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Premium Content Los Angeles Angels Top-15 Prospects of 2010, No’s 1 – 5

December 26, 2009 BY ALEX EISENBERG 2 Comments

Angels Prospects, No’s 1 – 5

    1. Mike Trout | CF | Age – 18 | Grade – B+
    2. Trevor Reckling | LHP | Age – 20 | Grade – B
    3. Hank Conger | C | Age – 22 | Grade – B
    4. Garrett Richards | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B-/B
    5. Peter Bourjos | CF | Age – 23 | Grade – B-/B

For the full prospect listing, please click here

Key Links
› Prospect Primer (Grading Criteria Explained)
› Team Page Listings
› Index of 2010 Top Prospect Lists
› Index of Last Year’s Top Prospect Lists
Angel Links
› Angels Team Page
› Angels Farm System Overview

ALSO SEEAngels Top Prospects, No’s 6 – 15

Grades are based on a prospect’s projected value over the course of his career and how likely it is that prospect will fulfill his projected value. Various factors are accounted for including upside, red flags, actual performance, and closeness to the majors. See the 2010 Prospect Primer for more information as it relates to prospect grading and philosophy.

Hitters must have 100 or fewer Major League ABs to qualify for this list. Starting pitchers must have 50 or fewer Major League innings to qualify for this list. Relief pitchers must have 25 or fewer Major League innings to qualify for this list. Ages are listed as of May 1st, 2010. Levels are based on the highest level in which a prospect played in 2009. All grades are subject to change based on any new information I receive before the season starts.

If you need to reach me in any way, please contact me via e-mail or post a comment at the bottom of the page and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. The first two prospects are available for everybody to read.

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1. Mike Trout | CF | B – R | Age – 18
Single-A Cedar Rapids | Drafted – Round 1 (25), 2009

Player Grades
Contact – 40 Now | 55 Future
Power – 35 | 50
Discipline – 45 | 60
Speed – 55 | 55
Defense – 50 | 60
Arm – 45 | 45
Instincts – 45 | 55
ETA – 2014
Final Grade – B+

Body Type – Athletic and muscular build with room to fill out

Scouting Report

Mike Trout is a really good athlete who has a consistent ability to put the bat head on the ball thanks to great hand-eye coordination. His approach is pretty advanced for his age and it showed in his first taste of pro ball as he walked in just under 10% of his appearances, while striking out just over 15% of the time.

While he needs to improve his pitch recognition, it’s something he’s made good progress with over the past year.

At the plate, Trout sets up low with a wide stance and his bat on his shoulder. As he strides forward, you can see his upper body move just slightly in the opposite direction as he loads his hands, creating solid torque between his torso and hips.

Trout doesn’t let his swing get too long and he’s able to generate plus bat speed because of strong hands and quick wrists.

Power is still a little bit of a question mark for Trout. His swing plane is more line drive oriented and he chokes up quite a bit on the bat, which gives him better bat control, but could hamper his power output down the line. He sometimes uses an inside-out swing, which means he takes pitches on the inner half of the plate and inside-outs them to the opposite field. An inside-out swing isn’t typically conducive for power. Here’s an example of what I mean by an inside-out swing:

*Credit to MLB Advanced Media

Trout’s mental make-up and work ethic are widely praised by scouts that have followed him over the past year or so.

Trout is a potential plus-defender in center field with an average arm though his accuracy could use some work. Trout is also a plus runner who’s speed plays up because of his instincts on the base paths.

Best Case Outcome – All-Star level center fielder

More Likely Outcome – Too soon to say…perhaps an above average center fielder?

2. Trevor Reckling | LHP | Age – 20
Double-A Arkansas | Drafted – Round 8, 2007

Player Grades
Fastball – 50/55 Now | 50/55 Future
Curveball – 55 | 55
Change-Up – 55 | 60
Slider – 40 | 50
Control – 40 | 50
Command – 40 | 55
Pitchability – 45 | 55
ETA – Early 2011
Final Grade – B

Body Type – An average type build, but a solid athlete


Fastball – Not a high velocity fastball, but it has some sink and arm side run…needs to be able to command it and keep it down in the zone because it doesn’t have the oomph required to blow by hitters

Curveball – A power pitch with a good, sharp bite…needs to be more consistent

Change-Up – Plus pitch that he’s developed over the past couple years

Slider – Hasn’t been in Reckling’s arsenal for that long, but it’s developing as a usable pitch for Reckling

Scouting Report

Trevor Reckling carved up California League hitters for all of 19 innings before the Angels decided he was ready for a promotion to Double-A Arkansas. Predictably, Reckling struggled. He missed bats at a decent rate, but his control deteriorated as he walked 13% of the batters he faced. However, he mostly held his own despite a bout of control problems.

Reckling has pretty unique mechanics. He employs an exaggerated shoulder tilt, which allows himself to lead with the hips and maintain deception in his pitches. The shoulder tilt is also associated with more of an over-the-top arm slot, which Reckling essentially has. However, a shoulder tilt can also make a delivery more complicated, therefore making it more difficult for one to command his pitches.

*Credit to farmsystem

Reckling has done a good job of cleaning up his front side mechanics since being drafted. Reckling used to curl that glove into his side. Starting last year, we saw Reckling do a better job of firming up his glove and maintaining it out in front of his chest, allowing him to more consistently keep his front shoulder closed and keep a more consistent release point. I still think he could stabilize that glove a little higher than he does, but I feel he’s moving in the right direction.

There are times he lands stiffly on his front leg, which prevents him from getting over his front side and hurts the carry through on his pitches. The stiff landing also can cause his arm to recoil.

Best Case Outcome – No. 3 starter

More Likely Outcome – No. 4 starter

Brief Notes on Prospects 3 – 5

3. Hank Conger, C – Improved his plate discipline and defense over the past year, though there are still questions about his defensive ability…needs to stay at catcher or his prospect value will drop

4. Garrett Richards, RHP – Great stuff, inconsistent command…has the highest upside of all the lower-level pitchers besides Fabio Martinez-Mesa, but he’s also one of the more riskier prospects in the system

5. Peter Bourjos, CF – Questions about his bat, but he’s a tremendous defender…like Conger, his plate discipline really improved last year

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UP NEXTLos Angeles Angels, Prospects 6 – 15

Other References and Resources Used for This ArticleFirst Inning


  • Brad O'Neill said:

    Great site and post about the Angels prospects. I did a recent post on my blog trying to rank the farm systems, so it’s interesting to see someone else evaluate the players. I think they have a decent system, but the weak spot is the lack of a potential all-star caliber player reasonably close to the major leagues.


  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    Thanks for the kind words, Brad. I agree with you about the Angels, deep system, but a lot of their high impact talents are a few years away.