A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Angels, Athletics

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 20__.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the 2014 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2015 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

Previous Pieces:
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Yankees and Orioles
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Indians and Tigers
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: White Sox, Royals, Twins

A Minor Review of 2014: Angels

The Graduate: Matt Shoemaker, RHP: A 27-year-old rookie (who recently turned 28), Shoemaker produced excellent numbers in 2014 — especially given his lack of hype or pedigree. The right-hander succeeded despite average velocity due to plus control and an outstanding splitter. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat his success in 2015.

The Riser: Cam Bedrosian, RHP: It’s hard to pick a riser because so many of the Angels’ top prospects are now 2014 draftees (due to the weak system entering the season) but this rookie has certainly seen his value rise significantly since 2013. The son of a former top closer, Bedrosian’s career took off when he moved from the starting rotation to the ‘pen. He pitched at four levels in 2014 and reached the Majors.

The Tumbler: Hunter Green, LHP: The Angels’ first pick of the 2013 amateur draft, Green signed late and pitched just 16.2 innings in his debut season. A back injury kept him out all of 2014 so he’s already missed a lot of development time throughout his short career. The good news is that his arm has been healthy to date.

The ’14 Draft Pick: Sean Newcombe, LHP: Newcombe is a hard-throwing left-handed prospect who flashes two above-average offerings in a heater and a slider. He also has a big, strong frame and should be a durable, innings-eater as he matures. Look for him to move relatively quickly and reach the Majors no later than 2016.

The Lottery Ticket: Ricardo Sanchez, LHP: Just 17, Sanchez was an international signee from last year. Despite his inexperience, the southpaw impressed in rookie ball by combining an outstanding ground-ball rate with a strong K-rate. He did not allow a home run during his first 12 professional appearances.

A Minor Review of 2014: A’s

The Graduate: Stephen Vogt, C: The A’s didn’t use many rookies in 2014 so you’ll have to excuse me for focusing on Vogt, who technically (just barely) lost his rookie eligibility in 2013. The offensive-minded catcher has thrived in Oakland over parts of the last two seasons. He actually spent most of his time at first base (42 games) in 2014, followed by left field (18) and then behind the plate (15). He showed some pop while also hitting .291.

The Riser: Daniel Robertson, SS: Robertson doesn’t ooze athleticism like some of the other top shortstop prospects but he’s a solid athlete in his own right and enjoyed a breakout season in 2014. The caveat is that his offensive explosion came in the California League, which is know for artificially-inflating numbers but this 20-year-old infield’s performance appears legit. He has a solid eye at the plate, developing power and a solid swing.

The Tumbler: Bobby Wahl, RHP: Wahl impressed the A’s both in college and during his first pro season in 2013. Unfortunately, his history of inconsistent performances reared its ugly head in 2014 and he struggled at two A-ball levels. The A’s have hopes that the right-hander can turn into a pro starter but he posted an ERA over 7.00 in that role.

The ’14 Draft Pick: Matt Chapman, 3B: This third baseman has a chance to be an excellent defensive third baseman with a plus-plus arm but he has not had the same kind of success at the plate. He needs to tighten up his approach at the plate. He has solid raw power but has yet to consistently tap into it in game situations.

The Lottery Ticket: Renato Nunez, 3B: Just 20, Nunez was one of a number of A’s prospects that enjoyed the California League environment. The young third baseman slugged 29 home runs in 124 games. On the down side, he has an overly-aggressive approach at the plate and also needs to do a better job identifying pitches. Both those issues led to a BB-K rate of 34-113.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Spa City
Spa City

I agree Daniel Robertson is a fast-rising prospect; he is probably the reason Billy Beane was comfortable trading Russell for Samarzjdzjdzja. But wouldn’t you say Matt Olson could just as easily be deemed Oakland’s most notable rising propect? Olson was absolutely fantastic in 2014, and he seems to be a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter.