Left-handed hitting second basemen Taylor Lindsey came into the 2013 season rated as the number 6th among Angels prospects by Baseball Prospectus. However, in a farm system that was widely rated as the worst in the majors, that might not be saying much.
And while Lindsey did well in his first three years in the Angels system, it was all in the lower minors. Lindsey coming into the 2013 season had not played a single game in Double-A (or higher) which is often considered the level which separates the players from the pretenders.
So how did Taylor Lindsey do in his first season in double-A? Let’s just say, don’t be surprised if Lindsey ends up as number 1 on the next Angels top prospect list. We’ve been high on Lindsey all year. But here’s what noted prospect specialist Jason Parks recently wrote at Baseball Prospectus about Lindsey’s performance this year in Double-A:
” Admittedly, I’ve been soft on Lindsey, even in the face of scouts telling me that this kid can absolutely hit the baseball. The numbers have been very good, especially considering the 21-year-old has spent the entire season at the Double-A level and amassed an impressive 45 extra-base hits, including 17 bombs. With a sweet stroke from the left, Lindsey has a knack for hard contact, showing the ability to smack velocity and work himself into favorable hitting conditions[...]Lindsey’s bat is legit and it’s going to play at the highest level. I expect him to turn in a very strong performance in the AFL, and position himself as the second baseman of the future for the Angels. “
To pour on some more compliments to Lindsey’s talent, the Texas League that he played in this year is notorious for suppressing offense. Its a small 8-team league with pitcher-friendly ballparks and where the scouting reports go out about batters quickly. It’s a tough environment for hitters, just ask current number 1 Angels prospect Kaleb Cowart who posted a dismal .580 OPS in his first year of Double-A.
If you were scratching your head at the rumors that swirled this year that the Angels were actively shopping Howie Kendrick, then looking at Taylor Lindsey’s success might bring you an answer as to just why the Angels felt OK shopping Kendrick around.
Like most prospects, Lindsey isn’t a sure thing to succeed in the majors. However, his progress this year is promising and if Lindsey continues to find success in the Arizona League this fall and the minors early next year, don’t be surprised if you see him in Anaheim some time in 2014. Also, don’t be surprised if Kendrick gets traded this off-season for some pitching depth. With both Grant Green and Taylor Lindsey under team control at a cheap price, second-base is one position the Angels can feel comfortable about in regards to their depth.