The Los Angeles Angels may have a defensively elite defense now, but a few years down the line they willneed reinforcements. Luckily, they are well prepared with seven outfielders in their Top 30 prospects rankings.
Los Angeles Angels Prospects
Jahmai Jones, CF, R/R
Brandon Marsh, RF, L/R
Chad Hinshaw, OF, R/R
Caleb Adams, LF/RF, R/R
Jared Foster, OF, R/R
Troy Montgomery, RF, L/L
Kyle Survance Jr., OF, L/R
Jahmai Jones comes in as the Los Angeles Angels number two overall prospect. He looks for like he belongs on the gridiron as a running back than a center fielder, which is not a surprise as football runs deep into his family tree. His father played in the NFL and his brother’s play the family sport as well. The Angels are lucky that one of the Jones brothers chose baseball though, and they may have stuck gold with their selection of the young center fielder in 2015. Jones’ ceiling is extremely high, as he is already impressing coaches in the minors. Jones is an impressive athlete, but does not rely on that like some do in high school. He brings an impressive swing to the table as he consistently hits line drives he routinely turns into extra base hits.
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Drafted straight out of high school, Jones is still only 19. He projects mainly as a center fielder, but given the Angels have Mike Trout filling that hole Jones will most likely play left field when he reaches the bigs. While Jones is undoubtedly still a raw ballplayer, he is routinely making plays. He finished his first season in Single-A. He hit .302 with 4 home runs, and 3 triples while swiping 20 bags. The Angels and their fans should not expect him to reach the big league for the next few years. However, 2019 and 2020 seem like strong possibilities.
Brandon Marsh was a two sport athlete when the Angels took him out of Buford High School with their second round pick in 2016. Doubling as a two-time state champion wide receiver, the diamond is where Marsh’s true potential lied. Standing at six-foot two-inches and weighing only 190 pounds, Marsh will need to add some weight to fully realize his power in his swing. Already the Angels fourth rated prospect,Marsh could play center field, but right field would be the best spot for his athleticism and killer arm.
Marsh has yet to play any professional games, as he has been working his way through rehab for a back injury. However, Marsh could easily perform above expectations once healthy, as he is finally focusing on one sport instead of multiple. His offensive game is not as strong as it could be. However, once he gets to work with the coaches and work out the rough edges he should be able to hit for average and power. He will also be a threat on the bases, as he already has plus speed and should be able to refine his technique in the upcoming season. Marsh is another guy who the Angels will not see for a few years, as he projects to reach the roster closer to 2020.
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Chad Hinshaw came out of college as a 15th round pick almost completely because of his defense. His swing was nowhere near MLB or even MiLB ready. He has since worked on it and is now a reliable offensive player. He no longer has to use his speed to get on base, but now turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples. His offensive game is focused on finding the gaps and getting into scoring position. Whether it be extra base hits or stealing bases, Hinshaw has shown he is no longer a defensive specialist.
At 26 years old, Hinshaw was thought to make his debut last season but a thumb injury derailed his 2015 season and pushed back his development. Smart baserunning, reliable hitting, and solid defense are assets that Mike Scioscia looks for in his bench players and Hinshaw fits that mold perfectly. He has a relatively low ceiling, but could make a career out of being a fourth outfielder or potentially platooning an outfield spot. This season could be make or break for Hinshaw. However, fans should not be surprised to see him in an Angels uniform by the end of the season.
Another outfielder who could potentially see time in the majors this year is Caleb Adams. The Louisiana-Lafayette product was drafted in the tenth round in 2014. Adams has been a favorite of the organization due to his work ethic and hustle. He is a student of the game, as his batting stance and swing have changed dramatically. Similar to the change Andrelton Simmons made in the middle of last year, Adams turned a long leg kick into a short stutter step which has allowed him to be quicker to the ball and make better contact. The adjusted swing does take away a lot of Adams’ power, but that is a tradeoff the organization will be happy to make as he has since improved his average incredibly. Cutting down on strikeouts should be Adams’ main focus now.
Still only 24, Adams is another player who could see some time in the big leagues this year. He is a great defensive player and would excel in either corner outfield spot. Adams could play center if needed, but may struggle as he being groomed as a corner outfielder. He also brings exceptional baserunning and hustles on every play. Some are comparing him to a right-handed Kole Calhoun. Angels fans should happily take that from Adams.
Another two-sport athlete in the Angels’ system, Jared Fostor served as a backup quarterback for LSU during his time there. He was an extremely raw ballplayer coming into the Angels’ system. However, after being drafted in the fifth round in 2015, Foster has made the move from second base to the outfield and has flourished. He is an underrated athlete with a solid build. He already covers ground in the outfield well, and that will only get better as he learns to take better routes towards fly balls. This will also help Foster on the bases, where he will rely on his athleticism to steal bases instead of technique.
While Foster is already 24, and he was pushed last season. He answered the call, hitting .276 with 56 RBI’s and nine homeruns. Foster also stole nine bags to go with his 24 walks. He has struggled with offspeed outside pitches at times. While he may not reach the majors this season due to the prospects in front of him, another year in the minors will do wonders for Foster, as he still needs to work on his technique and form is he wants to be a serviceable ballplayer in the MLB.
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Troy Montgomery burst on the scene as soon as he debuted in the minors for the Angels. He quickly moved up to the Burlington Bees full-season club. In his first season, Montgomery hit .291 with 7 homeruns and 13 stolen bases in 64 games. He also worked 31 walks compared to 51 strikeouts, showing his plus ability to get on base. Montgomery has exceptional speed, but has played right field since debuting in the majors. He has good instincts as he regularly reads the ball well off the bat. He has a strong arm to go with that as well.
Montgomery’s offensive game is where he has a ton of room for improvement. He has often tried to lift the ball leading to easy pop outs. Montgomery has natural power, but selling out for the long ball ruins his chances of advancing through the minors. He has shown he can hit for average with decent power. Sticking to that approach will prove to be worthwhile for the youngster. If he can commit to changing his offensive approach to a more conservative style, in addition to having good speed, he could become a dependable ballplayer at the next level. He still has a lot of work to do though. Fans should not expect to see Montgomery until 2019 at the earliest.
Kyle Survance Jr.
Rounding out the Angels top outfield prospects is Kyle Survance Jr. out of the University of Houston. The Angels drafted him primarily for one reason, speed. Survance Jr. has absolute wheels and can fly around the basepaths. However, he has also been able to build a skillset around his blazing speed. He did not play in 2016 as he is recovering from Tommy John surgery for an injury sustained while celebrating the clinching of a playoff berth.
However, in 2015 he hit .363 with 17 stolen bases and 15 walks (to 23 strikeouts) in 29 games. He had a real chance of moving his way through the minors if he hadn’t of sustained the injury. Survance is one of my favorite prospects for the Angels. He has shown every sign of a big league ballplayer. He understands that his offensive game should be built around hitting balls into the outfield gaps or keeping the ball on the ground and giving himself a chance to beat the ball to the bag.
The only knack on Survance Jr. is his build. He is six-foot-one but weighs only 190 pounds. If he were to add some more muscle to his build, he would be able to drive the ball better, even turning on some and driving them out of the park. Survance is an absolute ballplayer, and fans should pay attention to him this season to see what he does when healthy. I see his floor as a fourth outfielder in the majors. His ceiling could be as an everyday outfielder and leadoff man. In three years, fans will want to remember the name Kyle Survance Jr.
Hopefully we will see some of these players make it to Anaheim soon.