Los Angeles Angels have some young kids are surprising during the Spring

Todd Cunningham is battling for a 4th outfield spot. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Todd Cunningham is battling for a 4th outfield spot. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The talk about the Los Angeles Angels farm system being barren of legitimate prospects has shown to be exaggerated as some of their young talent is showing that the so-called experts may not know what they are talking about.

True the Los Angeles Angels farm system is devoid of any top 100 prospects, but just because your not top 100 doesn’t mean you don’t have talent.  Every year in college basketball or college football all the talk is about the top 100 recruits each college has signed for the next season.

Think about it baseball how many late round draft picks end up becoming stars: Mike Piazza (62nd round), Keith Hernandez (42nd round), Mark Buehrle (38th round), John Smoltz (22nd round), Andy Pettitte (22nd round), Kenny Lofton (17th round) and even our own Albert Pujols was selected in the 13th round the 402nd pick overall in 1999. Imagine that all 30 teams passed on Albert 12 times.

So while top 100 prospects usually have a good shot of making it to the Majors it is definitely not a requirement for Major League success. So far the Los Angeles Angels have guys like Nick Buss, Roberto Baldoquin, Todd Cunningham, and Jefry Marte who are showing great promise despite not being in the top 100.

Nick Buss, Outfielder – .545/.615/.727

Buss has been the biggest surprise in training camp so far.  The Angels acquired a plethora of outfielders this off-season in hopes of finding a serviceable left fielder as well as a couple of backup outfielders.  Buss was signed as a free agent and has been a career minor leaguer (2 hits in 19 MLB at-bats), most recently playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate the Reno Aces.

Nick Buss has been a big surprise this Spring. Will he earn a roster spot? : Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Buss has been a big surprise this Spring. Will he earn a roster spot? : Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Nick Buss is 6 for 11 for a .545 batting average. He has two doubles and has driven in three runs while scoring five runs.  Buss has come through in some clutch situations including getting on base twice with singles yesterday and coming around to score both times as the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 13-13 tie with the Dodgers.

Although, we are only a week in Nick Buss is definitely turning some heads in Tempe.

Roberto Baldoquin, Shortstop –  .375/.333/.625

Baldoquin has been showing some of the reasons why the Angels shelled out a lot of money to the Cuban-born shortstop.  Last year in the minors he struggled with injuries and getting adjusted to life in the United States, but so far this Spring Baldoquin has shown that he is much more comfortable.  So far he is batting .375 and proved to be a key part in the Angels’ late rally in the 9th inning where Baldoquin got a three-run double that tied the game at 13.

Baldoquin has also made some great plays in the field at shortstop, although he made his first error yesterday. In talking to his manager last season in Single A, Denny Hocking, he said that Baldoquin has tremendous work ethic and has a great glove and arm that make him a top prospect in the Los Angeles Angels system for sure.  If he keeps it up he will get on the top 100 radar soon.

Anyone who was questioning Baldoquin’s ability better think again as he is definitely a star in the making.

Todd Cunningham, Outfielder – .600/.667/.600

Now before we anoint Todd Cunningham the second coming of Mike Trout, let’s realize his sample size is very small.  However, in the small amount when have seen Cunningham you can’t help but like him.  His first at-bat as an Angel was against All-Star Jeff Samardzija with runners on first and third and Cunningham battled back from a 1-2 count to work a walk in a nine-pitch at-bat.

Then Tuesday Cunningham came in during the 6th inning against the Dodgers and he promptly got two singles and scored two runs that helped the Los Angeles Angels rally for a 13-13 tie.  Cunningham has shown good speed on the bases and in the outfield.  He has definitely been a sparkplug.  I’m looking forward to see how Cunningham does the rest of the Spring, and if he can gain a roster spot on opening day,

Jefry Marte 3B/2B – .308/.357/.692

Jefry Marte had a rough start to the Spring going hitless in his first six at-bats \, but in lucky at-bat #7 Marte connected for a three-run homer against the Cincinnati Reds.  Since then he has gone 4 for 7 and is now hitting .308.  Marte has hit two doubles and scored three runs.

Marte has shown the ability to play both second and third base well and he seems to be able to hit major league pitching.  As with Cunningham the sample size is small, but thus far he has been a bright spot this Spring.

Who knows if any of these four players will earn a roster spot when the Los Angeles Angels break camp at the end of March.  Only time will tell.