ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 10: Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 10, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
I've been on a bit of an Angels kick lately, but I think that I might be able to get it all out of my system with this post. Yesterday I began a little series that's going to see what kind of team every MLB organization could field this year using only players that they drafted and signed since 2000. We began with the Athletics yesterday, and today we're moving forward with the Angels.
(Author's Note: Someone (@tdeckyo) mentioned to me on Twitter that Mike Trout could probably be a better option than Pettit or Willits, even right now. And frankly, I agree. The defensive value is going to be there, and he may be able to put together a respectable batting line given how polished he is. I'd probably replace Willits, and slide Pettit over to left field. Bourjos is probably a better defender in center still. Not sure how I missed this one in the first place.)
1) RF Chris Pettit - 2006 19th Round Pick
The alternatives aren't great here. Pettit may only profile as a fourth outfielder, but he has exceptional numbers at the Triple-A level and a .396 OBP in 370 minor league games.
2) SS Sean Rodriguez - 2003 3rd Round Pick
He's struggled so far as an MLBer, but he has impressive pop for a capable middle infielder, he's only 25, and he's killed Triple-A to the tune of a .298/.396/.620 line in 175 games at that level.
3) 2B Howie Kendrick - 2002 10th Round Pick
In the midst of a possible breakout at age 27, he's currently the MLB leader in total bases and is tied for the MLB lead in home runs.
4) DH Mike Napoli - 2000 17th Round Pick
A brilliant pick by the Angels even if they never properly recognized how valuable he could be. Guys with his kind of power and OBP skill are rare; guys with his kind of power and OBP skill that can play catcher are practically non-existent.
5) 1B Mark Trumbo - 2004 18th Round Pick
He'll always be held back by limited OBP skills, but the power is legitimate and teams will always value plus power.
6) C Hank Conger - 2006 1st Round Pick (25th overall)
He's already impressed in the few plate appearances he's gotten in LA this year. My biggest concern with Conger's future in LA is their manager's love affair with a much worse player. Ahem, Mathis, ahem.
7) 3B Dallas McPherson - 2001 2nd Round Pick
You could go with Brandon Wood here, but they're pretty similar players anyways: once-elite prospects, lots of power, massive contact issues, huge Triple-A numbers, horrid MLB numbers. He's got two 40-homer seasons under his belt already, but unfortunately both of them are in the minors.
8) CF Peter Bourjos - 2005 10th Round Pick
Don't get too frazzled about his offensive numbers; he doesn't have to do much if he's a plus-plus defender in center field. We've seen strong offensive performance from Bourjos before, including a .314/.364/.498 line with 13 doubles, 12 triples, 13 homers and 27 steals last season at Triple-A.
9) LF Reggie Willits - 2003 7th Round Pick
He has absolutely no power, which limits his role to that of a fourth outfielder, but he's willing to take pitches and he can steal some bases. He's probably never going to put up a .391 OBP in 500+ PA's for LA again, but he's not worthless.
1) RHP Jered Weaver - 2004 1st Round Pick (12th overall)
One of the game's elite pitchers after taking a major step forward last season. He's struck out 264 in 251 innings since the beginning of last year, and has totally panned out since being labeled arguably the best pitcher in the 2004 draft.
2) LHP Joe Saunders - 2002 1st Round Pick (12th overall)
Another 12th overall pick like Weaver, but Saunders can't touch Jeff's younger brother on the mound. He was a key part of the deal that sent Dan Haren to LA, but now the lefty is having some serious issues in Arizona. I still have no idea why the D-Backs had any interest in this guy.
3) LHP Sean O'Sullivan - 2005 3rd Round Pick
The 23-year-old is off to a decent start in Kansas City's rotation after being shipped there in the Alberto Callaspo deal, but he's probably not more than a solid back-of-the-rotation starter.
4) RHP Trevor Bell - 2005 1st Round Pick (37th overall)
Like O'Sullivan, his ultimate upside is limited, but he pitched well in 61 innings split between starting and relieving last season, and he's only 24.
5) RHP Tyler Chatwood - 2008 2nd Round Pick
He's only 21 and he picked up his first win over the White Sox this past weekend, but he's generally regarded as LA's best pitching prospect now. Most people don't believe that he's totally MLB-ready yet, though, given his lack of experience above Single-A.
Set Up: Jordan Walden - 2006 12th Round Pick
He's already the closer in LA even though he's just 23. That's usually what happens when you can throw 98-99 with some command, I guess. One of the best young relievers in the game.
Closer: Bobby Jenks - 2000 5th Round Pick
People liked to talk about Jenks' decline from 2006-2007, but they seem to pretty quickly overlook his 2.54 xFIP from last season. He may no longer sit 95-97, but he's still a top-notch reliever.
DISTRIBUTION OF PICKS
2000: 2; 2001: 1; 2002: 2; 2003: 2; 2004: 2; 2005: 3; 2006: 3; 2007: 0; 2008: 1; 2009: 0
6th or later: 7