We are less than one month away from the start of spring training and all eyes are currently on Angels General Manager Perry Minasian. There is an obvious need for the Angels to bolster both their rotation and bullpen to get back to being a contender. With many targets signing and traded to other teams, fans are beginning to feel the frustration of the teams lack of impact moves. However, the team stayed busy last week on January 15, as the Angels signed seven players out of the international free-agent pool.
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This year has been anything but typical, and one of many wrinkles of the COVID-19 pandemic was the change in the signing period for this prospect pool. The original July 2 date last season was when international players were supposed to begin signing.
The decision was made new decision allows the pool to remain open until December 15. For a player to sign, they must be at least 16-years old. Further explanation and the Top 30 prospects can be viewed here.
The Angels brought in some promising young talent on International Signing Day, including a top-30 prospect.
When Perry Minasian took over the Angels general manager role, he joined a group that struggled in numerous aspects of prospect development. The international talent was no exception. Most Angel fans still remember the signing of Roberto Baldoquin, who signed back in 2015, as the teams ‘shortstop of the future’. For those of you new here, Baldoquin never developed. The Angels cut ties with the shortstop this past year after never making it past double-A ball. This move was also hampering the organization’s ability to sign international free agents for years after.
That being said, Minasian took a significant step toward changing one of many narratives by signing a top 30 player in Denzer Guzman. A native of the Dominican Republic, the 16-year old Guzman is a shortstop ranked as the No. 29 international prospect. Grading out consistently over MLB’s 20-80 rankings, Guzman has shown great prowess with the bat with a 55 contact grade to pair with a 50 power grade.
The young shortstop is noted as one of the best pure hitters of this class.
"Here’s what we know: Guzman knows the strike zone. The athletic teen shows a sound swing with a small leg kick to generate power. There’s a nice rhythm to his approach and he has a knack for making hard contact to all fields. While he’s not known for driving the ball out of the ballpark, he consistently hits the ball up the middle and into the gaps. He could develop more power as he matures and already features a repeatable swing."
Here is a full recap of the Angels signings
- Denzer Guzman. SS, Dominican Republic
- Luis Viloria. LHP, Venezuela
- Darlin Francia. RHP, Dominican Republic
- Eiver Betancourt. C, Venezuela
- Edwin Hidalgo. C, Panama
- Fernando Guanare. RHP, Venezuela
- Klevier Lopez. SS, Venezuela
Time will tell how these players will develop and the impact they will make in the Angels system. Player development has been a struggle for the Angels over the past years, though the organization has promise in young talents such as D’Shawn Knowles and Arol Vera.
If Minasian can come in and find under the radar talent through means such as the international free-agent pool, the Angels could set up for success for many years to come.