To go along with the great news that Torii Hunter signed with the Angels is the fact that the Angels are still stacked down in the minors. Kevin Goldstein came out with his top eleven Angels prospects and the Angels have four guys who he’s given at least a four star rating. When you combine this with all of the young talent on this team, it makes for an Angels team that should be good for years to come.
Nick Adenhart checks in at number one, this kid put together a solid season at Double A and it looks like at just 21, he’ll start the season at Triple A but could find himself playing for the big league club at some point in 2008. The kid is a big right hander who Goldstein projects as a potential number two starter.
Brandon Wood, the reason the Angels could trade Orlando Cabrera, comes in at number two. While Wood doesn’t look like he’ll get the shortstop job, he very well could be the team’s everyday third baseman and having a guy with some punch like Wood at third would give the Angels something they haven’t had in a while.
Jordan Walden is third on the list but he’s still a couple of years away as is Hank Conger, the team’s first round pick in 2006 and the fourth guy on the list. Sean O’Sullivan, a right handed pitcher, rounds out the top five and like Conger, he had a ways to go before we start hearing his name in conjuction with the big league club.
While it’s hard to top what happened with Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees, the Angels came out of nowhere and scooped up one of the free agent gems of the Hot Stove League. Similar to what happened when they signed Vlad Guerrero a few years back, the Angels kept things close to the vest but still go their prize by signing gold glove center fielder Torii Hunter to a five year deal worth somewhere in the range of $80-90 million. The money is huge, but having an outfield with Hunter and Guerrero makes them immediate favorites to repeat for the AL West title.
Now, it looks like Gary Mathews, Jr. is being relegated to either a corner outfield spot or as a backup for Hunter. It looks like they plan on using Vlad and Garrett Anderson more at DH so it should mean Mathews will be in the lineup more times then not. Still having Mathews in left, Hunter in center and Vlad in right is about as good as you can get for a defensive and offensive outfield.
The Angels solidied their rotation by dealing their gold glove shortstop. Cabrera is now gone and while he’ll be missed, the Angels have several options at shortstop. It looks like Mike Scioscia mentioned Erick Aybar and Macier Izturis to fill in the spot in 2008 but the heir apparant has to be Brandon Wood. I’d love to see Wood pan out as a major leaguer and have him playing next to Howie Kendrick for the forseeable future.
And the extra pitcher means the Angels are closer to trading for Miguel Cabrera. They were shutout of the Alex Rodriguez sweepstakes but Cabrera would be a very solid consolation prize. It just looks like the Marlins are looking for young pitching so having Garland as an option means the Angels shouldn’t miss a beat.
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