Checking In On Casey Kotchman

By MJ Lloyd

Casey Kotchman is heading to the Indians, according to Jon Heyman, after putting together a pretty good season in Tampa. The last time Kotchman sported an Angels jersey was on July 28, 2008 before getting dealt to Atlanta for Mark Teixeira. Then the first baseman moved on to Boston, Seattle, the aforementioned Tampa and now Cleveland for 2012.

Once upon a time, Kotchman was the Angels top prospect. The Halos selected him with the 13th pick in the 2001 draft. Long time Angels scout Tom Kotchman probably had some decent inside information on his son. According to Baseball America, Kotchman was the team’s top prospect in 2002, 2004 and 2005. He debuted in 2004 but didn’t become the full time first baseman until 2007.

In 2007, Kotchman posted a .296/.372/.467 line and a 1.7 WARP (wins above replacement player) which was his best season until 2011. Kotchman toed the replacement player level in 2008 and 2009 before falling under it 2010. A 1.8 WARP season with the Rays in 2011 earned him a $3 million deal with the Indians.

Brandon Wood would take over as the Angels top prospect from 2006-2008. I love Mike Trout and think he’s going to be every bit as good as advertised. But Kotchman and Wood haven’t exactly set a good precedent for Angels prospects. Here’s the fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) graph by age for the pair of three time number one Angels prospects and reigning two time top prospect…


That little green blip is Trout already off to a much better start than the other two. I’m developing quite the knack for turning any post or conversation into a Mike Trout love fest. My non-baseball-fan-friends especially adore it.