that sits anywhere from 88-93, usually in the higher marks of that note. He has a changeup with arm-side run and a curveball offering that is currently listed as just an offering. He changes things up a little as he digs late into games, throwing across his body, which could mean learning new pitches and a new delivery to turn him into an inning eater, and back end rotation man or long relief player in the 'pen.
Ryan Seiz, First Baseman
Seiz files out as a possible DH guy in the future. He has a good bat, with loads of power, which also results in some relatively high strikeout rates as well. He creates good torque with his upper body and uses his lower body well to maintain power throughout his entire swing, swinging through the ball instead of just tagging it. Defensively, he's not someone who brings concern, but he is pretty much limited to just playing first base. He needs some coaching, but he could be a fun guy to pay attention to.
Michael Strentz, Catcher
Strentz put up great numbers in Rookie Ball, against younger competition, and those numbers will have to translate into Single-A to remain on our radar. He has good power and good contact abilities, but really doesn't walk enough to imagine he'll be an every day player. Strentz' defense isn't something to make high notes on, and he will more than likely make a move to first base sooner than later.
Jeyson Sanchez, Catcher
Sanchez played nearly every position last year, and played each position well defensively. He didn't play anywhere more than behind the plate, where he did justice, making little to no mistakes behind the plate in a league where pitchers are erratic. Sanchez is another one of our Dominican prospects with an ability to reach base without his bat, taking a patient approach to the plate with him. With his speed, young age, and ability to play multiple positions, he could become a nice utility piece for the Angels in the future, taking over the infield, outfield, and catching duties.
Jonathan Van Eaton, Right-Handed Pitcher
We were a little mad at ourselves when Van Eaton got tossed out of our Top 100 Prospects. He has a nasty arsenal, with a low 90's sinking-fastball, nice off-speed pitch, and developing changeup. Injury bugs have bitten Van Eaton throughout his young career, and may have been the reason he went undrafted (and missed our countdown sadly). However, with his ability to attack batters with good command, and a will to strike every guy out, he could turn into a closer throughout his minor league career, and late inning man when he gets closer and closer to the Majors, and even into the show.
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.