A year ago, the Angels were in the midst of one of their worst seasons in the Mike Scioscia era, as they saw the MLB club flounder to a 74-88 record while also experiencing a barrage of injuries and seeing a farm system continue to suffer. Fast forward to today and the Angels are in the thick of the American League Wild Card race and the farm system is leaps and bounds better than it was 365 days ago. There’s still a lot of work to be done but back to back superb drafts and good amateur scouting leading to sneaky good trades have boosted a farm system that was in dire need of help.
Prospects 1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an all star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a teams 40-man roster
1. Jahmai Jones, OF
The 2015 2nd round pick had a slow start to the season, hitting just .167/.211/.292 in April in Low A Burlington. Regardless of that start, he ended up hitting .282/.348/.446 in 127 games across Low A and High A ball. Jones hit 14 home runs, stole 27 bags and played well above average in defense in center field, highlighting his well rounded game that has many people excited about his future. His upside may be slightly lower than some names below on this list but his combination of a high floor and well rounded game means he could be a potential 3-4 WAR(Wins Above Replacement) player on a yearly basis.
2. Jo Adell, OF
After selecting 2 low ceiling players in the 1st rounds of 2015 and 2016(Taylor Ward and Matt Thaiss), the Angels bucked the trend in 2017 by selecting Jo Adell, who oozes upside and potential. There is inherent risk in this skillset, mainly his proneness to strikeouts(23.1% strikeout rate in 208 MiLB plate appearances), but he has higher upside than any Angels draft pick in recent years. Adell features lightning quick bat speed, super raw power and speed and quick twitch athleticism that make him stand out on the diamond. Adell will be one of the most fun Angels prospects to follow in recent memory and his future value could completely alter the organization, either positively or negatively.
3. Jaime Barria, RHP
No Angels prospect boosted his stock more than the Panamanian right hander, who started in High A Inland Empire and ended up making a handful of starts in AAA Salt Lake by year’s end. Barria entered the season as a potential fringe starting pitcher who could overcome his mediocre arsenal with exceptional command. That same exceptional command carried over to 2017 but he saw an uptick in fastball velocity along with a tighter and more consistent slider to pair with a stellar change up. Barria flashed his upside at the Future Game in Miami and showcased his potential mid rotation potential. He is physically maxed out as a 21 year old but he is the safest bet of any Angels pitching prospect to pitch in a MLB rotation and give quality innings.
4. Brandon Marsh, OF
Marsh, the 2016 2nd round pick, continued to flash serious potential but struggled with some injuries again and only accumulated 171 plate appearances at Rookie Ball. While there, however, Marsh flashed plus power, plus speed and an ability to stick in center field long term. He absolutely raked to the tune of a .354/.398/.551 line, pounding out 19 extra base hits while also swiping 8 bags. 2018 represents a big year for Marsh, who can silence some doubters by playing a full season and potentially reaching High A by the end of the year. Marsh has the tools to be an everyday major league player but he’ll have to stay healthy and start moving up the minor league chain to get there.
5. Chris Rodriguez, RHP
Jaime Barria has the highest floor of any Angels pitching prospect but Chris Rodriguez features the highest upside and he flashed plenty of it this year. His 6.47 ERA in 57 innings in Rookie Ball and Low A ball is a bit misleading when you take a look at other elements of his game. He nearly punched out a batter per inning, striking out 56 hitters in 57 innings and only walking 14, which was good for a healthy strikeout/walk ratio of 4. He only allowed 2 home runs in the process as well. Rodriguez has relief risk due to his violent delivery but he flashes 4 above average pitches(fastball, slider, curveball, change up) and throws strikes, which gives you a starter’s profile. Rodriguez will be a fascinating arm to monitor moving forward.
6. Matt Thaiss, 1B
On draft day in 2016, Thaiss was widely lauded as one of the safest bets to reach the majors but came with limited upside due to limited power and a 1st base only profile. That same sentiment holds true now as Thaiss climbed up to AA this year and finished with a solid yet unspectacular .274/.375/.395 line with 9 home runs. Thaiss has a fantastic understanding of the strike zone, takes plenty of walks and projects as an average defender at 1st base but his lack of power means he’s a borderline starter at a position that requires a lot offensively. With limited first base production from Angels first basemen in 2017 at the MLB level(.217/.294/.416), Thaiss may very well be a starter at the big league level by the time 2018 ends.
