LA Angels Prospects Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: Week One
The LA Angels minor league system has been ranked at or next to the bottom of rankings in MLB for years now. However, the system is not entirely devoid of young, talented players.
The Minor League season is now underway for LA Angels prospects. That means it’s time that we take our first ride on the weekly hot or not train. As the season progresses, look to see this list grow. For now, we take a similar approach to the recap of last year’s Prospects Hot or Not recap. You get 2 Hot and 2 Not, all on the Angels top 30 Prospects list. In addition, one who is Worth Watching (a player not in the top 30 prospects, but still a player who is performing very well and would be an MLB rookie.)
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HOT: Manny Banuelos: AAA (Salt Lake Bees) – 3 GS, 2-0, 2.70 ERA. While the old standard numbers look good, the 9 K to 7 BB is troubling. As all things this early in the season, it is a small sample size. Banuelos has worked further into the game each successive start. He went six innings on 4/17, while only issuing 1 BB (to 4 K.) He was a minor league signing by GM Billy Eppler last August. For 2017 he is ranked as the Angels #30 prospect. It is feasible that the 26 year old could contribute with the big club this season if he can reduce his walks and keep pitching deep into games.
NOT: Taylor Ward: High A (Inland Empire) – Currently on MiLB Disabled List. Pegged as a glove first catcher (are there any other type with the LA Angels), Ward looked to rebound from an offensive mediocre season at High A Inland Empire last year (.249/ .323/ .337 with 10 HR and 56 RBI.) While still young, the rebound attempt will have to wait until later this month.
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HOT: Jamie Barria: High A (Inland Empire) – 3 GS, 1-0, 1.08 ERA. Barria was the Angels #10 prospect heading into the season, and through 16.2 innings he has shown why. In his three starts he has posted 16 K to 4 BB while holding batters to a .238 AVG. Barria, who will turn 21 in July, is off to a hot start in 2017.
NOT: Jahmai Jones: Low A (Burlington Bees) – 11 G, .174 AVG, 2 HR, .208 OBP, 9 K. Jones is just 19, the season is still very young. He put up good numbers last season (.302/ .379/ .422), and has 2 HR early in the season (he had four all of last year.) Nobody wants to see their top rated prospect not performing, but it is too early to panic about a player who just placed in the HOT for the 2016 Prospect recap.
Next: LA Angels Top Prospects 2016: Hot or Not
Worth Watching: Bo Way – AA (Mobile) – 11 G, .310 AVG, .367 OBP, 4:5 BB:K. Way, a center fielder, has above average speed and in the lower minors has shown an ability to hit above .300. Way ranked in the Angels top 30 prospects just last season. However, an average showing saw him slip out in 2017. With a certain CF already entrenched with the big club, Way will need to continue his hot start and look to be a fourth OF option, while picking up some work in the corners.
It may or may not be worth mentioning that former prospect and current Triple-A player, Kaleb Cowart is knocking the cover off the ball at Salt Lake (.333/.429/.519 with 2 HR.) Make of that, what you will.