Los Angeles Angels prospects dot minor league All-Star rosters


The Los Angeles Angels have been said to have the worst minor league system in the majors.  However, it seems every time you turn around one of their prospects is being named to their league’s all-star game.  Most recently named  to the Pacific Coast League Triple-A All-Star team was the Angels #3 prospect Nate Smith.

This season eight Los Angeles Angels prospect have been named to their respective league all-star teams.  In Single-A outfielder Tim Arakawa was named to the California League Single-A All-Star team representing the Inland Empire 66’ers.  Pitchers Jamie Barria and Grayson Long were named to the Midwest League Single-A All-Star team from the Angels Single-A affiliate Burlington Bees club.

In Double-A the Angels had four prospects that made the All-Star team as Arkansas Travelers baseball team, 1B Eric Aguilera, OF Cal Towey, Pitcher Tyler De Loach (who was promoted to Triple-A) and pitcher Jordan Kipper, who threw a no-hitter earlier this season also made the team.

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Today the Angels got word that Nate Smith made the Triple-A All-Star team that will allow Smith to play in the Futures Game before the Major League All-Star game next month in San Diego.  Smith has had a stellar season for Salt Lake City with a 5-2 record and a 3.92 ERA.

Smith has been said to be the most major-league ready pitching prospect the Los Angeles Angels have in their system and they have had the opportunity to promote him to make a spot start, but as of yet they have resisted the urge to rush Smith into the Majors.

However, when someone says that the Angels farm system is devoid of talent they definitely have some players that we will be seeing up in the Major Leagues the next couple of years. I have also seen a lot of talent on the Angels Single-A Inland Empire 66’ers that were not recognized with All-Star selections.

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I have been impressed with many of the 66’ers players, but the ones that have stood out to me are of course Angels top prospect catcher Taylor Ward.  While Ward’s .231 average may not turn many heads, his defensive skills are major-league caliber already and he is getting better each time I see him play.  His arm is unbelievable, but what is even more impressive is the way he handles the pitching staff which has included four Angels on rehab assignments.

When C.J. Wilson was very complementary of Taylor’s catching ability when was down with the 66’ers for his one rehab start.  Ward’s manager Chad Tracy, a former major leaguer also has given high praise to Ward for his defensive abilities.

What’s even more impressive to me is Ward’s poise and humbleness.  I have had the pleasure of interviewing him on multiple occasions and he has gone out of his way to be friendly and accommodating each time, no matter if he goes 0 for 4 with two past balls (he hates any defensive lapse he has more than anything), or 4 for 4 with two runners caught stealing.  Ward is one player who will fit into the Angels clubhouse very nicely now or in a few years.

Another player that has caught my eye is #9 prospect shortstop David Fletcher.  Fletcher seems to be able to get a hit or hits the ball hard every time at the plate.  He also is a smooth fielding shortstop who has very good range and a strong arm.  He is also very humble and congeal when I interviewed him.  Watch for him to be in Anaheim over the next few seasons.

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Hutton Moyer is utility infielder with a lot of intangibles, one of which is being the son of former major leaguer Jamie Moyer.  With having a major league dad the younger Moyer has been around the game of baseball all of his life and it shows as he seems to have a good feel for the game.  Moyer also seems to have a very good temperament and like Ward he expects a lot of himself, but has also shown the ability to shake off a bad night.  Moyer can hit and run the bases well and can also play multiple infield positions.  He may not be on the Angels top prospect list, but with his grit and desire as well as his overall mentality, I would not be surprised if he ends up in the major leagues one day.

On the pitching side I have seen the Angels #22 prospect Justin Anderson throw twice and he has been impressive both times.  While Anderson’s numbers are not very impressive he is improving.  Sunday night he had a six inning six-hit one run performance in relief of Joe Smith.  Anderson is 4-7 with a 5.45 ERA but both times I have seen him he has shown good command with an above average fastball and a good curve ball as well.  He is someone I definitely think has a high upside.

The final pitcher that impressed me, I have only seen one time which was Sunday evening.  Grendell was called upon to get out of a jam as Ronnie Muck had walked the bases loaded with no outs before being lifted for Grendell.  So what did the left-handed reliever do, only strike out the side on 15 pitches, 13 of which were strikes.  His fastball topped out at 92 miles per hour and his control was impeccable which it had to be in that situation.

Grendell is 0-1 with a 0.93 ERA pitching in 9.2 innings and striking out a whopping 18 batters.  Before being called up to Inland Empire Grendell pitched 18.2 innings for Single-A Burlington with 30 strikeouts and a 2-0 record with a 1.93 ERA.   So in total this season Grendell has pitched 28.1 innings sporting a 1.59 ERA with 48 strikeouts with only 11 walks (more than a 4 to 1 ratio).

Next: Slow progress

So the next time someone tells you the Angels have nothing in their farm system you can throw some of these names at them.