7. Griffin Canning, RHP
Seen as a 1st round talent for months, Canning fell on draft day this year due to a MRI that revealed some shoulder issues, leading to many teams steering away from him. The Angels grabbed him at #47 overall and immediately shut him down for the remainder of the season. A healthy Griffin Canning projects as a top 100 MLB prospect and a potential mid rotation starter but seeing him on the mound again is a must before making a wild projection. With 4 above average pitches and superb command, he has the makings of a very good MLB starter but he needs to show this shoulder concern isn’t a big deal first and foremost.
8. Jacob Pearson, OF
The Angels 3rd round pick from this year’s draft struggled a bit in his first taste of professional baseball, hitting just .226/.302/.284 in his first 176 plate appearances. Pearson is a well rounded athlete and he features well above average raw power and speed that have some scouts projecting him as a potential 20/20 threat. Pearson generates loft in his swing and shows a feel for the strike zone from the left hand side. His biggest and clear flaw is his poor throwing arm due to labrum surgery he had in high school and it may make him a left field or first base only profile down the road, meaning he’ll really have to hit his way to the big leagues.
9. Taylor Ward, C
The Angels were widely criticized for selecting Ward in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft but the former Fresno State backstop helped quiet some critics this year. He raised his on base percentage 45 points from the previous year while adding 43 points to his slugging percentage, which led to a solid .258/.368/.390 line. Maybe more importantly, Ward cleaned up his work behind the plate, cutting his passed balls from 21 down to a mere 4 in 2017 and also threw out runners at a solid 28% rate. Ward’s ceiling is still limited but his strong 2017 season has many believing he can be a serviceable MLB catcher in the future.
10. Michael Hermosillo, OF
The rise of Michael Hermosillo from fringe prospect to MLB caliber player is inevitably going to be talked about as soon as next season. The former 28th round pick has really tapped into his tools and rose all the way to the AAA level this year, hitting .267/.366/.397 with 9 home runs and 35 stolen bases across 3 levels. Hermosillo projects as a nice 4th outfielder with a broad skill set of solid defense, base running ability and some feel to barrel up baseballs. He’s proven doubters wrong aplenty recently but there likely isn’t a full time starter here.
11. David Fletcher, INF
Fletcher continued to climb the minor league ranks in 2017 and is on the door of the major leagues as a scrappy utility infielder. He makes plenty of contact and plays above average defense in the middle of the infield but hits for zero power and doesn’t walk a whole ton. It’s not likely that Fletcher is ever a full time big league starter but his floor is high enough where he can stick as a utility infielder for plenty of years at the highest level.
12. Jake Jewell, RHP
Jewell had a tremendous turnaround in 2017 after a disastrous 2016 season where he finished with a 6.31 ERA. He dropped that number down to 4.54 in 2017, thanks to cutting back his walks and hits allowed in a big way. Jewell doesn’t miss as many bats as you’d expect from a guy with his arsenal, leading some to believe he’ll wind up in a relief role. Jewell sits in the 92-95 mph range with his fastball and will mix in different variations of that pitch with either sink or cut, dropping it into the 89-91 mph range. His average curveball adds to an impressive 4 pitch mix but it’s one Jewell hasn’t fully developed due to his below average command at present. He’s either a decent back end starter due to refining his command or a solid reliever because he can’t quite find that command.
13. Elvin Rodriguez, RHP
Rodriguez entered the year as a physically projectable right handed pitcher with potential and turned that potential into results this year. Outside of Jaime Barria, no other Angels pitcher turned heads more with his results than Rodriguez did, who had a 2.91 ERA in 68 innings pitched along with an impressive 61:14 strikeout to walk ratio. Rodriguez has an upper 80’s-low 90’s fastball and big curveball, both of which he can throw for strikes, and give him a moderately high floor for a 19 year old in Low A ball. He could explode up prospect lists next year and is a fun arm to monitor.
