For the last five years when you heard anyone mention the LA Angels farm system people would make a face then quickly change the subject. It was called the worst farm system in baseball.
What a difference three years make. Now the same LA Angels farm system has some players that are considered to be top prospects in guys like Jahmai Jones, Jo Adell, and Griffin Canning.
LA Angels Billy Eppler had a vision in mind when he took over as the Angels general manager in 2015, building from within and filling in the holes through free agency or trade. Eppler has made deals to get key pieces when it make sense and also made a few signings as well.
If not for some injuries to some key players, mostly to the pitchers this formula would have already paid dividends. The Angels have some players that could be special for years to come both in the minors and also the majors. Jo Adell is probably a year or two away from making an impact in the majors as is Jahmai Jones, both of whom were first or second round draft picks.
Griffin Canning could be seen in an Angel uniform possibly toward the end of next season. Canning made it from Single-A to Triple-A in one season. Jones should be in Triple-A to start the season.
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The Angels don’t want to put any pressure on a player to make it up to the majors by a certain time period. The Angels are content to let their future stars develop rather than rush them and set them up for failure.
Eppler has resisted the urge to trade away the topic prospects so far. That may change if he wants to get an elite starting pitcher. Not sure if Eppler will considered doing this as he seems pretty content to keep these top prospects and see how they do once they are promoted to the majors.
This is a nice change though as before the Angels might have one mid-level prospect or so make it to the majors and then fizzle, but the prospects that are coming up the ranks now seem like they could be players that will make a major impact and be solid contributors for years to come.
Billy Eppler has been smart in making some trades at the deadline of veterans who other teams want and getting some good prospects in return for them that will be able to contribute at the major league level such as Ty Buttery and William Jerez who the Angels acquired from Boston in a trade for Ian Kinsler.
The Angels will continue to employ this strategy when possible, but will not stop looking for players who could make an impact that they can acquire from other teams such as the Justin Upton deal last August where they had to give up one mid-to-upper level prospect to acquire him.
Hopefully this philosophy will end up with the Angels returning to the playoffs in 2019.