At the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels made the difficult decision to go all in and try to win in 2023. This involved the team trading some of their best prospects They did this with two goals in mind. One, try and at the very least finish with a winning record for the first time since 2015. Two, show Shohei Ohtani that they could field a winning team.
Of course, the Angels failed to finish with a record close to .500, and there's a good chance they fail to convince Shohei Ohtani to remain with the franchise which creates a whole set of problems. Finishing with the losing record and losing Ohtani would be tough, especially when the Angels traded several young prospects.
Two of the prospects they wound up moving were Jeremiah Jackson and Coleman Crow. Both were sent to the Mets in separate deals at the trade deadline in trades that netted the Angels Dominic Leone and Eduardo Escobar. It's safe to say Leone and Escobar brought just about nothing to the Angels, which, of course, was disappointing.
Both Jackson and Crow were left unprotected from this year's Rule 5 Draft. The Angels have a rare opportunity to snag two of their former top prospects if they so choose, and should strongly consider doing so.
LA Angels can look to add a pair of their former top prospects in the Rule 5 Draft
Selecting a player in the Rule 5 Draft can be a bit of a tricky process. Once selected, that player must remain on the 26-man roster for the entire season barring a stint on the IL. This means you can't send a player down due to performance or other roster crunch concerns. If a team decides its had enough of a certain player and wants to send him down, they'd have to send him to another team.
This makes it pretty unlikely the Angels select someone in the Rule 5 Draft. They haven't done it much in the past, and there's no reason to believe that'll change. A player like Jackson still feels like a worthwhile player to gamble on.
What's most intriguing about him is the fact that he's extremely versatile in the field. Jackson is a middle infielder primarily but also played third base and both corner outfield positions this past season. That kind of versatility is rare, and really useful over the course of a 162-game season.
Additionally, while strikeouts are a concern, Jackson put up solid numbers in AA this season. He slashed .252/.328/.450 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI splitting time between AA Rocket City and AA Binghamton. He added 27 stolen bases and 19 doubles as well.
Coleman Crow's situation is easier for the Angels to get a handle on. He underwent Tommy John Surgery knocking him out for most, if not the entire 2024 season. The Angels can easily select him, keep him on their 40-man roster this offseason, and then place him on the 60-day IL and stash him for the year. Come next season when he's healthy, the Angels can hope he shows more signs of being a solid arm like he did this past season when he posted a 1.88 ERA in four starts in AA.
The Angels have a rare opportunity to right two wrongs by selecting two of their former top prospects in the Rule 5 Draft. They're not projected to be massive differencemakers by any means, but can add some depth to a prospect pool that lacks any kind of substance.