This is our first review of the 40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Angels Prospects, starting with prospects 36-40. We started off the countdown with mostly relievers and a utility outfielder. Every single one, we see as future Major League talents.
Here is a recap of each player individually, starting with 40 and going down to 36.
Daniel Tillman, RHP, Reliever
Starting our countdown is relief pitcher Daniel Tillman. The Angels love this kid, as they should, taking him in the second round of 2010 Draft out of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. After a rough 2013 plagued with injuries, Tillman has dropped progressively in prospect talk. All of our voters agreed that he needed work, but also all agreed that he should be a dangerous threat in 2014, and that we could be wrong about putting him this far down in our countdown.
Daniel Tillman is a pretty fun package to look at. His fastball sits in the mid 90's, anywhere from 93-96. He has a pair of fastballs, both with a two-seam grip and both move in different forms. His "initial" go-to fastball is almost comparable to a sinker. He opens his fingers just enough to keep it as a titled "four-seam" but the ball breaks late and down like a sinker, and is usually in the 95-96 range. His second fastball is a two-seam fastballs that breaks well against lefties and is anywhere in the 93-95 speed range. Tillman's mid 80's slider is one of the best in the Angels farm system due strictly to it's break. Tillman's problem with the slider is his delivery as his arm slot drops just slightly. Tillman has a very average changeup.
Tillman had control issues near the end of the 2013 season which has been a big question mark with the progression of his future. If Tillman can start painting the corners a little better to help his control, he could be a very hard pitcher to deal with at the plate.
Tillman was a favorite among statistical only Angels fans and professionals, as in 2010 and 2011, Tillman had a 2.19 earned run average over 106.3 innings pitched in three different levels (Rookie, Low-A, High-A).
2011, he kept up his strong pitching in High-A with the Inland Empire 66ers when it came to not allowing runs, but could not find the plate walking 6.9 per nine, particularly 8.8 walks per nine in Double-A Arkansas. With the bad, came the good though as he struck out 10.8 per nine in 2012 with the help of his good fastball/slider combination.
An undisclosed injury tagged Tillman early in 2013, not giving him many innings of work to look at. Control was still a slight problem for Tillman as he walked seven and half per nine.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
The injury may keep Tillman in High-A out of Spring Training in 2014, but you can only imagine that he'll be headed to Arkansas sometime in the middle of the season. Tillman has major league potential according to scouts from not just the Angels, but also other teams. If he can stay healthy, you can expect Tillman to be with the Los Angeles Angels sometime in 2016, and be a strong force in the Angels latter part of the bullpen.
Andrew Heid, Outfielder
"The kid plays at a hundred percent, a hundred percent of the time," is what we were told by a scout about Andrew Heid. The 2010 ninth rounder out of Gonzaga has his stock rising each day from scouts and coaches, which could make him a sure thing on a Major League bench soon.
He's just about ready to make the big club. His bat has improved and he has now become a hitter who can place the ball wherever he wants in the park. At 5'10 and 175 pounds, you aren't going to see much power from Heid, but he does hit the ball hard. Speed and aggression have declined slightly with age, which is expected, but he hasn't lost a step when it comes to speed in the outfield. His range is outstanding, and he could be a good fourth or fifth outfielder for any Major League team. Heid knows which pitches to swing at and which to not. His size is the only thing holding him back from being "a sure thing."
Like we said, power is down. Over four seasons, Heid has hit 21 balls over the fences, and nine of those coming in his first professional season with the Orem Owlz in 2010. Heid hits consistently in the .270 to .300 range, which is something you could hardly ever complain about. This last season with Double-A Arkansas Travelers, Heid hit .288 with a .780 OPS. There's not much you can do to raise your stock after that... except hit .331 with a .943 OPS with Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. Heid did only play 45 games in Salt Lake in 2013, but it was enough to get people talking about him being the next bench outfielder for the big club.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
We've hinted at it enough, but... Heid should be a fourth or fifth outfielder for the Angels in the future. We doubt that Heid will be with the big club out of Spring Training or in 2014 at all, but we've been wrong before. We expect 2015 to be his "rookie" season when he is 27 as a utility outfielder to make spot starts.
