There hasn’t been a whole lot to look forward to in regards to the Angels system for the last few years. But there still is some talent there for and I think that some of the best talent may be some players that have flown under the radar. I’m outlining five “under-the-radar” prospects in the Angels system who are having a good 2017 and are in fact trending upwards in the organization. I also take a look at players who have seen their stock fall in the past few months and look at whether or not I believe they can rebound.
Five Prospects To Watch:
1) Jesus Castillo, RHP
Age 21 (DOB: 8/27/1995)
Castillo has managed to earn a promotion already this season and he’s done so because he’s earned it. He currently has a 2.81 ERA between two levels and has been able to strikeout more people than he had previously. He’s also limiting his walks to a good degree and that bodes well for his future success. I think that he’s currently trending upwards and will be able to be one of the better Angels pitching prospects if everything goes well and he can even be a factor at the upper level of the system within a year or two if he keeps up this pace.
2) Jaime Barria, RHP
Age 20: (DOB:7/18/1996)
Barria is another player to watch and although he might have been a bit lucky to this point with his stats and regression is most likely in the cards because his 2.18 ERA is not attainable over a full season. I still think that he is trending upwards based on his early performances this season. Barria has done an incredibly good job of limiting his walks and he has only allowed 8 walks over 53.2 innings. He has also made strides in terms of missing bats with 46 strikeouts this year which translates to a 7.71 K/9 which is a good step forward when compared to his K/9 of 6.00 over the course of last season.I believe he has the ceiling of a solid #3 starter with the potential to make an impact in the MLB over the next few seasons if he can continue to improve.
3) Jared Foster, OF
Age 24 (DOB:11/2/1992)
Foster may be a bit on the older side in terms of players in A ball but he has still performed fairly well. He has a .275 BA so far this season which is a step down from his .294 mark last year but he’s managed to increase his walk rate from 2.3% to 6% and while that may not seem like a big jump it’s still something of note. Foster offers both modest power and speed and 12/12 may not be a reach for him at the highest level but there’s obviously room for him and I think he will take a good step forward this year and finish the year at AA if everything goes right.
4) Osmer Morales, RHP
Age 24 (DOB:10/30/1992)
The Angels signed Morales as a minor league free agent during the offseason and they assigned him to AA which was a level he had never experienced before and he is handling the task very well. He has spent most of his minor league career but ever since being moved into the rotation last year he has performed really well. He currently sports a 2.23 ERA and a 10.02 K/9. While the ERA may not be sustainable, I have no doubt that he can continue to miss bats because that’s the one thing he’s managed to do on a consistent basis. He has also limited his walks and I think he may have a good shot to reach AAA this year and potentially pitch for the MLB club at some point next season if he can continue to pitch like this.
5) Eduardo Paredes, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 3/6/1995)
Paredes has been dynamic in the bullpen this season across two levels and has managed to put up a combined 1.80 ERA across 25 innings of work. He’s on the cusp of the majors right now and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think he can be pitching out of the Angels bullpen by the trade deadline. He probably won’t be a closer in the big leagues, but he should be able to be a solid presence out of the bullpen perhaps pitching in the middle innings when needed.
Five Prospects Whose Stock is Falling:
Now that we got the prospects who are off to promising starts out of the way we can look at those who haven’t been as fortunate as their peers above. The following players have a future but as it sits now with their performance so far this year, their stocks have taken a bit of a hit.
1) Jahmai Jones, OF
Age: 19 (DOB: 8/4/1997)
Jones has a promising future but so far this season he hasn’t really lived up to expectations with only a .227 average and a .278 OBP. His walk rate is down from where it’s been over the previous two seasons and his strikeout rate has spiked by 4% which isn’t a good sign. But that’s not to say this season has been all bad for Jones because he’s managed to hit three home runs so far which is only one away from tying his career high. He has also been a threat on the basepaths with 10 steals. So while he’s had a rough start to the season I think that he’s just too athletic of a player to be struggling for long so look for him to turn it around in the coming months.
2) Michael Hermosillo, OF
Age: 22 (DOB: 1/17/1995)
Hermosillo started off this season fairly well at A ball but ever since he got promoted to AA he has struggled mightily to the tune of a .180 average and .276 OBP. His strikeouts are up nearly 3% from last year which isn’t a good sign and his walks have been down since his promotion. He has been stealing bases which helps him a little bit with 12 steals so far this year. I think he’s another guy who can rebound once he adapts to his new environment.
3) Vicente Campos, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 7/27/1992)
Back when I first created my Angels Top 50 list I had Campos as #9 but based on how he’s fared so far this season, I’m not entirely sure that I would put him in my top 25 or even my top 30 at this point. He has a terrible 14 walks in 16 innings, and in those 16 innings he’s only struck out 12 guys which just won’t cut it if he wants to be a reliable big leaguer. Hitters are hitting .354 off him on the season to top it off. I’m not entirely sure if he can right the ship.
4) Troy Montgomery, OF
Age: 22 (DOB: 8/13/1994)
Montgomery is a unique case because while he’s only hitting .205, he has managed to draw walks at an above average pace. He’s also added a handful of homers and steals but overall his offensive output is down based on where it was last season. Look for him to start to improve on his hitting in the next few months, but if he doesn’t his stock may start to tumble even further.
5) Joe Gatto, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 6/14/1995)
Gatto has struggled this year posting a 4.78 ERA although that is still much better than the ERA of 7.08 that he posted in 2016. It still isn’t good enough for someone who has future big league aspirations. He’s on pace to have the highest BB/9 of his career, but he’s also on pace to have the highest K/9 of his career as well. He’s allowing way too many hitters to reach base with a WHIP of nearly 1.70 which isn’t close to where it should be. He has the talent to turn it around but at this point, the question is whether he can put together a run of success and be somewhat productive in the minors. Still, his career up until this point leaves a lot to be desired.
Article featured image of Jahmai Jones – courtesy MiLB.com – Stephen Smith/Four Seam Images