Just a few years ago, the Angels farm system was arguably the worst in baseball. Back in 2014, they had a pair of promising arms in Sean Newcomb and Andrew Heaney, with little upside after that. For perspective, Roberto Baldoquin, Joe Gatto, and Christopher Ellis were the #3-5 ranked Angels prospects that year according to MLB.com. The first two are still in the system and didn’t make this top-25, while Ellis has had a very inconsistent career and is now in the St. Louis Cardinals system.
If I was doing this list that season, the Angels would have received a D or D-. Quick, look half an inch below. That’s a B-. Could easily have given this system a B if there was more depth outside of the top-10. Leading the way as the alpha dog for this farm system is an exciting prospect that has skyrocketed into the discussion as one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball.
Overall System Grade: B-
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Salt Lake – Pacific Coast League
Double-A: Mobile – Southern League
Single-A (Advanced): Inland Empire – California League
Single-A (Full): Burlington – Midwest League
Short-season Single-A: None
Rookie: Orem – Pioneer League, one team in the Arizona League and Dominican Summer League
Los Angeles Angels Prospects Report 2018/2019
New Top 25 Los Angeles Angels Prospects
1. Jo Adell, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 4/8/99, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A/A+/AA): .290/.355/.543/.898, 32 2B, 20 HR, 15 SB, 7.3 BB%, 25.2 K%, 396 AB
It’s not often that I’ll say a prospect has 30/30 upside. Well, Adell has 30/30 upside. The Angels drafted him 10th overall in 2017 and it’s already easy to see why. Adell has easy plus power and speed which has translated into 80 extra-base hits (25 HR) and 23 steals in his first 148 minor league games. While he’ll still strikeout 20-25% of the time, Adell has improved his hit tool and plate coverage since being drafted to the point where a .280-plus AVG is a realistic expectation going forward. On top of all that, he’s an above-average defensive outfielder with a strong throwing arm. Adell is already a top-10 overall prospect with upside for even more.
Impressive power today from Angels OF Jo Adell during Futures Game BP. pic.twitter.com/nBCDkNkom3
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 15, 2018
2. Brandon Marsh, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 12/18/97, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (A/A+): .266/.359/.408/.767, 27 2B, 7 3B, 10 HR, 14 SB, 12.6 BB%, 27.2 K%, 503 AB
If Adell is Budweiser, consider Marsh Bud Light. Marsh has a lot of the same intriguing tools as Adell, just not as profound. From the left side, Marsh has a clean swing with solid bat speed and loft. He’s not projected as a masher, but has enough raw power for 20-HR pop. He can work a walk when needed but does have some swing and miss tendencies. Speed is his most prominent tool, grading as plus to plus-plus which helps him cover a lot of ground in the outfield, and of course, steal some bases. He’s still raw as a base stealer, but once he learns to read pitchers moves better, he should develop into a 25-to-30-plus SB threat.
3. Jahmai Jones, 2B, Bats: R, DOB: 8/4/97, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA): .239/.337/.380/.717, 20 2B, 9 3B, 10 HR, 24 SB, 12.0 BB%, 20.4 K%, 482 AB
A second baseman, turned outfielder, turned second baseman again, Jones will never be a plus defender at either spot, but his defensive adequacy will be enough to make him a solid Major Leaguer thanks to his advanced bat. Jones has a quick swing from the right side that generates plenty of hard contact and has begun using the whole field more over the last season and a half. While his swing is mostly geared for line drives, Jones has enough strength to pop 10-15 homers annually to go along with a decent batting average and 25-30+ steals.
4. Luis Rengifo, SS/2B, Bats: S, DOB: 2/26/97, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): .299/.399/.452/.851, 30 2B, 13 3B, 7 HR, 41 SB, 12.7 BB%, 12.7 K, 502 AB
Not overly familiar with Luis Rengifo? Well, you’re gonna learn today (said in Kevin Hart voice). Rengifo can flat out fly. Easy plus speed that has translated to 127 steals through his 410 minor league games with a 72.2% success rate. Don’t expect much power to go along with it, but you can expect a strong batting average and OBP thanks to his exceptional contact skills and plate coverage. Rengifo has top of the order hitter written all over him and projects as a solid fielder at either middle infield position. However, with Andrelton Simmons and his stellar defense at short, Rengifo will likely slide over to second base which is wide open right now.
