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Los Angeles Angels 2015 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Los Angeles Angels.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Just like last year, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2015. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(3/11)

Chicago
(2/11)

Houston
(Correa)

Atlanta
(Sims)

Chicago
(Bryant)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(3/14)

Cleveland
(2/14)

Los Angeles
(Today)

Miami
(Kolek)

Cincinnati
(Stephenson)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(3/18)

Detroit
(2/18)

Oakland
(1/21)

New York
(Syndergaard)

Milwaukee
(Taylor)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(3/21)

Kansas City
(2/21)

Seattle
(1/24)

Philadelphia
(Crawford)

Pittsburgh
(Glasnow)

San Diego
(Renfroe)

Toronto
(3/25)

Minnesota
(2/25)

Texas
(1/28)

Washington
(Giolito)

St. Louis
(Piscotty)

San Francisco
(Crick)

Organizational Overview
by Jason Hunt

Coming off a down season in 2013, the Angels were hoping for a better year, and looked to address some of their key issues last offseason. The trade of Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks netted young pitcher Tyler Skaggs and back-end starter Hector Santiago, and were able to get a decent third baseman in David Freese for outfielder Peter Bourjos as well. With these moves, they were anticipated to improve, but not necessarily to the point of being favored to win the division.

They played reasonably well over the first half, although they struggled at first to keep up with the red-hot Athletics. They hung around long enough, falling as far back as six games on June 21st, before going on a 33-17 tear to take the division lead on August 18th. They held the lead for good a week later, and finished strong enough to win the division by 10 games. They finished with the top record in baseball at 98-64, and drew the wild card Royals in the division series. Unfortunately, the injuries to their pitching staff derailed their postseason run, and were swept from the playoffs.

The offense was excellent, scoring a league-leading 773 runs. We saw the first of what should still be many MVP awards for Mike Trout, who finished with 36 home runs, 16 stolen bases, 115 runs and 111 RBI. And while he isn't necessarily the MVP-caliber player he once was, Albert Pujols remains a strong offensive producer, hitting 28 home runs and 105 runs batted in. They also received strong performances from second baseman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Kole Calhoun, who both produced above 4.1 bWAR.

The pitching staff was led for most of the year by Garrett Richards, who posted a 2.61 ERA and 13 wins before a knee injury ended his season. Matt Shoemaker emerged as their second-best starter during the year, winning 16 games with a 3.04 ERA and a 120 ERA+. The team attempted to address the closer role in late June by acquiring Jason Grilli from the Pirates for previous closer Ernesto Frieri, but ended up needing another infusion a few weeks later. They sent off a pair of their top prospects to San Diego for closer Huston Street, who helped to really solidify the back-end of the bullpen.

So far this offseason, a majority of the moves that the Angels have made have been small upgrades. The biggest move was sending free-agent-to-be Howie Kendrick to Chavez Ravine in exchange for top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. Beyond that, they have brought in prospects Nick Tropeano and Carlos Perez, as well as Kendrick's replacement Josh Rutledge and new DH Matt Joyce.

As with most years, the Angels have primarily used their farm system in order to make upgrades at the major league level. No one is going to consider the Angels among the top farms in the league, but the fact that they continue to be able to make the moves they want tells us enough about the system. (That doesn't make it a ton of fun to write about sometimes though.)

Their division isn't getting any easier, with the Athletics and Mariners competing last year and the Rangers and Astros expected to be improved as well, but the Angels are still well suited to compete and can finish at the top at the end of the year.

2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Efren Navarro (AB), C.J. Cron (AB), Matt Shoemaker (IP), Cory Rasmus (IP), Mike Morin (IP)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by Jason Hunt

Following the acquisition of Josh Rutledge from the Rockies, the Angels' lineup is actually pretty well set. They could potentially look for upgrades at second base (Rutledge), or at designated hitter (newly acquired Matt Joyce), but with both of those players joining the team this offseason, that seems unlikely.

The most likely opportunity on the major league roster will be at the back end of the starting rotation. Garrett Richards is recovering from his knee injury, and while it remains possible he is ready for the start of the year, it's not a guarantee. Tyler Skaggs isn't expected back until much later in the year after having Tommy John surgery, so we could see top prospects Andrew Heaney or Nick Tropeano get the first shot.


Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Brian Creagh

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors.

