Short-Season Prospect Rankings I

In our first look at the kids in short-season ball, we review the players who the Angels hope are the next wave behind Kendrick, Adenhart, Wood and the rest of today's top prospects. The list includes top picks from this year and last, a few strong international players, and a few whose early success may surprise you.

1) Matt Sweeney, 3B, AZL
The only player on the Angels' roster with more than one home run so far, the Washington, D.C.-area product leads the team in slugging and, with seven walks against just six strikeouts, is second with a .476 on-base percentage. He's still learning to handle third base at the pro level, but the big lefty swinger is certainly comfortable at the plate already.

2) Felipe Arredondo, RHP, Orem
After splitting time between starting and the bullpen in his U.S. debut last year, Arredondo has shifted to the bullpen for the Owlz and been nearly unhittable. Showing much more control – only two walks in 13 innings – and better command of his electric stuff, the 19-year-old from Mexico (who is not related to the Travelers' Jose Arredondo) didn't allow a run through his first six outings before Casper finally got to him for one on Sunday. Arredondo has 21 strikeouts through 13 innings and has given up just eight hits.

3) Sean O'Sullivan, RHP, Orem
After he didn't sign as the club's third round pick last year and went the draft-and-follow route, there were whispers about his work ethic and focus on the mound. He has had no problems with either since signing in May and is overmatching Pioneer League hitters. The righty from San Diego has allowed just one earned run in 12 innings over three starts for the Owlz, and has 13 strikeouts against just two walks. More important for a guy who relies on his sinker, he's gotten 27 groundouts already.

4) Hank Conger, C, AZL
When you take a local kid with the first pick, you want him to go out and produce quickly. The Huntington Beach High School alum has done just that, starting his career with a .353/.403/.544 line. The switch-hitter has been particularly monstrous from the left side so far, hitting .405 with a .595 slugging percentage. After giving him a soft transition with DH duty in seven of his first eight games, the Angels have now gotten him behind the plate in five of six contests.

5) Trevor Bell, RHP, Orem
The Angels' first pick in last year's draft only threw 8 innings in 2005, but he's been impressive in his first real taste of pro ball with Orem so far this season. The righty has gone at least five innings in each of his four starts, posting a 2.57 ERA with 12 strikeouts and five walks in the process. The Los Angeles native has been particularly effective from the stretch, holding opponents to a .167 average with runners on base.

6) Alex Fonseca, SS, AZL
A college player who doesn't really belong at this low a level, Fonseca is using his more advanced approach to abuse rookie league pitching for a .536 on-base percentage, good for third on the circuit. The right hander has reached in all but one game and ranks among leaders in walks and doubles as well.

7) Amalio Diaz, RHP, Orem
After dominating the Cal League for four starts, Diaz is now at Orem where he has been solid in a pair of starts. The teen-ager has nine strikeouts against just two walks and has allowed only a pair of extra-base hits. He's still adjusting to being a starter again, but is likely to force the issue for the Angels and return to a full-season club before the end of the year.

8) Angel Castillo, OF, AZL
Castillo signed as a 16-year-old last August, and has certainly not been overwhelmed in his professional debut. The Venezuelan has six extra-base hits to support his .319 average and is third on the club with a .928 OPS.

9) Tim Schoeninger, RHP, AZL
After an undistinguished career at the University of Nebraska and University of Nevada, Schoeninger was something of a surprise pick in the 23rd round this year, but so far he's rewarding the club. In three outings in the desert, he has a 2.03 ERA to go with 11 strikeouts against just two walks. The 21-year-old should be out-classing the young – and often overly-aggressive – hitters in rookie ball, so his test will come once he moves up and faces more advanced hitting.

10) Peter Bourjos, OF, Orem
Bourjos didn't play an inning after signing late last year. The 10th-rounder out of Scottsdale, Ariz., already had a seven game hitting streak for the Owlz and is leading the club in average, slugging percentage and triples. He will have to watch out for his strikeout numbers – 20 in 66 at-bats already – but he offers a nice balance of speed and gap power as a center fielder.

Editors Note: This story was originally published with incorrect information about Angel Castillo. It is ASL outfielder Norberto Ortiz who led the Dominican League in homers and RBIs last season. We apologize for the error.

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