Almost one month after the MLB draft, recent websites have updated their farm system rankings for the LA Angels and the rest of the league.
Both Bleacher Report and MLB.com recently published their updated farm system rankings. After years of replenishing the minor leagues with plenty of young talent, where do the Los Angeles Angels stand?
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Bleacher Report , Rank:19
Although the Angels had remarkably the worst farm system in the league over a five-year stretch, they are quickly rebuilding. Bleacher Report highlights key players such as: Taylor Ward, Jahmai Jones, Matt Thaiss, Brandon Marsh, Jo Adell and Griffin Canning as the Angels top prospects and relatively so.
However, they also recognize the Angels’ weakness in their farm system which is their pitching. Besides Canning, Chris Rodriguez and Jose Suarez, the Angels surely do lack in pitching prospects. But, Bleacher Report also believes that recent draftees, Aaron Hernandez and Kyle Bradish, offer as much upside as any pitching prospects in the sport.
Lastly, their prospect on the rise for the Angels is infielder David Fletcher. Fletcher, who has already seen stints in the MLB, has produced when given the opportunity. In a small workload, 20 ABs, Fletcher’s slash line remains at an impressive .368/.368/.474. Bleacher Report believes he can be a useful utility infielder.
“Once one of the top position-prospects in a thin Angels system, Fletcher’s star faded last season when he hit just .266/.316/.339 in Double-A and Triple-A. The 24-year-old is enjoying a breakout season offensively, though, and at the very least has the makings of a useful utility infielder if he doesn’t carve out an everyday role.”
MLB.com recently updated their 100 top prospects list. Last year, the Angels had four of their own prospects make the list: Jo Adell, Kevin Maitan, Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh.
Now, fast forward to this year and the Angels have a new prospect to join the list. Also, some players have drastically improved their stock since last year’s draft.
Jo Adell, Rank: 38 Previously: 62
It’s not surprising seeing Adell improve his stock. In fact, Adell has improved so much as a player that he was recently promoted to Single A+ Inland Empire. Currently, Adell is batting .320/.356/.616 and could potentially see himself being promoted yet again.
However, there are some concerns to his game. MLB.com notes that Adell has some swing and miss tendencies which leads to strikeouts. Adell’s K-rate remains around 25 percent which he’ll have to lower in order to further improve his stock. Regardless, MLB.com sees him as a potential All-Star player.
“Patience will be key in the dynamic outfielder’s development. If it all continues to click, he could develop into the kind of All-Star performer teams hope to get with their first-round selections.”
Kevin Maitan, Rank: 79 Previously: 87
A switch-hitting shortstop who hits for power, Maitan was ranked No.1 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 international prospects list entering the 2016 July signing period.
But, because of a less than stellar pro debut, in which he hit .241/.290/.340, his stock dropped. Add in his conditioning problems and the concerns continue to grow with Maitan and his development.
Although his debut was unspectacular, MLB.com likes his game because of his arm and hitting ability.
“Wherever he plays defensively, Maitan has the combination of hitting tools and feel for the game to potentially develop into a future superstar in the middle of the lineup. He’ll be just 18 for all of the 2018 season, so patience will be key.”
Jahmai Jones, Rank: 82, Previously: 93
Known more for his athleticism, Jones is transitioning to second base after starting his pro career in center field.
What’s impressive about Jones is his ability to hit for contact because of his quick swing. During 2017, Jones managed a 25-game hitting streak that eventually led him to being promoted to Single-A+ Inland Empire.
MLB.com also loves his intangibles and what he brings off the field. According to MLB.com, Jones has high remarks for his work ethic and overall makeup, which will help him as a pro.
“His intangibles give Jones a very high floor. His tools and athleticism give him a very high ceiling. He’s poised to impact the upper levels of the Angels system and could be ready to join another toolsy homegrown player, Mike Trout, in Los Angeles soon.”
Brandon Marsh, Rank: 91 Previously: N/A
Like Jones and Adell, Marsh is another athletic outfielder who played multiple sports in high school. Because of his speed and plus arm, Marsh will most likely play either center or right field as a professional.
Scouts love his ability to make contact and they see Marsh as an above-average hitter who can also steal a base in the process.
After dominating Single-A, Marsh eventually was promoted to Single-A+ just this year. He’s currently batting .218/ .321/.328 for Inland Empire and shares the outfield with Angels’ No.1 prospect Jo Adell, making an awesome duo.
“The Angels are excited to see what Marsh can do over the course of a full, healthy season as he continues to grow into his athletic frame. Watching him and 2017 first-rounder Jo Adell man a Minor League outfield together should be a treat.”
Griffin Canning, Rank: 95 Previously: N/A
The only pitching prospect for the Angels to make the top 100 prospects for MLB.com, Canning is quickly moving up the system.
Seeing himself start at Single-A+, Canning has pitched incredibly well. So well that Canning is now at the Triple-A level and could possibly pitch a game or two in the majors this year.
According to MLB.com, Canning has four pitches that are all MLB average. But, because of his command and feel for his pitches, Canning has a great ability to set up hitters. Some scouts even compare Canning’s game to Zack Greinke.
“In terms of delivery and body type, Canning has reminded some of Zack Greinke. The Angels don’t have those kind of expectations on the right-hander, but they are eager to see how quickly his advanced feel for pitching will allow him to climb the organizational ladder.”
The LA Angels have quickly grown their farm system under Billy Eppler, and it will be interesting to see whether or not they sell some prospects away for help this season come the trade deadline.