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1. Andrew Heaney (LHP)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
9 0 3.74 1.17 163
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
166.2 0.92 1.14 6.20% 23.49%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 L L AA,AAA,MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

What an off-season it's been for Andrew Heaney. He started a Marlin, and was traded across country to the LA Dodgers in the Dee Gordon swap. Shortly after, he was moved across the city to the Halos in exchange for Howie Kendrick. Now, Andrew Heaney is projected to be the #5 starter for a championship contender in his first full season as big-leaguer. Heaney has been much publicized since being drafted by Miami out of Oklahoma State back in 2012, and has always been in discussion as one of the best left-handed arms in all the minor leagues. He rose quickly through the system, never pitching over 100 innings at any stop and reached the major leagues at the end of 2014. The results weren't spectacular, 0-3 record, 6.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 5.45 FIP, but he looked like he belonged and should figure it out in time.

The debate on Heaney, particularly in fantasy circles, is what his strikeout totals will ultimately look like. He has a career 9.1 K/9 in the minors, but that number decreased as he rose through the system, and then rose again when he hit AAA. His underlying "stuff", which we'll get to shortly, indicates the ability to get strikeouts but he's been inconsistent in that metric for a few years now.

Heaney features a fastball, slider, and changeup. The fastball and slider are both plus offerings with the fastball sitting in the low 90's with late, lefty armside run and the slider that can be manipulated to come in all shapes and sizes. The changeup gets good movement and should prove serviceable as a starter. Heaney knows how to throw strikes and can take a pitch out of the zone to get batters to chase. There is a little concern that he's more control than command and can occasionally catch too much of the plate with a fastball that lacks elite velocity. Heaney has the ceiling of a #3, and maybe a low #2 starter with little risk that he doesn't get there. He'll get 30 starts this season barring injury and we'll have a much clearer idea of what we're looking for his future value.

2. Roberto Baldoquin (IF)

Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

With a bare farm system heading into the off-season, the recently signed Cuban infielder, Roberto Baldoquin almost jumped all the way to the top of the team's fantasy prospect rankings. Baldoquin is 20 years old and a 3B prospect with the ability to play 2B and SS depending on the Angels' need. At 5'11" 175 lbs. Baldoquin isn't a slugger and isn't a burner, so he lacks the upside of other Cuban imports, Yoan Moncada and Yasmany Tomas. What Baldoquin does offer is an across-the-board skillset and a mature game, that could find it's way quickly into the Angels starting lineup.

His statistics in Cuba are nothing sexy, and despite the small sample size, could be indicative of what we'll see from at the major league level. In 23 games, Baldoquin slashed .279/.372/.324 with 1 HR, 2 SBs, 10 Ks and 4 BBs. The sample size is so small it's not worth digging too deep, but we quickly see an impressive OBP and lackluster power numbers. There really isn't much info out on Baldoquin, but given the $8 million contract the Angels handed out to Baldoquin, they must feel confident in his abilities. What we do know is that he's the best hitting prospect in this system could stick in a middle-infielder position in 2016. He's a worthwhile sleeper at the backend of any dynasty league offseason drafts.

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3. Sean Newcomb (LHP)

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
0 0 6.14 1.5 18
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
14.2 1.20 0.41 9.38% 28.13%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L L A-Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

One of the best collegiate, lefty arms in the 2014 draft, Sean Newcomb fell to the Angels at the 15th pick and became their best pitching prospect in the process (before the Heaney acquisition, of course). Newcomb played at the University of Hartford, and at 21 years old is more raw than most collegiate arms. He features an impressive, yet unrefined arsenal that introduces some risk into the equation. Newcomb pitched only 14.2 innings in 2014, and in that short time showed big strikeout potential and iffy command/control. I suspect Newcomb will head to Hi-A to start 2014 and stay there all year as he refines his command and control.

Sean Newcomb is an imposing figure on the mound standing at 6'5" and 240 lbs and looks like a future workhorse that can throw 200+ innings year in and year out. The reason he isn't as highly touted as the other college arms is that Sean Newcomb lacks the consistency one would expect from such an experienced pitcher. That's not to say he'll never get there, in fact I like Newcomb to have a big year in 2015 and claim the top spot in LA's farm system next season. The tools are all there for him to become a fantasy stud - the size, durability, strikeout potential, and pitching in the favorable AL West parks. It's simply a matter of waiting long enough for the price to be right.

Newcomb's best pitch is a heavy fastball that sits in the mid-90s but can get up to 97 mph. He gets good run on the pitch and if it weren't for the spotty command, it might grade out as a plus-plus offering. The lefty also has a plus strikeout pitch in his wipeout slider. It plays well off of his fastball and these two should provide above-average strikeout rates at the highest level. His changeup and curveball are less refined, but one of these will need to take a step forward for him to continue to be a candidate for the starting rotation. Newcomb needs to work on his repeating his delivery, which would result in improved command across the board. It isn't unusual for bigger guys to take longer to find their command. There's a lot of body/limb to keep under control and repeating their motion can be tough. Newcomb will likely be in A+ to start 2015 and could make the jump to AA by season's end

Ricardo Sanchez - I won't do a full write-up on Sanchez because he's no longer in this system, but since he was recently trade to Atlanta, and we've already posted their Top 10, I wanted to note that Sanchez would have slotted right here in the list. He's a high-upside arm that is forever away. I own him in a deep dynasty league, and think he could be worth the wait.

