Having run FutureAngels.com for ten years, a lot of players have crossed my path. Once they leave the Angels’ organization, we tend to lose track of them, but every once in a while I’ll see their names in a box score and think, “He’s still out there playing?!”
So I thought I’d give you some names you might remember and take a look at where they’re at now.
Let’s lead off with Dallas McPherson, once projected as the Angels’ third baseman — the Angels let Troy Glaus depart as a free agent to make room for Dallas — but a chronic back injury led to increasing severe surgeries and longer recovery times. Dallas was let go last winter to find his fortune elsewhere.
Dallas is currently in the Florida Marlins’ system, playing for their Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. The city is one of those high-elevation ballparks I’m always warning you about when you look at PCL stats, so Isotopes’ numbers have to be viewed with a bit of suspicion.
Playing every day at third base, Dallas is showing signs of recovering his career. His AVG/OBP/SLG are .289/.383/.625 with 15 HR. His home/road OPS split is 1.069/.951. His main vulnerability right now is exposure to left-handed pitchers; he’s batting just .194 against southpaws.
Outfielder Nick Gorneault was claimed on waivers last October by the Rangers, only to be given his minor-league free agency in December. Nick signed with the Astros and has been playing for Triple-A Round Rock. Deprived of Salt Lake’s friendly confines, Nick’s AVG/OBP/SLG are only .226/.324/.371. He’s the regular left fielder for the Express.
Tommy Murphy was granted free agency last October and signed with the Washington Nationals, who assigned him this year to Triple-A Columbus. His numbers are .261/.356/.359. Murph has played all three outfield positions and second base, recalling his early days as a shortstop in the Angels system.
Pitcher Steven Shell was a third-round pick in the June 2001 draft. Once projected as a major league starter, he didn’t progress quickly enough to hold onto his status, eventually wound up in the Salt Lake bullpen last year and was given his minor-league free agency. Shell is also assigned with the Nationals and is Murphy’s teammate at Columbus. Steven started the season in the bullpen but has returned to the rotation and made four starts. Overall, he has a 3.29 ERA in 41.0 IP with a 37:12 SO:BB ratio and a 1.22 WHIP. I always felt Steven just required a little patience; not everyone evolves at the same rate.
Shawn Wooten was a fan favorite during the 2002 World Series run. He’s been knocking around the minors the last few years. In 2007, he caught for the Padres’ Double-A team, got released, played a little independent ball, then was signed by the Mets and played 15 games for Triple-A New Orleans. New York released Woot on May 3 this year and he re-signed with the Padres. He’s currently with the Portland team in Salt Lake to play the Bees.
Reliever Steve Andrade had a funky delivery that actually had his head turned at a 90-degree angle towards first base when he released the ball. The Blue Jays claimed him on waivers in December 2004, sending him on a bizarre odyssey that became a running joke in e-mail between his mom and me. Tampa Bay selected him in the December 2005 Rule 5 draft, then traded him the same day to San Diego. The Royals claimed him on waivers the next spring, brought him up to Kansas City for four games, then released him in June. The Padres signed him for the balance of 2006, then he took his minor league free agency and re-signed with Tampa Bay. Steve is currently with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and is posting typical numbers — 3.00 ERA in 13 relief appearances, five saves, a 30:9 SO:BB ratio in 18.0 IP.
If you’re curious about anyone else, post a question and I’ll see what I can find out.
UPDATE 5:00 PM PDT — Shawn Wooten homered and doubled today for Portland in their 9-8 11-inning win over the Bees. As they used to say in Anaheim, Woooooot …