14. Nonie Williams, INF
Williams has a tantalizing skill set which includes plus raw power and speed but there is inherent risk for the teenager. He is still only 19 years old but his .231/.284/.281 line and 37.3% strikeout rate in his 2 years of Rookie Ball are not awe inspiring. Williams is an explosive athlete with phenomenal tools but he’s very raw and his in game production has been poor so far. If he starts tap into these skills, he could fly up prospect boards as an infielder with huge upside. Proceed with caution, however.
15. Eduardo Paredes, RHP
Paredes is the first player with MLB experience to appear on this list. He’s likely a solid middle reliever in the big leagues but his upside is limited due to the lack of a wipeout secondary pitch. His arsenal consists of a 92-95 mph fastball with sink and an average slider while coming from a low arm slot that generates some awkward contact. He’s a likely bullpen piece for the Angels for the foreseeable future.
16. Jose Suarez, LHP
The short and stocky Venezuelan had an extremely impressive year given he was just 19 and ended up reaching Low A. Suarez punched out 90 hitters in 68 2/3 innings while running an impressive 3.28 ERA. The left hander is well undersized at 5’10” but he has produced results thus far. He has a fringe 87-91 mph fastball and below average slider but has a very good change up that misses bats at the lower levels. Any improvement in command or stuff boosts Suarez from a project to a potential back end arm.
17. Brennon Lund, OF
Lund hit his way from Low A up to Double A this year by banging out hit after hit. He ended the season hitting .308/.373/.403 while pounding out 151 hits. Lund is a low upside talent but has the floor to be a capable 4th outfielder in the majors. Lund hits for average, runs well and is a capable defender in all 3 outfield positions. He might be an bench option for the MLB club at some point in 2018.
18. Leonardo Rivas, INF
The 5’10” infielder made his way to Low A by year’s end thanks to an excellent ability to get on base, either by base hit or taking a walk. He hit a collective .291/.434/.405, which included 64 hits and 51 walks in 284 plate appearances. Rivas makes contact, takes walks, runs well(19 stolen bases) and should stick in the infield as a utility option down the road. He has no power to speak of so there’s likely not a starter in this skill set but he has enough tools to reach the majors.
19. Jose Soriano, RHP
Soriano is an 18 year old who tossed 49 quality innings in Rookie Ball while also boosting his velocity. This year, Soriano was sitting in the low 90’s on the fastball while bumping 95 at times and threw plenty of quality curveballs. His command and change up are well behind those pitches but his strong year and an uptick in stuff make Soriano a very intriguing arm in a system that’s surprisingly full of fun project arms.
20. Jesus Castillo, RHP
Acquired for Joe Smith at the 2016 trade deadline, Castillo has continued to rack up impressive results despite a package that doesn’t scream MLB pitcher. Castillo throws an average 90-92 mph fastball that has some run to it along with a useful curveball and change up that he commands well. 2017 was a huge success for Castillo, who posted a 3.43 ERA in 124 2/3 innings along with an impressive 118:26 strikeout to walk ratio. As a 22 year old in Double A, he may be a rotation option in 2019.
21. Jordan Zimmerman, INF
With fringe defensive abilities, Zimmerman is really going to have to hit to make it to the big leagues and he might just do that. He’s playing 2nd base for now but he is likely first base or left field option at the highest level, which places a ton of emphasis on the bat. Zimmerman hit .278/.328/.416 in both levels of A ball, showcasing a knack for barreling up baseballs but not hitting for a ton of power. If he can stick at 2nd base, he can be a fringe starter that is reliant on his batting average. However, this is likely a platoon profile.
22. Cole Duensing, RHP
Duensing’s 2017 season didn’t go as planned as the 19 year old has a 8.36 ERA in 37 2/3 innings while only striking out 1 more batter than he walked. His numbers highlighted that while he’s a fun prospect with high upside, he has plenty of things to work out. Duensing is physically projectable with a good frame and owns a solid 89-92 mph fastball. His poor arm action and raw secondary stuff raise concerns about him but Duensing is one of several arms who could skyrocket up prospect boards with a few tweaks.