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4. Cam Bedrosian (RHP)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
2 18 3.37 1.08 102
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
64.1 0.42 1.35/0.90 11.45% 38.93%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 R R A+,AA,AAA,MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

The fantasy prospects list falls off a cliff here for the Halos as we get to reliever Cam Bedrosian. Bedrosian has a monster arm and any organization would be lucky to have him at the backend of their bullpen, but for fantasy managers there isn't much use for a 7th inning reliever. Drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft and son of former pitcher Steve Bedrosian, Cam was developed as a starter until 2013 when his career really took off. He's been on a bee-line to the bullpen ever since and finally made that dream come true at the end of 2014 by pitching 19 innings of relief. He's likely 3rd or 4th in line for the closers role in Los Angeles behind Huston Street and Joe Smith so his path to fantasy relevance is unclear outside of AL-only leagues where his strikeout totals will play in just about any size league.

Speaking of his absurd strikeout rates, Bedrosian is just coming off a 2013 season where he had an 11.1 K/9, followed by 2014 where he had an unthinkable 16.4 K/9 in 45 innings pitched. That's almost 2 innings per batter! There's no doubt Bedrosian will get a crack at a closer's role sometime in his career, and that's why he finds himself at #4 on the list despite the limited short-term upside. I don't think he's worth a flier in any mixed, re-draft format, but given the randomness of bullpen and Huston Street's injury history, it's not unthinkable to see Bedrosian taking over the 9th inning in Anaheim.

5. Kyle Kubitza (3B)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.295 76 8 55 21
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
529 0.405 0.470 14.56% 25.14%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 L R AA
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2016

Acquired in the Ricardo Sanchez trade, which I'm still not sure I understand from the Angels point of view, Kyle Kubitza is a 3B prospect with an outside shot of making it to the major leagues in 2015. Drafted in the 3rd round by the Braves in 2011, Kubitza has moved methodically through the minor leagues, taking it one level a year, most recently spending 2014 at the AA level. Kubitza took a big step forward in 2014 from a production standpoint slashing .295/.405/.470 with 8 HRs and 21 SBs. He'll stick at 3B in the long run, and could be a 2nd division starter at the position or may end up as a lefty bat coming off the bench.

Kyle Kubitza lacks the pop of most corner infield prospects and his hit tool plays to 50-grade at best. He has a long swing that is not very leveraged, resulting in too frequent swing and misses. He does have a good feel for the strike zone which allows him to get away with his long swing since he is less likely to chase junk out of the zone. His stat line from 2014 is deceptive since Kubitza is not a speedster and doesn't have 20+ SB potential in the MLB. He stole only 8 bases the year prior in Hi-A so his 2014 totals are more likely a result of manager's strategy than a newfound speed on the basepaths.

2015 should begin in AAA for Kubitza with an MLB opportunity awaiting him if David Freese is injured or fails to perform. Given the high price paid to acquire Kubitza, I'm thinking he'll get the first crack of a 3B job opens up, but Roberto Baldoquin is also very much in the picture come the second half of the season.

6. Chris Ellis (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
0 0 6.89 1.60 16
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
15.2 1.10 0.57 12.31% 24.62%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

The Angels 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft was Ole Miss RHP, Chris Ellis. Ellis signed for below slot and immediately headed to Rookie League instead of staying at the complex level. The move is still a little strange given his college pedigree, but Ellis still didn't find much success at the Rookie League level despite his age. Ellis pitched only 15 innings, striking out 16 batters but also walking 8 and surrendering 12 earned runs.

Ellis is a big kid at 6'4" and 190 lbs and should carry forward as a starter. He has a simple delivery, but is inconsistent in his break to the plate leading to control issues. Ellis' fastball has a ton of life and if he can learn to keep it down in the zone, he can be dangerous with it. His second best pitch is his changeup - a legit plus pitch that can get a lot of swing and misses. Ellis also throws a slider/curveball combo so the arsenal is definitely deep enough to start. In a system bereft of even 2nd division potential, I think Ellis could become a mid-rotation piece and tally a high rate of strikeouts. He could start in Single-A this year and move quickly through the system. He's the closest to being ready of any of the Angels 2014 draft picks.

