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Cron, Morin Do Well in the AFL

November 21st, 2013


If you didn’t know, there was baseball happening this past month in Arizona that should be of particular interest to Angels fans.

The Arizona Fall League is a six-team league comprised of many of the highest-regarded prospects in minor league baseball.  The Mesa Solar Sox is the team that consists of prospects from the Angels, A’s, Cubs, Nationals, and Tigers, and they fared pretty well this year.  The Solar Sox went 19-11-1 during the regular season, finishing first in their division.  They played in the championship game on Saturday, but lost 2-0 to the Surprise Saguaros.

Two Angels prospects, first baseman C.J. Cron and relief pitcher Mike Morin, played exceptionally well for the Solar Sox.  Cron led the league in batting average (.413), and he was second in the league in home runs (5) and in RBI (20).  Morin had a 2.03 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP in 13 and 1/3 innings against some of the best prospects in the minors.

Cron is looking more and more valuable to the Angels as he continues to impress, either as a trade piece or as the Angels’ future first baseman when Albert Pujols finally has to make the permanent transition to full-time DH (assuming Trumbo has been traded by then).

His bio on the Solar Sox website brags that “in 2009, [Cron] was the only player in the country to get three hits in a game off No. 1 Draft pick Stephen Strasburg.”

On an additional note, the Arizona Fall League honored former Angels outfielder/first baseman extraordinaire Darin Erstad by inducting him into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame on November 13.

Scouting Report: Alex Yarbrough

August 23rd, 2013

Angels second base prospect Alex Yarbrough.

Name: Alex Yarbrough

Position: 2B

Organization/School:  Angels

DOB: 8/3/1991

Height: 5’11”

Bats: S

MLB ETA: 2014

Weight: 180

Throws: R

Current Team: Inland Empire 66ers (A+)

Date(s) Seen: Multiple times in June and July of 2013

Filed by/date: Justin Millar

How Acquired: 4th round 2012 draft


Solid, slightly compact body; appears listed size.

Hit Tool

Polished hitter who has a great idea of what he’s doing at the plate. Very smooth swing from both sides. Could be an above average bat hitting .280+ consistently.

Grade: Present 45/ Future 55+


Solid gap power. Some HR power, could have home run totals in the mid-teens at peak. Most of his slugging value will come from doubles.

Grade: Present 40/ Future 50


Polished glove with decent footwork. Could be an average 2B defensively.

Grade: Present 45/ Future 50


Rather weak arm. Right side of infield profile.

Grade: Present 45/ Future 45


Value lies in ability to hit for average. Strong makeup. Decent plate discipline. Having an excellent season in the California League this year. Ready for Double-A; too advanced for High-A ball.


Average runner. High effort helps make up for lack of elite athletic ability.

Grade: Present 50/ Future 50


Solid, offensive-oriented 2B potential. Could be an above average regular. High floor.

OFP: 55; slightly above-average regular

Risk Factor: Medium

Scouting Report: Eric Stamets

August 2nd, 2013

Angels shortstop prospect Eric Stamets playing in the Cape Cod League.

Name: Eric Stamets

Position: SS

Organization:  Angels

DOB: 9/25/1991

Height: 6’0”

Bats: R

MLB ETA: 2015

Weight: 185

Throws: R

Current Team: Inland Empire 66ers (A+)

Date Seen: 6/24/2013

How Acquired: 6th round 2012 draft


Looks listed size; small, filled out frame, but doesn’t have any apparent effect on game.

Hit Tool

Weak hitter at present. Singles hitter only. Has projection to be a 40/45 hitter, but still far off. Hitting ability needs to drastically improve to be more than a role player.

Grade: Present 30/ Future 45


Minimal power. Could develop some down the line, but lacks much projection. Maybe maxes out at 5-7 home runs per year.

Grade: Present 20/ Future 30


Could play plus defense in big leagues today. Excellent defender who makes tough plays look easy. Gold Glove potential; impact defense at big league level.

Grade: Present 60/ Future 70


Strong arm that fits comfortably at shortstop.

Grade: Present 60/ Future 60


A lot of future value tied up in outcome of hit tool. Difference between utility guy and average regular.


Strong speed. Not a burner, but still has above average speed.

Grade: Present 55/ Future 55


Defense should make him at least a bench option. Above-average regular if hit tool is average or better.

OFP: 45/50; utility infielder/ 2nd division starter.

Risk Factor: High

Prospect Notes: Cron, Middleton, Gonzalez

July 15th, 2013

If you missed yesterday’s Futures Game, you saw a game that the Angels didn’t lose. You also saw C.J. Cron pick up two hits and man first base for the United States team. Cron looked yummy in batting practice, launching home runs and displaying the plus-plus raw power that made him the Angels first round pick in 2011.

ESPN’s Jim Bowden is especially fond of Cron. I like Cron’s potential at the plate, and think he’s a player with a long Major League future ahead of him. He’s got the raw power, and he’s triple-slashed .293/.335/.507 through just over 1,000 PAs in the minor leagues.

I spoke with CJ for a minute prior to the game and he had this to say about the development of his offensive game:

“It’s just something that I’ve kind of grown with. I try to get better at every aspect every day so it’s been nice to see that. It’d be nice for the power numbers to be there as well, but I think those will come.”

Cron’s father Chris, who coached the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate, threw batting practice to his son prior to the game.

In other news, Hardball Scouting has a really detailed report on Halos’ 2013 third round pick Keynan Middleton. The people are HBS are very handsome and very talented.

Middleton is a player whose physical gifts can be dreamt on, and Ryan Parker offers up details on the specifics of his stuff, mechanics, and story.

Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been cleared to sign a professional contract. Not too long ago, Garrett Richards Wilson argued that the Angels need to make a run at Gonzalez. If Gonzalez is as good as he’s thought to be, he’d be a tremendous addition to Halos’ farm system, and could contribute at the Major League level very soon.


Interview with Prospect Mark Sappington

July 1st, 2013

Justin Millar recently sat down to speak with Angels pitching prospect Mark Sappington.

Sappington, the Angels’ 5th round draft pick in 2012, is currently a member of the Inland Empire 66ers, the Angels’ affiliate in the High-A California League. He is currently 6-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 16 starts, and was recently named to the California League’s All-Star team.

Sappington spoke about the adjustments that he’s had to make since entering professional baseball and detailed his experience thus far.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top-notch Angels analysis!