The Angels don’t look so hot lately. It seems that late game magic is still here, because they’re still making comebacks, but they’re also finding ways to cough up that comeback lead. And with the injuries they’ve encountered, the Angels will need some help from their prospects again this year, namely, their pitching prospects. First, let’s start with who has been promoted.
RHP Keynan Middleton (#6 prospect) – This is one I think everyone and their grandma saw coming a mile away. Middleton showed that he had nothing left to learn in AAA, and so was promoted and has since gone about learning the ropes in the majors. His fastball isn’t the 102 we saw in Salt Lake last year, but it’s still consistently 96-98. His slider comes in around 88-89 and is a true strikeout pitch. Middleton will need to get settled and find the strike zone a bit more, but before the end of the season, he could be closing out games for the Angels.
RHP Brooks Pounders (#22 prospect) – There was some debate as to whether the Angels would deploy Pounders as a starter or reliever. For now, they like him better as a reliever (a questionable decision at best). As a reliever, Brooks is sitting 90-92 on his fastball with weight to it and a decent change up and breaking ball. Pounders didn’t last long in the majors before being sent back down to Salt Lake. But with the trouble Angels starters have encountered lately, and JC Ramirez and Jesse Chavez not looking like they’ll move to the pen any time soon, a spot as a reliever could open back up for someone that can cover multiple innings, like Pounders.
RHP Alex Meyer (#3 prospect) – Meyer still hasn’t got locked into the new arm slot, which is understandable given that it’s such a new thing for him. But the Angels have a need regardless, and Meyer’s upside could play up in a big way. The 95+ fastball, knee bending slider and solid change up are still there. So far, we’ve seen a lot of walks and a lot of strikeouts, but not as many outs as we’d hope. Still, he’s improving.
Prospects on the horizon
RHP Vicente Campos (#16 prospect) – Campos is still on the mend, but has made a couple appearances in Salt Lake. The Angels are using him as a starter, which is a very smart move. When campos is healthy, he’s an ace. His combination of stuff and control is unbelievable for someone that was exposed to waivers. Once Campos finds his footing, he’ll be an injury or poor performance away from promotion. And if he finds a way to stay healthy, he won’t look back. Big IF.
LHP Nate Smith (#10 prospect) – Smith just recently got back on the mound, and his first start in AAA went swimmingly. If he keeps putting up zeroes, the Angels will ask him to do the sea win Anaheim. Smith tops out at 93 with his fastball, but will frequently hover at 89-91, but has a very good change up and good slider/curve.
LHP Manny Banuelos (#13 prospect) – Banuelos’ first three starts in AAA were sparkling, and his last three have been a disaster. As plainly as I can put it, Banuelos will live and die by his ability to throw strikes. Whole he doesn’t throw 96+ as he used to when he was a top prospect, Banuelos still comes in at 91/92 and has a better change up than he ever did. But his last three starts he’s walked 12 batters. Should he ever find the plate again, Banuelos could make an impact in the rotation or bullpen for the Angels.
RHP Troy Scribner (unranked) – The Angels best pitcher in AAA is Troy Scribner. The Angels traded for him at the beginning of last season, after he had posted an ERA of 5.49 for the Astros Advanced A Ball affiliate. Troy went on to record a 3.47 ERA in AA and 3.30 in AAA for the Angels. Good trade. So far this year, he’s at a 3.76 ERA (other-worldly in the PCL) with his signature high amount of strikeouts. Scribbler throws a low-90’s fastball to go with two different variations of a breaking ball, one in the mid-60’s (yeah, you read right), and another in the high 70’s, and a change up with sink that sometimes looks like a splitter.
RHP Eduardo Paredes (#19 prospect) – Just 22 years old and in AAA, teams still haven’t found an answer for Parades’ mid-90’s sidearm fastball. They know it’s coming. He throws it for a strike 90% of the time. They just haven’t hit it yet. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work in Anaheim.