Spring training is nearly one month away, with pitchers and catchers reporting in late February and position players reporting by early March. The Angels 25-man roster is set for the most part, but the Angels still have young talent.
Unfortunately, they are not as deep in talent as they have been in the past.
After the recent trade for Grienke in late July last season and the signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the Angels have become thin in their farm system. The signings of Pujols and Wilson cost them their first and second round picks in the 2012 draft and they had baseball’s smallest bonus pool ($1.6 million) for the first ten rounds.
The Angels’ top three prospects going into spring training are:
1. Kaleb Cowart
Cowart was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2010 draft. He has played three seasons and finished last season in A+ ball. He split time between Inland Empire and Cedar Rapids last season and he batted .276 with 17 home runs and 103 RBIs.
2. Nick Maronde
The 23-year-old left handed pitcher. He had a 6-4 record with a 2.26 era, 90 strikeouts and 19 walks in the minors splitting time in the Arizona League, Inland Empire Single A team, and Double AA Arkansas. Maronde was called up to the big league club in late September and became a specialist out of the bullpen.
3. CJ Cron
Cron was selected by the Angels in the first round of the 2011 draft. He played for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2012 and he batted .293 with 23 home runs and 123 RBIs. His father Chris spent two seasons in the major leagues and his brother Kevin was selected by the Mariners in the third round of the 2011 draft. If he continues to hit the way he did this past season, the big league club will certainly have to find a place on its roster for him.
Maronde has the best chance out of the three to make the roster. In 12 appearances for the Angels last September he had a 1.50 ERA, six hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. Mike Scioscia used him in relief as a lefty specialist, and he opened a lot of eyes with his performance.
Robert W. Ekberg is a staff writer for SportsOutWest and Los Angeles Area-based sports journalist. Follow him on twitter @Robek24.