No big surprise here, Mike Trout is the top prospect in baseball, according to ESPN's Keith Law, who unveiled his Top 100 Thursday. Trout also was Law's No. 1 pick last year and Trout's unsteady few weeks in the major leagues last year didn't dim Law's view of the speedy outfielder much, if at all.
Here's an excerpt of Law on Trout:
... in a sense, he's the perfect prospect. He is a position player who affects the game on offense, on defense and via baserunning, and has shown incredible maturity in his approach despite the fact that he entered pro ball at age 17 and still can't legally buy a drink (unless the Angels are visiting the Blue Jays)....
It's hard to say when Trout will impact the Angels. General manager Jerry Dipoto said Wednesday that Trout will play every day somewhere, virtually ruling out an Opening Day roster spot unless one of the starting outfielders goes down in spring training.
Three other Angels made Law's list. Of shortstop Jean Segura, Law wrote:
He has an extremely short, direct swing to produce line drives, and did a better job this year staying upright instead of trying to hit for power he doesn't really have. He's an above-average runner when his legs are working, quick enough for shortstop with sufficient arm strength.
After missing parts of the last three seasons with injuries, Segura needs to prove he can play shortstop every day. If he does, he could give the Angels important security if Erick Aybar leaves via free agency next fall. The fact the sides couldn't work something out before Aybar's walk year suggests they value his contributions differently than he and his agent do. If Segura struggles or goes down with another injury, the Angels might need to come up to Aybar's asking price for a long-term deal. Finding capable shortstops isn't easy or cheap.
The other two Angels prospects on the list are hard-throwing pitchers, Garrett Richards and John Hellweg. They're both about the same age, but Richards finished last season in the major leagues three rungs ahead of Hellwig, who was at Class-A Inland Empire.
He works with a 70 fastball as a starter, pitching at 94-100 mph, with an inconsistent, short, 84-87 mph slider that ranges from solid-average to plus, and some feel for a changeup. He holds his velocity deep into games and works in the lower half of the zone to generate some ground balls.
Hellweg has always had a huge fastball but couldn't locate anything, walking more than a man an inning from his pro debut until the Angels moved him from the bullpen to the Inland Empire rotation in early June. After the transition, he wasn't exactly Greg Maddux, but his control went from grade-20 to 45, to the point that he's now a real prospect instead of a curiosity.