Lindsey, Cowart headline Angels' prospect list
Los Angeles anticipates infielders' ascension up Minor League ladder
ANAHEIM -- Despite selecting pitchers with 10 of their first 11 picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft and their first five picks this year, the Angels have two position players atop their prospect list.
Third baseman Kaleb Cowart and second baseman Taylor Lindsey, both in their fourth full season in the Minors, rank first and second in the Angels' organization.
The No. 37 overall pick in 2010, Lindsey has produced in the Minors at second base, most recently for Triple-A Salt Lake. He is currently hitting .233 for Salt Lake after batting .274 at Double-A Arkansas and .289 for Class A Advanced Inland Empire. Lindsey projects as an offensive-minded second baseman with decent power (41 career Minor League home runs).
"He's hit since the day we met him," scouting director Ric Wilson said.
Cowart, a 2010 first-round Draft pick, has been with Arkansas the past two seasons, hitting .206/.277/.303 with four homers, 28 RBIs and 14 steals in 62 games this year. After a strong first two full seasons (.283 in 2011 and .276 in '12), Cowart regressed to .221/.279/.301 in '13, with six home runs, 42 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
"Kaleb hit a little bit of a stumbling block, but he's working through that," Wilson said. "He's gotten a little bit stronger this year and they're working on his approach, so he seems to be heading in the right direction."
Still, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Cowart just turned 22 years old and remains an above-average defensive player at third.
Right-handed pitcher R.J. Alvarez, a third-round pick in 2012, is making his case for the call to The Show by throwing 19 innings of scoreless ball at Arkansas. Alvarez, though, has not pitched since May 12 due to an elbow injury.
"R.J. will have some type of impact, I would think, before the summer is over," Wilson said.
Alvarez, a Florida Atlantic product, has struck out 28 in his 12 appearances and has a 0.68 WHIP. Seven of his last 10 appearances have been for more than one inning, and opponents are batting .127 against him.
Wilson said Alvarez's ability to blow away batters drew the Halos to him two years ago.
"He's a physical guy that has a big power arm," Wilson said. "Where we were at in the Draft, I thought he was the best player, so we took him. We liked his arm and we liked his upside. We knew he was going to be a bullpen piece, but at that particular stage, we thought that was the best play we could make. It turned out to be a good one."
Alvarez appeared in 60 combined games over the last two seasons, sporting a 3.29 ERA in 2012 (Class A) and 2.96 in '13 (Class A Advanced).
In 2013, the Angels drafted 17-year-old left-hander Hunter Green with their first pick, the No. 59 overall selection. Green, at a wiry 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, tossed just 16 2/3 innings last year during Rookie ball. He had a 4.32 ERA and struggled with his control, walking 16 batters, hitting one and throwing three wild pitches.
Wilson said Green could be in Arizona this summer with the AZL Angels.
"The plan is just to get him out there and keep him healthy all summer," Wilson said. "I know that's the plan. I would imagine they would monitor his innings and try to keep him healthy this summer."
Three of the Halos' Top 20 Prospects have already reached the majors this season, with first baseman C.J. Cron joining relievers Mike Morin and Cam Bedrosian.
Cron has swung the bat well in the Majors, batting .277/.305/.465 in 32 games, serving as a designated hitter and first baseman behind Albert Pujols. Cron survived a recent roster move when the Angels sent utility man Grant Green down to call up reliever Cory Rasmus.
Morin, meanwhile, has a 1.40 ERA in 18 appearances out of the bullpen, limiting opponents to a .200 average and registering a 0.93 WHIP. Bedrosian has held opponents scoreless in two of his three appearances.
For the first time since 2011, when they took Cron, the Angels had a first-round pick this year. And they took University of Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb with the 17th overall pick. The Halos followed by taking New Jersey high school right-hander Joe Gatto.
The Angels selected 22 pitchers and 18 position players. Thirty-seven of the 40 picks came from college, with three from high school.
"We created some strike-throwing guys, we got some power, we got a little bit of speed, we got a little bit of everything," Wilson said. "It went the way we wanted it to go."
Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.