Miller: The Angels’ guide to sustainable farming

From Sam Miller at on February 18, 2014:

ONE YEAR AGO, on backfield No. 6 in Tempe, Ariz., where players breathe the helium that floats spring training optimism, 165 Angels minor leaguers took a knee and 55 Angels minor league coaches stood at attention. Scott Servais, the club’s assistant GM overseeing player development, was in the middle. It would be his only chance all year to address everybody at once.

“How many of you here played in the playoffs last year?” he asked. Denny Hocking, the Angels’ new rookie ball manager, hired from Baltimore’s Double-A affiliate, was the only one who could raise his hand.

“Baseball America thinks we have the worst talent in the game,” he continued. “How does that make you feel? You play in the worst organization in the game.”

Third baseman Kaleb Cowart, LA’s top prospect at the time, recalls looking at the faces of his teammates as Servais spoke: “They’re like, Wow. Was he really just that open about it?”

But it was true. The critics had spoken, have spoken, continue to speak: Even now, a year later, Baseball America considers the Angels’ future to be windswept and barren, again ranking them 30th in organizational talent.

Servais is the guy who was hired in 2011 to fix them. It’s a job he’s done before.

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Originally published: February 18, 2014. Last Updated: February 18, 2014.