Of course everyone knows about the top draft picks like Sam Bachman and Ky Bush, or previous breakouts like Michael Stefanic and Brendon Davis, but what about the more under the radar guys who have been quietly putting up huge numbers in the minors?
Just as the Angels are off to a hot start in 2022, the same can be said for their minor league affiliates, most notably the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas who are being propped up by some insane early season performances from four lesser-known prospects looking to finally make their names heard.
No. 4 under the radar LA Angels prospect in 2022 – Zach Humphreys
First on the list is 24-year-old catcher Zach Humphreys. After choosing to stay at Texas Christian University rather than be drafted in the 26th round of the 2019 draft by the Brewers, the LA Angels signed him to the High-A Tri-City Dust Devils in 2021 as an undrafted free agent. In case you were wondering why Humphreys isn’t on any top prospects list, this is why.
His lack of media attention and acclaim may soon be a thing of the past, however, as Humphreys is off to an absolutely torrid start in 2022. Through the first month of the season, he is batting .256/.420/.615 with a 175 wRC+ and .359 ISO, and already has four home runs. He’s also scored 11 runs and walked 11 times versus just nine strikeouts.
Establishing himself as one of the hardest hitting catchers in Double-A, Humphreys is currently top ten in home runs, slugging, OPS, ISO, and wRC+.
Behind the plate, Humphreys is showing off some impressive arm strength and accuracy, already gunning down four base runners for a 31% CS rate to start the year.
Making this even more impressive is the fact that he only has 22 games of professional experience. With such a quick ascension, Humphreys may soon be nipping on the heals of Matt Thaiss who continues to struggle in Triple-A.
While it’s obviously still super early in the season, I would keep an eye on Humphreys these next few months. If he can continue hitting like this, he may find himself challenging Thaiss for a potential backup catching role by this time next season.