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 Damien Magnifico.
The LA Angels traded for the right-handed Magnifico shortly after he made his MLB debut for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016. Magnifico was originally drafted to be a starting pitcher, and spent the first three years of his career as one. However, in 2015, he was moved to the bullpen in a move that lasted to present day.
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Magnifico played his college ball at Howard College and then Oklahoma University. In his final season in college, he made 21 appearances (seven starts) and threw 51.1 innings. He owned a 3.68 ERA and struck out 34 batters while walking 25. He has never been a strikeout pitcher, preferring to keep the ball down, proven by the sole home run he gave up in his final collegiate season.
Magnifico always flashed a great fastball, hitting triple digits on occasion. The question for him is his secondary stuff. He has flashed a power slider that rests in the mid-80’s, but has not been consistent in using it. His changeup also has good movement, but he just was not able to keep hitters away from it.
Magnifico is not off to a great start in Triple-A Salt Lake this year. In 13 appearances, he has thrown 14.1 innings and has a 8.79 ERA on the season. He is 2-3 in save opportunities, and yet to allow a home run. However, his strikeout to walk ratio is horrendous. He has walked nine batters while sending only 12 down on strikes. He struggles with control, and has through his entire career. The move to the bullpen was supposed to help, but progress has been minimal.
Magnifico was a candidate to be moved to the big league bullpen at some point this season. He can still make it there, but today happens to be his 26th birthday, and time is running out as a prospect. He needs a strong summer if he hopes to continue pursuing his dream of being an MLB pitcher.