First question: why doesn’t the MLB hook up with the winter ball leagues for broadcasting TV rights? How awesome would it be to watch baseball in the winter?
Although, judging from this years performances in winter ball, Angels fans wouldn’t have much to root about. Despite having some of the Angels top prospects such as Kaleb Cowart, Travis Witherspoon, Randal Grichuk and Matt Shoemaker playing in winter ball, performances were mostly dismal.
In fact, the best performance came from veteran 32-year old infielder Luis Rodriguez who put up the peculiar slash of .297/.422/.368 (read: lots of singles). The veteran utility infielder was signed this off-season by the Angels in an effort to fill the void left by Maicier Izturis. While it’s nice to see him do well this winter; what does it say about your farm system when your best winter baseball performer is a 32-year old journey man? Yikes.
The rest of the performances were mostly cringe-inducing. Randal Grichuk, who was actually picked before Mike Trout in the draft and has suffered a number of minor injuries holding him back in the minors, struggled in winter ball hitting .228/.297/.351 in 57 at-bats. Kaleb Cowart, arguably the Angels top prospect at this point, also struggled, hitting a paltry .200/.265.283.
The only other notable performance came in a 14-game stint from Erick Aybar who hit just like his major league numbers (.283/.328/.400) in the Dominican Winter League .
Two better performances on the pitching end came from right-handed triple-A pitcher Ryan Brasier and Matt Shoemaker. Brasier struck out 27 batters in 25.2 innings of work while posting a 1.05 WHIP. While Matt Shoemaker put up a decent 3.21 ERA in 33 innings of work with a 1.16 WHIP.
The dismal numbers aren’t surprising considering the Angels thin farm system. John Sickels of Minor League Ball recently covered the Angels top 20 prospects and noted that with the graduation of Mike Trout into the big leagues and a 2012 draft that didn’t include a first or second round draft pick for the Angels, that the farm system is now “quite weak.”
Fortunately, not too much should be invested into winter ball numbers. In last year’s Arizona Fall League, Mike Trout posted a below average .245/.279./.321 while just the year before top prospect bust Brandon Wood did well posting.3 41/.385/.489.
For all Angels players stats in winter leagues, head on over to MLB.com.