By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist
1) Jeremiah Jackson – SS/2B, Rookie Orem:
Typically, Jackson’s 9 G/41 PA would not be enough to qualify him (in my own arbitrary criteria) to rank, but the 19-year old infielder’s record-breaking campaign could not be ignored. Jackson slashed .333/.390/1.056/1.446 over the last two weeks, swatting seven home runs (including a 3-HR performance on 8/15) over his last nine games, with three doubles and a triple as well. Further encouraging numbers include a reasonable 3 walks to 9 strikeouts, and a BAbip of only .238. With six multi-homer games on the year and 21 on the season, Jackson has likely taken advantage of HR-friendly Pioneer League environs, but the recent improvements in contact and discipline make any true power he possesses a real plus.
2019 (Orem Rk.): .273/.344/.651/.995 with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 21 HR, 52 RBI, 23 BB, 75 K in 53 G/241 PA
2, Michael Hermosillo – CF/RF, AAA Salt Lake:
Hermosillo slots in second on this edition, with perhaps the strongest runner-up showing yet. Hermosillo had three multi-home games in the last two weeks, including a 3-HR game one day after Jeremiah Jackson’s. Hermosillo clubbed nine home runs in his last 11 games, propelling a slugging-heavy .261/.300/.870/1.170 line. 2019 has produced some new results for Hermosillo, who, like most AAA hitters, is clubbing more extra-base hits than ever, having now set a career high of 14 HR despite having missed most of the year. Hermosillo’s strikeout rate has inflated some, and his walks have decreased, but his defense and baserunning skills remain strong enough to keep him a viable 4th OF option. In his age 24 season, Hermosillo still has time on his side to realize a .250/.330/.420/.750 potential.
2019 (A+, AAA): .246/.337/.491/.828 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 14 HR, 36 RBI, 23 BB, 75 K in 55 G/258 PA
3) Jahmai Jones – 2B/CF, AA Mobile:
At 21, Jahmai Jones is still one of the younger players in AA, and showing reasons why he should not yet be written off. Jones is in the midst of the brightest spot of his bleak 2019 campaign, having slashed .419/.490/.558/1.048 over the last two weeks, slapping 18 hits in 43 at-bats, and drawing five walks to 11 strikeouts, with four doubles, a triple, and two steals for good measure. Playing 2B almost exclusively this season, Jones did make a start in CF, his third in the last month or so, hinting that the Angels may still seek to utilize him as an occasional outfielder to extend his value to the major league club. This is an important detail, as Jones will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason, so the Angels will need to decide if it’s time to add Jones to the 40-man or run the risk of losing him in the draft. Jones’ recent strong play – he now has a very respectable .288/.356/.387/.743 OPS over his last 250 plate appearances – will complicate their decision, whether or not he is added and protected.
2019 (AA): .232/.301/.312/.613 with 19 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR, 43 RBI, 43 BB, 100 K in 117 G/493 PA
4) Drevian Williams-Nelson – 2B, Rookie Arizona:
Like Jackson, Williams-Nelson’s 8 games and 35 plate appearances would typically exclude him from being ranked, but being only 19 and showing a distinct difference between his 2018 and 2019 performance has led to his inclusion on this edition. Standing only 5’7″, Williams-Nelson profiles as an up-the-middle depth option. The Houston native has likely been the recipient of some good luck – he has a BAbip of .500 over the last two weeks – but a slash of .387/.457/.581/1.038 is hard to ignore, especially for a player of his age and stature. Williams-Nelson has exhibited a bit of pop – three doubles and a home run – and decent plate discipline – four walks to eight strikeouts – lending to a skill-set befitting a future utility player. If he can continue to slap the ball, cut back on strikeouts, and develop into a stolen-base threat (or at least add plus defense and baserunning) he could stand to move in at trajectory similar to David Fletcher.
