Angels talent almost ready for 'Show'

Minors Player of the Year Trout among blue-chip performers

Mike Trout led the Angels system in hits, runs, walks and stolen bases. (Brace Hemmelgarn/

By John Parker / Special to | November 10, 2010 5:00 AM

This offseason, will be honoring the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. We're taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League baseball. Select a team from the dropdown below.

Though the Angels had a rare down year at the Major League level, missing the playoffs for just the second time in seven years, the organization paid its usual dividends in the Minor Leagues. The Angels' California League, Midwest League and Pioneer League affiliates reached their respective postseasons, with Triple-A Salt Lake falling 1 1/2 games shy of its fourth playoff trip in five years.

More importantly, the system produced a spate of top prospects, some of whom made their Major League debuts. Others, such as Topps/Minor League Player of the Year Mike Trout, will be arriving in Anaheim before long.

Angels organizational All-Stars

Catcher -- Hank Conger, Salt Lake (108 games)/Anaheim (13 games): A first-round pick in the 2006 Draft, the 22-year-old Conger has stepped up to a new level in each of his five professional seasons and hit the ball hard everywhere he has gone. He made his Triple-A debut in 2010 and batted .300 with a career-high .385 on-base percentage to go along with 11 homers and 49 RBIs. After hitting a three-run homer, also was named MVP of the 2010 All-Star Futures Game -- at Angel Stadium, about 20 minutes away from his childhood home.

Though his hitting from the right side of the plate regressed in 2010 -- he hit .193 off left-handers this season after a .316 mark in 2009 -- his defense continued to improve. He did not allow a passed ball in 81 games at catcher for the Bees and got off to a great start in the Majors in September when the Angels staff produced a 1.50 ERA in his first four big league starts.

"Hank's a good guy to throw to, very comfortable back there," said Angels starter Jered Weaver. "We have a lot of good catchers, and he's one of them."

First baseman -- Mark Trumbo, Salt Lake (139 games)/Anaheim (eight games): The 24-year-old Trumbo had a breakout season in 2010. He tied for the Minor League lead with 36 home runs and led the Pacific Coast League with 122 RBIs and 103 runs scored. He also batted a career-high .301 and played 23 games in the outfield, which many expect to be his ultimate destination.

"This guy hit some of the hardest-hit balls I've ever seen," said Angels right-hander Matt Palmer, who played with Trumbo at Salt Lake. "A lot of guys in the PCL, they hit these high fly balls that get up in the altitude and carry. They get here in the big leagues and those are outs, but in the PCL, they go out of the park. Mark hits with a lot of backspin. He hits line drives that just keep going. He has stupid power. I've seen him hit balls so hard and so far, you really can't believe it.

"I played with Ryan Howard [at Missouri State University], and Trumbo has that kind of power. It's different from Howard's, but it's serious power any way you look at it. I can't even explain how hard he hits the ball. I think Mark has a big-time future."

Honorable mention: Gabe Jacobo

Second baseman -- Jean Segura, Cedar Rapids (130 games): Just 20 years old, Segura displayed all-around prowess in his first full season. The Dominican native batted .313 (fourth-best among Angels full-season players) with 10 homers, 79 RBIs and 50 stolen bases (third-most in the system) at the Class A level. He also got better through the season -- his average improved each month and he hit .338 with a .545 slugging percentage after the Midwest League All-Star break.

While he's always had a strong arm, he cut down on his errors as well in 2010, committing just 13 in 125 games for a solid .979 fielding percentage at second.

Honorable mention: Luis Figueroa, Alexi Amarista

Third baseman -- Luis Jimenez, Cedar Rapids (43 games)/Rancho Cucamonga (81 games): After a remarkable stateside debut with short-season Orem in 2008, Jimenez missed the entire 2009 season with a torn labrum. He rebounded nicely at Cedar Rapids and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga this season, hitting .288 with 14 homers and 81 RBIs -- fourth-most in the Angels system. The 22-year-old also stole 21 bases and led the organization with 46 doubles (the next closest Angels farmhand had 32. Though he drew just 24 walks in 528 plate appearances (and generated a .326 on-base percentage), he was an All-Star Futures Game selection to the World Team.

"Jimenez is a good-looking player," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The reports on him are good. We have a lot of depth in our system now, a lot of young players we feel good about."

Shortstop -- Andrew Romine, Arkansas (106 games)/Anaheim (five games): A Mid- and Postseason All-Star in the Double-A Texas League, Romine had his best year in 2010, batting .282 with a .370 on-base percentage. Though lacking any power to speak of -- he has six homers in his last three seasons -- the former fifth-round pick has speed and is considered an outstanding defender.

Romine got a cup of coffee with the Angels at the end of the season, going 1-for-11 in five games, and was shipped off to the elite Arizona Fall League, where he was named one of the circuit's Rising Stars.

Outfielders -- Mike Trout, Cedar Rapids (81 games)/Rancho Cucamonga (50 games): The 25th overall pick in the 2009 Draft, Trout did it all in his first full season as a pro. He led all full-season Angels Minor Leaguers in batting (.341), on-base percentage (.428), hits (173), walks (73), stolen bases (56) and runs (106). The New Jersey native was named Midwest League MVP and winner of the 51st annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year. At 19 years and two months, Trout became the youngest player to win the Spink Award.

