When you think of prospects who could make an impact in 2019 the Angels’ Luis Rengifo probably isn’t among the first names on your mind. However he had a bit of a meteoric rise in 2018, though it isn’t discussed much, and he’s on the precipice of making a significant impact. Let’s take a minute and get to know him:
Rotoprofessor Pre-Season Ranking – Angels’ #2 Prospect
Hits – Switch Hitter
Age – 21 (he turns 22 on February 26)
High-A – .323 (52-161), 2 HR, 16 RBI, 36 R, 22 SB
Double-A – .305 (46-151), 2 HR, 21 RBI, 37 R, 13 SB
Triple-A – .274 (52-190), 3 HR, 27 RBI, 36 R, 6 SB
Obviously Rengifo isn’t going to be a source of power, though he did add 30 doubles and 13 triples indicating that routinely hitting 8-12 HR isn’t impossible. Considering the other skills that would be more than enough to create a potentially elite top of the order bat.
The biggest key may be his approach, which was on full display at each level he played:
|Level||Strikeout Rate||SwStr%||Walk Rate|
All told he struck out (75) just as many times as he walked (75), and with his propensity to put the ball on the ground and use the entire field he should be able to routinely get on base. The more he’s on base the more he’s going to be able to put his solid speed on display, which is a very good thing.
As Baseball America described him:
Rengifo is a strong and athletic switch-hitter with a compact swing and a line-drive approach. He stays in the strike zone and doesn’t chase, allowing him to find good pitches to drive on a line. He doesn’t elevate for home runs but has extra-base power and is getting stronger.
There are some who feel like his future lies more as a utility player, though time will tell. The Angels could have an opening at second base, with David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella (as well as Zack Cozart, though he’s penciled in as the starter at third base) sitting atop the depth chart. Do either of them seem like a significant impediment? With Kole Calhoun potentially slotting in atop the order, there again appears to be a clear opportunity for Rengifo.
Potential playing time, a need for a leadoff hitter and a potential OBP machine who can steal bases? It sounds like a perfect storm…
Current Grade – B
Upside Grade – B+
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball America
Make sure to check out all of our 2019 Top 10 Prospect Lists: