Angels Prospect Roundup: April 7-10
By Christoph Ludwig
Minor league baseball started up on Thursday, with four Angels affiliates beginning their seasons. Each week we’ll take a look at how the Angels’ top 10 prospects fared, along with a few other notable names and players who had a great week. All player rankings are according to MLB Pipeline.
No. 1: Taylor Ward, C, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
The Halos’ first round pick in 2015 got off to a solid, if unspectacular start with the 66ers. He batted .286/.444/.286 in the opening four games against High Desert, getting a single in each game. His calling card is his defense, and he proved it by throwing out a runner trying to steal third on Friday.
No. 2: Jahmai Jones, OF
Jones, 18, is in extended spring training and is expected to begin the season with the Rookie level Orem Owlz, who begin play June 17.
3. Nate Smith, LHP, Triple-A Salt Lake
The crafty left-hander pitched well in the opening game for the Bees and helped set the tone for a four-game sweep of Sacramento. He allowed one earned run on three hits over 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out five while throwing 86 pitches, 53 of them for strikes. Smith is one of the top Angels prospects at pitcher.
4. Victor Alcantara, RHP, Double-A Arkansas
Alcantara got off to the best start of any Angel pitcher. He used his electric stuff to shut out Midland for six innings on Friday, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. He threw 87 pitches, 60 of them for strikes.
5. Kaleb Cowart, INF, Triple-A Salt Lake
Cowart got off to a great start with the Bees, hitting .357/.438/.357 with 5 RBIs in the sweep of Sacramento. He had a hit in three of the four games, including a 3 for 4, 4 RBI day on Friday. If Cowart can prove he can hit consistently at the Triple-A level, he’ll be back on track as an Angels prospect and might start to fulfill the potential the Angels saw in him when they made him a first round pick in 2010.
6. Joe Gatto, RHP, Class A Burlington
Gatto started the opener for the the other Bees in the Angel farm system. The righthander from New Jersey allowed one earned run on one hit over five innings, struck out four, and walked three. He threw 82 pitches, only 45 of them for strikes.
7. Kyle Kubitza, INF, Triple-A Salt Lake
Kubitza, a former Braves minor leaguer, only played in two of Salt Lake’s first four games, going 2 for 5 with a stolen base. With Cowart appearing to win the third base job, Kubitza started at DH on Thursday and second base on Saturday.
8. Jake Jewell, RHP, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
Jewell struggled in his first start of the season Thursday. The Oklahoma native allowed six runs, four of them earned, on nine hits over five innings. He only struck out two, although he didn’t walk any batters. He threw 83 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.
9. Chad Hinshaw, OF, Double-A Arkansas
Hinshaw is off to a rough start for the Travelers. The Illinois State product hit .188/.222/.188 in the series against Midland and struck out seven times in the four games.
10. David Fletcher, INF, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
Fletcher, too, is slumping so far this season. He had only one hit in their first four games, resulting in a .063/.211/.063 line. The Orange, CA native has shown a good eye at the plate, however, with a 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio.
Other Notable Names and Performances by Angels Prospects:
Greg Mahle – LHP, CLASS AAA Salt Lake City
Greg Mahle – A side-armed reliever who we got to see a lot of in Spring Training this year and who could make it up to the Angels anytime with what he showed during the Spring. He has only one appearance thus far thus far for the Bees in Triple-A but he was stellar pitching 1.2 innings not allowing a run and striking out two batters.
Zach Houchins, INF, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
Houchins, in his third minor league season, is off to as good of a start as one can imagine, as he’s homered in each of the 66ers’ first four games, good for a .313/.353/1.063 line. You can read more about his power surge on the MiLB website.
Roberto Baldoquin, INF, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
The $8 million Cuban signee and the Angels’ no. 11 prospect played in the first two games of the 66ers’ four game series, going 2 for 8.
Caleb Adams, OF, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
Adams, the Angels’ no. 21 prospect, is off to a hot start for the 66ers, hitting .462/.563/.615. He went 3 for 5 with two doubles on Friday.