LA Angels News

LA Angels leave prospect Jared Walsh off 40 man roster

By Ryan Falla
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after hitting a fly ball to center field during the first inning of the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The result was a flyball out. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after hitting a fly ball to center field during the first inning of the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The result was a flyball out. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels recently added three prospects to the 40 man roster in preparation for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft, which takes place on December 13th, allows teams from all around the Majors to pick up a prospect from another organization if he is not protected on the 40 man roster.

The LA Angels filled their 40 man roster with prospects Luis Rengifo, Luis Madero, and Jose Suarez. That still leaves a few high potential prospects vulnerable to being taken by another MLB team, and one specific player that Angels GM Eppler has talked about to the media as a potential upgrade to the offense in 2019.

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The Angel have filled their 40 man roster to prepare for the Rule 5 Draft, but have left off one a big player in an interesting, but not surprising move. The Angels did not add prospect Jared Walsh to the 40 man after a couple of months of Angels GM Billy Eppler expressing confidence in the prospect. Billy Eppler, when asked about what upgrades will be made to the team, stated that he would seek pitching on the open market and offense from within. He further clarified that statement by offering Jared Walsh as a name he thinks could impact the club in 2019.

Given the confidence he’s expressed in Walsh it is a bit strange to see him left off the 40 man, I’m not sure if the Angels are banking on him not being picked up or they’ve decided they can go either way and still make it work. Obviously the second option is the most likely and realistic, yet at the same time it doesn’t make too much sense given his potential and readiness to break into the MLB.

Jared Walsh is 25 years old, plays first base and right field and hasn’t hit under .277 throughout his 4 year MiLB career with the Angels. His 2018 OPS across three levels of the Minors (A-AA-AAA) sat at .895 as he powered 29 HR’s and 99 RBI’s across 549 plate appearances. As a left-handed hitter Walsh displays fantastic power to all sides of the field, his swing offers a natural graceful explosion off his bat that produces strong liners with ease. There are some drawbacks regarding his plate approach mostly regarding discipline, though this was something he showed a great effort in fixing throughout the 2018 season.

It’s not just his offense that provides value, Jared Walsh has also shown a certain proclivity for pitching. Though he only pitched in 5.2 innings throughout 2018 (which totals to 25 batters), he struck out 7 while sporting a 1.59 ERA. Given the 25 batters faced you can see this is a little more than small sample size, though it isn’t the most comprehension sample in the world. However, that was enough for GM Billy Eppler to invite Walsh to instructional camp for pitching in order to work out his raw skills.

Walsh sports a fastball that hits 94mph, and this is without pitching instruction, he also shows off a curveball capable of getting Major League outs. The Angels hope to expand on that value this offseason, essentially developing Walsh into a under-the-radar two-way athlete. Even as a LOOGY he would provide dual value to the club, and given the future direction of baseball and management Walsh would fit in perfectly with this new future.

All in all Walsh looked capable of hitting anywhere from 20-25 HR’s while also getting left-handed outs from the bullpen. That’s a rare type of value to extract from an athlete and there’s no scenario in which the Angels aren’t better off with at least experimenting with Jared Walsh. Nothing would be lost from giving him Major League looks with the Angels in 2019, though all this potential and possibility would be lost should Jared Walsh be nabbed in the Rule 5 Draft.

I really don’t see a scenario in which a savvy team doesn’t take a shot a Jared Walsh, someone like the Rays who need a cheap but talented athlete who can offer value in more than just one static way. Leaving Jared Walsh off the 40 man roster may turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes they’ve made all offseason. Should he survive the Rule 5 the Angels should be counting their lucky stars, though if Walsh is picked up by another team willing to let him impact their club the Angels might feel the sting terribly. Especially if he lives up to his HR hitting, left-hand out getting potential.

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There’s still a couple of weeks left before the Rule 5 Draft which gives us plenty of time to wring our hands with anxiety. You know what they all say, “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”. Let’s hope the Angels can continue on into their bright future with Jared Walsh.

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