Despite Poor Farm System, The LA Angels Still Have Plenty of Youth
The LA Angels’ story in recent years has been an ever-improving farm system. A group that ranked inside the top ten on some websites now sits back in the low-20’s. However, this isn’t as much of an issue as many fans believe.
The LA Angels have a low-ranked farm system. The LA Angels have a healthy amount of young talent within their organization. These two sentences can both be true. And no, I’m not going to tell you the Angels’ system deserves to be ranked higher. The scouts who do the ranking know far more than I do, and I trust their judgement.
So, why am I not concerned?
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Well, to be honest, I am a tad concerned. The system doesn’t have as many tier-one prospects as the Angels would probably like. And their only star prospect, Jo Adell, doesn’t necessarily play a position of need.
The Angels need pitching within their system, as they’re severely lacking in terms of young arms. Their top ranked pitching prospect is Jose Soriano, who is not scheduled to make it to the big leagues for quite some time.
The Angels don’t have a ton of prospects nearing the majors. They had a good amount of rookies this year, but according to MLB.com’s projections, only Adell and fellow outfielder Brandon Marsh have ETA’s of 2020. So with the team’s top two prospects expected to graduate next year, their ranking may fall even lower.
However, let’s go position by position and break this down to ease the worries of Angels fans. In terms of 25-and-below players on the roster, the Angels have plenty of youth. In the rotation, Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barria, Canning, and Jose Suarez are all youngsters just making their dent in the MLB. Depending on the offseason, all four of them should be at least contending for a spot in the rotation next season, with Canning having the inside track for a spot.
Keynan Middleton could very well be the team’s closer next season. Jared Walsh is one of the most interesting players on the Angels, and he’s still just 25. Jose Rodriguez has only pitched 11.2 innings this season, but has worked his way to a 2.31 ERA and could be a bullpen piece next season at the crisp age of 24. In the minors, the Angels have Luis Madero, 22, on their 40-man roster as well.
Oh yeah, that Shohei Ohtani guy is only 24-years old too. He’s pretty special.
In terms of position players, the Angels went through a youth revolution this year in the infield. David Fletcher is 25, and he’s the oldest of the bunch. Luis Rengifo went from a player to be named later to a solid big leaguer, and has much more room to grow.
Matt Thaiss had an up-and-down first year, but showed the combination of solid power and consistent defense to have a role for this team moving forward. Taylor Ward didn’t get as many chances as he would’ve liked in the MLB this season, but he’s still a former first round pick with potential, and a big question mark heading into 2020. Also, I think I’m required by law to mention Walsh again, considering his two-way abilities.
In the outfield, the Angels boast Michael Hermosillo, as 24-years old, as their only young outfielder. That’s perfectly fine, as Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Brian Goodwin could be a very efficient trio in 2020 until Adell and/or Marsh is ready.
So yes, the Angels’ farm system is ranked poorly. However, that doesn’t mean their future is in shambles. They have plenty of young talent, and as they progress more and more towards analytics, they’ll begin turning average prospects to good ballplayers, and good prospects to great ballplayers.