I think Taylor Lindsey is going to be an important part of the Los Angeles Angels' future.
Playing high school baseball in Arizona is really special for any player with aspirations to play professional baseball. The season is long, the traveling squads are abundant and the coaching is outstanding.
That's not to say that other parts of the country don't have great prep programs. They do. But high school baseball in Arizona is important. It's relevant.
Lindsey, an Angels second-base prospect, is a product of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. It's a competitive, highly regarded program.
And Lindsey was a success in the high-octane environment of Arizona baseball. So much so that he was named All-City, All-Region, All-State and All-American in his high school career. In his senior year, Lindsey hit .592 with 18 home runs and 73 RBIs. He had his eye on attending Arizona State University to play baseball, but he really wanted to sign a professional contract.
And he did. The Angels selected Lindsey as a supplemental first-round Draft pick in 2010. Now, after playing only parts of four seasons in the Halos' Minor League organization, Lindsey is rated No. 3 on the Angels' Top 20 Prospects rankings.
Lindsey has surprising power for his 6-foot, 195-pound frame. He puts a real charge into the ball. Lindsey has hit 35 home runs in his 376 games, covering 1,674 plate appearances.
Last season at Double-A Arkansas in the Texas League, Lindsey smoked 17 home runs to go along with six triples and 22 doubles in his 567 trips to the plate. Frankly, the Texas League is not the easiest place to hit home runs -- quite the contrary, in fact. It's known more for having "pitcher friendly" ballparks. It makes Lindsey's accomplishment even more impressive.
That's outstanding power from any position, let alone from a second baseman. It's a luxury to have a second baseman who can take the ball deep.
Lindsey's mechanics at the plate are highlighted by excellent eye-hand coordination. He gets his hands out in front of the ball, driving pitches to the gaps and using the entire field. Like many left-handed hitters, Lindsey feasts on balls down in the zone.
I got to see plenty of Lindsey while he was playing in the Arizona Fall League. He was adequate defensively, but he's clearly an "offense first" second baseman. I do, however, think Lindsey can play average second base. His arm strength is not the greatest, but what he may lack on defense, he will more than compensate for offensively.
Lindsey played 19 games for the Mesa Solar Sox this past fall, and he struggled a bit, hitting only .225 with two homers and 10 RBIs. Even with his mediocre fall batting average, Lindsey was highly regarded in the league. He was named to the Fall Stars Team, playing for the East Division and walking once in two plate appearances in the November game.
Lindsey has improved in his ability to hit left-handed pitching. At one point, it was an issue that he had to overcome. But last season at Arkansas, Lindsey hit .277 against righties and a very respectable .265 versus lefties.
Lindsey is not fast, but I don't think he'll clog the bases. He may surprise with an occasional stolen base, adding value to his overall game.
Lindsey just turned 22 in December. It would not be a surprise to see him continue to rocket through the Halos' Minor League system. Lindsey provides the type of offense that should continue to develop as he matures more physically and gains more playing time against quality pitching.
Given his power potential and his good hitting mechanics that allow him to spray the ball around the diamond, Lindsey has the type of bat that can provide a solid batting average, impressive power and an ability to play every day at second base.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter.