Top 31 Prospects: Los Angeles Angels by Eric Longenhagen June 5, 2020 Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Los Angeles Angels. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 20202019ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFGALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Angels Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Jo Adell 21.2 AAA LF 2021 65 2 Brandon Marsh 22.5 AA CF 2020 55 3 Jordyn Adams 20.6 A+ CF 2023 50 4 Kyren Paris 18.6 R SS 2024 45 5 Arol Vera 17.7 R SS 2025 45 6 Patrick Sandoval 23.6 MLB LHP 2020 45 7 Jeremiah Jackson 20.2 R 3B 2022 45 8 Hector Yan 21.1 A LHP 2023 40+ 9 Chris Rodriguez 21.9 A+ RHP 2021 40+ 10 Alexander Ramirez 17.8 R RF 2023 40+ 11 Jahmai Jones 22.8 AA 2B 2021 40+ 12 D’Shawn Knowles 19.4 R CF 2023 40+ 13 William Holmes 19.5 R RHP/CF 2023 40+ 14 Jose Soriano 21.6 A RHP 2022 40+ 15 Trent Deveaux 20.1 R CF 2023 40+ 16 Jack Kochanowicz 19.5 R RHP 2024 40 17 Sadrac Franco 20.0 R RHP 2023 40 18 Michael Hermosillo 25.4 MLB RF 2020 40 19 Adrian Placencia 17.0 R 2B 2024 40 20 Leonardo Rivas 22.7 A+ 2B 2020 40 21 Orlando Martinez 22.3 A+ LF 2022 40 22 Aaron Hernandez 23.5 A+ RHP 2021 40 23 Garrett Stallings 22.8 R RHP 2022 40 24 Gabriel Tapia 18.0 R RHP 2024 35+ 25 Jared Walsh 26.8 MLB 1B/LHP 2020 35+ 26 Robinson Pina 21.5 A RHP 2022 35+ 27 Oliver Ortega 23.7 AA RHP 2020 35+ 28 Livan Soto 20.0 A SS 2022 35+ 29 Jose Bonilla 18.2 R 3B 2024 35+ 30 Stiward Aquino 21.0 R RHP 2022 35+ 31 Connor Higgins 23.9 A+ LHP 2022 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 65 FV Prospects 1. Jo Adell, LF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Ballard HS (KY) (LAA) Age 21.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 65 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/45 70/70 50/70 60/50 45/50 40/40 The baseball-loving world held its collective breath last year when Adell went down with two freak leg injuries on the same spring training play (while going from first to third, he strained his left hamstring, then sprained his right ankle trying to stop himself when he felt the pull) and was shelved for a couple of months. While his gait appeared compromised during Extended spring rehab outings, Adell was asymptomatic throughout the summer and during the Arizona Fall League. After a brief jaunt in the Cal League, the Angels sent him to Double-A Mobile, where he’d had a strikeout-laden cup of coffee the year before. He adjusted, cut the strikeout rate down to a very livable 22%, and hit .308/.390/.553 over two months before he was sent to Triple-A in August. Again, Adell struck out a lot when he was challenged, and there are people in baseball who worry about how often he K’s, but he was just 20 years old and has had success amid many swing changes since he signed, a common theme among Angels prospects. Adell’s leg kick has been altered; he now raises it even with his waist at apex, and the height at which his hands load (as well as the angle of his bat when they do) was quite nomadic throughout last year. By the time Adell was done with Fall League and had joined Team USA’s Premier12 Olympic qualifying efforts, he had a Gary Sheffield-style bat wrap. Adell is one of the best athletes in the minors (there’s video of him box jumping 66 inches online) and the fact that’s he’s been able to manifest these adjustments on the field at will is incredible. Even if something mechanical isn’t working in the future, chances are he’ll be able to fix it. I’ve settled on projecting Adell in left field. The arm strength he showed as an amateur, when he was into the mid-90s as a pitcher, never totally returned after it mysteriously evaporated during his senior year of high school. He has a 40 arm and is such a hulking dude that he’s just going to be a corner defender at maturity. Strikeouts may limit Adell’s productivity when he’s initially brought up, but I think eventually he’ll be a middle-of-the-order force who hits 35-plus homers. 55 FV Prospects 2. Brandon Marsh, CF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Buford HS (GA) (LAA) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/55 55/60 40/50 60/55 50/50 60/60 It’s possible the wait is over and that Marsh’s swing is now in a place that will enable him to hit for power more in line with the thump he shows in batting practice, but his in-season slugging performance (.428 in 2019, up from .385 the year before) is not the evidence. Marsh still hit the ball on the ground a lot during the regular season and only averaged about five degrees of launch angle, but by his Fall League stint things clearly looked different. Like Jo Adell showed late in the fall, Marsh’s hands loaded a little farther out away from his body and he had what some scouts called a “wrap” or “power tip,” where the bat head angled toward the mound a bit, setting up more of a loop than a direct path to the ball. I thought he lifted the ball better during that six week stretch and did so without compromising his strong feel for contact. Marsh is a better outfield defender that Adell and projects as a clean fit in center field, which, so long as this development holds, should enable him to be an above-average everday player. 50 FV Prospects 3. Jordyn Adams, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Green Hope HS (NC) (LAA) Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 50/60 30/50 80/80 45/60 45/50 Adams was seen as a football-first prospect until late March of 2018. He played at a couple of showcase events in the summer of 2017 and had some raw tools, but wasn’t yet under consideration for the top few rounds of the baseball draft. He was, however, a top 100 football recruit, set to head to North Carolina to play wide receiver, where his father was on the coaching staff. Then in March, Adams had a coming out party at the heavily-scouted NHSI tournament near his high school. Multiple scouts from all 30 teams watched him against strong competition for a few days, and he looked very, very good, much more comfortable than expected given his level of experience. Scouts were hesitant at first, worried they might be overreacting, but eventually they came to think that Adams’ only athletic peer in recent draft history was Byron Buxton. Teams assessed his signability and the Angels were comfortable using their first rounder on him. He didn’t play much during that first pro summer, but the Angels surprisingly skipped him over the Pioneer League and sent him right to full-season ball, even though he’d only been solely focused on baseball for a year. Adams had a slightly above-average statline there, which is incredible for someone who only just picked up a bat. He is built like you probably expect a D-I wide receiver recruit to be built, he’s an 80 runner, and while the swing foundation isn’t great, the Angels are one of the most proactive, swing-changing orgs. Adams’ rare physical gifts make him a potential star, though more advanced pitching will probably be a real challenge for him this year. 45 FV Prospects 4. Kyren Paris, SS Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Freedom HS (CA) (LAA) Age 18.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 45/55 20/45 60/60 45/55 60/60 When he was drafted, Paris was closer in age to many international free agent prospects than he was to some of the older high schoolers in his class, and he’s still younger than a bunch of the high schoolers slated to go in the 2020 draft. Paris’ pre-draft profile existed at the intersection of traits a lot of models seem to prioritize (chiefly, his age) and old school scouting (this was one of the 2019 draft’s best athletes with one of its most projectable builds). Paris is really fast, might be capable of staying at shortstop (and should stay on the middle of the diamond if he can’t), and his feel to hit was much better during his draft spring than it was the summer before. Some teams thought it was just a product of him facing weaker pitching, while others thought he was truly emerging and cited his age as evidence that the late improvement was legitimate. A broken hamate limited Paris to just three games after last year’s draft. He arrived to camp this spring looking absolutely yoked, and he has a chance to hit for some power sooner than I anticipated a year ago. I still consider him a slow-burning prospect with a high ceiling (a leadoff hitting middle infield or center fielder) but it’s possible things will come together sooner than I initially anticipated based on how physical Paris worked to become during the offseason. 5. Arol Vera, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (LAA) Age 17.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 40/60 20/55 50/45 45/50 55/60 It’s hard to find prospects who have an infielder’s grace and athleticism as well as a big, projectable frame. He’s currently skinny as a rail, but Vera is one of these prospects and has a chance to mature in the Goldilocks Zone, where he stays lithe and athletic enough to remain at short but also grows into impact power. He took some good cuts in the Fall during intrasquads, but if Vera worked deep into counts and swung several times during the same at-bat, his later swings weren’t as controlled and strong. He needs to get stronger. I’m a bit less confident in Vera filling out than I was with Ronny Mauricio at the same age just because Vera’s physical composition is a little narrower and more slender, but if he does, his swing is already in a better spot to hit for power than Mauricio. 