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7. Joe Gatto (RHP)

Photo Credit: Reid Compton - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
2 0 5.33 1.667 16
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
27 0.70 1.54 7.32% 13.01%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2018 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

The 2nd round pick for the Halos in 2014 is right-handed high school pitcher, Joe Gatto. Gatto is huge for an 18-year old prospect, standing at 6'3" 204 lbs. with some reports having him at 6'5". He hails from New Jersey, an area that can be lightly scouted at the high school level so scouts didn't get a ton of looks from Gatto prior to the draft. Similar to Sean Newcomb, Gatto struggles to control his large frame on the mound, but he'll grow into his body in time.

Gatto uses a clean, repeatable delivery on the mound occasionally throwing across his body when his timing is off. He features a fastball, curveball, and changeup with the fastball being his best present pitch. It sits 91-94 mph and gets good sinking action. There is some deception to his delivery and his fastball seems to jump on hitters as they're late picking it up. He throws it for strikes but needs work spotting it within the zone. His curveball and changeups are pieces of work. They flash the potential to be usable pitches, but they are inconsistent from pitch-to-pitch. Repetition and advanced coaching could clean those up and what's left is a #4/#5 rotation arm, with low strikeout and walk totals.

8. Victor Alcantara (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
7 1 3.81 1.26 117
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
125.1 0.40 1.76 11.56% 22.54%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R A
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

Yet another arm on this list, Victor (Alfonso) Alcantara is a right-handed pitcher signed out of the Dominican Republic. He's 6'2" 190 lbs and likely headed for the bullpen. He played in last year's Futures Game, receiving recognition for a really good 2014 season. Alcantara spent the season in A ball, pitching 125 innings with a 3.81 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 4.3 BB/9. The numbers are not jaw-dropping and even less so when considering he was already 21 years old, but he did take a big step forward this year and has a legitimate ceiling as an MLB asset.

Alcantara features a fastball, slider and changeup. The fastball has the type of velo that can play in the pen at 93 to 96 mph. He lacks any sort of secondary offering to make me feel comfortable projecting him as a starter down the line. I haven't seen a single positive remark on the changeup, and the slider is inconsistent at best. He still has some development time ahead of him and it doesn't take much to see him developing a worthy two-pitch mix that allows Alcantara to come out of the pen and throw darts an inning at a time. I'm not sure the strikeout totals will ever be enough for him to be a fantasy relevant option, but that's just sort of where we are at this deep in the Angels system.

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9. Alex Yarbrough (2B)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.285 66 5 77 6
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
592 0.321 0.397 5.57% 20.95%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 S R AA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

Finally, another position prospect to talk about. This one comes in the form of 2B, Alex Yarbrough. Yarbrough shouldn't move the needle much for fantasy owners with his utility infielder upside and hit-only toolset. If your league gives credit for any sort of playing time; however, Yarbrough is a worthy flier. He passed the AA test this year and has enough all-around tools to sneak into a bench spot down the road. This year in AA he hit .285/.321/.397, which is surprisingly in line with his 3 year career average of .295/.327/.422.

At 23 years old, Yarbrough is close to his first cup of coffee. AAA is the likely landing spot for him to start the season, but with Josh Rutledge and Grant Green manning the keystone for Los Angeles, the opportunity for Yarbrough could come quickly. There isn't a whole lot of speed to his game, and there's no power to speak of, but he has a knack for putting bat to ball and fits the mold of a 9th place hitter. There's really not a whole lot to see here, but I told Jason I'd rank 10 players.

10. Kyle McGowin (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
1 0 3.03 1.16 53
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
65.1 0.70 1.32 6.32% 19.70%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 R R A+-AA-Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

Yet another big-bodied pitching prospect, McGowin has a little more experience than the rest of the guys on this list not named Heaney. A 6'3" right-hander, McGowin just completed a season that saw him start in Rookie ball and end in AA. He was an unheralded pitcher out of Savannah State University and was having a great year until his arm gave out after just one start at AA. A full season may have seen him a little higher on this list, but I'm still leaving him here because I think there could be something useful in McGowin.

He did not opt for Tommy John surgery, but as is often the case, TJS becomes unavoidable for these types of injuries. Let's hope he can work through it, but his ranking builds in for a potential lost year of rehab. McGowin has a decent fastball that sits in the low 90's and a great slider that he can lean on when healthy. Health concerns again may limit him to the bullpen, but his body and arsenal fit that of a backend rotation piece. Hang on for another year with McGowin but keep him on your radar if you're in a crazy-deep league because his arm gave out before any sort of buzz was able to build on this guy.




About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
Follow him on Twitter 

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter 

David Spracale is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter