The Minor League Baseball season is in full swing.
That comes with questions about the players in the LA Angels’ system.
This includes the plans for the LA Angels even at their lowest minor league levels.
The Inland Empire 66ers are showcasing some young Angels players within the system and some of them may have an impact on the organization long term. Others might see them as trade assets to help the team improve overall while still getting them more playing time with another team. Either way, these players all have bright futures and could impact any team down the road with their skillset. They are all still a long ways from the Major Leagues given that the 66ers are the lowest development team, but with obvious hard work and determination, they could still find their way to the big leagues.
The first one on the list is ranked number 6 by Baseball America and number 5 by MLB.com on the Top 30 Angels prospects lists and could see his way into the Angels’ long term plans. According to Baseball America, Jackson’s power is going to be his best asset as he hit 23 home runs in 2019. The one thing that is holding him back, however, is being consistent at the plate. He slashed .266/.333/.605 in 2019 and showed that he’s capable of improving on making more contact at the plate. He profiles at shortstop for now, however, he can also move around the infield if he needs to, whether that’s at second base or third. For that reason alone, the Angels could move him to a position like third base and have him hone in on his power which seems to be his best tool.
Following behind Jackson in prospect rankings, Kochanowicz is coming in at the number 7 spot by both Baseball America and MLB.com. He is a high-risk/high-reward player like many in the Angels’ system. According to Baseball America, his fastball is deadly as it reaches around 93-94 mph currently and states that the organization feels that he could increase that velocity. He’s also working on two secondary pitches in the curveball and changeup which gives him a good three-pitch mix and his ability to throw for strikes is a good sign that he can be consistent. Baseball America projects him as a mid-rotation starter, but he could be more given that he’s still young and is still trying to find his velocity and compliment that with his other pitches. He should still remain in the Angels system for a while given the team’s desperate need to develop their own starting pitchers and how high he projects in the system overall.
Paris is ranked 10th in the Angels farm system according to Baseball America, 6th by MLB.com, and while he’s more known for his ability to make contact, he can also show some flashes of power as well. He had some playing time at the Angels alternative site in 2020 in which he showed off that power against the Angels’ own Patrick Sandoval. While he hit a home run vs. Sandoval, being consistent at the plate might be more important for him. He’s at shortstop, where he profiles well, as he has above-average speed and a good arm that can keep him at the position. Due to the fact that he’ll more than likely stay at that position and keep profiling there, the Angels can develop him as a full-time shortstop. They could even potentially use him as a trade piece in order to get one of their needs in pitching depth. While he still has a lot to prove, the Angels should at least entertain a trade with him if his name comes up. This is due to the Angels’ plans at shortstop being unknown, as well as the team having other options.
Rivera is listed as a two-way player by Baseball America. While he might not be the next Shohei Ohtani, he does have raw power which is why the Angels are giving him looks in the outfield, and has good upside as a pitcher. From the pitching perspective, he has a good fastball that carries some heat with it as he averages 92 mph and can run it up as high as 95 mph with a decent curveball as his secondary pitch. He also has a changeup, so he has a good three-pitch mix that could make him sustainable as a pitcher and it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets more looks on the mound. He should stay in the Angels’ system as the team figures out what he profiles more as and let him continue to develop as he ranks 15th by Baseball America and 24th by MLB.com.
Bonilla comes in ranking 16th by Baseball America and 26th by MLB.com as he can play both shortstop and third base adequately and can make consistent contact at the plate. According to Baseball America, he has a nice clean bat path that can produce home runs in the future as he continues to grow. Baseball America also states that the Angels love his work ethic and baseball IQ which can help him in the future as he continuously makes adjustments and grows into his own body. He’s a guy that the Angels could also use in trade discussions to get some pieces for the club right now or in the future as the Angels have plenty of depth within the infield in their system and the timing of when he figures things out may not align with the Angels’ plans down the road.
The last one on this list is ranked at 30th by both Baseball America and by MLB.com as Seminaris was taken in last year’s draft and has shown good stuff coming out of college. He doesn’t have stuff that blows people away, but has a good four-pitch mix between a strong fastball, a curveball, a slider, and a changeup to make him a difficult guy to figure out. Should he find command while with the 66ers, he could rise through the ranks as he’s projected as the back-end of the rotation starter. Once again, the Angels are desperate to produce some of their own starting pitching for the future of the rotation, and Seminaris could fit into those plans, which is why he should stay in the organization and develop well with the team.
In conclusion, the Angels do have some good talent even at the lowest of their development teams. They all could fit into the teams’ plans either as trade pieces or long-term solutions for the Angels’ big-league roster. One of the bigger concerns is that the Angels’ farm system doesn’t rank too well as they only ranked 25th by MLB.com in March. While a lot of the players mentioned in this piece are ranked high in the Angels’ system, where they’re starting in the Minor Leagues is telling as to how far they are from reaching the big leagues and why the farm system is ranked so low. It’s going to be a bleak future for the Angels unless their development in some of these players pays off and they keep supplementing it with more players in the draft and international signings within their system.