23. Julio Garcia, INF
Mixed reports from varying scouts have Garcia’s prospect value in flux but his strong 2017 encouraged many scouts. Garcia hit .280/.346/.417 in Rookie Ball, finally translating his raw skills into in game production. Garcia plays above average defense in the middle of the infield, has quick bat speed and has above average raw power. His poor approach at the plate will likely lead to subpar offensive results but his power potential and solid defense gives him a unique skill set and showcases a potential utility infielder down the road.
24. Nate Smith, LHP
Entering 2016, Smith was a high floor arm who had the potential to eat innings in a major league rotation and was on the cusp of doing just that. Shoulder and elbow issues plagued him late in 2016, then carried over into 2017 and led to him throwing just 15 innings this season. When healthy, Smith has above average command of a fringe 87-91 mph fastball, an average curveball and good change up. Given the fact that he’s now 26 and has had serious arm issues, it’s fair to wonder what his future looks like.
25. Connor Justus, INF
2017 did not treat Justus kindly and leaves his future a bit uncertain. Justus plays good defense at shortstop and has plus plate discipline at the plate but he slashed just .202/.319/.299 in High A ball as a 22 year old. He still offers enough defensively to be a utility option at the highest level but he’ll need to start doing more damage at the plate to progress in the minors.
26. Jose Rodriguez, RHP
A 5.18 ERA skews what was a pretty encouraging season for Rodriguez. He posted a solid 134:44 strikeout to walk ratio while nearly throwing 150 innings. Rodriguez throws a 91-94 mph heater, a decent breaking ball and 2 different fringe change ups while throwing them for strikes. The 22 year old may need to transition to the bullpen to reach the majors but if he keeps pumping in strikes and missing some bats, he could be a decent #5 starter if everything clicks for him.
27. Brendon Sanger, OF
Sanger was on his way to a very big season until an injury cut his season short. He raked in High A to the tune of a .277/.363/.485 line in 238 plate appearances but only appeared in 3 games in Double A after injuring himself. Sanger has above average raw power and good plate discipline but his lack of any defensive ability means he’ll have to hit a lot to reach the majors. He may be able to stick in left field or first base but he may be a DH only option in the future, which means the bat will really have to play up.
28. Troy Montgomery, OF
Montgomery is a scrappy, grind it out outfielder who has gotten the most out of his skill set up to this point. He made his way up to AA and hit a combined .271/.358/.413 across 3 levels, making himself a real 4th outfielder option in the future for the Angels. Montgomery doesn’t do anything particularly well but he’s decent in every element of his game and therefore has the floor to maybe be a useful bench piece in the bigs.
29. Jared Foster, OF
A former two-sport star at LSU, Foster has phenomenal athletic ability but continues to show raw elements of his baseball game at the age of 24. His .265/.319/.408 line at High A ball isn’t exactly inspiring for his age and the injury that shortened his season stunted his season didn’t help his growth. He’ll need more in game reps to tweak his plate discipline and defensive ability but he is a capable defender at all 3 outfield spots and shows feel for barreling up baseballs. He is a potential late bloomer who reaches the majors in his late 20’s and sticks in the bigs as a 4th outfielder for a few years but he’ll need to start ironing out some elements in his game to reach that point.
30. Luis Pena, RHP
Pena is extremely undersized at 5’9″ but had no issue missing bats in 2017 in High A and Double A. He struck out 167 batters in 151 1/3 innings, which was one of the highest totals in minor league baseball. He still allowed far too many base runners(1.46 WHIP) but his propensity to miss bats makes him a potential major leaguer. Pena throws in the 91-95 mph range and offers a fringe breaking ball and change up, two pitches he’ll need to clean up to be a legitimate big league pitcher.
