Last season, Zach Borenstein broke through with one of the best seasons in California League history. Each year, a new prospect breaks through and starts to shine as a higher end prospect. It's our goal as "professionals" to find who the next one will be before they actually blossom. With that said, we pulled five names, and five prospects who could have a potentially outstanding 2014 season, and become break through performers.
Kody Eaves, Second Baseman
Eaves is an interesting player. He grew up playing shortstop emulating his favorite player Derek Jeter. Eaves was moved to second base but is defensively sound and is finding his approach at the plate. He has two years of Rookie Ball under his belt and will make the move to Single-A ball over the 2014 season. He is starting to grow in to his body at 20-years-old, gaining a little bit of weight to add to his six-foot, 175 pound frame.
He was drafted for his power, and opted out of a commitment to Texas Christian University to sign with the Angels out of the 16th round of the 2012 Draft. Eaves has kept his strikeout numbers low at 15% which is above average for a player his age. The power numbers haven't shown yet with his combined three home runs over 479 plate appearances, but has shown a strong swing. His speed is far above average and he should get the green light very often, possibly being in the 30+ stolen base range. A full season may be what puts Eaves over the hill and in to elite prospect territory near the end of 2014.
2013 stats : .277/.326/.386, 14 doubles, 6 triples, 1 home run, 24 runs batted in, 22 stolen bases
Sherman Johnson, Utility
Johnson has already drawn Chone Figgins comparisons on scout's boards. He'll be spending 2014 in the hitter friendly Cal League which should boost his hitting numbers substantially. A 14th round pick in 2012, out of Florida State University where he won a collegiate level gold glove. He has brought that glove to the professional level and shown some serious flash in the field.
Johnson's won't display high power numbers but could boast double digits in the Cal League. He has a great frame and incredible approach at the plate. Johnson sees a lot of pitches and draws quite a few walks. If his contact numbers increase, he could be a serious threat of the future for the Angels.
2013 stats : .264/.371/.380, 23 doubles, 7 triples, 4 home runs, 34 runs batted in, 14 stolen bases
Andrew Ray, Left Fielder
We're not really sure how Ray has stayed this far under the radar. He was a 5th round pick in 2011 out of high school, and shined last season in Single-A at 22-years of age. He hits the ball very, very hard. His power numbers are what makes him so great, and he's heading to a league where power numbers increase even more so. Ray will be better suited as a designated hitter, and with that, he can focus more on his bat.
Ray's power numbers are helped by his six-foot-one, 195 pound frame that is getting steadily bigger. Ray will need to start seeing more pitches, which is a focus of coaches currently in the Angels farm system. Ray could easily be the Zach Borenstein of the 2014 season.
2013 stats : .275/.300/.533, 27 doubles, 1 triple, 15 home runs, 52 runs batted in, 0 stolen bases
Jonah Wesely, Left Handed Pitcher
Wesely was taken in the 11th round of the 2013 Draft, and decided the Angels and professional baseball sounded better than the University of California - Los Angeles. Wesely posted a video on Instagram of him throwing 99.8 on the athletic throw and has been keeping lose doing Bikram Yoga. He currently throws his fastball anywhere from 89-93, and has a devastating slider.
Wesely only pitched one inning in 2013 due to a groin injury which took his season. However, he is due for a strong 2014 campaign. Not many 19-year-olds are as filled out as Wesely at six-foot-two, 205 pounds. Wesely will need some more time on the mound to prove what he has, but scouts have told us he has the promise to be a Major League starter of the future.
2013 stats : 1.0 inning pitched, 0 strikeouts, 0.00 earned run average, 2.000 WHIP
Caleb Graham, Right Handed Pitcher
A pitcher that has flown under the radar for a little too long is Caleb Graham. He's shown promise since the get go throughout each league, and showed he can pitch with the elite prospects last year in Double-A. Graham is 27-years-old as of a few weeks ago, and has quite a bit of pitching experience. Graham should pitch in Triple-A out of Spring Training in 2014, with a strong shot at making the Major League bullpen at some point over the season.
Graham's one slight struggle has been hitting the strike zone consistently. This has come with a pickup in velocity over the seasons, but that hasn't kept us from thinking he could shine at the Major League level soon.
2013 stats : 44.2 innings pitched, 38 strikeouts, 3.83 earned run average, 1.366 WHIP
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