Injuries are part of the game, and probably the absolute worst part. It happens to most at one point or another during their career. For six Los Angeles Angels prospects, their 2014 season was taken from them, and had them spend either all or the majority of the disabled list. These six prospects are looking for bounce back seasons this year, because they didn't get the opportunity to have one last year.
Hunter Green, Left-Handed Pitcher
Green didn't see any time on the field during the 2014 season, due to a back injury. For some time, Green was the Angels top prospect, not only due to his draft status, but also a mid 90's fastball and strong off-speed duo, that gave him a ceiling near a 2/3 starter. After being drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft, Green pitched 16.2 innings total with a 4.32 ERA. Green is healthy again, and is looking for his first real full year of development as a 19-year-old. He should see Rookie Ball in 2015.
Jordan Piché, Right-Handed Pitcher
After moving around and having himself a nice career at the University of Kansas, Piché was selected in the 28th round of this past draft by the Angels. He went out to Arizona, where he allowed just one run in 11.1 innings pitched. In Piché's eighth game of the year, he tore his ACL while running to cover third base, and was flown to Anaheim to have surgery. He's beyond the rehab phase and should be ready come season start. He's another prospect who needs a full season under his belt, but he's also 23-years-old and not a teenager. This should mean he makes the leap to Class-A Burlington come this year, if he's 100% healthy at the beginning of the season.
Jared Ruxer, Right-Handed Pitcher
Ruxer's draft stock dropped suddenly when it was acknowledged that he needed Tommy John surgery. The Angels took him in the 12th round, and saw all the promise that came with him. Ruxer registers in with a low to mid 90's fastball, and pair of plus off-speed pitches. He had Tommy John in early July of this last year, which means he shouldn't come back to 100% until around the same time or later. Many, including us here at Scout, hope that Jared will be pitching by July, and in Rookie Ball, showing why drafting him was an outstanding move for the Angels.
Jonathan Van Eaton, Right-Handed Pitcher
Van Eaton has had the injury bug bite him a few times in his young career. He has 19.0 innings of solid work already, but that came two seasons ago. Van Eaton didn't pitch last year, and is really looking to take off this year with his dancing fastball, newly developed changeup, and solid breaking pitch. Van Eaton went undrafted, but started turning heads once he got into professional baseball, and should be able to do so again, but this time, outside of Rookie Ball, taking a trip to Class-A Burlington or High-A Inland Empire at the end of Spring Training.
Austin Wood, Right-Handed Pitcher
Another prospect who's spent more than enough time on the disabled list, Austin Wood is finally healthy and ready to shine his filthy stuff. Wood may have the highest ceiling of any Angels prospect, due to his stuff alone. He needs work, but will finally get his first full season of baseball next year in three years. Over the last two seasons, Wood has thrown a combined 46.1 innings in 16 games, posting a career 3.94 ERA in his minor league career. Look for Wood to either start 2015 with High-A Inland Empire, where he left off last year... or Double-A Arkansas, where he could be fast tracked to the Majors.
Jake Yacinich, Shortstop
Yacinich got plagued by the injury bug only six games after being drafted in the eight round by the Angels. Last season, Yacinich's season ended early with a foot injury, just after six games where he posted a .176/.364/.235 slash in 22 plate apperances. The gifted fielder is one of the only true shortstop prospects for the Angels, and should return home to Iowa come 2015, to play baseball for Class-A Burlington. Scouts believe Yacinich could be a very good leadoff bat, who can take control of the game defensively.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.