6. Patrick Sandoval, LHP Drafted: 11th Round, 2015 from Mission Viejo HS (CA) (HOU) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/50 55/55 45/50 40/45 88-92 / 96 I’m taking Sandoval’s 2019 big league walk issues with a big grain of salt because the Angels altered his release point during last season (which you can see in the graph section of his player page), lowering it slightly. It created a bit more tail on his changeup, which Sandoval has surprisingly good arm-side command of despite his vertically-oriented slot. Assuming his strike-throwing regresses to career norms, I have Sandoval evaluated as a big league ready No. 4/5 starter. 7. Jeremiah Jackson, 3B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from St. Luke’s Episcopal HS (AL) (LAA) Age 20.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/60 35/60 55/55 40/50 55/55 Jackson’s swing has already been tailored for extreme lift and power. He only hit 29% of his balls in play on the ground last year (down from 42% the year before) and averaged a 20 degree launch angle (second highest in the org behind Trent Deveaux), which would put him among the 10 steepest swingers among qualified big leaguers last year. He hit 23 homers in 65 games, and while that number was inflated by the league’s hitting environment, to the naked eye, he clearly has explosive hands and big power. Scouts who saw him last summer were all scared of this swing, with one going so far as to say it’s “jacked up.” They worry the lack of contact (33% strikeout rate last year) won’t enable him to get to that power against upper-level pitching, and that as Jackson slides down the defensive spectrum (he’s likely to move to third base), it might make it tough for him to profile. That he has a chance to stay at short, or on the infield at all, and hit for big game power means Jackson’s got an airplane hangar’s ceiling, but he’s a prospect of extreme risk. I’m optimistic that, because he’s already been able to make adjustments, he’ll continue to do so. 40+ FV Prospects 8. Hector Yan, LHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 21.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/70 45/50 40/50 35/40 90-94 / 96 Yan is like a mirror image of Freddy Peralta. Like Peralta, he’s best-suited to attack hitters with a lot of fastballs. Several aspects of Yan’s delivery enable his heater to dominate even though he only averaged 92 mph last year. He’s a long-armed side-armer with a cross-bodied delivery, which means he is releasing the ball way behind the backs of left-handed hitters, and his fastball has weird angle in on the hands of righties. The rest of the repertoire isn’t great. Yan’s slider lives almost entirely off of his arm slot and really only works against left-handed hitters, and he doesn’t throw his changeup with conviction yet. I think he’ll move to the bullpen where I believe he’ll experience a velo bump and work with a 70-grade heater. He’ll still need to develop a way to deal with righties to pitch in high-leverage spots. If he does, he’ll be a high-leverage arm. 9. Chris Rodriguez, RHP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Monsignor Pace HS (FL) (LAA) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 55/55 40/45 40/45 93-96 / 97 A stress reaction in his back cost Rodriguez all of 2018 and 2019 (he made three starts in April before he was shut down again and had surgery) but when healthy, he has the best stuff in this system, a pitch mix befitting a top 100 prospect. Prior to Rodriguez’s shutdown in 2018, he had experienced a velo spike (93-97, up from 91-94 the year before) and lowered his arm slot. Both of his breaking balls were excellent, but his changeup had regressed a bit compared to his first year (or at least, he lacked feel for it the last time I saw him). The injury adds fuel to the speculative fire that Rodriguez’s violent delivery will eventually limit him to the bullpen. It didn’t prohibit him from having starter control, but scouts were concerned about injury. Now, there’s been one. If health eventually moves Rodriguez to the bullpen, he has high-leverage stuff. If not, and his changeup returns, he could be a No. 3 or 4 starter. 10. Alexander Ramirez, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 17.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 55/70 25/60 40/30 40/45 50/60 So young is Ramirez that he had to wait almost two months after the July 2 signing day to turn 16 and become eligible to put pen to paper on his pro contract, which included a $1 million bonus. At the time, he was a typical, frame-based power projection outfield prospect at a lean, high-waisted, broad-shouldered 6-foot-2. But Ramirez has grown into serious power more quickly than anticipated. In fact, his 95 mph average exit velo was the highest in the entire DSL last year. He also struck out a lot, and corner bats who punch out at this rate at any level, let alone against bad DSL pitching, are inherently volatile. I saw Ramirez in the fall and I don’t think he’s 6-foot-2 anymore; to me, he looked closer to 6-foot-4 and didn’t look maxed out physically. I think he still has a ton of room on his frame and a chance to grow into elite raw power, but of course the feel to hit really hasn’t been tested yet, and it’s a necessary component for corner players. 11. Jahmai Jones, 2B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Wesleyan HS (GA) (LAA) Age 22.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 50/50 40/45 60/60 40/45 45/45 Jones had the worst offensive season of his career in 2019 and arrived in the Arizona Fall League having made yet another swing change. He ran an unusually low BABIP last year, his underlying TrackMan data was still favorable (39% of balls in play hit 95 mph or above), and he was a college-aged player who spent all of last year at Double-A. I’m still betting on Jones’ makeup and athleticism, and think he’ll find a way to be a 1.5 to 2 WAR role player who sees time at second base and in left field. 12. D’Shawn Knowles, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Bahamas (LAA) Age 19.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 45/50 20/45 70/70 45/55 60/60 Knowles has electric tools — a plus arm, plus-plus speed, sneaky power for a guy his size — and is the same age as several players who the Angels left back in the AZL. He didn’t hit especially well — .240/.310/.387 — but was 2.5 years younger than the average player in that league. That’s not to say Knowles’ bat doesn’t need polish. His left-handed swing (this system has a lot of switch-hitters) is pretty grooved, and I think he’s likely to be strikeout prone from that side for good. From the right side, he might be able to do real damage. Knowles needs more reps in center as his reads on balls are mixed. Again, Knowles is a 19-year-old switch hitter and it’s possible that his feel to hit from the left side still develops. If it doesn’t, he easily projects as a fourth outfielder who could be the short half of a platoon at any outfield spot. 13. William Holmes, RHP/CF Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Detroit Western Int’l HS (MI) (LAA) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/55 20/50 55/50 40/50 70/70 Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/55 45/55 45/55 40/50 88-94 / 95 Many teams considered Holmes to be one of the, if not the, best on-mound athletes among high schoolers in the 2018 draft, but many of them also thought he was sushi raw as both a hurler and an outfielder, and that he would end up at the University of Tennessee. A $700,000 bonus brought him to Tempe for a summer free of pitching in games, an approach the Angels have taken with several recent draftees. He’s begun to emerge as a pitching prospect, showing refined command of three viable pitches late last summer. He’s a No. 4/5 starter if he can continue to do that consistently, and perhaps as he continues to focus on pitching, there might be late-blooming raw stuff quality, too. 14. Jose Soriano, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 168 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/55 30/40 30/40 93-97 / 99 Soriano had Tommy John in February. It was already pretty clear that his future would be in the bullpen, but the surgery, and what it does to his developmental timeline, make it even more likely. He experienced another velo bump last year (not as huge as the jump from 2017 to ’18) and was touching 99 as a starter at Low-A Burlington. 