Top 10 Prospects (2016): Los Angeles Angels: There Are A Few Bright Spots In The Barren System…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The system was already thin, really thin, before they sent arguably their two best prospects (definitely their best, Sean Newcomb) to the Braves for Andrelton Simmons. That’s not to say that it is completely void of potential, but there are certainly a lot of questions surrounding the “top” prospects and how much of an impact they will make.  Who could surprisingly breakout and produce, though?  Let’s take a look:

1) Kyle Kubitza – Third Baseman
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – C+

It’s possible we are a bit overly bullish on Kubitza, but there is a lot of untapped potential if he can put it all together. While he only swatted 7 HR in the Pacific Coast League last season, he did have 43 doubles and 5 triples in 457 AB. In 2014, at Double-A, he had 31 doubles, 11 triples and 8 HR over 440 AB. There is the potential for the power to grow, especially at 25-years old, as he develops and learns how to tap into it. Seeing him mature into a 20-25 HR threat is not unrealistic. Couple that with 21 SB in ’14 and there’s upside… Though it could come at a cost.

Look at his strikeout rates over the past two seasons:

  • 2014 – 25.1%
  • 2015 – 23.8%

Throw in 15 K over 36 AB for the Angels and there is reason for concern. It’s an issue that needs to be monitored, as it could help to sabotage his potential. If he were a 40 HR threat it would be one thing, but he’s not.

 

2) Victor Alcantara – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+

Yes, a pitcher with an ERA of 5.63 comes in second for the system. The fact is, as far as pure stuff goes, he has the best remaining for Los Angeles but there are questions whether he can harness it or not. He did improve his control (3.84 BB/9) for the fourth straight season, has shown strikeout per inning stuff and did suffer significantly bad luck last season (.345 BABIP, 59.0% strand rate). Throw in a 1.50 GO/AO and there actually is potential appeal. Maybe his future is in the bullpen, but you know the Angels are going to give him every shot at earning a starting role.

3) Taylor Ward – Catcher
ETA – 2019
Grade – C+

He’s a college catcher, so he does have the potential to move a bit faster, but time will tell. In his first taste of professional baseball (201 AB) he posted 23 K vs. 39 BB, showing a good command of the strike zone. He also swiped 6 bases and had 11 extra base hits (7 doubles, 1 triple and 3 HR). There’s a bit of projection here, but it’s not unthinkable that he develops into a similar player to the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto (aka a Russell Martin throwback), but we need to give the 2015 first round pick some time.

4) Joe Gatto – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – C

He needs to fill out, listed at 6’3″ and 204 pounds, but the potential is there for the 2014 second round pick. While he pitched in Rookie Ball last season, a 2.79 GO/AO is going to open some eyes. There’s a bit of projection at work here, but in time he could develop under-the-radar.

5) Jahmai Jones – Outfielder
ETA – 2019
Grade – C

The 2015 second round selection has speed (16 SB in 160 AB) and showed a good approach for his age (18) with an 18.0% strikeout rate and 9.3% walk rate.  There is certainly upside, but he’s a long ways off and needs a lot of development time.  That said, it could all come together for him.

The Next Five:

6) Nate Smith – Left-Handed Pitcher
7) Jake Jewell – Right-Handed Pitcher
8) Roberto Baldoquin – Shortstop
9) Kaleb Cowart – Third Baseman
10) Chad Hinshaw – Outfielder

Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Sources – MLB.com, Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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