Luis Rengifo came to play tonight!
So far he's gone 3-for-3 with a triple and 2 RBIs! pic.twitter.com/UMxbXJhyvl
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 17, 2018
5. Griffin Canning, RHP, DOB: 5/11/96, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 113.1, 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 9.9 K/9, .236 AVG
Don’t sweat the Triple-A numbers. Don’t even look at them. They’re not good and not indicative of the type of pitcher Canning is. The Pacific Coast League has always been and always will be very hitter friendly. Canning had a stellar 1.66 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 10.1 K/9 in 12 starts before his Triple-A promotion and was trending towards a 2018 Major League debut. He doesn’t blow hitters away with his low-90’s fastball but commands the pitch well and shows the poise of a veteran on the mound. Canning has yet to develop his breaking pitches into consistent weapons, but mixes in a plus changeup with good fade and his curveball has good depth when he’s throwing it right. Overall, he has the upside of a solid #2 starter and should make his debut in the first half of the 2019 season.
6. Jordyn Adams, OF, Bats: R, 10/18/99, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): .267/.361/.381/.742, 6 2B, 0 HR, 5 SB, 11.5 BB%, 24.6 K%, 105 AB
In our ongoing From the Field Prospect Mock Draft, Adams was selected 66th overall as the 10th 2018 FYPD prospect off the board. He certainly has that upside but is incredibly raw as a hitter with a swing that needs refinement. Here’s what I said about him back in June after the MLB draft:
“There are a lot of moving parts to his swing. A pre-pitch bat wiggle, high leg kick, hand shift, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. All of that will need to be refined into a simpler swing if he wants to put his top of the order upside to good use. Currently more of a line drive hitter, Adams should grow into more power as he matures physically. The ceiling here is a right-handed Carl Crawford, so keep a close eye on him as he progresses through the Angels system.”
All of that still rings true. The speed is elite and he should challenge for some SB crowns if he can get on-base at a reasonable clip. When I said there’s more power coming, it’s true, but temper expectations there to the 10-15 homer range. I really hope Adams can develop at the plate as he truly has a chance to be one of the most exciting players in the game.
7. Jeremiah Jackson, SS, Bats: R, DOB: 3/26/00, ETA 2023
2018 Stats (RK): .254/.314/.491/.805, 10 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 10 SB, 7.9 BB%, 30.9 K%, 173 AB
The Angels only drafted three (5th round pick William English plays CF and pitches as well) position players in the first 13 rounds back in June, but grabbed a couple good ones in Adams and Jeremiah Jackson. A prep shortstop from Alabama, Jackson possesses above-average raw power and speed but pitch selection needs some work. There’s hope though as Jackson has a clean swing and can generate hard contact to all fields. That strikeout rate should come down over time while the batting average should rise into the .270-.290 range. Don’t sleep on Jackson due to his lack of a plus tool. The upside here is a Major League starting shortstop with solid offensive numbers.
8. D’Shawn Knowles, OF, Bats: S, DOB: 1/16/01, ETA 2023
2018 Stats (RK): .311/.391/.464/.855, 13 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 9 SB, 11.1 BB%, 25.7 K%, 222 AB
Knowles is a prospect firmly on the rise. Not high on many prospect lists before 2018, Knowles strong showing this season has him firmly on the map now. He has plus bat speed from the both side with a clean swing path through the zone. There’s not a ton of power here, but Knowles has enough strength to develop double-digit pop in time and has shown the ability to drive the ball better from the left side of the plate. His speed is his most noteworthy tool, though it hasn’t translated into much success on the bases quite yet due to poor pitcher movement reads. That’s not overly concerning with a 17-year-old international prospect and figures to get better over time.