15. Trent Deveaux, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Bahamas (LAA) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 45/55 30/50 70/70 40/55 50/55 I wrote last year that I thought Deveaux’s horrendous 2018 season was largely caused by the constant mechanical changes he was asked to make. His 2019 swing was still noisier than a Dinosaur Jr. concert in a giant aluminum dome, but he seemed to get a better feel for syncing it up and timing fastballs late last summer before the club promoted him to Orem for the last week of the season. He remains a high-risk prospect whose hit tool might be disqualifying, but if he finds a swing that works for him and is allowed to keep it, he has a shot to be a power-hitting center fielder. 40 FV Prospects 16. Jack Kochanowicz, RHP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Harriton HS (PA) (LAA) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 207 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/60 45/50 40/50 88-92 / 94 Kochanowicz is a physical beast from a cold weather locale. He has surprisingly advanced feel for locating his curveball, and for a changeup that I think has a chance to be his best pitch at maturity. He was 90-94 during his pre-draft spring and didn’t pitch after he signed. 17. Sadrac Franco, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Panama (LAA) Age 20.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 40/45 30/40 92-96 / 97 Franco’s velocity spiked last year — 90-94 in 2018, 93-96 and touching 97 in 2019 — and he’ll flash a plus breaking ball. He’s small but athletic, an indication he can hold the velo and also refine his command. I think it’s more likely he ends up a power reliever, living off of velo and that two-planed power curveball. 18. Michael Hermosillo, RF Video Drafted: 28th Round, 2013 from Ottawa HS (IL) (LAA) Age 25.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 50/50 40/45 65/65 50/55 50/50 It took a $100,000 bonus to sign Hermosillo away from a football scholarship to Illinois. What with two-sports and a cold-weather background, he was understandably raw when he entered pro ball, and it took Hermosillo three years of adjustments before he finally experienced a statistical breakout in 2016. Since then, he has continued to make mechanical tweaks to reshape his skillset, and was rewarded with brief major league stints in 2018 and 2019. He likely would have graduated last year had he not missed a big chunk of the season recovering from hernia surgery and post-op issues with scar tissue. He’s likely to be Brian Goodwin’s platoon partner this year. 19. Adrian Placencia, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 17.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 35/45 20/40 40/40 40/50 45/45 Placencia’s left-handed swing is the sweetest-looking cut in this system, and his righty swing is the second. He has feel for lengthening his path to create good angle on pitches at the bottom of the zone, but he can also keep things short and direct to catch pitches near the top of the zone. This kind of bat control is rare for anyone, let alone a switch-hitter this age. He’s a smaller-framed kid who may not grow into much power (though I’m cautiously optimistic about him developing enough pop to keep pitchers honest), and ends up painted into a bit of a corner at second base. 20. Leonardo Rivas, 2B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (LAA) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 35/40 20/30 70/70 45/50 50/50 It’s very possible that Rivas’ elite feel for the strike zone won’t translate to upper-level play. He owns a 16% career walk rate, but Rivas and his childlike, Lilliputian frame lack even a modicum of over-the-fence power, and advanced pitching may choose to attack him rather than nibble and let the speedy infielder reach without putting the ball in play. Even if his walk rate comes down, Rivas does enough other stuff to contribute to a big league roster. He won’t hit homers, but he stings high-quality line drive contact to all-fields and can slash doubles down the third base line. He has sufficient speed and range for the middle infield, and has experience at every position but first base and catcher, though he hasn’t played the outfield since 2015. Rivas’ most realistic path to everyday production involves him retaining something close to his current walk rate, but he’s more likely to become a valuable utility man who can play all over the field, and is a fairly high-probability prospect in that regard. 