The LA Angels have made a focus out of signing highly talented international prospects after spending much of the last two decades neglecting the process. With their 2017 signing of D’Shawn Knowles, the highly athletic outfielder out of the Bahamas, it looks like the Angels are putting their priorities exactly where they need be.
D’Shawn Knowles is a bit less of a known commodity than many of the other Angels prospects on this list. He was signed by the Angels at the age of 16 in 2017, mostly displaying a very raw tool set then. Now he’s at the age of 17 and has shown a little more insight into the tool set he’ll be developing within the Angels system. Knowles was signed out of the Bahamas, like fellow prospect Trent Deveaux, and though he doesn’t rate as highly on the athleticism scale he still has just as high a ceiling.
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D’Shawn Knowles (OF’er)
Signed July 2nd, 2017 from Bahamas
Though Knowles is projected as a gap-to-gap type power hitter he has already flashed some great power in his time with the Rookie League Orem Owlz in 2018. During his 2018 season, his debut season at the age of 17, Knowles rocked the Rookie League with a .321/.398/.550 slash line while hitting 4 HR’s, 9 doubles, and 2 triples. Those are really impressive numbers for a prospect debut at the age of 17, especially for an athlete who is still well on the path of discovering and harnessing their best tools.
So far we’ve seen Knowles display a strong athleticism that powers his speed and ability both defensively and on the base paths. Regarding his ability at the plate, Knowles is a switch-hitter whom utilizes his already solid swing productively when producing line-drives from the batters box. He doesn’t lean too heavily on displaying power or ability from either side of the plate, though when hitting against lefties as a righty he has a bit more work to do regarding his vision and plate discipline. He’ll likely be able to even it out without too much disparity between his ability to produce from either side of the plate.
His approach at the plate is solid and he’s very much able to generate walks. Yet like many young prospects he needs to work on cutting his strike-outs down. His approach at the plate is good for someone his age but there is still the need for Knowles to learn how to stay more within himself rather than let the game force himself to expand his zone. As it is with all developing prospects, especially those aged 17, he has a bit of physical maturation ahead of him. There is raw power there to be tapped into, from the age of 16 to 17 Knowles grew two inches and packed on 10+ lbs of muscle (he now stands at 6’0, 165’lbs). There’s a whole well of energy and strength for Knowles to tap into and much more to come. With his already solid approach at the plate and burgeoning power there is reasonable excitement regarding his development.
Defensively he does rate out as above-average, though he doesn’t project as highly here as he does with his offense. He can settle in as a solid all around defender, maybe display some above-average ability with his arm-strength and other fielding tools, though his ceiling here is projected as above-average plus.
All in all, Knowles is a pretty exciting prospect within the Angels system. He’s already growing accustomed to pounding the ball in Rookie League. He’s rated as developing gap-to-gap power, yet with his growing size and burgeoning strength he will eventually be able to tap into a deep reserve of power that, if he does find himself utilizing it to its fullest potential, can help Knowles turn his line-drive ability into something greater. We’re not going to assume he’ll develop regular home-run power, but at least he’ll be able to pepper the walls with serious authority.
With how much Knowles excelled in his 123 Rookie League at-bats it truly seems that Knowles can elevate his ceiling as high as he chooses to. With the skillet he’s developing Knowles can find himself having a ton of fun and success visiting parks like Fenway once he breaks into the MLB.
Developmental Needs: Strike-Zone Control, Patience, Swing Efficiency
Best Tools: Natural Baseball IQ, Maturing Swing, Line-Drive Ability, Plate Approach
MLB Estimation: 2022