Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!

The Angels’ Consensus Top Prospects

March 16th, 2015

 

With FanGraphs’ somewhat random Top 18 prospects list now up, every major online baseball publication (that I’m aware of) has released their Angels top prospect rankings for 2015. We gave a lot of thought to doing a list of our own, but with a minimal first-hand knowledge of the players and little time to collect the variety of opinions from numerous sources that’s needed to devise a comprehensive ranking, we thought it much easier to coalesce all the information already out there into a single super list. So we did.

Using the varied lists of MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, ESPN, Minor League Ball, and FanGraphs as our dataset*, we added up the respective ranking of each player on each list, then divided by six to get the average and determine the top 10. Twenty-five different prospects appeared on at least one of the lists, and only five were on all six. For those players who were on some lists and not others, a ranking of 15, 19, or 21 was given, depending on the number of players in the original list.

*There is a lot of great prospect analysis out there from Angels-centric sites, but for the purposes of this exercise I’ve omitted their 2015 rankings. I find that some fan predictions are overly optimistic, and I didn’t want to include some lists and not others, so I went with none.

Things got slightly more complicated when determining the players’ overall grades. Not everyone uses the 20-80 scouting scale in their projections, so we used Kiley McDaniel’s primer as a way to translate letter grades (Minor League Ball) and projected roles (Baseball Prospectus) into a single standardized scale. For instance, a C+ grade became a 50, a no. 2/3 starter ceiling became a 65. Once translated, the scores were averaged and rounded to the nearest five to create each player’s potential overall “Future Value” (FV). Keith Law and Baseball America don’t include overall grades on their rankings, and thus weren’t included in the FV calculation.

Just to be clear: None of this is new information, and is not a scouting report. It’s simply a consolidation of six of the major top prospects lists into one general summary to paint a picture of where the scouting community seems to believe the Angels farm system stands heading into 2015.

Meet The New Angels: Johnny Giavotella

December 26th, 2014

Johnny Arthur Giavotella

Age: 27 | Height: 5’8 | Weight: 185
Bats: R | Throws: R
Pos: 2B/3B

 

Birthplace: Metairie, Louisiana

Giavotella was born and raised in the NOLA metro area and remained in the Big Easy through college, attending the University of New Orleans.

 

Drafted: 2nd round, 2008 – Kansas City Royals

After excelling as a two-way player in high school, Giavotella moved to the keystone exclusively at UNO and helped guide the Privateers to berths in two consecutive NCAA tournaments (’07 & ’08). Giavotella hit .354/.470/.591 in his junior year, earning him third-team All-American honors and the good fortune of being selected as the 49th overall pick in the 2008 draft.

 

Nickname: Goes by “Gio,” even though his name is spelled G-I-A.

As a short-statured guy from La Nouvelle-Orléans, I feel like “Napoleon” should also be on the table… ooh or maybe “Nap Gio”? Yep, I’m going Nap Gio.

 

Prospect Status:

Giavotella was a Top 15 prospect in Kansas City’s historically deep farm system a few years back, but he graduated out of their ranks in 2011. He peaked at #11 in 2008 per Baseball America, at #9 in 2011 per Baseball Prospectus, and at #12 for Minor League Ball in 2011.

 

Scouting Report Key Phrases: excellent feel for the strike zonefew weaknesses at the plate; has plenty of popdefense still needs some workpatient approach and a very short, quick swing

Pretty positive, right? Well, here’s the catch: All of those reports are from 2011 or earlier. Giavotella has had several opportunities to make his skill set work at the big-league level, but it just hasn’t happened. The 2014 BP Annual summed up his adaptation struggles in a single sentence: “The bat speed that works in Omaha is exploited in Kansas City.” In other words, Gio has had trouble dealing with big-league heaters, and attempts to cheat on said fastballs have left him vulnerable to off-speed stuff.

But with just 89 MLB plate appearances for Giavotella in the last two years, and only 465 total spread over four partial seasons, it’s too early to write him off completely. He’s dominated Triple-A pitching so thoroughly — .835 OPS in 1,800 PA — that one can’t reasonably believe that his .612 OPS in the bigs represents his true talent level. He probably won’t ever come close to mimicking his PCL numbers in the pros, but he should at least be able to make his way into the .700 club.

Probably the biggest thing working in Giavotella’s favor is his reverse platoon split. While most right-handed batters fare better when facing southpaws, Gio is one of the select few who excels against same-sided pitching. Across all levels in his seven seasons of pro ball, he owns an .803 OPS vs RHPs and a .755 OPS vs LHPs. A difference of 48 points might not seem like much, but that gap has widened significantly in the high minors. Since reaching Triple-A in 2011, his handedness split has increased to nearly 100 points — .813 vs .721. If Giavotella can find a way to get things going against MLB pitching, the Angels might not have to find a lefty batter to work a platoon at the keystone.

 

Injury History:

Other than an operation to repair a slightly torn labrum in his right hip during the 2011 offseason, Giavotella has been of remarkably good health. So far as I can tell, he hasn’t spent a single day on the disabled list in seven years. Not sure I’d say that the ability to stay healthy is a skill, but it’s certainly an asset.

 

Quotes:

MLB.com – September 12, 2011

“I think based on my size, a lot of people have doubts about me, and knowing that motivates me to practice harder and prove them wrong.”

 

NOLA.com – April 24, 2014 

“On the business side of things, it enters my mind, thinking about my future, where I’ll be next year,” he said… “Hopefully a team will have confidence in me, pick me up and keep me in the big leagues the entire season.”

 

Does He Twitter?: Yep! Though he may need to change his handle now.

I bet @Gio2bOC isn’t taken.

