The Angels collective minor league teams this year are each sitting below .500 (with the exception of Rookie Ball), so it’s difficult to get excited about players this year. But regardless, there are some standouts that deserve to be recognized. Keep in mind, this is not a top prospect list. Some prospects rank rather high despite not putting up numbers. These are simply the players who have put up the numbers.
Catcher – Wade Wass: .226/.316 12 DB 8 HR’s.
Wass himself may not be anything more than a fringe major leaguer, but so far this season compared to other catchers in the organization (particularly Taylor Ward), Wass has hit for more power and stayed in the game longer.
First Base – Ji-Man Choi: .327/.411 14 DB 4 HR.
Choi narrowly comes away with he nod here despite the fact that he’s back in the lineup everyday with the Angels now. Despite that, he was by far the best hitter on a AAA Salt Lake team full of halfway decent hitters.
Second Base – Hutton Moyer: .267/.330 22 DB 10 HR.
Moyer has a complicated pre-swing mechanism that leads one to question whether or not he can put the numbers up at higher level. But regardless of that, Hoyer has unquestionably put up the numbers int he first half that earned a promotion and has generated some buzz about the power potential the middle infielder might have.
Shortstop – David Fletcher: .252/.310 7 DB 2 HR 14 SB.
Fletcher’s numbers may not seem so impressive, and they really aren’t. But compared to other shortstops in the system, Fletcher’s combination of top notch defense and game changing speed give him the lead.
Third Base – Cal Towey: .285/.391 16 DB 6 triples 7 HR 9 SB.
Towey could technically qualify at 1B and the OF as well, but his numbers are some much better than any other third baseman in the system that he took the spot here. Towey just continues to hit the ball despite never garnering much prospect buzz. I’m sure he could care less as long as he makes it to the major leagues, and he very well could soon.
Outfield – Jared Foster (.270/.319 21 DB 5 HR), Michael Hermosillo (.328/.413 8 DB 2 HR), Ayendy Perez (.280/.343 11 DB 3 tiples 20 SB).
Foster is only beginning to make good on all that natural talent he has. At age 23, he’ll almost need to torch Inland Empire and come into next Spring and impress, otherwise his timeline for the majors doesn’t look like it’ll happen until his late 20’s. Hermosillo is in a similar boat, just loads of talent in this kid, and he’s beginning to make good on that potential. The difference is, Michael’s conquering A Ball at age 21, which is what you’d hope for. He could still be manning left field in Angel Stadium by his mid-20’s. Ayendy Perez is just a burner. He’s nothing more than a slap hitter, but he gets down the base path so quickly that even those infield ground balls to the left side come with a sense of urgency. Though his skill set better matches a 4th OF, Perez may have just enough of a bat to carve out an everyday role.
Designated Hitter – Nick Buss: .312/.367 17 Db 8 triples 6 HR.
Buss, when healthy has just pulverized AAA pitching this year. It really is a shame he hasn’t been given a shot by the Angels so far. But I’m willing to bet that if he’s healthy and hitting, the Angels will find room for him on the roster later in the season. As for Buss himself, he can contribute across the board, but it better suited for 4th OF work.
Bench: C Taylor Ward, IF Kaleb Cowart, IF Sherman Johnson, OF Caleb Adams, OF Rafael Ortega OF Quintin Berry,
1. LHP Tyler Skaggs 2.03 ERA, 26 IP 33 K’s
2. LHP Nate Smith 3.98 ERA, 102 IP 82 K’s.
3. RHP Troy Scribner 3.76 ERA, 79 IP 77 K’s.
4. RHP Jared Ruxer 1.62 ERA 72 IP 64 K’s.
5. RHP Grayson Long 1.58 ERA 40 IP 45 K’s.
Skaggs really shouldn’t be in the rotation in AAA at all right now, but the Angels are trying to maximize the value of some of their other assets before the trade deadline. Nate Smith has proven enough in AAA to also be considered a prime option for the Angels rotation moving forward. He doesn’t come with Skaggs upside, but Smith should be a steady presence at the back of a major league rotation. Troy Scribner likely doesn’t have a future in a major league rotation, but he has put up impressive numbers and his high action delivery could potentially play up in a major league bullpen. Jared Ruder is one of those hidden talent in the Angels system, which makes him practically impossible to find, since no one is really scouring the Angels system these days. Grayson Long has a future in a major league rotation. He offers the right size, fastball, off-speed pitches and composure to carve out a long career.
1. RHP Key Middleton 3.46 ERA 41 IP 62 K’s.
2. RHP Austin Adams 3.63 ERA 34 IP 52 K’s.
3. RHP Al Albuquerque 2.49 ERA 21 IP 25 K’s.
4. RHP Eric Alonzo 1.80 ERA 55 IP 61 K’s.
5. LHP Kevin Grendell 3.09 ERA 35 IP 56 K’s.
The Angels never have a shortage of projectable arms in their minor league bullpens. A relief pitcher’s very nature is as dynamic as any in baseball, what is dominance one year is being shelled the next. This makes the rise to a major league bullpen as fluid a situation as you could imagine.
Middleton – The Angels former 3rd round pick combines a low to mid-90’s fastball in relief with advanced off speed pitches. As you can see by the K’s, he’s keeping minor league hitters off balance.
Adams – Austin just keeps minor leaguers guessing year after year. He’s still trying to find the strike zone, which has been a career long struggle, but when Adams does throw strikes, he’s hard to hit. Adams mid-90’s fastball and slider make him look like a major leaguer to me.
Al Albuquerque – Al’s spent enough time in the major leagues that most folks know what to expect when they see him. Heat. Al pumps heat. It’s pretty overwhelming for youngsters, but at the major leagues they tend to be better at making contact.
Alonzo – Alonzo shows that you don’t have to have a “plus” fastball to strike hitters out, he does it sitting in the low-90’s and spotting both his curve ball and slider where they need. The change up has gone away, but it was’t working anyway.
Grendel – I’ve got nothing on this kid yet, but rest assured I aim to get an eye on him before long, especially if he keeps pitching like he has.