LA Angels Top Prospects: Hot or Not week seven
By Jon Huskey
The LA Angels exit the month of May having already had to utilize their farm system more than a few times. However, there still remain prospects in the minors working their way through the system.
In this week’s installment, we will again look at LA Angels prospects who are hot, who are not, non prospect to watch, and how any 2017 prospects in the majors are doing.
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Hot: Jahmai Jones – Low A (Burlington). Jones has remained hot for the second straight week. The outfielder hit safely in 8 of 10 games while having six multi-hit games. The 19 year old also kept his walks:strike outs to a much more realistic 5:7 rate. Jones also included a home run to go along with nine runs scored.
Not: Connor Justus – High A (Inland Empire). Justus has struggled mightily in 2017. The shortstop is hitting below .200 on the season. Additionally, Justus had as many walks as he did hits in his last 10 games- six. However, those don’t add up to his total of strikeouts in that time- 13. On an Angels team that includes Andrelton Simmons, the defense first shortstop will have to hit better to get a shot .
Hot: Matt Thaiss – High A (Inland Empire). Thaiss continues to steadily warm and contribute. While he has not had a ten game year where he is hitting .350, he has hit safely in 7 of his last 10 games. Thaiss is also managing to walk almost as much as he strikes out. His last ten games reflect that as he has 7 BB to 8 K.
Not: Vicente Campos – Triple A (Salt Lake). Campos started the year injured and has continued to not have the season he or the Angels envisioned. In five starts he has not made it out of the fifth inning. Additionally, he has had only one start where he had more strikeouts than walks. Campos will need to act quick if he is to remain a prospect or in the rotation.
Next, we look at a player who isn’t a prospect, but is making a good showing in the LA Angels minor leagues. Additionally, we look at prospects who have been promoted to the big club.
Worth Watching: Eric Karch – Double A (Mobile). Karch has pitched well in relief for the Bay Bears in 2017. Signed as a minor league free agent last year, he seemed to start to put it together between low and high A with the Angels. He has had an expected bump or two this season (relievers have so little wiggle room and one ER can hang like a 6 ER outing for a starter.) However, as a whole, Karch has 29 K to 5 BB in 32 IP (inc one start.) While the 5 HR already in 2017 is trending the wrong way for a reliever, he still maintains a 2.25 ERA and 2-2 record.
Prospects in the Show: Keynan Middleton, Brooks Pounders, Parker Bridwell, and Alex Meyer are all in the majors (albeit Meyer is currently on the DL.) Pounders has just returned to the bigs and hopes to improve on his first trip up earlier in the season. Bridwell just arrived this week and made a spot start against the Atlanta Braves. While Birdwell was sent back down, he did pitch 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on six hits. All of that amounts to a good first game. Hopefully, it is a glimpse of what is to come.
Middleton has really begun to settle into the Angels bullpen. He has not surrendered a ER in his last 8 appearances. In addition, Middleton has not given up a hit in 7 of those 8 appearances and he has only issued one walk while striking out seven in that same time. As a result, he has seen his ERA fall to 2.38 on the season.
Next: Angels 2017 Draft target: Griffin Canning
While the LA Angels have prospects assembling strong and promising seasons in 2017, the reality remains that the best of their prospect talent is in Double A and below.