21. Orlando Martinez, LF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (LAA) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 50/50 40/45 45/45 55/55 55/55 Signed out of Cuba at 19, Martinez has hit .280/.337/.433 in two pro seasons, though the bulk of that has been in the Pioneer and Cal Leagues. He has a balanced and well-timed cut, above-average bat control (though he sometimes sacrifices contact quality), and average raw power. The physical tools are modest, short of a corner regular, but Marintez could play a well-rounded platoon role. 22. Aaron Hernandez, RHP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Texas A&M Corpus Christi (LAA) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/50 45/55 40/50 35/45 91-95 / 97 Hernandez has good secondary stuff but his control is raw for a 23-year-old, and he hasn’t been able to make up the reps he missed in college (he made just 19 starts in three years) due to a 2019 injury and, ya know, the pandemic. He probably also needs a bit of a velo boost, since he averaged about 92 last year, which I think he has a shot to find in one-inning bursts. 23. Garrett Stallings, RHP Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Tennessee (LAA) Age 22.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/50 45/50 45/55 88-92 / 93 A growing number of teams shut down their newly-drafted pitchers during their first pro summer, which is what the Angels did with Stallings (it’s why he doesn’t have a player page yet), who threw a career-high 103 innings at Tennessee during the spring. In 251 career collegiate frames, Stallings walked just 37 hitters, and he didn’t issue a single free pass during his summer on Cape Cod. You’d think an extreme strike-thrower like this would have the most vanilla, stock footage delivery, but Stallings’ is actually kind of funky, and helps his stuff (which is very vanilla) play up a little bit. He’s a low variance fifth starter prospect. 35+ FV Prospects 24. Gabriel Tapia, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (ARI) Age 18.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 40/50 50/60 35/50 87-91 / 92 The Angels are one of what is now a majority of teams that don’t have a traditional instructional league and instead play brief intrasquad scrimmages in the fall. It was there that Tapia popped, showing the group’s most polished feel for pitching even though he was the youngest guy on the roster. Tapia has a semi-projectable frame, so hopefully his fastball, which currently sits 88-91, has an extra gear as he develops in his late teens and early 20s. If it doesn’t, his advanced command may enable it to play anyway. Most impressively, Tapia’s changeup is already plus pretty often and he shows mature usage of it, working it down-and-in to righties for whiffs, and running it back onto the outside corner against them for looking strikes. His 73-77 mph curveball is loose and blunt right now, but has good shape. He has a shot to be a rotation piece. 25. Jared Walsh, 1B/LHP Drafted: 39th Round, 2015 from Georgia Tech (LAA) Age 26.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 65/65 45/55 45/45 55/55 60/60 Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/50 45/45 89-92 / 93 Walsh may pitch in mop-up duty, but his primary role will be as a lefty bench bat with power. He had among the highest average exit velocities in the minors last year at just under 96 mph. 26. Robinson Pina, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 50/55 40/45 30/40 89-93 / 95 Pina pitched out of the bullpen in 2018, then moved to the Low-A rotation last year and struck out 146 hitters in 108 innings despite pitching with diminished velocity in the starting role. He has a prototypical 6-foot-4 frame and generates nearly seven and a half feet of extension down the mound, which helps that fastball get in hitters’ kitchens. He has both breaking ball consistency issues (though it flashes plus) and mechanical consistency concerns, so I have him projected in relief, where I think the fastball will live in the mid-90s. 27. Oliver Ortega, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/55 35/40 92-96 / 97 Ortega had a breakout 2019, striking out 121 hitters in 94 innings at Hi-A Inland Empire before finishing his year with five rough starts at Double-A. Most of those strikeouts were accrued via Ortega’s mid-90s fastball, which lives in the top of the strike zone, and a low-80s, vertical curveball. Ortega doesn’t repeat his delivery consistently and I have him projected in up/down relief. 28. Livan Soto, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (LAA) Age 20.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 35/40 20/30 55/55 50/55 50/50 Scouts like Soto because of how hard he plays, and some analysts like him because of how hard he is to strike out (he had a measley 7% swinging strike rate last year), but I don’t think he has big league physicality. At the same time, he does have speed, defensive versatility, advantageous handedness, and is only 20, so if he gets stronger, he could be a good bench piece. 