Top 10 Prospects (2019): Los Angeles Angels: A System On The Rise Thanks To Numerous Intriguing Names

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Angels have a clear top prospect in Jo Adell, but after that things get somewhat muddled.  That’s not to say that there isn’t some intriguing talent that could make a significant impact, but there are questions and it’s not quite at the same level.  When looking at these rankings consider it Adell and then “The Field”, meaning everyone is somewhat interchangeable depending on your preference…  Or are they?  We saw a prospect breakout in ’18 and while he’s still not getting the credit he deserves he needs to be on our radar.  With that in mind, let’s take a look:

 

1) Jo Adell – Outfielder
Grade – A-
ETA – 2020

There may have not been a prospect who saw his stock rise more than Adell, who went from Single-A to Double-A and raked all along the way (.290 with 20 HR and 15 SB over 396 AB).  He did struggle at Double-A, hitting .238, but it came in just 63 AB so we can’t draw any conclusions.  The fact is he showed power (he added 32 doubles and 4 triples) and speed, the problem is going to be whether or not he can make consistent contact.  Just look at the strikeout rate at each level:

  • Single-A – 24.1%
  • High-A – 24.0%
  • Double-A – 31.0%

Overall he posted a 13.6% SwStr%, and in his short stint at Double-A it was an ugly 18.4%.  This year is really going to be the test to tell us whether or not he can make the adjustments and thrive at the upper levels or if strikeouts could ultimately cripple him.  The upside is there but that’s a significant question facing the 19-year old (he’ll turn 20 in April) and helps to suppress his ranking half a grade.  Don’t be surprised if he ends up an “A” prospect by year’s end, though.

 

2) Luis Rengifo – Shortstop
Grade – B
ETA – 2019

While Adell gets all of the attention, you can argue that Rengifo was actually the biggest breakout performer for the Angels last season.  Overall he hit .299 with 7 HR and 41 SB across three levels, and he looked good at each stop:

  • High-A (190 PA) – .323 with 2 HR and 22 SB
  • Double-A (181 PA) – .305 with 2 HR and 13 SB
  • Triple-A (219 PA) – .274 with 2 HR and 6 SB

Acquired from Tampa Bay as part of the C.J. Cron trade, speed is his biggest asset along with his approach.  Overall he walked (75) just as many times as he struck out (75) and both marks were strong even at Triple-A (14.2% strikeout rate, 11.4% walk rate).  Considering that all he needs to do is add a little bit of power, and with 30 doubles and 13 triples is it a stretch to see him developing into a 12-15 HR hitter to go along with an impressive OBP and 30+ SB?  As a middle infielder that’s a difference maker, and one that hasn’t necessarily gotten the attention that he deserves.

 

3) Brandon Marsh – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

Marsh, like Adell, brings an intriguing mix of power and speed with 10 HR and 14 SB (to go along with 27 doubles and 7 triples).  There is a question about his ability to make consistent contact, considering a 27.2% strikeout rate, but you have to wonder how much it is a youngster being a little bit too patient at the plate.  Just consider these numbers:

  • Walk Rate – 12.6%
  • SwStr% – 8.6%

He should move to Double-A and at 21-years old it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he reaches the Majors this season.  If he can cut down the strikeouts, and it’s something that he should be able to do given the other numbers, his power and speed will play up even more.  Think of him as a potential 20/20 player with a strong OBP if he can take the step, and that’s highly likely.

 

4) Griffin Canning – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2019

Canning struggled upon reaching Triple-A, with a 5.49 ERA and 1.53 WHIP over 59.0 IP (13 starts).  That said an overall 9.93 K/9 and 3.49 BB/9 are solid and show his potential, and his issues at Triple-A were truly due to some poor luck considering his .376 BABIP.  Last season was also his first taste of professional baseball, after being selected in the second round of the 2017 draft, so you have to wonder how much of his struggles late were due to fatigue.

You can say we’d like to see a few more groundballs (44.3% overall), but a 13.0% SwStr% and with his control actually improving as he advanced (3.36 BB/9 at Triple-A) there is reason for optimism.  The Angels have an obvious need in the rotation and Canning should get an opportunity to step in at some point in the coming year.

 

5) Jahmai Jones – Second Baseman
Grade – B-
ETA – 2019

Jones split time between High-A and Double-A, where he showed intriguing power (10 HR) and speed (24) as well as an ability to draw a walk (12.0%).  Strikeouts are an obvious concern, despite his 20.4% strikeout rate, as he swung and missed far too much.  Overall he posted a 12.3% SwStr%, and it rose slightly to 12.6% upon reaching Double-A.  Couple that with an uninspiring 15.9% line drive rate and the potential to get a little to pull happy (47.8% at Double-A) and it’s fair to be concerned that he’s going to hit a wall at the highest levels.

 

The Rest:

6) Kevin Maitan – Shortstop (Grade – B-)
After the situation with Atlanta sent him back into free agency it was thought to be a coup for the Angels when he signed.  However his first season was a struggle, hitting .248 with 8 HR and 1 SB over 262 AB at Rookie Ball.  He’s still just 18-years old, but a 17.6% SwStr% is an eye opening number.  The upside is still there, obviously, which is why he needs to stay somewhat closer to the top of these rankings.  That said he also could go the other way.

7) Matt Thaiss – First Baseman (Grade – B-)
Playing between Double and Triple-A he hit .280 with 16 HR and 76 RBI.  The potential is there for the power to take another step forward, having added 34 doubles and 8 triples, and a 9.2% SwStr% and 17.9% strikeout rate shows the strong approach.  Being able to draw a few more walks (7.6%) would go a long ways, especially since he may be a first baseman who doesn’t profile as a 30+ HR hitter (more of a 25ish guy).

8) Jose Suarez – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
The southpaw pitched across three levels in 2018, including Triple-A, pitching to a 3.92 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.  Obviously that’s not highly impressive, but he showed enough of all three skills along the way with a 10.92 K/9 (courtesy of a 14.5% SwStr%), 3.38 BB/9 and 45.9% groundball rate.  A 4.02 BB/9 at Triple-A is an obvious concern, which is why he comes in behind Griffin Canning in terms of pitching prospects, but the difference between the two may not be that far apart.

9) D’Shawn Knowles – Outfielder (Grade – C+)
He’ll turn 18 in January, so it’s obvious that you are going to have to be extremely patient with Knowles.  That said playing across two levels of Rookie Ball last season he showed some power (5 HR) and speed (9 SB) over 222 AB.  Obviously a 15.9% SwStr% is going to be a concern, but at his age we need to give him time to learn and develop.  The upside is obvious.

10) Michael Hermosillo – Outfielder (Grade – C+)
There’s nothing spectacular about Hermosillo, but he hit 12 HR with 10 SB over 273 AB at Triple-A last season while hitting the ball hard (26.9% line drive rate).  A 13.2% SwStr% is an obvious concern, though he has the potential to be a solid option as a fourth outfielder with some power and speed.

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 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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