The LA Angels do not have many star prospects in their farm system. They cannot afford to do what the Atlanta Braves did with their stud prospect, Dansby Swanson.
If the LA Angels are known for one thing when it comes to prospects, it is that they do not have many great ones. However, the organization does not get enough credit for their developmental staff. They consistently turn late round prospects into contributors (Matt Shoemaker, undrafted). They also turn high profile picks into cornerstones (that Trout kid is pretty good).
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Recently, the Atlanta Braves sent Dansby Swanson down to their Triple-A affiliate. Swanson was the team’s number one pick in 2015, and after playing extremely well in the minors in 2016, he was called up to close out the season. He played exceptionally, but has not been the same this season.
Swanson hit .213 this season with 84 strikeouts in 95 games. He scored 36 times while driving in 35 runs as well. However, it seems as if the Braves brought up their top prospect too soon, and may have stunted his development in the process.
This July, Swanson has hit .125 while striking out 16 times. He has been a liability in the Braves’ lineup. Whether they plan on contending or not, Swanson was not making on gains in the big leagues. The Braves called him up too soon. Way before he was ready for The Show and are now facing the consequences of that.
The Halos should take a note of this situation. They do not have room to stunt a prospect’s growth at all. They have been using this strategy for years, and it has paid off. Shoemaker, who when healthy, has been one of the best Halo pitchers. He did not make his MLB debut until he 2013, at age 26. He pitched only one game that season, and spent nearly six seasons in the minors before getting to that point.
Mike Trout, as great as he was when drafted, spent three seasons tearing up the minors before becoming a mainstay in the Angels lineup. The Angels like themselves and the player to be 100% confident in their abilities. This is something we saw recently with Kaleb Cowart.
Despite having a career year in the minors this year, Cowart is just now getting his shot as an everyday player. In an interview with Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Cowart said, “I think, for the first time in my career, I come up here and feel like I belong.”
The Halos know they have no room to spare in terms of prospect development. They have continued to play the waiting game. This is the same strategy they’re using with top prospects Matt Thaiss, Jahmai Jones, and Jordon Adell. All signs point to it working out for the best.