Get out your foam fingers and prospecting hats, at 8:00 PM EST tonight, some of the top young players in Minor League Baseball will be on display when MLB Network airs the AFL Fall Star Game. Among those playing tonight, are two top prospects in the Angels system (Taylor Lindsey and C.J. Cron) and one kind of/sort of prospect (Cam Bedrosian).
I personally, am most excited about Taylor Lindsey. After posting solid numbers in 2012 while playing in the hitter-friendly Cal League, he went and hit better in the pitcher-friendly Texas League. His batting average dropped from .289 to .274, but his walk rate increased from 4.9% to 8.5%, his ISO went up from .119 to .167 and his OPS rose from .736 to .780. His strikeout rate went from 11.2% to 16.1%, but, hey, what are you going to do? It’s probably to early to pin the “second baseman of the future” tag on Lindsey right now, but probably not by much.
So far in the AFL, Lindsey is hitting .263/.313/.386, which is a bit low. But since I am allowed to be biased and irrational, I am going to use this opportunity to point out that Mike Trout hit .245/.279/.321 in the AFL in 2011. Which means that, by that logic, Taylor Lindsey is the next Mike Trout. OK, maybe not, I haven’t ironed out all of the details yet.
Cam Bedrosian in the AFL has been pitching a lot like Cam Bedrosian from anytime ever, which means that there is nothing more to see here. Let’s move on.
I’ll admit that I have been fairly harsh towards C.J. Cron over the last season and a half. I would say that he is an “all bat, no glove” prospect, but that’s unfair towards “no glove” prospects. He drove in 123 runs last season in the Cal League before having his season cut short to have shoulder surgery. The big test for the “all bat” types, is the Texas League. And Cron did a little bit of regressing this season. His ISO fell from .223 last season to .154 this year, and his strikeout rose a smidge from 12.9% to 14.7%. His walk rate rose from nearly nonexistent 3.1% last year to the less-than nearly nonexistent 4.1% this year. Baby steps.
But Cron has been an offensive force in the AFL. His .400 batting average is tops in the league, and his 8.8% walk rate is very pleasant on the eyes. Granted, it’s only been 57 at bats, but if the mainstream media can go bonkers over David Ortiz‘s 25 plate appearances in the World Series, I’m going to get a little giddy over Cron’s performance thus far in the AFL.
The outlook for the Angels farm system is bleak at best. Most, if not all, of the talent is in the lower minors. But tonight, two (OK, three) of those young players will be on the national stage at the AFL All Star game. Do yourself a favor, and set aside of block of time, grab some pretzels, and enjoy the game. It’s not like there is any other baseball will be watching at that time.