Angels in B.A. Top 10 Prospects

Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick
Brandon Wood (left) and Howie Kendrick are considered two of the top prospects in all the minor leagues.

The October 9, 2006 issue of Baseball America lists their annual post-season lists of Top 10 Prospects for each minor league. As they’ve always been in recent years, the Angels are amply represented.

Salt Lake (Triple-A)
#2 Jered Weaver RHP
#3 Howie Kendrick 2B

Arkansas (Double-A)
#2 Brandon Wood SS

Rancho Cucamonga (High-A)
#4 Nick Adenhart RHP
#7 Jose Arredondo RHP

Cedar Rapids (Low-A)
#5 Nick Adenhart RHP

Orem (Advanced Rookie-A)
#4 Sean O’Sullivan RHP
#6 Peter Bourjos OF
#9 Jeremy Haynes RHP
#10 Ryan Mount SS

Tempe (Rookie-A)
#1 Hank Conger C
#6 Matt Sweeney 3B
#10 Vladimir Veras RHP

Some observations …

  • LHP Joe Saunders didn’t make the PCL Top 10, nor did he make the Second Ten. All he did was go 10-4 with a 2.67 ERA for Salt Lake in 21 starts. Opponents batted only .234 against him; his SO:BB ratio in 135.0 IP was 97:38. Called up to replace the injured Bartolo Colon, Saunders in 13 starts was 7-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 70.2 IP, a 51:29 SO:BB ratio, and .264 opponents’ average.
  • SS Erick Aybar finished #15 in the PCL listing.
  • OF Terry Evans, acquired from the Cardinals mid-season for RHP Jeff Weaver, was ranked #18 in the Texas League but nonetheless was named by BA to the Double-A All-Star team which includes all three Double-A leagues, suggesting he’s one of the three top outfielders in Double-A. Go figure.
  • Former Angels minor league manager Todd Claus was named the Double-A Manager of the Year. Claus was a one-time protege of scout/manager Tom Kotchman; like “Kotch,” Claus managed during the summer and scouted during the off-season. Claus was fired after the 2003 season when a voice mail intended for outgoing scouting director Donny Rowland was accidentally sent to the entire front office staff. Rowland had just been let go by Angels GM Bill Stoneman; Claus’ message was critical of Stoneman.
  • SS Sean Rodriguez finished #12 on the Cal League prospects list, but made the High Class-A All-Star Team as the DH. BA feels that Sean’s defense will eventually force him into a utility role.
  • FutureAngels.com has talked about Jose Arredondo ever since he was converted from a light-hitting infielder in the summer of 2004. I was there in Mesa during the summer league right after the Angels had experimented with his taking the mound for an inning in one game and found he could throw in the mid-90s. So we’ve tracked his progress since then; in last November’s annual FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects review, I wrote: “RHP Jose Arredondo, a 21-year old converted infielder, blazed his fastball in the high 90s during his first full season as a pitcher. Arredondo in his last five regular season starts posted a 1.53 ERA in 29.1 IP with a 28:7 K:BB ratio and .183 AVG. Like any convert project, he’ll need innings and a lot more experience; interestingly, he had more trouble with right-handed batters (.336 AVG) than left-handed batters (.235 AVG) during the 2005 Orem season. Arredondo’s secondary pitches are a slider and splitter, both of which need more work.” Arredondo finished 2006 in Double-A with the Travelers.
  • RHP Stephen Marek just missed the Midwest League Top 10 cut, finishing #11.
  • 2005 1st round draft pick RHP Trevor Bell missed the Pioneer League Top 10 list, finishing #16. Teammate RHP Kenneth Herndon finished #12.
  • Warner Madrigal, once considered a top power-hitting outfield prospect, finished #19 on the Arizona League list. Madrigal was converted this summer into a relief pitcher and allowed five runs in 12 innings with 13 strikeouts and three walks. Warner suffered a series of hand injuries over the last couple years; although he had power at the plate, his pitch selection and plate discipline was almost non-existent. So the Angels decided to convert him to the mound to take advantage of his power arm.

In closing, let’s note the passing of Buck O’Neil, a treasure not only of the national pastime but the nation itself.

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