2019 (AZL Rk.): .265/.359/.382/.741 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 13 BB, 30 K in 30 G/117 PA
5, tied) Brandon Marsh – OF, AA Mobile and Trent Deveaux – OF, Rookie Arizona:
Tying for the final slot on the position player Top 5 are two outfielders who have produced very similarly over the last two weeks, both possessing an interesting blend of defense, speed, pop, and contact. Brandon Marsh is overshadowed by uber-prospect Jo Adell, but the 21-yr old Georgian is putting together perhaps the most balanced, polished season of any Angel outfield prospect. Boasting a robust .300/.408/.450/.858 line over the last two weeks, Marsh is displaying plus contact, some power (three doubles, one home run), good plate discipline (seven walks to seven strikeouts) and some speed, stealing two bases, to go with what some call the best outfield defense on the farm. Don’t sleep on Marsh, who is just as likely to grace the Anaheim outfield in 2020 as Adell.
Like Marsh, Deveaux was also overshadowed, as fellow Bahamian D’Shawn Knowles’ 2018 campaign opened eyes where Deveaux struggled. This year has proved differently however, as the 19-year old is delivering a strong 2019 campaign in Rookie League Arizona. Deveaux has slashed .286/.375/.476/.851 over the last two weeks, with two doubles, and one two-homer game. Plate discipline still seems to be a crutch for Deveaux, with four walks to 18 strikeouts, but the improving contact, power, and speed (three steals) coupled with some solid defense keeps his ceiling high.
Marsh, 2019 (A/A+): .271/.357/.392/.749 with 18 doubles, 2 triples, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 17 SB, 42 BB, 89 K in 88 G/378 PA
Deveaux, 2019 (AZL Rk.): .261/.350/.467/.816 with 14 doubles, 4 triples, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 14 SB, 21 BB, 60 K in 44 G/206 PA
Honorable mention, hitters:
Justin Jones (1B, A): .385/.468/.615/1.083 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 HR, 6 BB, 4 K – at 23, a bit too old for the competition
Ysaac Pena (C/1B/P, DSL Rk.): .359/.419/.615/1.034 with 3 doubles, 4 BB, 4 K a bit old at 21 for DSL
Jared Walsh (1B/DH/P, AAA): .280/.379/.640/1.019 with 3 doubles, 2 HR, 4 BB, 10 K – a 31-HR campaign for Walsh, who also had one scoreless IP
Jose Verrier (LF/RF/1B/DH, Orem Rk.): .269/.424/.538/.963 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, 6 BB, 11 K – not enough PA to rank
D.C. Arendas (1B/3B/2B, A+): .241/.333/.621/.954 with 1 double, 2 triples, 2 HR, 4 BB, 12 K – at 25, a little old for A+ ball
Cristian Gomez (1B, AZL Rk.): .333/.439/.485/.924 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 7 BB, 11 K – at 22, too old for competition
Jordyn Adams (CF, AZL Rk., A): .385/.448/.462/.910 with 2 doubles, 5 stolen bases, 2 BB, 4 K – limited at-bats, partially on rehab assignment
Bo Way (CF/LF/P, AA): .296/.345/.556/.900 with 1 double, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K
Josh Thole (C, AAA): 292/.414/.500/.914 with 2 doubles, 1 HR, 5 BB, 7 K
Nick Franklin (2B/3B/SS, AAA): .333/.394/.500/.894 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 BB, 5 K
Brandon White (CF/LF, Orem Rk.): .323/.382/.484/.866 with 1 triple, 1 HR, 3 SB, 3 BB, 5 K – solid debut season, at 21, a bit old for Orem
Johan Sala (RF/LF, Orem Rk.): .320/.438/.400/.838 with 2 doubles, 5 BB, 8 K
6, tied) Kyle Bradish – RHP, A+ Inland Empire and Aaron Hernandez, RHP, A+ Inland Empire:
These two Angels‘ picks from the early stages of the ’18 draft have put together solid pro debuts, and that continued the last two weeks, helping propel the two further into the Angels’ future pitching plans, and likely setting both up for 2020 seasons primarily at AA Mobile. Bradish made two starts, throwing 12.1 IP of 1.46 ERA ball, walking three, striking out twelve, coupled with a stingy .178 BAA. Bradish continues to rebound from an awkward June (12.75 ERA in 12 IP, 9 BB, 16 K) as he has now gone on to post a 3.96 ERA in his last 8 games, with 14 BB, 41 K in 36.1 IP, furthering the assessments that he profiles as a decent mid-to-back rotation option, possibly as soon as 2021.
Hernandez, still fluttering with command issues, has begun to demonstrate an increased ability to generate strikeouts and limit hits, as he posted a sparkling .116 BAA in his last three starts, only allowing five hits in 13.2 IP while striking out 12 and walking 8, to go with a 1.32 ERA. Hernandez has rarely topped the 80-pitch plateau this season, and has had difficulty pitching beyond the fourth or fifth innings, hinting that he might be better suited as a reliever, a move which could happen in the near future as the Angels continue to develop multiple A/A+ starting pitcher options.
Bradish 2019 (A+): 4.36 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .228 BAA, only 8 HR allowed, 41 BB, 105 K, across 86.2 IP in 21 G/15 GS
Hernandez 2019 (A+): 4.32 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .270 BAA, 40 BB, 73 K, across 66.2 IP in 18 G/14 GS
7) Kyle Tyler – RHP, A Burlington/A+ Inland Empire:
The Angels finally promoted Tyler following a dizzying summer where the 20th round pick of the 2018 draft posted an absurd 1.27 ERA and .173 BAA across 11 starts and 56.2 IP for Burlington. Tyler’s last two weeks included two more dominant starts at Burlington and a solid debut at Inland Empire, giving him a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 IP. Most encouraging however, was his walk-to-strikeout numbers in this time, as he allowed only three walks to 17 strikeouts – an intriguing number given his relatively pedestrian K rate on the year of 7.7. Should the Angels find a way to keep increasing Tyler’s strikeout ability, they might have found a diamond in the 20th round rough.
2019 (A/A+): 2.70 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .198 BAA, 35 BB, 91 K across 106.2 IP in 22 G/16 GS
8) Cooper Criswell – RHP, A+ Inland Empire:
Frequently overlooked by the more intriguing arms at Inland Empire (Bradish, Hernandez, Ortega) is Cooper Criswell, the Angels’ 13th round pick in last year’s draft. The 6’6″ UNC product began the year with unimpressive numbers (5.45 ERA, 16 BB, 31 K in 38 IP) but has emerged as consistent, reliable arm over the summer months. Criswell’s last two weeks have produced three starts of 4.41 ERA ball, walking 7 and striking out 16 across 16.1 IP. While nothing impressive, it continues a good turnaround for the tall righty, as now has a 3.65 ERA in his last 14 games, walking only 17, allowing only 2 HR, and striking out 71 across 69 innings. Should he continue displaying solid command and consistency, Criswell could blossom into an option for the back of the rotation as early as 2021.
2019 (A+): 4.29 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .283 BAA, 6 HR allowed, 33 BB, 102 K across 107 IP in 23 G/19 GS
9, tied) Luis Ramirez – RHP, Eduardo Del Rosario – RHP, Ethan Clark – RHP, Parker Joe Robinson – RHP, Greg Veliz – RHP, A Burlington:
In a year that has seen the Angels rely heavily on starting pitchers as multi-inning relievers and tandem starters, the traditional reliever has been something of a rarity on the Angels farm. The recent two weeks however has seen a strong quintet of relievers post big numbers for Burlington, giving the Angels minor league pitching depth an interesting new wrinkle as the season comes to a close. This group has combined for a 3.20 ERA in 39.1 IP, striking out 56 and only allowing two home runs, 12 walks, and 39 hits. Del Rosario, poached from Minnesota last year, has led the way with a 0.90 ERA and 15 K in 10 IP, Ramirez, recently plucked from the Phillies organization, has struck out 12 in 8.1 IP, Clark, a product of the TBR/MIA systems, added 9 more strikeouts, Parker Joe Robinson, an undrafted free agent last season boasted one walk to 11 strikeouts, and Veliz, a draftee this past June, struck out another 9, while also only allowing one walk.
