A few days before baseball’s 2010 amateur draft, Salt Lake Bees’ second baseman Taylor Lindsey decided to throw a surprise party.
At the time, Lindsey was a highly regarded prospect who hit .592 during his senior year of high school in Scottsdale, Ariz. He could have hand-picked a college before turning pro but, as the draft approached, his future came into sharp focus.
A Los Angeles scout told Lindsey the Angels planned to select him with one of the five first-round picks they had accumulated.
Lindsey was thrilled, but he decided not to tell anyone about the conversation.
“Only I knew,” Lindsey said. “My mom had an idea, I think. She knew something was up because I was real quiet. But when she asked me, I said, ‘I don’t know anything yet.’ ”
Lindsey did make one request.
He asked his mother if they could invite some family members and friends to the house to await the draft’s outcome — just in case there was reason to celebrate.
“I told her I was wanted to have some guys over for the draft,” Lindsey recalled. “I said, ‘You never know.’ My mom said, ‘But what if you don’t [get drafted].’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s something I’d have to deal with, I guess.’ ”
On the day of the draft, Lindsey didn’t wait long before becoming a member of the Angels’ organization. He was the No. 37 overall pick.
“Everybody was thrilled,” he said. “We were all pretty excited about the whole thing. … We had a good time.”
Asked if he thought about putting off professional baseball to attend college, Lindsey said, “It was an easy choice. It’s every kid’s dream to get drafted. … There was no conflict about going to school or anything like that.”
Lindsey has steadily worked his way up the food chain with the Angels.
He has a splendid season with the Orem Owlz in 2011, when he hit .362 with nine homers and 46 RBIs.
Lindsey credits ex-manager Tom Kotchman and ex-hitting coach Tom Evans for enabling him to take a step forward.
“We worked on my swing every day,” Lindsey said. “ … They [also] helped me with stuff like what pitches to look for on different counts — what pitches to hit. Things like that.”
Off the field, Lindsey lived away from home for the first time.
“It was fine,” he said. “I liked it, actually. I was ready to get out of the house. I was 19 at the time, so it was fun.”
Lindsey’s first month in Triple-A has been a learning experience.
He’s hitting only .258 but, in the first six games of the Bees’ current home stand, Lindsey went 6-for-21 with a homer and six RBIs.
“It’s been good so far,” he said. “Pitchers up here, their fastballs go inside and outside more. Their off-speed stuff is good. They have more command. That’s the biggest jump. But I think I’m getting better each day.”
Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson agrees: “He’s starting to figure some things out. We haven’t been through the league. We’ve played the same teams over and over again. But as we start to expand the competition, I’ve got a real good feeling about how his offensive numbers are going to increase.”
Lindsey’s goal, of course, is to reach the major leagues. He doesn’t turn 23 until December, however, so there’s no hurry.
“It’s a process,” he said. “It’s not my time yet. I can only do what I can do — just go out each day and play hard. That’s all I can control.”
Said Johnson, “He can do all those things you need from a middle infielder at the next level. It’s a matter of him continuing to develop and work on his craft.”
Taylor Lindsey’s season-by-season statistics
Year Team League G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI Avg
2010 Angels Arizona 45 194 26 55 12 6 0 18 .284
2011 Orem Pioneer 63 290 64 105 28 6 9 46 .362
2012 Inland Empire Calif. 134 547 79 158 26 6 9 58 .289
2013 Arkansas Texas 134 508 68 139 22 6 17 56 .274
2014 Salt Lake PCL 31 128 24 33 4 2 4 17 .258
PCL baseball • Las Vegas 7, Salt Lake Bees 5
R The Salt Lake Bees’ bullpen had another colossal collapse Wednesday night at Smith’s Ballpark as five Bees relievers allowed five runs in two innings as the 51s prevailed 7-5 in the 10th inning. Salt Lake suffered its third straight give-away defeat. In all, the Salt Lake bullpen allowed eight hits and walked five batters in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings.