Now that that prospect reports are finished, we’ll look at the prospects with the best individual tools in the Angels minor league system. If there are any other angles in which fans would like us to view the prospects, as always, let us know!
Best Hitter: Shohei Ohtani – While there are questions about how his bat will translate to the major leagues, Ohtani is likely the best overall hitter in the system at this point. Japanese baseball profiles to be on par with most AAA teams in the United States, and this past season as a 22 year old, Shohei Ohtani hit .332. As a 21 year old, he hit .322. So it not only appears that Ohtani is well suited to hit at any level, but it’s likely he’s only getting better.
Honorable Mention: Jahmai Jones, Brennon Lund
Best Power: Shohei Ohtani – Ohtani comes with legitimate 80 grade power. While everyone loves pull power and it’s quite the spectacle, most reports suggest that Ohtani can hit the ball out to all fields, and is quite adept particularly at driving the ball to centerfield, which also speaks to his general hitting ability.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Marsh, Jo Adell, Kevin Maitan
Best Plate Discipline: Matt Thaiss – Thaiss is again, one of those prospects that no one can seem to agree on. Floor, ceiling, power, position, glove…..Just about the only thing anyone can agree on is that he has an advanced approach at the plate and will likely reach base at an elite pace regardless of level.
Honorable Mention: Leo Rivas, Michael Hermosillo, Shohei Ohtani
Best/Fastest Runner: Leo Rivas – While Rivas is not the fastest runner in the system, he is very quick. But he is the BEST base runner in the system. This past season as a 19 year old split between rookie and A Ball, he had a 20:1 SB/CS ratio. That’s fantastic. Rivas picks his spots well, can read pitchers and has the quickest first step in the system.
Honorable Mention: Trent Deveaux, Torii Hunter Jr., Jo Adell, Michael Hermosillo, Jahmai Jones.
Highest Ceiling (offense): Jo Adell – Adell has the highest offensive ceiling of anyone in minor league baseball. Normally, this title would belong to Shohei Ohtani, as he has more power, is a better hitter and has comparable speed to Jo Adell, but Ohtani appears to be destined for two-way stardom, and thus limiting his at bats to roughly a half season worth. As a full time offensive player, Adell has the sort of output potential of a legitimate superstar. He’s one of the few prospects in baseball where someone can predict a 30/30 season in his future and not be laughed at.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Maitan, Brandon Marsh, Jahmai Jones.
Best Fastball: Shohei Ohtani – He’s hit 102.5 mph on the radar gun before and will typically sit 97/98. The list of starting pitchers that throw as hard as Shohei Ohtani is limited to two: Luis Severino and Noah Syndergaard.
Honorable Mention: Chris Rodriguez, Jose Soriano.
Best Slider: Chris Rodriguez – Simply put, it’s a legitimate “out” or “plus” pitch by scouting standards.
Honorable Mention: Shohei Ohtani, Eduardo Parades.
Best Curve: Joe Gatto – Not too many prospects throw a “hammer” curve (a 12-6 curve with harder than average velocity) but Gatto does, and it’s quite good!
Honorable Mention: Shohei Ohtani, Jerryell Rivera, Griffin Canning.
Best Change: Jaime Barria – Barria’s best pitch is a change up, and Barria is the best pitcher in the Angels system not named Ohtani. While it’s hard to call any change up an “out” pitch, Barria’s, like Nick Tropeano before him, borders on that.
Honorable Mention: Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez.
Best off-speed pitch: Shohei Ohtani (splitter) – Ohtani could literally be a one-pitch pitcher with his splitter and still be an effective major league pitcher, like Mariano Rivera was with his cutter.
Honorable Mention: Chris Rodriguez (slider), Joe Gatto (curve).
Best Starting Pitcher: Shohei Ohtani – The only one in the system that profiles and a legitimate ace and Cy Young candidate.
Honorable Mention: Jaime Barria, Griffin Canning, Chris Rodriguez.
Best Reliever: Eduardo Paredes – Paredes likely won’t open the season with the Angels because he has options and it’s a numbers game, but this year will likely be the last that he spends at a minor league affiliate. Parades can do anything the Angels ask of him, close, set up, act a bridge, get lefties out, generate a ground ball, generate strikeout, go multiple innings. He figures to be one of the better, more reliable delivers in the major leagues for a long time.
Honorable Mention: Jake Jewell (still a starter), Luis Pena (also still a starter).
Best Arm (defense): Taylor Ward – Likely the best arm of any catching prospect in the minors.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Maitan, Nonie Williams.
Best Defensive Infielder: Livan Soto – The Angels signed him for 800k after the Braves were punished.
Honorable Mention: David Fletcher, Julio Garcia.
Best Defensive Outfielder: Jahmai Jones – Profiles as a good defensive outfielder at all three spots.
Honorable Mention: Torii Hunter Jr., Trent Deveaux.
All Homegrown Lineup in 2022
C – Taylor Ward
1B Matt Thaiss
2B Leo Rivas
SS Andrelton Simmons
3B Kevin Maitan
LF Jahmai Jones
CF Mike Trout
RF Jo Adell
DH Shohei Ohtani/Brandon Marsh
Starting Pitchers: Shohei Ohtani, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Alex Meyer, Jaime Barria, Griffin Canning, Chris Rodriguez.