Before he also became the youngest player in the California League with Rancho Cucamonga, Trout participated in the All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium. He went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in the U.S. Team's 9-1 win over the World Team.

"Before the season started, I was talking to my dad about all these awards I could get and all the hard work has paid off and getting all this recognition is great," Trout said.

Peter Bourjos, Salt Lake (102 games)/Anaheim (51 games): Stepping up to Triple-A at age 23, Bourjos had a tremendous season that finished in the big leagues. He hit .314 -- fourth among Angels full-season batters -- stole 27 bases and was named to the Pacific Coast League's postseason All-Star team after claiming PCL Player of the Month honors for July. In 28 games for the Bees that month, Bourjos hit .438 with six homers, 23 RBIs and seven steals.

The former 10th-round pick also tied a PCL record with three triples in one game on April 16, becoming the ninth player in league history to accomplish the feat. He finished the season with a PCL-leading 12 Minor League triples and added four more in 51 big league games.

"I worked hard with [Angels hitting coach] Mickey Hatcher in Spring Training on staying up the middle and using the opposite field and have just been trying to carry it over to the season," said Bourjos, who was also named the PCL's Rookie of the Year.

Tyson Auer, Rancho Cucamonga (65 games)/Arkansas (44 games)/Salt Lake (14 games): Auer played at three different levels in 2010 and finished with a .316 batting average, good for second among Angels full-season Minor Leaguers. A California League Midseason All-Star, the speedy Florida native tied for the organization lead with 12 triples and ranked second with 54 stolen bases.

Auer is also considered a top-notch defender. After Midwest League managers named him the circuit's top center fielder in 2009, Auer racked up nine assists in his 44 games for Arkansas this season.

Designated hitter -- Paul McAnulty, Arkansas (44 games)/Salt Lake (73 games)/Anaheim (nine games): After a rough 2009 campaign during which he hit just .226 in 110 Triple-A games in the Boston and Colorado organizations, the veteran slugger bounced back with a strong season that began in Double-A and ended in Anaheim. The 29-year-old McAnulty ranked fifth in the Angels system in batting at .312, tied for fourth with 81 RBIs and finished second with 24 home runs.

Called up to the Angels in July, McAnulty became the 26th player in club history to homer in his first game with the team, delivering a two-run shot to right-center field in the sixth inning of an 11-0 rout of Kansas City.

Honorable mention: Brandon Decker

Right-handed starting pitcher -- Tyler Chatwood, Rancho Cucamonga (14 games)/Arkansas (12 games)/Salt Lake (one game): Just 20 years old, Chatwood was a revelation in 2010, leading the Angels system with 13 wins and a 2.84 ERA over three levels while ranking fourth with 109 strikeouts. Starting the season in the offensive-minded California League, the former second-round pick posted a 1.77 ERA over 81 1/3 frames while inducing nearly three times as many groundouts as flyball outs.

"I think I'm trusting my stuff more and letting hitters get themselves out," Chatwood told

Though his ERA rose more than two runs to 3.82 in his 12 Double-A starts, Chatwood was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week in mid-July and exhibited poise despite being one of the youngest hurlers on the circuit.

"I'm still trying to improve my command," he said. "I'm not able to throw every pitch in every count yet and throw it where I want to, so that's what I'm focusing on."

Honorable mention: Garrett Richards

Left-handed starting pitcher -- Patrick Corbin, Cedar Rapids (nine games)/Rancho Cucamonga (11 games): Awkwardly, the Angels' top southpaw starter this season is no longer with the organization. Former second-round pick Patrick Corbin was 13-3 with a 3.87 ERA and a 106/20 strikeout-to-walk ratio when he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks (along with impressive left-handed prospect Tyler Skaggs) for three-time All-Star Dan Haren on July 25. Corbin's ERA was fifth-best in the system and he finished the season (including eight starts with the Diamondbacks' California League affiliate in Visalia) with 136 strikeouts. Only two Angels prospects had more.

Relief pitcher -- Michael Kohn, Arkansas (15 games)/Salt Lake (26 games)/Anaheim (24 games): Kohn, a 13th-round pick in the 2008 Draft, was so dominant in just his second full season as a pro that he reached the Majors in late July. The 24-year-old right-hander held Minor Leaguers to a .179 average over 41 appearances in Double- and Triple-A and struck out 57 batters in 46 innings. His ERA actually improved slightly when he reached the Majors, where he went 2-0 with a 2.11 mark in 24 appearances.

Astonishingly, Kohn did not begin pitching until his senior season at the College of Charleston. As a joke, the former infielder threw off the mound for his coach and registered 96 mph on the radar gun. He threw just 10 innings in college before the Angels took a chance on him in the 13th round.

"I guess I was fortunate enough to pick it up quickly, and I was in the right place at the right time," Kohn told the Los Angeles Times. "But I still have a lot to learn. Most guys have me beat by 12 years' pitching experience."

"He has a real live fastball that he hasn't really shown this year," Scioscia said. "He's a guy who can definitely pitch at the back end of a bullpen when he develops."

Honorable mention: Eddie McKiernan

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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