.@Angels AZL prospects Jeremiah Jackson (8), Jordyn Adams (21) and D'Shawn Knowles (20) all promoted today. I was at there last game last night. Here's some at-bats. Knowles one of the most improved since Ext Spring. JJ super underrated. Adams 💪 #ProspectOne pic.twitter.com/f0Aq0pi52W
— The Welsh (@IsItTheWelsh) August 1, 2018
9. Kevin Maitan, SS, Bats: S, DOB: 2/12/00, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): .248/.306/.397/.703, 13 2B, 8 HR, 1 SB, 6.7 BB%, 23.2 K%, 262 AB
Someone recently asked me in an AMA I was doing on Reddit, “Is Kevin Maitan still alive?” Obviously, that person was joking, but it’s a fitting question with how Maitan’s career has gone lately. After the whole Braves mess, Maitan was signed by the Angels and has yet to progress past rookie ball. While his conditioning and overall durability have been questioned, the upside in his bat has remained. There’s no speed to speak of here, but Maitan has the upside to hit for both average and power from both sides of the plate. He’s just a ways away from getting there and has a subpar plate approach right now. Where he ends up defensively is still up in the air. His subpar range will likely force him over to the hot corner where his strong throwing arm will play just fine.
10. Matt Thaiss, 1B, Bats: L, DOB: 5/6/95, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .280/.335/.467/.802, 34 2B, 16 HR, 8 SB, 7.6 BB%, 17.9 K%, 525 AB
Thaiss is an advanced hitter that doesn’t get a lot of love due to his below-average power for a first baseman. But what he lacks in power he makes up for in contact and plate coverage, and then some. Thaiss has a great feel for hitting and putting the barrel on the ball. His swing is quick and clean from the left side, just without a ton of loft. There’s also this little problem of not having a spot for him at the Major League level. Thaiss is more than ready when one opens up though.
11. Trent Deveaux, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 5/4/00. ETA 2023
2018 Stats (RK): .199/.309/.247/.556, 5 2B, 1 HR, 7 SB, 12.4 BB%, 35.1 K%, 166 AB
If prospects were steaks, Deveaux wouldn’t even be rare, he’d still be a damn cow. I almost hate to rank him this high with the incredible amount of work that needs to be done. However, the upside simply cannot be ignored. Deveaux is already one of the fastest players in the minors and should start posting eye-popping SB totals once he develops as a baserunner. At the plate is where the most work needs to be done. There’s above average raw power here, but he’s yet to tap into that at the plate. He’s able to make up for his long swing with plus bat speed, but is overly aggressive and gets fooled by offspeed pitches. Definitely one of the Angels prospects I’ll monitor moving forward.
12. Jose Suarez, LHP, DOB: 1/3/98, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 117.0 IP, 3.92 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 10.9 K/9, .267 AVG
Though he only throws in the low-90’s, Suarez is quite effective with his fastball due to the natural sink on it and the ability to command it well. He pairs that with a plus changeup with some fade and a slower curve with big break, both of which are above-average offerings. His strikeout rare likely won’t remain over 10 K/9, but Suarez should still approach a strikeout per innings with decent ratios. He’s a medium-upside, high floor mid-rotation type starter.
13. Brennon Lund, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 11/27/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (AA): .264/.343/.404/.747, 20 2B, 8 HR, 21 SB, 9.5 BB%, 22.5 K%, 401 AB
A line-drive hitter from the left side, Lund’s contact skills and plate coverage are above-average and he can work a walk when needed. He can spray the ball to all fields and uses his speed to his advantage, both to leg out extra-base hits on gap shots and stealing bases. He reminds me a little of Brett Gardner with slightly less power potential.
14. Aaron Hernandez, RHP, DOB: 12/2/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats: DID NOT PLAY
Due to his workload during his final collegiate season, the Angels shut down their 3rd round pick for the rest of the 2018 season after the draft. With his upside, it was the right decision. Hernandez features a mid-90’s fastball and two average or better secondary offerings and should move quickly through the Angels system.
