While we wait for the 2020 MLB season to get underway, it’s time to take a closer look at players who could one day be on opening day rosters. For the next month or two, we’ll be examining each team’s farm system, which will contain several prospects that will either one day be contributors for them, or could be used to acquire impact major leaguers.
Since we’ll be going in alphabetical order by city, our 13th farm system overview will be of the Los Angeles Angels. We’ll rank their top ten prospects, discuss some of their other notable minor leaguers, and then analyze the overall state of the farm system.
#1: OF Jo Adell
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 215 lbs
Drafted: 10th Overall- 2017
Hit: 52.5 Power: 62.5 Field: 57.5 Arm: 55 Speed: 62.5
Overall Grade: 57.4
When he was drafted 10th overall by the Angels in the 2017 draft, Jo Adell was seen as a massive project, but one with incredible potential due to his elite athleticism. Yet, with just two full seasons under his belt, there’s a great chance he makes his big-league debut this season for the Angels. Adell’s swing-and-miss concerns remain intact, but on the bright side, the walk rates he’s posted are satisfactory, and it’s hard to bet against his pure-hitting ability. Additionally, with incredible bat speed and strength, his raw power is incredible, and it’s already translated tremendously into games. His athleticism, meanwhile, shows up tremendously in the outfield, as he can play all three spots, has gold-glove potential, and even has more room to grow on that side of the ball. Overall, Adell is the type of five-tool prospect that could make him a superstar in the future, which is something the Angels desperately need- a young, cost-controlled phenom. I’d like to see him work on his approach and not rely so much on his batting average on balls in play before he is called up, and am not even sure he should make his MLB debut this season. Nevertheless, he has one of the highest ceilings in the entire minor leagues, and if the Angels continue to develop him properly, he could be a star next to Mike Trout in the outfield.
#2: RHP Chris Rodriguez
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 4th Round- 2016
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 53.25
The Angels are notorious for being thin on young pitching, and even more, for having said pitchers get injured. Therefore, they certainly couldn’t be too pleased to find out that Chris Rodriguez had to have surgery to fix a stress fracture in his back in, an injury that kept him out for all of 2018 and 2019. Ultimately, that’s put Rodriguez significantly behind in terms of development, but in the end, it could all be worth it. His ability to mix up the movements of his high 90s fastball (rising or two-seam downward) is impressive, and makes it a true plus pitch. Furthermore, he’s also able to spin two above-average breaking balls, had shown a nice feel for a changeup, while his command won’t be a problem. Obviously, when a pitcher misses two full seasons due to injury, it’s hard to maintain faith in him. Yet, Rodriguez is only 21-years-old, and given his talent, there is no reason to believe he can’t get back on track in 2020. He’s not close to MLB ready due to injuries, but I still envision him as a solid #3 starter in the future.
#3: OF Brandon Marsh
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 215 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- 2016
Hit: 52.5 Power: 50 Field: 50 Arm: 60 Speed: 60
Overall Grade: 52.575
Adell figures to partner with Trout in a corner outfield spot, but can Brandon Marsh complete the trio? That’s what the Angels are hoping for, as they’ve seen him develop nicely since being drafted out of high school in the second round, and finally, the 22-year-old looks to be on the cusp of making his MLB debut. Offensively, Marsh’s walk rate should allow him to post solid on-base percentages, and in theory, he has above-average raw power. However, a contact-oriented approach has prevented that power from showing up in games, and in order for him to be the lefty slugger he should be, he may need to revamp his approach. On the bright side, Marsh’s strong arm and solid athleticism project well in right field, and even if he can’t hit for enough power, he can at least be an athletic high on-base type of corner outfielder. I’m still holding out hope the power develops, but either way, Marsh’s floor is pretty high, so he should be an everyday outfielder.
#4: OF Jordyn Adams
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 180 lbs
Drafted: 17th Overall- 2018
Hit: 50 Power: 50 Field: 55 Arm: 47.5 Speed: 80
Overall Grade: 52.5
Adell isn’t the only young developmental project to be drafted by the Angels in recent years; just one year later, they took a chance on Jordyn Adams with the 17th overall pick. After all, Adams had a two-sport commitment at the University of North Carolina, so not only did the Angels have to give him an over-slot bonus, but he was also a major work-in-progress. To that end, he still isn’t MLB ready at all, but he was able to reach High-A last year, and has dominated in every level of the minor leagues so far. Obviously, Adams’ 80-grade speed is his best tool, and as a result, he should be able to steal bases with ease, post high batting average on balls in play, and track plenty of ground in the outfield. However, he’s still working on his approach, though his plate discipline numbers have been solid so far, and in the future, the hope is that his great bat speed will lead to him hitting for power. Plus, defensively, he still needs to work on his routes in the outfield, though it’d be foolish to not see him as a future center fielder, which actual is ideal considering that at some point, Trout will need to move to a corner outfield spot. The Angels have been patient with Adams, and so far, it’s paying off. I’m excited to see how he fares in his second full season of professional ball this season.
#5: RHP Stiward Aquino
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 170 lbs
Signed: December 30, 2016
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 47.5
Overall Grade: 52
Remember that issue with Angels pitchers constantly getting hurt? Well, not only has Rodriguez missed time due to injuries, but their second-best pitching prospect, Stiward Aquino, missed all of the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. However, perhaps the injury won’t actually be too much of a negative for the 20-year-old. His fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, should only add velocity as he matures into his 6’6″ frame, and with a nice breaking ball and changeup that has a lot of potential, he has the three-pitch necessary to be an MLB starting pitcher. Now, he still needs to work on his command, but he’s already mastered the ability to strike hitters out, and overall, his upside is off the charts. This season will be a huge season for him, as ideally, he’ll finally advanced past Rookie-Ball.
#6: OF D’Shawn Knowles
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 165 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2017
Hit: 47.5 Power: 45 Field: 55 Arm: 52.5 Speed: 65
Overall Grade: 50.425
What is it with the Angels and young, athletic outfielders? They clearly have an affinity for this prototype, as not only have they drafted Adell, Adams, and Marsh, but in 2017, they also signed D’Shawn Knowles from the Bahamas. With his overall range in the outfield, the 19-year-old figures to be a strong defender that will certainly stick in center field. However, his offensive profile is still murky at best. At the moment, he has a slasher mentality, focused on hitting ground balls, so he’ll never hit much power. Plus, his high strikeout rates in Rookie Ball are concerning, and at the moment, he doesn’t appear to have a specific approach. He does have time to develop, but if I had to guess, Knowles projects as a defensive-minded fourth outfielder. On a more positive note, however, that defense does give him a much higher floor than most young international prospects.
#7: 2B Jeremiah Jackson
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 165 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- 2018
Hit: 50 Power: 50 Field: 50 Arm: 55 Speed: 52.5
Overall Grade: 50.375
At this point, I’m seriously wondering if the Angels even draft college hitters; one round after drafting Adams in 2018, they selected high-school infielder Jeremiah Jackson. Yet, Jackson is different than some of the team’s other recent picks- he has a much more refined skillset. He must work on minimizing the amount of swing-and-miss with his approach, but he does have the type of smooth swing that should translate into results, and with tremendous bat speed, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at least hit 15-20 home runs a season. Defensively, he isn’t spectacular, but the 19-year-old certainly isn’t a liability, and will be able to stick at either shortstop or second base. When it’s all said and done, Jackson doesn’t have a specific skill that stands out from the rest, but he also doesn’t have a weakness. If he can refine his approach and tap into more power, perhaps he could fly up this list, though he certainly has a lot of work to do before he can be counted on as a future everyday infielder.
