Three Angels appear on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list.
Brandon Wood ranked #8, Nick Adenhart ranked #34, and Erick Aybar ranked #61.
Of particular interest were some analyses they performed in looking at the prospects. Not only are the formulae interesting on their own, but BA also calculated the average for the Top 100 Prospects so you get a measure of where the individual is in comparison to the rest of the elite.
Under the category "Learning to Drive," Wood finished first.
It can be easy to fixate on a minor leaguer’s walk percentage or on-base percentage, but sometimes a player’s ability to drive the ball — perhaps the most valuable tool — is overlooked. Raw extra-base-hit percentage will favor players in the extreme hitters’ environments, so we’ll present all the top 100 batters who exceeded the average by roughly one standard of deviation.
The formula was defined as extra-base hits divided by plate appearances (XBH/PA). Wood had 71 XBH in 522 PA for a XBH% of 13.6%. Contrast that with Alex Gordon, named by BA the #1 prospect in the Texas League in 2006 (Wood was #2). Gordon was 69/577 for a 11.9% XBH%. Gordon is about 13 months older than Wood. The Top 100 average was 10%.
I’ve written many times over the years about "Contactball," the Angels’ answer to the overhyped theories behind "Moneyball." Contactball means putting runners in motion while the batter makes contact, the idea being that it’s more important to score runs than it is to just take a walk.
Of the top five players cited by BA, two were orignally acquired by the Angels. #1 was Alberto Callaspo, now with the Diamondbacks. #3 was his one-time Siamese Twin, Erick Aybar, probably destined for Triple-A Salt Lake this year. BA measured contact by the formula 1-(AB+SF). Callaspo had a contact percentage of 94.5%, while Aybar came in at 89.5%. The Top 100 average was 80%.
If you go to the other end and look at the "bottom five," Wood came in the worst at contact percentage with 67.7%. Brandon’s high strikeout rate is no secret, but a 21-year old in Double-A with the best power of any prospect is certainly a mitigating factor. Look at Mike Schmidt’s early career and you’ll see ugly strikeout rates too. He turned out all right.
On the pitching side, Adenhart ranked highly as well. Nick was #5 in "percentage of batters retired by groundout or strikeout." His percentage was 53.1%, with the Yankees’ Philip Hughes at 58.1%. The Top 100 average was 48%.
Nick ranked #3 in groundout percentage, measured as groundouts divided by groundouts plus flyouts GO/(GO+FO). Adenhart’s percentage was 61.2%. The Top 100 average was 52%.
If nothing else, the Top 100 list confirms that the Angels farm system is still producing top quality prospects.
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