ANAHEIM -- Third baseman Kaleb Cowart remains the prize of the Angels' farm system, and when MLB.com's Top 100 rankings were announced via MLB Network on Tuesday, the 20-year-old switch-hitter once again cracked the list.
Cowart came in ranked No. 67, a few spots below the No. 47 ranking he attained last September but still the only Angels prospect to garner the distinction. Last week, Cowart was also listed as the fifth-best third-base prospect in baseball, behind the Twins' Miguel Sano, the Rangers' Mike Olt, the Nationals' Anthony Rendon and the Rockies' Nolan Arenado, respectively.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Cowart, out of Cook High School in southern Georgia, was taken 18th overall in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, then put himself on the map with a solid 2012 season, posting a .276/.358/.452 slash line with 16 homers, 103 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for both of the Angels' Class A affiliates.
This spring, he'll attend his first Major League Spring Training camp. In April, he'll likely get his first taste of Double-A pitching, where he'll hope to improve from the left side of the plate. And the Angels hope that Cowart will be ready to man third base on an everyday basis at the Major League level by the end of 2014.
The Angels recently agreed to terms on a two-year, $9 million contract with veteran third baseman Alberto Callaspo, buying out his final season of arbitration and his first of free agency. The deal hasn't been finalized because Callaspo still has to fly in from Venezuela.
It's purpose, in many ways, will be to keep the hot corner warm for Cowart.
"I'd love to be up there soon; I really would," Cowart said earlier this offseason. "Hopefully when I get there, I'll contribute -- obviously I have to contribute, or I won't stay. But I can't wait, honestly. This is going to be a huge year for me. I'm really excited for Spring Training and where it goes from there."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez.