Welcome to this year’s version of the AngelsWin Top 30 Prospects. As with last year, it is a group effort: the following is a composite list of several AngelsWin.com members and writers, with eight participants this year. The method is simple: the list is an average of eight lists. The benefit of taking such an approach is that not only do we tend to even each other’s biases out a bit, but we also get a range of approaches: from relying mostly on stats, reading other scouting reports, and eye-witness scouting.
Unlike last year, I’m going to include the age the player will be for the 2020 season, meaning how old they are on July 1, 2020.
A note on Ranking Trends: it is simply the different rankings by the eight participants. Most such lists don’t include the “raw wiring,” but as with last year I thought it would be interesting for people see because the range of numbers say a lot about the prospect. Prospects with a relatively narrow range tend to be more predictable, while those with a wider range may also have a wider range of outcomes and greater volatility.
Finally, a big thanks to Scotty Allen (aka “Second Base”) for providing the insightful Best Known For quotes.
On to the list…
1. JO ADELL OF (age 21)
Stats: .289/.359/.475, 10 HR in 76 games in A+/AA/AAA.
Ranking Trends: Consensus #1.
Comments: The second year in a row as the consensus #1 Angels prospect, Adell is now considered one of the top five prospects in all of baseball – despite missing the first couple months of the year with a rather freakish double whammy hamstring/ankle injury. MLB Pipeline currently has him at #5, while Baseball America has him at #2. Adell’s stat line above is somewhat diminished by a relatively poor showing in AAA at the end of the year (.264/.321/.355 in 27 games), but his performance in AA (.308/.390/.553, 8 HR and 173 wRC+ in 43 games) is more indicative of his talent level. Adell is a tremendous athlete with prodigious power and great make-up; if there’s one knock on his game its that he doesn’t make as much contact as you’d like, and has only average plate discipline; but both should improve as he matures. He’s the real deal, the best Angels prospect since Mike Trout, and will make his debut in Anaheim sometime in 2020.
Best Known For: Blend of power, speed, and athleticism at such a young age.
2. BRANDON MARSH OF (age 22)
Stats: .286/.367/.407, 7 HR and 19 SB in 101 Rookie/AA games.
Ranking Trends: Consensus #2.
Comments: Somewhat overshadowed by his friend and team-mate Adell, Brandon Marsh is an excellent prospect in his own right. That stat line is marred by a 1-21 streak in Rookie ball rehabbing an injury; he hit .300/.383/.428 in AA. He has not yet hit for power, but he’ll hit his share of extra base hits and should at least develop average HR power in the majors, possibly more. Despite having less impressive raw tools, in some ways Marsh is a more well-rounded prospect than Adell, with better contact and plate discipline, and at this point is a superior defender. Like his soon-to-be AAA Salt Lake team-mate, he’ll probably make his major league debut sometime in 2020, if he gets the opportunity.
Best Known For: Well-rounded game. Beard, and tantalizing power-speed potential.
3. JORDYN ADAMS OF (age 20)
Stats: .257/.351/.369, 8 HR and 16 SB 109 R/A/A+ games.
Ranking Trends: Seven #3s, one #4.
Comments: Considering that Adams was a two-sport player and more committed to football than baseball a year and a half ago, the fact that he held his own in single A as a 19-year old is room for optimism. There’s a lot to like in his performance: not only is he flashing Adell-esque tools (and he’s even faster), but his 56 walks in 109 games is very heartening. Perhaps most importantly, Adams seemed to improve as the year went on: after a slow start, he hit .287/.369/.414 from May 10 on, and .325/.406/.504 from July 13 on. Expect for a breakthrough year in A+ Rancho Cucamonga this year. While Adams is still raw, he’s learning quickly and is on the fast track.
Best Known For: One of the top prep football players in the nation coming out of high school. Also, “The Dunk”. Also, the highest upside prospect in the system.
4. CHRIS RODRIGUEZ RHP (21)
Stats: 0.00 ERA, 3 GS, 9.1 IP, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts.
Ranking Trends: Four #4s, three #5s, one #9.
Comments: Chris Rodriguez’s high ranking might come as a surprise due to the fact that he’s only pitched 9.1 innings in the last two years, all within 2019. But the stuff is real: Aside from possibly Jack Kochanowicz, he has the highest ceiling in the minor leagues. The question is whether he can stay healthy, and that is a big question. If he does, his ascendency to the majors will be fast and furious.
Best Known For: Mid-90’s fastball, and mid/front of the rotation upside.
5. PATRICK SANDOVAL LHP (23)
Stats: 5.03 ERA, 39.1 IP, 19 walks, 42 strikeouts in the majors.
Ranking Trends: 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7.
Comments: When Sandoval came over to the Angels in July of 2018, from the Astros for Martin Maldonado, the general view was that he was a classic high-floor but low-ceiling starter, the type of guy you don’t mind having as your 5th starter but not much more. In his nine starts in the majors, he showed flashes of something more, a bonafide mid-rotation starter, if everything comes together.
Best Known For: His fastball climbing 4-5 mph in the last two years since the Astros traded him.
6. JEREMIAH JACKSON SS (20)
Stats: .266/.333/.605, 23 HR in 65 games in Orem (high Rookie ball).
Ranking Trends: 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9.
Comments: I think the key phrase would be “cautiously excited.” 23 HR in 65 games for a 19-year old is impressive, but its all accompanied by 96 strikeouts and a mediocre .266 BA. He walked 24 times, which is a decent rate; given his swing and miss, developing plate discipline may be the key to Jackson becoming a star.
Best Known For: Breaking the Pioneer League HR record as a 19 year old.
7. JOSE SORIANO RHP (21)
Stats: 2.51 ERA, 82.1 IP, 51 walks, 92 strikeouts in Rookie and A ball (Burlington).
Ranking Trends: 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 23.
Comments: Soriano and Rodriguez are often mentioned in the same breath. While on one level it is a ceiling/floor comparison, Soriano’s ceiling isn’t that much lower, and his floor seems quite a bit higher. If his control develops, he could be in Anaheim rather quickly.
Best Known For: Mid to upper 90’s fastball and wipeout slider.
8. JAHMAI JONES 2B (22)
Stats: .234/.308/.324, 5 HR and 9 SB in 130 games in AAA Salt Lake.
Ranking Trends: 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9
Comments: Jones not only had a very bad year statistically speaking, it was also his second year in a row of declining performance: his OPS slipped from .794 in 2017 (A/A+), .717 in 2018 (A+/AA) to .631 in 2019 (AA). That said, he did improve later in the year, both hitting well in the Arizona Fall League (.302/.377/.509 in 61 PA), but also towards the end of the regular year, hitting .306/.385/.414 from July 5th on, or 51 games. So while he didn’t make that jump into elite prospect status that we might have hoped for after 2017, he’s still a good prospect. Depending what the Angels do with Andrelton Simmons and Tommy La Stella after 2020, don’t be surprised if the 2021 infield includes Fletcher, Rengifo, and Jones.
Best Known For: Power-speed potential as a middle infielder, and the younger brother of NFL Wide Receiver T.J. Jones.
9. KYREN PARIS SS (18)
Stats: .300/.462/.400 in 13 PA in Rookie ball (AZL).
Ranking Trends: 6, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 13, 14.
Comments: While it is rather early to be too excited about Paris, the upside is real: this is a talented young baseball player who just turned 18 a couple weeks ago from this writing, on November 11. He’s a toolsy shortstop, a good defender for his age, and really only lacks power – although that could develop. Before the draft last year, when he went 55th overall (2nd round), websites and analysts had him anywhere from #34 (Fangraphs), #48 (Keith Law), #70 (Baseball America), and #75 (MLB Pipeline). There’s a lot of volatility at this point; a couple years from now he could be another Livan Soto—a defense-first middle infielder who profiles as a major league bench player—or he could be an elite prospect, if the bat develops as hoped. Stay tuned.
Best Known For: Delivering one of the better post-draft interviews with Victor and Gubi. A very well spoken young man.
10. WILL WILSON 2B/SS (21)
Stats: .275/.329/.439 in 46 games in Rookie ball.
Ranking Trends: 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 29.
Comments: At this point it is difficult to say whether the tepid view on Wilson is warranted in that, on one hand, he seems like another unexciting college draft pick with limited upside in the tradition of Matt Thaiss and CJ Cron; on the other, not only is he rather young for a college player, but the scouting reports on his bat are promising. At the least, he deserves a chance to prove himself before calling him an over-draft. Wilson could be better than expected, so let’s see how he hits with a full season of experience: he could move fast.
Best Known For: The Angels first round draft pick from this last draft. Bat first middle infielder.
11. JACK KOCHANOWICZ RHP (19)
Stats: Did not play professional baseball.
Ranking Trends: 10, 10, 11, 11, 11, 12, 15, 17.
Comments: Upside, upside, upside. At 6’6” and 220 lbs, Kochanowicz can bring the heat. In my mind, he is the pitching equivalent of Kyren Paris: a couple years from now he could be #1 on this list, or another cautionary tale about getting too excited too soon. But the stuff is real, and he’s very young. He’ll be one of the most exciting prospects to watch in 2020.
Best Known For: Hitting upper-90’s at Fall Instructs. One scout said that he believed Kochanowicz would go top five in the draft three years from now had he decided to go to college instead.
12. AARON HERNANDEZ RHP (23)
Stats: 4.46 ERA, 72.2 IP, 46 walks, 81 strikeouts in A+ ball (Inland Empire).
Ranking Trends: 11, 11, 12, 13, 13, 15, 15, 20.
Comments: Hernandez simply needs more minor league innings, and should be in Anaheim before you know it. He’s got the upside to be a mid-rotation starter, but may settle in a bit below that, or as a reliever. But he seems to have a rather high floor for a pitching prospect and, one way or another, should be part of the major league team within the next year or two.
Best Known For: Other than sharing a name with an unfortunate soul mid-90’s fastball with movement and a strong finish to the 2019 season.
13. HECTOR YAN LHP (21)
Stats: 3.72 ERA in 109 IP, 52 walks, and 148 strikeouts in A ball (Burlington).
Ranking Trends: 11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 16, 16, 16.
Comments: Take a look at those strikeouts and walks, and you see why Yan is ranked where he is. 12.2 Ks per 9 innings is no joke, but neither are 4.3 walks. We can hope that Yan can remain a starter, but his path to the majors may be as a relief pitcher. Either way, he’s one of a handful of pitching prospects in the organization with legitimate upside.
Best Known For: Recently being added to the Angels 40 man roster from A Ball. Sidearmer with mid-90’s fastball.
14. D’SHAWN KNOWLES OF (19)
Stats: .241/.310/.387 in 64 games in Rookie ball (Orem).
Ranking Trends: 12, 12, 13, 16, 16, 18, 21, 28.
Comments: Remember when D’Shawn was an after-thought to Trent Deveaux? He had a surprising 2018, but fell back to earth in 2019 – a rather disappointing follow-up. He doesn’t seem to have Deveaux’s elite athleticism, but may also have that “it factor” to become more than the sum of his parts. At 19 years old and with Adell, Marsh, and Hermosillo ahead of him, he’s got plenty of time.
Best Known For: Being the “other” top international signing from the Bahamas two years ago.
15. MICHAEL HERMOSILLO OF (25)
Stats: .243/.330/.466 in 64 games in A+/AAA; .139/.304/.222 in 18 major league games.
Ranking Trends: 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 22, 28.
Comments: Hermosillo seems like the type of player that could become a fan favorite, the Brock Holt of the Angels. Or at least that’s his upside. He’s got the tools to be a terrific 4th outfielder, and could even be a starter on some teams. But he’s got to make more contact first, and may be destined for another organization to get regular playing time.
Best Known For: Prep exploits on the gridiron and overall athleticism.
16. KEVIN MAITAN IF (20)
Stats: .214/.278/.323 in 123 games in A Burlington.
Ranking Trends: 11, 12, 18, 18, 20, 20, 20, 26.
Comments: If you didn’t know about the hype from a few years ago, Maitan would be an intriguing prospect – and he is. But it is hard not to get around the ridiculous comparisons that were thrown around, like Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones. Imagine being a 16-year old and hearing that. The hitting tools are there to be a major leaguer, and it is important to remember that he’s still quite young for his level – according to Baseball-Reference the league differential last year was -2.2. So while he isn’t the Promised One that the Braves originally thought he was, he still has a lot of time to actualize the good potential he does possess.
Best Known For: Being one of the more hyped international signings in recent memory. Big time power.
17. STIWARD AQUINO RHP (21)
Stats: 6.87 ERA in 36.2 IP, 16 walks and 49 strikeouts in Rookie ball.
Ranking Trends: 8, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25, 27.
Comments: Another live arm with a wide range of possible outcomes, which is well-reflected in the ranking trends. Aquino’s numbers don’t look impressive, but he flashed good potential at times. His game log displays erratic performance, so hopefully with more innings he’ll settle down. Another pitcher whose future might be in the bullpen.
Best Known For: A great name and a mid-90’s fastball.
18. ALEXANDER RAMIREZ OF (17)
Stats: .234/.328/.429 in 39 games in the Dominican League (Foreign Rookie).
Ranking Trends: 15, 15, 15, 17, 17, 19, 28, NR.
Comments: There’s not a lot to go on at this point, but there’s a reason Billy Eppler gave the young Dominican a $1 million signing bonus upon turning 16 years old. He should be coming States-side in 2020, so look for him in the AZL. He is very young, just 17 in August, and has a ton of young outfielders ahead of him, but is at least worth having in the back of your mind as a high-ceiling prospect to look forward to.
Best Known For: Angels top international signee from last year. Power and speed are more advanced than originally anticipated.
19. KYLE BRADISH RHP (23)
Stats: 4.28 ERA in 101 IP, 53 walks and 120 strikeouts in A+ Inland Empire.
Ranking Trends: 12, 15, 21, 21, 21, 23, 24, 25.
Comments: Bradish may forever be paired with Aaron Hernandez, as he was drafted right after him. Like Hernandez, he’s a college pitcher who projects as a major league starter, but is considered to have a lower ceiling. Clearly he has to work on his control, but after a solid first professional season, he’s establishing a solid floor to build from.
Best Known For: Advanced college arm that will climb the minor league ladder quickly.
20. JARED WALSH OF/1B/RHP (26)
Stats: .325/.423/.686, 36 HR in 98 AAA games (Salt Lake); .203/.276/.329 in 31 major league games. Pitching: 4.15 ERA, 13 IP, 5 walks and 9 strikeouts in AAA; 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts in the majors.
Ranking Trends: 12, 18, 19, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27.
Comments: It is hard not to like Walsh. Not only did he absolutely kill AAA pitching, but he is also trying to make it as a two-way player in the majors. Unlike Taylor Ward, this gives him a flexibility that might give him a longer leash as a useful—even ideal– “26th man” on the major league roster next year.
Best Known For: Being the Angels “other” two-way player.
21. TRENT DEVEAUX OF (20)
Stats: .238/.320/.422 in 60 games in Rookie ball (AZL, Orem).
Ranking Trends: 13, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 29, NR.
Comments: After a disappointing season in 2018 (.199/.309/.247 in 44 AZL games), Deveaux adjusted well to States-side professional baseball, showing flashes of the potential that led the Angels to sign him. There’s a lot to like here, but he simply needs time to develop. He’s probably got both a higher ceiling and lower floor than his fellow Bahamanian, D’Shawn Knowles. He’s a good candidate for a breakout season in 2020, which should be his first full season in A ball.
Best Known For: Being the Angels top international signee from two years ago. Bahamian with 80-grade speed.
22. OLIVER ORTEGA RHP (23)
Stats: 4.14 ERA in 111 IP, 57 walks and 135 strikeouts in A+/AA ball.
Ranking Trends: 14, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, NR.
Comments: Ortega seemed to come out of nowhere and reminds us that players do indeed rise up from the Dominican League through the minor leagues. He’s on the verge of the major league radar.
Best Known For: Bursting onto the scene at the end of last year and beginning of this year with mid-90’s fastball.
23. AROL VERA SS (17)
Stats: Did not play.
Ranking Trends: 14, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, NR, NR.
Comments: A top international signing, the word on Vera is that he’s a tall (6’2”), lean, and promising switch-hitting shortstop with a strong hit-tool. He’s a long way away, but fits in a similar category with Alexander Ramirez.
Best Known For: Angels most expensive international signee since Roberto Baldoquin (not counting Kevin Maitan). Great power projection from both sides of the plate.
24. WILLIAM HOLMES OF/RHP (19)
Stats: .326/.431/.488 in 11 Rookie games; 5.18 ERA, 24.1 IP, 20 walks, 38 strikeouts.
Ranking Trends: 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 26, NR.
Comments: The third two-player in the Angels system, along with Ohtani and Walsh. Holmes is the player formerly known as William English. There’s a lot to like here, with a nice showing with the bat and some promise on the mound.
