LA Angels Top Prospects: Hot or Not – 2016 Recap
The LA Angels 2017 season is underway. That means, next week the season will begin for their minor league players. What does 2017 hold for the LA Angels top prospects? To start this recurring feature, we look back at 5 of the Angels top prospects in 2016.
Above all else, this feature will rely on the numbers that these LA Angels prospects put up throughout the season. For the rankings however, future installments will reference Angels prospects in Major League Baseball’s MLB Pipeline. For this first round, we will look back at the 2016 season. 2 Hot, 2 Not, and 1 who needs to prove they are one or the other.
Hot: Matt Thaiss – 2016: Rookie/Low A-Burlington, projected 1B. In his first season, the 21-year old hit a combined .292 (.276 in Low A where he played the majority of the season). He showed some pop with six homeruns and the ability to take a walk (26) and get on base (OBP of .361).
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Not: Roberto Baldoquin – 2016: High A- Inland Empire, projected SS. It’s not hard to see why a player entering his age 23 season and he is still in A ball is a ‘not’, but let’s look. The Angels most recent, noteworthy international signing played in just 64 games last year. In those games he hit .198 and struck out 62 times. That is nearly a strikeout per game. For a guy who hit 0 homeruns last season, that does not translate well.
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Hot: Jahmai Jones – 2016: Rookie/Low A-Burlington, projected OF. Jones, owner of a .302 avg (.379 OBP) and 20 stolen bases had a good showing in a season spent mostly in rookie ball. Entering his age 19 season he is in fact showing some possible power and will look to show that he can produce for a full season.
Not: Taylor Ward – 2016: High A- Inland Empire/ Arizona Fall League, projected C. Regression is not a surprising thing from young players entering their first full season of play. Accordingly, Ward hit .249 with a .323 OBP. His 10 home runs and 48 walks are appreciable, but it still looks like it will be Ward’s glove that gets him to majors (.994 fielding pct.)
Are-You-Coming-or-Are-You-Going: Kaleb Cowart – 2016: AAA-Salt Lake City/ LA Angels, 3B/2B. Cowart has been it all since being taken by the Angels in the first round of the 2010 draft. Highly touted prospect, suspected bust, to his status last year – reclamation project. Cowart had cratered all the way back to A- Inland Empire in 2015. 2016 saw him establish success at the AAA level, hitting .280 with a .340 OBP. The strikeouts were still high (100 K/ 107 games) and the power low (9 HR), however, it became abyssal with the big club. In 31 games in LA, Cowart managed just a .176 BA and .184 OBP. At this point, his rookie status gone and Cowart’s time to prove himself is now.