31. Kevin Grendell, LHP
Grendell had a putrid year, evidenced by him walking more batters(29) than he struck out(25) while posting a very high 9.00 ERA. Grendell looked like a potential left handed relief option for the big leagues coming into this year but his subpar season creates an uncertain future. He features a low-mid 90’s fastball along with an outstanding bat missing breaking ball but his command has escaped him aplenty in his professional career and that needs to be fixed to reach the show.
32. Osmer Morales, RHP
2017 started off in a big way for Morales, who was acquired as a minor league free agent before the year. Morales nearly struck out a batter per inning and posted a respectable 4.41 ERA in 126 2/3 innings in Double A and Triple A. Morales throws a deceptive high 80’s fastball that is effective due to some good arm action he creates. His curveball and change up are fringe/average pitches that he can spot decently well. He could be a rotation option in 2018 but he’s more of a AAAA depth starter at this point.
33. Sam Pastrone, RHP
Pastrone was really bad in 2017, posting a 8.92 ERA in 38 1/3 innings while walking more batters than he struck out. Most of this work came in the rotation, where many scouts project him moving away from. If moved to relief, he can let his above average fastball/curveball combination play up and lessen the concern over his small size and bad command.
34. Abel De Los Santos, RHP
De Los Santos struck out 41 batters in 36 2/3 innings while running a 2.95 ERA in Double A but strangely only appeared in 1 game at the Triple A level. He has thrown 7 1/3 MLB innings, which all came before his time in Anaheim, and he may receive more in 2018. He has a solid 92-94 mph fastball and big curveball that can miss bats, which is enough of a package to make him a potential relief option in the big leagues. He’s a potential low leverage middle relief piece at some point in the near future.
35. Adam Hofacket, RHP
The Southern California native had a nice year posting a 3.49 ERA and 4.77 strikeout/walk ratio across 3 levels while tossing nearly 70 innings. Hofacket has a heavy low-mid 90’s fastball and can spin off some quality curveballs while locating both of them for strikes. He’s not overpowering by any means but the command of 2 above average pitches means he has a good shot at reaching the bigs.
36. Zach Houchins, INF
Scouts think Houchins move away from 3rd base if he makes the big leagues, which means his bat really needs to improve to be a viable 1st base/DH option. He had a fine year in Double A and Triple A, hitting .258/.315/.432, numbers that probably aren’t enough to be more than a potential emergency platoon option in the big leagues.
37. Joe Gatto, RHP
2017 treated Gatto much better but his 3.43 ERA is a tad misleading, as he didn’t miss many bats (101 strikeouts) and walked a decent amount of hitters(59) in 128 2/3 innings. It’s been a long journey to this point and Gatto is Rule 5 eligible this winter, which means there’s a strong chance Gatto will be subject to being taken by another team. Gatto will flash a plus fastball and curveball with some change up feel but too often these pitches play well below their potential due to poor command. A move to the bullpen could potentially do Gatto some wonders down the road.
38. Trent Deveaux, OF
Deveaux was the big international signing for the Angels in July as he was the 19th ranked eligible prospect and that’s for good reason. Deveaux is an absolute burner with arguable 80 grade speed, takes good routes in center field and shows some feel for hitting with a line drive approach. He is just 17 and has a long road ahead of him but he has the potential to be a top 10 prospect in the system in a few years. There is tons of risk in projecting that, however, given his age, so he’s more of a name to monitor for now.
39. Wilkel Hernandez, RHP
In the very low levels of the minors, Hernandez has really stood out for several scouts this year. He’s incredibly lanky at 6’3″ and 160 pounds but is already throwing 92-95 mph and has feel for a big curveball in the low 70’s mph range. The 18 year old struck out 44 batters in 44 1/3 innings and posted a very impressive 2.64 ERA. Like many other interesting arms in this system, he could leap up prospect lists given his current stuff and projectable frame.
40. Sherman Johnson, INF/OF
Johnson has long been touted as a potential major leaguer because of his ability to play all over the diamond(every position except pitcher and catcher) and his high walk totals(walk% above 10 in every MiLB season). However, his production has stalled once he hit Triple A and at age 27, he’ll have to start making the necessary adjustments to reach the bigs. Given his skill set, it’s likely he makes the majors some day but how much impact he’ll have is very much in question.
