ST. PETERSBURG -- Arizona Fall League rosters were announced on Tuesday, and the Angels will be sending eight players to the prestigious offseason tournament: Pitchers R.J. Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Mike Morin and Michael Roth, catcher Jett Bandy, infielders C.J. Cron and Taylor Lindsey, and outfielder Zach Borenstein.
The group will help make up the Mesa Solar Sox, composed of promising prospects from the Angels, A's, Cubs, Nationals and Tigers, and managed by Angels Rookie-level Orem skipper Bill Richardson.
Cron (second), Lindsey (fourth), Morin (10th), Alvarez (12th) and Borenstein (15th) are all ranked among the Angels' Top 20 prospects by MLB.com. Cron represented the Angels at the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game this year, Borenstein was recently named the California League's Most Valuable Player and Roth has appeared in 15 games for the Angels this season.
Asked recently to name the organization's top pitching prospect not named Mark Sappington and Hunter Green -- two guys who have separated themselves in a depleted system -- assistant general manager Scott Servais had a quick answer: Morin.
The 22-year-old right-hander was taken in the 13th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft and may already be the Angels' top relief-pitching prospect. With a low-90s fastball and a devastating changeup that fades away from lefties and cuts in on righties, Morin has posted a 2.01 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, an 8.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 20 saves between Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas.
"For a kid who just came out of last year's Draft, his numbers have been outstanding," said Servais, who oversees scouting and player development. "He's been a nice, nice surprise for us this year."
Cron was red-hot at the start of his first year of Double-A, which followed September shoulder surgery. But the right-handed-hitting first baseman has batted .250 since the start of June, and his home runs are way down -- from 27 in 127 games with Inland Empire in 2012 to 12 in 127 games for Arkansas this season.
Servais said a lot of that has to do with Arkansas' deep dimensions to left field and believes Cron's power will re-emerge -- but he needs to improve his plate discipline.
"The big thing with C.J. is his ability to control the strike zone and kind of hunt for his pitch a little bit," Servais said. "He's a very aggressive hitter, and sometimes he goes after pitches that aren't the best ones for him to hit."
Lindsey, a left-handed-hitting second baseman, has gone the opposite way for the Arkansas Travelers, his home runs jumping from nine to 17 while sporting a .276/.341/.449 slash line.
"But the thing that I'm most excited about is how much Taylor has improved defensively," Servais said. "We had a lot of questions about that, but he's really improved his pivot on the double play, he's improved his range to his right. And of course, he's always been able to hit."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less