Best Known For: Being the rare draftee from Detroit, also happens to be a two-way player with scattered intriguing skills on both sides of the ball.
25. LUIZ GOHARA LHP (23)
Stats: Did not play (injuries).
Ranking Trends: 16, 17, 19, 22, 24, 28, 29 NR.
Comments: Released by the Braves, the Angels signed the Brazilian Gohara as a free agent in August. He’s pretty much the definition of a potential “clean peanut,” which also makes him really difficult to assess. Before the 2018 season, Baseball America ranked as the #23 prospect in all of baseball—that was after dominating A+ and AA, and getting a solid taste of AAA, even five starts in the majors at the age of 20 years old. But then his troubles began, and he didn’t perform well in the minors and eventually missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. While it is easly to get excited about his upside, the Braves released him for a reason. We can hope that they made a terrible mistake, but don’t count on it. Gohara goes into the 2020 season as perhaps the biggest in-house wildcard that could make a surprise impact on the major league pitching staff.
Best Known For: Being one of the top prospects in all of baseball only a little over a year ago. Used to have upper-90’s heat before shoulder injury. Currently rehabbing from surgery. One of the very rare Brazilian baseball players.
26. ROBINSON PINA RHP (21)
Stats: 3.83 ERA, 108 IP, 61 walks, 146 strikeouts in A ball (Burlington).
Ranking Trends: 13, 20, 20, 25, 27, 27, 30, NR.
Comments: Given his performance in 2019, it is almost surprising that Pina isn’t ranked higher. But if he continues this level of play in A+ and above, he could leapfrog several pitching prospects by year’s end. Definitely one to watch, with major league potential.
Best Known For: Tall and lanky. Herky-jerky motion. Misses lots of bats. Reports indicate low-90’s fastball .
27. LUIS MADERO RHP (23)
Stats: 5.03 ERA, 105.2 IP, 31 walks, 98 strikeouts in A+/AA.
Ranking Trends: 10, 20, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: Madero was a bit of a darling among Angelswin prospects hounds after his breakout 2018 campaign (3.49 ERA, 27 walks and 95 strikeouts in 105.2 IP in A/A+). While his ERA rose substantially, his peripherals held steady and perhaps we’re being a bit too bearish on him. He isn’t far from being on the major league depth chart.
Best Known For: Mid-90’s fastball. Added to the Angels 40-man ahead of last year’s Rule 5 Draft.
28. LIVAN SOTO SS/2B (20)
Stats: .220/.304/.256 in 311 PA in A/Rookie ball.
Ranking Trends: 14, 24, 30, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: The second of the “stolen” Braves prospects, Soto had a disappointing follow-up to his promising first year in the Angels farm system. Right now he projects as a very weak-hitting but solid fielding middle infielder, but he’s also got some physical development ahead of him. 2020 should give us a better sense of his ultimate potential.
Best Known For: Being the “other” prospect the Braves lost that the Angels signed. Defensive wizard. Weighs about as much as a women’s olympic gymnast.
29. ADRIAN RONDON IF (21)
Stats: .266/.317/.378 in 69 games in Rookie/A ball.
Ranking Trends: 25, 25, 26, 27, 30, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: We’ve got a Rondon! Eppler seems to like former highly regarded international prospects; while never quite as lauded as Maitan, Rondon’s story is similar: the Tampa Rays gave him a $3 million signing bonus in 2015, but he struggled in the minor leagues. He held his own last year, but nothing exciting – so far. There’ still untapped potential and relative youth on his side.
Best Known For: One of the more hyped international signees in recent memory. Angels traded practically nothing for him. Great bat speed, recently moved to 3B.
30. GARRETT STALLINGS RHP (22)
Stats: Did not play.
Ranking Trends: 22, 25, 29, 29, 29, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: The Angels’ 5th round pick in 2019, Stallings is a bit of a sleeper pick who could reach the majors relatively quickly. He probably projects as a back-end starter, but is one to keep an eye on.
Best Known For: Brilliant performance in the heavily scouted Cape Cod League. Could climb the minor league ladder very quickly.
Other Ranked Players: Jeremy Beasley, Jose Bonilla, Denny Brady, Sadrac Franco, Jake Jewell, Orlando Martinez, Isaac Mattson, Leonardo Rivas, Jose Rojas, Andrew Wantz, Austin Warren.