#8: RHP Jose Soriano
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 168 lbs
Signed: March 4, 2016
Fastball: 62.5 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 42.5
Overall Grade: 50.125
As mentioned previously, the Angels tend to target young, high-upside pitchers with lots of projectability, which perfectly describes Jose Soriano. Signed for $70,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, his flashes of excellence are off the charts. His fastball sits in the high 90s, and since he hasn’t filled out his frame, it isn’t inconceivable that his velocity could be in the triple-digits on a consistent basis. Furthermore, he’s shown a strong ability to spin his breaking ball, and though he must work on it more, his changeup should be at least average by the time he’s ready to contribute at the big-league level. Nevertheless, if the 21-year-old wants to be a full-time starting pitcher, then he needs to massively improve his command. He does have the tools to get better in that regard, but a 5.56 BB/9 in 77.2 innings in Single-A won’t cut it, especially since his strikeout rate (9.73 K/9) isn’t otherworldly. Typically, a 21-year-old pitcher would be more developed at this stage of his progression than Soriano currently is, but when you have the tools that he has, it’s hard to lose faith in him. Needless to say, his mission to walk fewer batters will be a critical storyline for an Angels teams that desperately needs their young pitchers to develop properly.
#9: SS Kyren Paris
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 165 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- 2019
Hit: 47.5 Power: 45 Field: 55 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 57.5
Overall Grade: 50.125
As one of the youngest players in the 2019 draft, any team that was going to select Kyren Paris needed to be intrigued enough by his athletic ability to be convinced that they could develop him, even if he was a massive project. So, who pulled the trigger on him? Well, no other the team that was an obvious fit from the start. Right now, I’m not sure what Paris brings to the table offensively. The 18-year-old does display good bat speed and a line-drive swing, Yet, he isn’t consistent enough with his approach, and perhaps most significantly, may never hit for enough power. Maybe he can mature in his frame and refine his methods offensively, but right now, he’s as much of a work in progress as there is. Luckily for Paris, he has all the tools scouts are looking for defensively in a shortstop, and with his athleticism, he can play the outfield if needed; there’s a reason the Angels are taking a chance on him, after all. I’m excited to see if Paris can make good on his potential, and was a little surprised he didn’t get drafted in the first round, given his upside. Still, he’s probably 4-5 years away from being MLB ready, and probably will spend the entire season in Rookie Ball.
#10: OF Trent Deveaux
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 160 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2017
Hit: 42.5 Power: 45 Field: 55 Arm: 55 Speed: 75
Overall Grade: 49.925
Signed alongside Knowles during the 2017 international signing period, Bahamian outfielder Trent Devaux clearly tantalized the Angels with speed, which has received some 80-grades on the 20-80 scale. With said speed, I expect his defense to be in the outfield to be tremendous, and undoubtedly, he’ll be an asset with his ability to steal bases as well. However, whether the 19-year-old offense develops enough for him to be an everyday outfielder remains to be seen. He’s struggled mightily in Rookie Ball so far, and if he’s going to strike out at such a high rate, will his speed even matter? Just from the eye test, there are severe mechanical flaws with his swing, and when you consider that he’ll also not hit for much power, then there is a great reason to be extremely concerned about his offense moving forward. I see Devaux as a future bench piece who can be used as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement, but that’s about it, and the fact he makes the top-ten speaks to the lack of depth in the Angels farm system.
Best of the Rest
- Jahmai Jones is a second baseman that generated a lot of hype, but the combination of his middling offense and below-average defense certainly doesn’t mesh well.
Farm System Overview
When you pass on multiple high-end college pitchers in the 2019 MLB draft for a lower-ceiling prospect in Will Wilson, just to trade him to get rid of Zack Cozart’s $12 million salary, then you’re not going your farm system any favors. Adell could be a superstar, but he’s about the only prospect to get truly excited about, as the rest are either project or have injury concerns. The Angels have to target athletic, high-upside young players, and it’s backfired tremendously. They’re lucky to have Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon locked up for the future, as there isn’t much impact talent, outside of Adell, that will make a true impact anytime soon.