41. Bo Way, OF
His 80 grade name is probably the most noteworthy piece of information to know about Bo Way but there is a potential major leaguer here. He’ll likely be a scrappy AAAA/5th outfielder for a few years thanks to his ability to play average defense at all 3 outfield positions while being a plus runner and showing an idea of what to do at the plate. He doesn’t hit for power whatsoever but he makes enough contact and takes enough walks that he’s a fringe major league player.
42. Jonah Todd, OF
You can essentially copy and paste Bo Way’s write up and place that here. Todd doesn’t have any power to speak of but like Way, he should be a fringe major league player in the future due to being able to handle himself defensively and run well. The big difference is Todd finished the year in Low A ball while Way has made it to the Triple A level.
43. Nathan Bates, RHP
At 6’8″, Bates is an absolute giant who creates downward plane on a solid 91-94 mph fastball and throws a big curve that can get some swings and misses. The 5.60 ERA he posted in 64 1/3 innings this year shows he has plenty to work on but he generated 76 strikeouts in that same time. He’ll pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year where fans can get a glimpse of the bad swings he can get from his big frame. He’s a potential middle relief piece if his poor command improves a tad.
44. Ryan Vega, OF
Vega opened a lot of eyes this year with a strong performance in Rookie Ball. His advanced approach, decent contact ability and overall feel for hitting led to a .317/.406/.444 line in 308 plate appearances. He’s an above average runner who should fit just fine in right field in the future. A more aggressive promotion in 2018 may be coming for Vega who showed he’s clearly ready for a bigger assignment.
45. Jimmy Barnes, OF
Barnes missed all of 2016 with an injury and returned in 2017 with a strong performance as a 20 year old in Rookie Ball. Barnes hit .273/.338/.468 while blasting 4 home runs and swiping 6 bags in 154 plate appearances. He did strike out in 30.5% of his plate appearances, however, which is way too high for a player at that age in Rookie Ball. Barnes offers a power/speed combination that is hard to ignore but his strikeout issues will need to be contained to move up the minor league chain.
46. Jerryell Rivera, LHP
An 11th round pick from this year’s draft, Rivera’s selection was widely applauded by scouts who thought he could’ve went much higher in the draft. Rivera is incredibly loose on the mound and already generates a solid 88-92 mph fastball with action at the age of 18. His off speed stuff is well behind but Rivera will be a fun project arm to follow in the coming years.
47. John Swanda, RHP
Swanda was the Angels 4th round draft pick this season and is pretty much a project but he has a decent starting point. He’s super athletic, sits in the 89-92 mph range on his fastball and shows the ability to throw an average slider at times. Projecting any 18 year old can be tough and it’s no different with Swanda, who is a piece that has a lot to work on but offers some upside.
48. Francisco Del Valle, OF
Del Valle is a toolsy 18 year old with raw elements of his game, which means his future value can go several different ways. Del Valle has plus raw speed and a solid throwing arm that have many scouts projecting him as a good defensive corner outfielder in the future. He has some above average raw power but his long swing doesn’t allow him to tap into that power in games quite yet. Del Valle’s foundation of skills is nice but he’ll need to iron out some issues before becoming a legitimate prospect.
49. Garrett Nuss, RHP
Nuss generates swings and misses (56 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings) and ground balls (52% ground ball rate), which is a pretty nice starting point for a reliever. His issues are his breaking ball, change up and command are below average at current and make him a fringe MLB relief option. With a heavy, sinking 92-96 mph fastball, he has one pitch that can work at the big league level but he’ll need to refine his secondary stuff or command to be a real option at the next level.
50. Keith Grieshaber, INF
The versatile utility man had a nice year across 2 levels hitting .285/.370/.409, finishing his year in Low A. Nothing is flashy whatsoever in Grieshaber’s game but he’s a solid defender and has a pretty good idea of what he’s doing at the plate, although he has extremely limited power. He projects as a AAAA depth infielder who may fill a roster as a utility infielder for an extended period of time.