Angels in Winter League Action

December 23rd, 2014

 

There are as many as 20 Angels farm hands currently playing baseball in one of the four offseason Caribbean Leagues, but only a handful are really worth checking in on. Here, in no particular order, are brief summaries on five Halos of note who decided not to take the winter off:

 

Jose Alvarez – LHP

1.74 ERA with 39 K, 15 BB in 51.2 IP

Alvarez has become something of a fixture in the Venezuelan Winter League. The southpaw has made at least one offseason appearance in the league each of the last nine years, all with Caribes de Anzoátegui. He’s had success in the VWL in the past — a 3.37 ERA in 139 IP from ’07-’13 — but never quite to this extent.

While 50+ innings of work during the winter might be cause for alarm with some young arms, for Alvarez it’s a welcome sight. An elbow strain limited him to all of 31.2 innings during the regular season, so his offseason time at home is acting more as an extended rehab assignment than the usual inning here and there to keep things loose.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Alvarez’s numbers are predictive of anything going forward, but it is at least nice to see that his elbow woes are behind him. If he can stay healthy, he should serve as part of the crucial barrier between the Opening Day rotation and folks of the Randy Wolf/Kevin Correia ilk.

 

Carlos Perez – C

.338/.373/.523 with 4 HR, 10 2B in 144 PA

If Perez’s hope this winter was to give the Halos a good first impression, he’s certainly succeeded. The Venezuelan backstop hit just .271/.286/.373 over 59 plate appearances in the VWL last year, but is near the top of the league in just about every offensive category this time around.

It’s tough to know whether his offseason numbers will afford him an advantage in the back-up catcher race when spring rolls around, but at least they won’t hurt his chances. Perez definitely has the most upside of the Angels’ second-string options and has little left to prove at Triple-A, so the position should be his to earn. Whether Scioscia will feel the same… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Jett Bandy – C

.213/.254/.295 with 0 HR, 5 2B in 67 PA

While everything’s looking up for Perez in Venezuela this winter, things haven’t been going so great for Jett Bandy in the Dominican. The UofA alum has struggled in his first full month on the 40-man roster, racking up just 18 total bases in 20 games so far. Bandy spent a career-high 91 games behind the dish during the regular season, so it’s reasonable to wonder if he’s simply run out of gas at this point in the year.

Whether or not he turns things around this winter, a single down month shouldn’t have much of an impact on Bandy’s standing with the Angels. His strong season in the Texas League (.762 OPS; 13 homers) should carry far more weight than anything he does or doesn’t do in the next month.

 

Atahualpa Severino – LHP

4.50 ERA with 17 K, 2 BB in 12 IP

A nine-year veteran of the minor-league circuit, Severino spent time with the Nats, Pirates, Royals and Braves before signing his minors pact with the Halos earlier this month. The 30-year-old doesn’t have the clearest path to Anaheim, but he could end up making a cameo or two — especially if he continues to demonstrate improved control of his fastball/slider combo.

The left-hander struggled to get his walk rate below 6.0 per nine in his first three seasons at Triple-A, but has limited batters to just 3.5 free passes per nine the last two years. And as his walks have gone down, his strikeouts have climbed, peaking at 10.9 per nine this past season. If Severino’s 17 K/2 BB ratio this winter is an indication of where he’s headed in 2015, the Angels might have a viable LOOGY on their hands.

 

Johnny Giavotella – 2B

.178/.260/.222 with 0 HR, 2 2B in 50 PA

Whatever it is the Angels saw in Giavotella that prompted last week’s trade, they didn’t see it in his play this winter. The newest Halo is having a rather miserable go of things in Venezuela, managing just two extra-base hits in 50 turns at the plate thus far.

Like with Bandy, Giavotella’s bummer of a winter shouldn’t affect his chances of making squad out of camp come spring. The second baseman’s track record of success at Triple-A — .835 OPS in 1,840 plate appearances — should speak much louder than a measly 50+ trips to the dish in La Guaira. As we noted on Monday, Giavotella’s strong reverse platoon split is the thing to keep an eye on.

 

Meet The New Angels: Nick Tropeano

November 10th, 2014

NickTropeano

Nicholas Paul Tropeano

Age: 24 | Height: 6’4 | Weight: 200

Throws: R | Bats: R

Pos: RHP

 

Birthplace: West Islip, New York

West Islip is a hamlet, or census-designated place, on Long Island within the township of Islip. It’s pronounced ICE-LIP, apparently.

 

Drafted: 5th round, 2011 – Houston Astros

Third-highest pick ever out of Stony Brook University, of 22 players drafted from the school. Only the third Seawolves alum to make it to the majors–Joe Nathan and Tom Koehler are the other two. No, I don’t know what a seawolf is either.

 

Potential Nicknames: The Archetype; Trope-a-Dope; NPH-movement; T-rope; The Man From Islip; The Tropographer; Long Island Iced T; The Tropedo (hat tip to Mike Hllywa)

Angels Send Eight To Arizona Fall League

October 7th, 2014

The Arizona Fall League begins Tuesday, and the roster for Angels’ affiliate, the Mesa Solar Sox, includes eight of the club’s more promising prospects. The dudes:

 

  • Trevor Gott
  • Chris O’Grady
  • Mark Sappington
  • Nate Smith
  • Kaleb Cowart
  • Cal Towey
  • Eric Stamets
  • Chad Hinshaw

The AFL is designed for players who are either near big league ready, or desperately need some playing time after an injury-plagued season. It can also be used for teams to evaluate players for potential 40-man roster spots, or to showcase potential trade chips.

Each of the prospects the Angels have offers some intrigue, with some of them being high-ceiling/low-floor types and others low-ceiling/high-floor types. Today we’re going to break down each prospect.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!