The LA Angels continue to float in the middle of the pack in the AL west, strong pitching often betrayed by lackluster hitting. While the hitting is showing signs of coming to life, the Angels have begun to look to their farm system for help in some areas of need. Still, more hope remains on the farm as we will assess in this week’s Top Prospects: Hot or Not.
The fifth installment of this series will have some familiar faces, and believe me, when I say that, for the LA Angels, some of those will be a good thing.
More from LA Angels News
- New York Post columnist has LA Angels bringing veteran starter back to LA
- Dodgers make wild mistake signing failed LA Angels starter
- Why LA Angels’ Qualifying Offer to Raisel Iglesias could become historical
- Both Gold Glove finalists for LA Angels getting snubbed is a complete joke
- Marcus Stroman definitely appears to be interested in the LA Angels
Hot: Osmer Morales – Double A (Mobile). The twenty four year old righty has spent the previous seven years of his career splitting his time starting and in the bullpen. However, in 2017 the Angels have thus far used him as a starter. Unfortunately, Morales is still working on his length of innings. He has only worked 5.0 IP and only four times. Still, he’s worked to the tune of a 2.63 ERA and 33 K in 27.1 IP, with just 8 BB.
Not: Taylor Ward – High A (Inland Empire). Ward started the year on the DL. When the catcher did debut, he did hit. However, he has cooled recently and is sitting at .214. Despite that, he has walked more than he has struck out, which has allowed his OBP to remain a more respectable .358. You would still like to see your number seven prospect hit better in High A ball. While Ward is 23 years old, he still has time to improve.
Hot: Jaime Barria – High A (Inland Empire). Not to sound like broken record, but the twenty year old Barria has been very good for the Angels in 2017. It’s still been a season of just one bad start, as the righty turned in two strong starts in the last ten days. Barria took the loss in a six inning effort where he surrendered just 2 ER while striking out six and walking none. In his victory on May 14th, he went seven innings, striking out nine and again walking none while giving up just one run. Barria will turn 21 in July, so don’t expect the Angels to rush him to the big club this season.
Want your voice heard? Join the Halo Hangout team!
Not: David Fletcher – Double A (Mobile). Fletcher did a lot for his stock in 2016, making it all the way to Double A in his first full season. The SS hit a combined .280 with 16 SB while drawing undersized middle infielder comparisons to David Eckstein. Unfortunately, 2017 has started off a bit rougher. Fletcher find himself sitting at .222 through the first 19 games of the season. Splitting time between SS and 2B, he does currently have a 1.000 fielding percentage in 79 total chances. The defense will have to remain strong and at least the batting average will need to catch up to somewhere around 2016 levels for Fletcher to meet his 2018 ETA.
Next we look at the LA Angels who may not be prospects, but who are excelling in the minors. We also look at how any prospects currently playing with the big club are fairing.
Worth Watching: Eric Young Jr. – Triple A (Salt Lake). Young has continued to crush Triple A pitching. While that has not translated to success in previous MLB stints, the outfielder is hitting .353 with 12 SB on the season so far. In the last 10 games he has hit .400 with a HR and 9 RBI, to go along with 4 SB. While Cameron Maybin has been showing some signs of life atop the LA Angels line-up, if he or Ben Revere continue to struggle with consistency, it’s completely within reason to thing Young gets a shot. Even if it is as a fourth outfielder.
Prospects in the Show: Keynan Middleton and Alex Meyer both remain with the big club, making contributions. Middleton has remained an up and down contributor. He has had sparkling innings of relief and mediocre ones (though none of them have been blowouts. It is worth noting that his strikeout ability is as advertised as he has accumulated 9 K in 6 IP. However, he has walked five in that time as well. ) Meyer has shown some stronger performances as of late, including striking out seven batters in three straight starts. Unfortunately, his most recent start saw him pitch less than five innings while surrendering 3 ER. If Meyer can string together consistent 5-6 IP games, he can at least be a strong, back of the rotation starter. If not, he may have hope as a long relief or swing man type.
As week five closes, performances are starting to see some leveling off. While the season is still young, going forward we are much more likely to be seeing what we can expect for 2017. Or are we?