Top 10 Prospects (2018): Los Angeles Angels: Maitan Brings A Boost To A Still Lackluster System

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Los Angeles Angels never seem to boast an impressive system, though they made a significant splash this offseason.  Not only did they add Shoei Ohtani (who you can argue isn’t truly a “prospect), but after Kevin Maitan became a free agent after the fallout in Atlanta they were able to scoop him up to.  The latter is a bit of a coup, giving them a true centerpiece for a farm system that still lacks upside depth.  Is there anyone worth watching beyond the top two or three?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Shohei Ohtani – Right-Handed Pitcher/Outfielder
Grade – A
ETA – 2018

We all know the story and you can argue that his inclusion on this list is more technicality than anything.  He comes to the U.S. after impressing in Japan, with the intrigue coming as to how he’ll produce spending time as both a hitter and pitcher.  There’s no questioning the upside, as he could be a Top 10 starter as soon as this season, though there’s obviously some risk involved as we’ve seen pitchers struggle upon transitioning before.

 

2) Kevin Maitan – Shortstop
Grade – B+
ETA – 2021

Maitan fell into the Angels lap, after the Braves’ scandal sent him back to the open market.  We can throw the numbers at Rookie Ball out the window from 2017, considering he played the entire year as a 17-year old.  No one is going to argue against the potential tools, which are all there (comparisons to Miguel Sano and Miguel Cabrera are out there), the question is going to be how the Angels bring him along.  It’s going to be a process, and likely a slow one, but stay patient and he should ultimately develop into one of the better prospects in the game.

 

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3) Jo Adell – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2021

Adell was the team’s first round pick in 2017, and there is no questioning his combination of power and speed.  Playing as an 18-year old for two different teams at Rookie Ball he combined for 5 HR and 8 SB over 222 PA (adding 11 doubles and 8 triples).  The obvious question is going to be his contact rate, given a 21.1% SwStr%, but he’s young and maturing so it’s easy to give him a pass for now (though a repeat performance in 2018 will cost him the benefit of the doubt).  He’s similar to the Giants’ Heliot Ramos (and many others), with the potential to develop but he also could ultimately be a bust.

 

4) Jahmai Jones – Outfielder
Grade – B-
ETA – 2020

A 2015 second round pick, Jones showed both power (14 HR) and speed (27 SB) while splitting time between Single-A and High-A.  There are going to be questions about his power translating as he progresses, given his groundball rates:

  • Single-A – 51.8%
  • High-A – 44.8% (in 191 PA)

His strikeouts also rose as he progressed, with a 22.5% strikeout rate courtesy of a 12.2% SwStr% (11.0% overall), which causes concerns with his average (as does an overall 12.6% line drive rate).  There’s potential if it all comes together, but the warning signs can’t be ignored.

 

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5) Matt Thaiss – First Baseman
Grade – C+
ETA – 2019

Selected in the first round of the 2016 draft (16th overall), Thaiss reached Double-A last season and has shown a good approach at the plate:

LevelPABB%K%SwStr%
High-A38510.4%15.3%8.5%
Double-A22116.7%22.6%9.5%

The strikeouts rose with his promotion, but not enough to cause concern considering his still solid SwStr% and walk rates.  The real question is going to be if he can start hitting for power, having combined for 40 extra base hits (27 doubles, 4 triples and 9 HR) with 1 HR coming at Double-A.  The hope will be that he’ll take a strong approach and develop the power as he matures, though he’ll turn 23-years old in May so the time is now to start showing signs.

 

The Rest:
6) Brandon Marsh – Outfielder (Grade – C+)
7) Griffin Canning – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
8) Leonardo Rivas – Shortstop (Grade – C+)
Note – Rivas stole 19 bases over 299 PA between Rookie Ball and Single-A, but the most impressive number is 59 BB vs. 44 K.  That type of plate discipline with speed could have him rising quickly, with a strong start to 2018 potentially bringing him into the “B/B-“ range.
9) Chris Rodriguez – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C)
10) Jaime Barria – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C)

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason 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

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

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