29. Jose Bonilla, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 18.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/55 20/50 40/40 40/50 60/60 Bonilla has a mature build (which is why I’ve got him projected at third rather than short, where he mostly played last year) and approach, as well as a plus arm. He’s not likely to grow into huge power and instead has a shot to profile with a balanced combination of contact, on-base ability, and modest pop. 30. Stiward Aquino, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 21.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/55 45/50 40/45 90-94 / 95 Aquino missed 2018 due to TJ and his velocity wasn’t quite back last year, living in the 90-94 range rather than at 92-96. His fastball has relevant backspin but because Aquino doesn’t get down the mound very well, it has hittable, downhill angle. He’s still a good-framed 21-year-old, and I wonder where the fastball would live in relief. 31. Connor Higgins, LHP Drafted: 17th Round, 2018 from Arizona State (LAA) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 30/35 91-94 / 97 Higgins’ stuff was up and down in college, peaking in the upper-90s during his underclass stint in the Alaskan Summer League. Arizona State didn’t have a pitching coach (seriously) for part of his college tenure and Higgins might only now be thriving in a more stable developmental environment. He’s a vertical slot lefty relief prospect. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Depth Arms Adrian De Horta, RHP Zach Linginfelter, RHP Matt Ball, RHP Luke Lind, RHP Davis Daniel, RHP Adrian Almeida, LHP De Horta and Ball were spring NRIs. De Horta, 25, sat 92-96 last year and has an average curveball. Linginfelter was the club’s ninth rounder last year and, at his best, would be in the mid-90s with an above-average slider, but not consistently. Lind and Ball are both 25 and live off of fastball deception. Daniel, the club’s seventh rounder last year, was up to 96 at Auburn and had a very pretty 12-to-6 curveball, but he blew out early during his draft spring and needed TJ. Almeida was a Minor League Rule 5 pick a few years ago. He’s one of the hardest lefty throwers on the planet (93-97, touch 99), but he has 20 command. Cherubs Erik Rivera, LHP/OF Jose Reyes, CF Edwin Yon, RF Kevin Maitan, 3B Rivera, 19, is being developed like Holmes, where he’s still doing a mix of hitting and pitching. I like him better on the mound. He’s an above-average athlete with some breaking ball feel, and he was up to 94 in the bullpen this spring after sitting at about 87-88 as an amateur. Reyes is another well-built lefty stick with good secondary tools, but the bat looked light to me last year. He’s only 19. Yon was a Minor League Rule 5 pick last year. He’s about 6-foot-6 and has huge power. His lever length is a problem but he missed a lot of time with a gruesome leg injury and I think he’s got a puncher’s chance to break late. Maitan is still only 20, but I can’t find anyone who’s still in on him. System Overview This system has the two big fish at the very top, a third who is tracking like one (Adams), and then a bunch of young, toolsy, risky sorts with big ceilings. There is not a lot of depth in the system, which has lost Luis Rengifo, Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez, and Matt Thaiss to graduation in the last year. The Angels have also traded some prospects, though not always for the right reasons. They sent a host of interesting college-aged arms to Baltimore for Dylan Bundy (they’d all have been toward the bottom of the list), and last year’s first rounder, Will Wilson, was sent to the Giants as part of a Winter Meetings salary dump that in retrospect was a tip that Arte Moreno was starting to cry about the ops budget. All of baseball thinks Moreno’s mandate to furlough scouts was distasteful and cheap, and especially demoralizing given the timing, since the affected area scouts would have all been paid just once more before the draft. People in baseball seem less inclined to want to work for the Angels going forward. Other org tendencies? Age and athleticism seem to be drivers in the draft room. The pro side hasn’t had many opportunities to act like buyers in recent years, but in the cases when they have (Sandoval), they’ve often hit. The Angels have also made a habit of signing post-hype players who have been released, like Adrian Rondon, Michael Santos, Gareth Morgan, and several other past prospects of note.