Top LA Angels Prospect Countdown: #24 Kevin Grendell
The LA Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. However, they have a good mix of prospects who will help soon and some with star potential down the road. In this series, we will evaluate each of the Angels Top 30 prospects. Today, it’s pitcher Kevin Grendell.
The LA Angels signed left-handed pitcher Kevin Grendell to a minor league contract in prior to the 2016 season. He was drafted in 2012 by the Baltimore Orioles, but they tried to bring him up as a starter. After four seasons splitting time between starting and relief, the Orioles decided to part ways with Grendell.
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Grendell is a California native, having played his high school ball at San Pasqual High School. Grendell is not like other professional ballplayers. He suffers from a hearing impairment, and was fitted for hearing aids in both ears at the age of three. In an interview with Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Grendell said his career reached a turning point when he saw a little girl with hearing aids in a sea of fans after a game.
“I took myself a little more seriously,” Grendell said. “Got into the weight room, took eating more seriously, stopped drinking. I changed a lot of life habits and was able to connect everything where I want to go. I was able to line up my action with my vision.”
As a prospect, Grendell definitely has the stuff to make it as a relief pitcher in The Show. He has an exceptional fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range. He has a curveball with tight spinning action that he has used effectively so far in his career. Grendell has also displayed good use of his changeup, something he did not use early in his career but brought out to keep hitters on edge in Double-A.
In his first season with the Angels, he was able to move his way through two levels and finish the season in Double-A. In 41 appearances, he had a 3.08 ERA over 61.1 innings. He struck out 92 batters while walking 34. He also only allowed four long balls. His best stretch came in Double-A, as he earned a 1.37 ERA in 11 appearances.
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If he does not make it to the big league club this season, a Spring Training invite is almost certainly in store for 2018.