Eric Cendejas, RHP, Reliever
It's hard to make a mid 80's fastball from a sidearm slot work at a professional level, but Eric Cendejas has proven that it can be done. The Angels reliever has been overlooked for the past three seasons, being in the California League with the Inland Empire 66ers, with spot appearances in both Double-A and Triple-A. However, we haven't overlooked him as one of our none Scout.com voters had Cendejas in his top 25, and he appeared in all but one of the voters ballots. There's something special about this 2010, 33rd rounder, from California State Stanislaus.
Eric Cendejas throws four different pitches, all that sit in the range of 80-85 miles per hour, and all from the same arm slot, sidearm. His four-seam and two-seam fastballs both have good movement and help him setup a good count against batters. His changeup is on the plus side. His delivery on the slider became a problem late last season but was fixed right away, and has become a good two-strike pitch for Cendejas. Cendejas keeps the ball low but maintains to keep the ball in the strike-zone and it shows with his career, 2.1 walks per nine.
Cendejas spent his first professional season right out of college in rookie ball, splitting time between the Orem Owlz and AZL Angels.
In 2011, he started making a bigger name for himself, making relief appearances at three different levels combining for a 3.09 earned run average (Rookie, High-A, Double-A).
In 2012, Cendejas may have been the best relief pitcher in the Angels farm system, posting a 2.87 earned run average in the hitter friendly California League. During the 2012 season, from July 13th to August 27th, Cendejas had a 1.50 earned run average with a .833 WHIP, including 11.1 innings of scoreless pitching. Control was at an all-time high for Cendejas as he had a streak of 20 appearances (27.2 innings pitched), where he did not walk a batter.
This past season, Cendejas dropped off a very small amount from his 2012 star season, but still showed he is a threat out of the bullpen. Cendejas sported a 3.69 earned run average in the California League, and eanred himself a callup to Triple-A Salt Lake Bees for a few appearances, including two spot starts. Cendejas maintained his low WHIP, which is now at 1.166 on his minor league career.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
He doesn't throw in the 90's, or even the high 80's, which is probably going to give him the long route to the big leagues. No doubt though, all of our voters agreed that Cendejas will make it to the big club. Expect to see Cendejas with the Arkansas Travelers out of Spring Training, and if he keeps up his success from the mound, a push towards Triple-A Salt Lake near the end of 2014. Cendejas should be able to sport an Angels uniform sometime in late 2015 or early 2016.
Eswarlin Jimenez, LHP, Starter/Reliever
A young southpaw that is learning how to be a strong pitcher who gets easy outs at each level, Eswarlin Jimenez is a possible hidden gem in the Angels system. After three seasons with the Angels Dominican Summer League team, the Angels decided to put Jimenez in the states. Once in the United States, he made an immediate jump to Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels, skipping rookie ball. His body grew with age, and some mechanics dropped, putting Jimenez's numbers down, but he showed raw talent from the mound in both starting, and relief roles.
"Eswarlin is interesting because if and when he has a consistent arm slot he is good. Needs to develop consistency in his delivery and work on his mental aspect. Has an average to below fastball at times with a slider that shows to be a plus pitch and a changeup that isn't used enough." - Professional Pitcher
Jimenez picked up slight velocity with body development, which has made his control decrease ever so slightly, but is still very, very good for the minors. His fastball/changeup come from the same arm slot (if consistent) and will differ from 91-93 down to 80-82. His fastball has sinking movement and combo with that with the changeup, you get a lot of groundballs. If he makes a change in his two-strike pitch from the slider to the changeup, he could be slightly less predictable and force more outs at the plate instead of the field (strikeouts).
From 2009 to 2011, Jimenez spent his time with the Angels Dominican Summer League Team, where he went from a crafty 17-year-old, to a dominant 18 and 19-year-old. With 238.1 innings pitched in the DSL, Jimenez posted a 2.30 earned run average with a 1.070 WHIP. Control and command were at an all-time high for Jimenez as he walked just two per nine, struck out eight per nine, and allowed just one home run his entire DSL career.