Ramirez 2019 (Burlington, A): 3.71 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .262 BAA, 2 HR allowed, 6 BB, 19 K across 17 IP in 10 G
Del Rosario 2019 (A/A+/AAA): 4.60 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .255 BAA, 3 HR allowed, 24 BB, 37 K across 45 IP in 26 G
Clark 2019 (Orem Rk./A): 3.29 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, .240 BAA, 3 HR allowed, 18 BB, 37 K across 27,1 IP in 16 G
Robinson 2019 (A/A+): 4.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .289 BAA, 2 HR allowed, 7 BB, 43 K across 38.2 IP in 21 G
Veliz 2019 (Orem Rk./A): 2.63 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .191 BAA, 1 HR allowed, 5 BB, 29 K across 24 IP in 15 G
10) Hector Yan – LHP, A Burlington:
Yan once again places on the hotlist, adding two more solid appearances to a breakout campaign. Yan’s 8/8 start saw the lefty post another gaudy strikeout total – 10 in 5 IP while walking only one, again reaffirming the 20-year old’s increasingly improved control – he’s walked 8 in his last 34.2 IP, compared to 18 in the 33.2 IP prior to that, and 19 in 30 IP to start the year. While he did allow 4 runs in his last start, Yan still posted a strong 3 walks to 16 strikeouts in his last 9 IP. The Angels might look to limit the youngsters innings soon, so a few skipped starts or pitch limits, even a temporary DL stint, could crop up.
2019 (A): 3.48 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .192 BAA, only 5 HR allowed, 45 BB, 138 K (12.6 K/9) across 98.1 IP in 23 G/19 GS
Honorable mention, pitchers:
Nick Tropeano (RHP, AAA):15.1 IP, 8 BB, 14 K, .250 BAA, 3.52 ERA in 3 GS – likely getting another shot to help the Angels rotation with Suarez sent down
Greg Mahle (LHP, AA): 14.2 IP, 3 BB, 8 K, .222 BAA, 1.23 ERA in 2 GS – Remember him? Don’t rule out a September appearance
Jose Soriano (RHP, AZL Rk.): 4.2 IP, 3 BB, 8 K, .263 BAA, 1.93 ERA in 3 GS – rehabbing
Emilker Guzman (RHP, Orem Rk.): 6 IP, 1 BB, 8 K, .174 BAA, 1.50 ERA in 2 GS – not enough playing time, but he’s one to watch
Robinson Pina (RHP, A): 4.1 IP, 2 BB, 12 K, .200 BAA, 4.15 ERA in 2 GS
Jerryell Rivera (LHP, Orem Rk.): 6.2 IP, 3 BB, 7 K, .208 BAA, 2.70 ERA in 2 GS games – baby steps back in the right direction
Stiward Aquino (RHP, Orem Rk.): 8.2 IP, 2 BB, 14 K, .273 BAA, 5.19 ERA in 2 GS – encouraging Orem debut for one of the Angels’ highest-upside pitching prospects
Jose Natera (RHP, Orem Rk.): 7.2 IP, 1 BB, 8 K, .344 BAA, 3.52 ERA in 2 GS – 19-year old showing decent early results in Orem
Connor Van Scoyoc (RHP, AZL Rk.): 8.2 IP, 10 BB, 12 K, .290 BAA, 3.12 ERA in 2 G- command an issue, strong K numbers from the 19-year old 2018 11th rounder
Clayton Chatham (RHP, A): 11.1 IP, 1 BB, 13 K, .222 BAA, 2.38 ERA in 2 GS – at 24, old for competition, but good results
Chase Chaney (RHP, AZL Rk.): 10 IP, 4 BB, 6 K, .171 BAA, 0.90 ERA in two games for the 19-year old
Adam McCreery (LHP, AAA): 4.1 IP, 3 BB, 7 K, .188 BAA, 2.08 ERA in three games – 6’7″ lefty pitching well in PCL
Chad Sykes (RHP, A): 5.2 IP, 1 BB, 7 K, .280 BAA, 3.18 ERA in three games – continued strong numbers for ’19 10th rounder