15. Michael Hermosillo, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 1/17/95, ETA Debuted in 2018
2018 Stats (AAA): .267/.357/.480/.837, 14 2B, 12 HR, 10 SB, 9.3 BB%, 26.9 K%, 273 AB
2018 Stats (MLB): .211/.274/.333/.608, 4 2B, 1 HR, 0 SB, 4.8 BB%, 27.4 K%, 57 AB
Hermosillo was on a 20/20 pace at Triple-A when the Angels gave him a call to the big club. His upside isn’t the highest, but he’s made strides offensively over the last three seasons, hitting a combined .281 with a 35-steal season in 2017. This was his best power season to date, but don’t magically expect 20 home runs out of him moving forward. His swing and raw power are more of the 12-15 variety. The jury is still out on whether he can develop into a starting outfielder or merely a bench bat/4th outfielder.
16. Chris Rodriguez, RHP, DOB: 7/20/98, ETA 2022
2018 Stats: DID NOT PLAY
A stress fracture in his back cost Rodriguez the entire 2018 and a crucial year of development. The upside here is intriguing though with a mid-90’s heater, two above-average offspeed pitches, and solid control. Patience will be key here, but the upside is a high strikeout #3 starter.
17. Patrick Sandoval, LHP, DOB: 10/18/96, ETA 2020 – A soft thrower around 90-91, Sandoval has found success due to improving command and a plus curveball with good tilt. The Angels acquired Sandoval in the Martin Maldonado trade this season and look to have found themselves a future #4 starter.
18. Leonardo Rivas, MIF, Bats: S, DOB: 10/10/97, ETA 2021 – In each of the last three seasons, Rivas has had a walk rate north of 15% and has never dipped below 13.4%. That’s impressive for a young ballplayer. Outside of that, he has above average speed and decent enough contact skills to make sure that plate discipline translates into a high OBP (.393 career). How much he develops his hit tool will determine if he he’s a table setter or a bottom-third guy.
19. David MacKinnon, 1B, Bats: R, DOB: 12/15/94, ETA 2020 – You’d like to see him hit for more power, but MacKinnon has displayed an above-average hit tool and plate coverage while playing strong defense at first base.
20. Ty Buttrey, RHP, DOB: 3/31/93, ETA Debuted in 2018 – A big right-hander with a mid to upper-90’s fastball, Buttrey had an impressive 13.6 K/9 in the minors this season before impressing with Los Angeles down the stretch, including four saves. If he performs well in spring training, he could open as the Angels closer next season.
21. Livan Soto, SS, Bats: L, DOB: 6/22/00, ETA 2023 – Another former Braves prospect, Soto is a defense-first shortstop with above average speed. His petite frame doesn’t allow for much raw power and he currently doesn’t have the contact skills to make up for that.
22. Kyle Bradish, RHP, DOB: 9/12/96, ETA 2021 – Another 2018 draftee shut down by the Angels due to a hefty collegiate workload. Bradish features a 92-95 mph fastball and a plus looping curve in the upper-70’s that serves as his out pitch. He also throws a hard slider and an okay changeup, both of which should be average pitches for him.
23. William English, RHP/OF, Bats: R, DOB: 12/22/00, ETA 2022 – One two way prospect graduates from the Angels prospects list while another enters it. On the hill, English throws in the low-90’s with the makings of an above-average changeup, but has struggled with control and hasn’t developed his curveball. He’s a two-way player for now, but doesn’t have a lot of upside at the plate and would benefit from focusing on pitching full time.
24. Stiward Aquino, RHP, DOB: 6/20/99, ETA 2022 – See below.
25. Jose Soriano, RHP, DOB: 10/20/98, ETA 2021 – I’m looping these two guys together as their arsenal and future outlook is similar. Both are taller (6’6 and 6’3 respectively) with mid-90’s fastballs and plus, yet inconsistent curveballs. Neither has developed much of a changeup and subpar control could force both to the bullpen down the road.
Up – Ty Buttrey (RHP), Brennon Lund (OF), D’Shawn Knowles (OF)
Down – Chris Rodriguez (RHP)
Other Team Prospect Reports
Eric Cross is the lead MLB writer and prospect analyst here on FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.