MLBpipeline.com recently released their Top 100 prospects for the upcoming season. Dodgers’ SS Corey Seager tops the list, with Twins’ OF Byron Buxton, Nationals’ RHP Lucas Giolito, Dodgers’ LHP Julio Urias, and Phillies’ SS J.P. Crawford rounding out the top 5. Interestingly, each made the top 5 on the 2015 list as well.
“Okay, but how did the Angels make out?”
”One in the top 20, maybe?”
“There’s got to be at least one in the top 50…right?”
Not top 20, not even top 50. For the second straight year the Los Angeles Angels don’t have one prospect ranked in Top 100.
The Phillies seven players ranked is the most of any franchise, and seven organizations – the Rangers, Dodgers, Braves, Pirates, Brewers, Astros and Reds – have five Top 100 prospects. The Rangers had the most ‘prospect points’, which is a factor of not only the number of Top 100 prospects but also their standing on their list, with the Rockies, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Braves finishing closely behind.
Sean Newcomb, the former top Angel prospect who was a major piece sent to Atlanta in the Andrelton Simmons deal this offseason, was deemed #21.
Of course, the Los Angeles Angels don’t have zero future Major Leaguers in their system. Let’s take a look at a few of the players we may be seeing in Anaheim in the future.
Nate Smith, LHP: The 2013 eighth rounder has impressed throughout all three of his seasons in the minors. In 2015 for AA Arkansas, Smith posted a 2.48 ERA in 101.2 innings but struggled for AAA Salt Lake. At 24 years old, he’s the most MLB ready of the Angel prospects. Expect Smith to start his 2016 season in AAA and potentially make his MLB debut if he continues to record strong numbers.
Roberto Baloquin, 2B/SS: The right-handed middle infielder from Cuba was signed by the Angels in January, 2015 with a record setting $8 million bonus. He hit just .235 with a .560 OPS in 289 at bats for Inland Empire in 2015. While his performance was underwhelming, it’s way too early to count out a 21-year-old playing his first season of baseball in a new country. The Angels invested a lot in him for a reason. Expect his numbers to improve in 2016 and to see him rise through the system relatively quickly once he begins to reach his full potential.
Victor Alcantara, RHP: The hard throwing 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic was labeled the #1 Angel prospect heading in to 2015 after a solid 2014 season. But a poor 2015 that saw him post a 5.62 ERA in 136 innings pitched for Class A Advanced Inland Empire. He’s far from the big leagues at the moment.
Joe Gatto, RHP: The Angels’ second round pick in 2014 has posted a 4.65 ERA in two seasons for the Pioneer League Orem Owlz. The 20-year-old has progressed fairly well for being such a young prospect and is a name to monitor into the future.
Also on the list third baseman Kaleb Cowart and Kyle Kubitza in 2015 who we saw a good amount for the Angels in 2015, and you should expect to see each of them in Anaheim at points again in 2016. Catcher Taylor Ward was the Angels 2015 first round draft pick and also one to watch for.
While the Los Angeles Angels minors system does appear to be very weak at the moment, it’s important to remember that it’s near impossible to predict the success of future of Major Leagues and that prospects are super volatile. After all, 24 players were selected above Mike Trout in the 2009 draft.
Each MLB team’s top 30 prospects will be revealed at some point in February. We’re guaranteed to see some Angel names then.