Jimenez came over to the states in 2012, where he shined as a 20-year-old in Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Inland Empire 66ers, posting a 3.38 ERA over 117.0 innings pitched, but like most rookies, saw batters figure him out later in the season.
In 2013, things started falling apart in the hitter friendly California League. After six consecutive quality starts to begin the season, Jimenez lost his command in the next five and was moved to the bullpen. Despite one weak performance in the bullpen at the extremely hitter friendly Hangar of Lancaster, he had six of his nine relief performances coming with no runs against him.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
We expect Jimenez to spend a third season in High-A with the Inland Empire 66ers with a possible callup late in the season to the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. He'll have to develop a strong mental presence on the mound, and be able to keep his mechanics and arm slot consistent to compete well at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. If he is able to maintain those things and is kept as a starter, we see Jimenez developing into a Francisco Liriano type of pitcher, and becoming a four starter in the Majors. With that said, our estimation for Jimenez to reach the Major Leagues is mid 2016.
Joey Krehbiel, RHP, Reliever
We cheated a little bit and bumped Joey up one spot in our voting from 37th to 36th. Why you ask? It's his 21st birthday, so here's our version of buying you a beer Mr. Krehbiel. A utility player in high school was drafted early by the Angels in 2011 and with a breakout season in 2013, is now showing why they selected him so high.
"Out of everyone that came through Burlington this season, Krehbiel is definitely the guy that will make the Majors." - Broadcaster in the Midwest League from 2013.
Talk about an athlete. During the draft, no one knew whether Krehbiel would be drafted as a third baseman or a pitcher. The Seminole High School (Seminole, Florida) hit .462 with a .769 slugging percentage his senior year, but started hitting the radar of Florida college recruits his Junior year. Krehbiel is not an infielder though, he's a pitcher, where he has shown success early in his minor league career. Krehbiel shows slight struggles keeping the ball low, and has steadily become a fly ball pitcher. Krehbiel has the standard fastball, curveball, changeup style arsenal. I'd imagine coaches would avoid helping him develop a slider since he has struggles keeping the ball away from left-handed batters, and a slider would break into a left-handed batter. One big note is that Matt Wise was named the new pitching coach of the Angels High-A farm team, where Krehbiel will be in a short time. Wise was a big righty who had an outstanding changeup against lefties at the plate in his playing days... hmm, think that might help a young pitcher?
Krehbiel has picked up some muscle which has helped with his fastball velocity, but he could pick up a little bit more to put him in the mid 90's range, and help him be a healthy competitor for the next level.
When it comes to Krehbiel's changeup, it's good. No other word for it, not outstanding, not sub par, or any other word for it... just good. This is due mostly to his command with the pitch and he can place it wherever he likes. His curve though needs work, just like any young pitcher. Opposite of the changeup, command is probably his problem when it comes to the curveball, but of course, that will develop with more innings pitched.
Krehbiel had struggles at the begining of his first full professional season as a middle reliever. In 2012, a slow start lead him to a 5.12 earned-run-average, which is why his stock may have dropped in other prospect noting. In his last nine appearances of 2012 though, he allowed just two runs, one earned, with a 5.07 hits per nine.
His late presence was not a fluke as in 2013, things turned around completely for Krehbiel. If you take one five earned run performance, Krehbiel would have had a 2.07 earned-run-average. With the five earned run performance, he touted a 2.74 ERA over 48 games, including one start where he went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Left-handed batters did have Krehbiel's number though, posting a 4.05 ERA against him over 2013 while batting .265. With every bad note is a good note though, as right handed batters had no prayer against Krehbiel only batting .159, and keeping him at a 1.85 earned-run-average. Despite not having a high 90's fastball, Krehbiel was still able to strikeout over 9.5 per nine.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
I can't imagine that Krehbiel will be back in short season or low-A ball this next season. Imagine him to play setup man for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2014, while he develops more velocity into his pitching, as well as build command against lefties at the plate with new Angels farm system pitching coach, Matt Wise. We expect to see Krehbiel in the Angels bullpen sometime around late 2016 or out of Spring Training in 2017.
For more information on the Los Angeles Angels and their prospects, follow @ScoutAngels, and for to the minute updates on the Angels, follow our site publisher, @TaylorBlakeWard.