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Los Angeles Angels

With the Angels having committed over $108 million to four players (Trout, Pujols, Rendon, and Upton), they must look to younger players to fill out their roster. Jo Adell is one of them and despite a less than stellar Major League debut, I still believe he has star potential.  Jared Walsh looked good and might be able to help. 

In the minors, I really like Brandon Marsh.  Like Adell, he has star potential and is just about ready to make his Major League debut.  The problem will be playing time as unless there is an injury, I don’t see room for him.  Jahmai Jones is also nearly ready and while not as tooled up as Marsh he still has the upside of a full-time regular.  I still worry about his hit tool but there is some speed and a little pop in the toolbox.

From a pitching standpoint, there are good arms in the system, but I don’t see any pitchers that have front-line starter potential.  Reid Detmers, their first-round draft pick last June is polished and could see time in Los Angeles next season.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Brandon Marsh
  • Biggest Mover: Reid Detmers
  • Emerging Prospect: Denzer Guzman

1. Brandon Marsh (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 30 OF, maybe more
  • Tools Summary: An elite athlete with power and speed.  If the improved contact he demonstrated in 2019 is real, he could be an impact performer at the highest level.

Now that Jo Adell is no longer rookie eligible, Brandon Marsh is the top prospect in the Angels system.  He’s as athletic, maybe even more so than Adell with potential 20-20 upside.  The question will come down to how much he’ll hit.  He took a major set forward in 2019 when he posted a 22% strikeout rate and a 12% walk rate.  While there’s always going to be some swing and miss, the improvement was significant, particularly when you consider he did it in Double-A.  There’s huge fantasy potential here for Dynasty League owners but I do worry whether it will be in 2021 or not.  As I write this in mid-November, it’s a crowded roster.

2. Reid Detmers (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021-22 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Three-year starter at Louisville with solid stuff who could move quickly

The Angels selected Reid Detmers with the 10th overall pick in the 2020 Draft.  He was a three-year starter at Louisville pitching to 3.35 ERA while striking out nearly 13 per nine. Despite an average fastball, his arsenal plays up because he commands his fastball well and has excellent control of his secondary pitches.  His best secondary pitch is his curveball.  A real hammer that should be a real weapon.  Because of his polish, it’s won’t take long before we see him in Los Angeles.

3. Jordyn Adams (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF with risk
  • Tools Summary: An elite athlete who is still learning to play baseball.  He’s an 80-grade runner with premium bat speed with a swing that just might work

The Angels gambled when they selected Jordyn Adams with the 17th overall pick in the 2018 June draft.  A premium athlete, Adams was also a high-end football recruit and thus, never focused his full attention on baseball.  He’s an 80-grade runner with plenty of bat speed that just needs time to develop. If you believe in Adams, you believe that he’ll convert his tremendous raw talent and athleticism into baseball skills.  It’s by no means a slam dunk that this will happen, but the swing isn’t bad and that’s a big part of the battle.

4. Chris Rodriguez (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Hasn’t pitched much in three years with ongoing back issues. 

With the missed 2020 season, Chris Rodriguez has now barely pitched in three years.  He was assigned to the Alternate Site and reportedly pitched well.  Assuming health, there is a lot to like.  He’s athletic, repeats his delivery with a solid arsenal led by a mid-90s fastball with a high spin rate.  He should begin the 2021 season in High-A but could see Double-A by season’s ends.  Given his missed time, the Angels will likely limit his innings.

5. Kyren Paris (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS
  • Tools Summary: Intriguing skills with double-plus speed and potentially a little power in the future

Kyren Paris is one of the more athletic players in the Angels system.  He’s a plus runner with good bat-to-ball skills and should add power as he fills out.  Unfortunately, he only got in one game in his draft year and did not play in competitive games in 2020.  The missed development time could hurt but I do like the upside.  If it all comes together, he could hit at the top of the order with 20 plus stolen bases, 10 plus home runs, hitting for average, and getting on-base at a high rate.

6. Jeremiah Jackson (SS/2B)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS with risk
  • Tools Summary: Athletic middle infielder that is cranking out home runs but striking out a ton

Jeremiah Jackson had one of the more impressive 2019 stat lines of 2019 when he slugged 23 home in 65 games in the Pioneer League. I’m not sure anyone saw that coming.  Sure, he has excellent bat speed but he’s not very selective at the plate and the swing has a lot of moving parts. With that approach and swing mechanics, the strikeouts will likely be significant.  His upside will depend on how much he improves his overall hit tool.  Regardless, I’m still very intrigued as the tools are indeed exciting.

7. Jahmai Jones (2B)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: After struggling in 2019, he impressed at the Alternate Site and even got seven at-bats in the Major Leagues to end the season.

I’ve been writing about Jahmai Jones for years.  He was a top 100 prospect for part of that time but had fallen off in recent years as the production wasn’t there.  He just wasn’t hitting the ball hard and was constantly tweaking his swing.  At the end of 2019, he locked into an approach and started to hit the ball harder.  There are skills as he’s athletic with good bat speed who can run a little.  I don’t see a star, but I do believe he can become a full-time regular with an upside of a 15-15 performer at second.

8. D’Shawn Knowles (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 50 OF
  • Tools Summary: Fantasy friendly tools but there is concern about his ability to hit

The Angels signed D’Shawn Knowles in 2016 and throughout his brief career has shown a little bit of pop and good speed in the outfield and on the bases.  His ability to make contact has been a struggle.  For instance, he posted a 28% strikeout rate in advanced rookie ball.  I do like his swing and provided he can improve on his ability to not expand the strike zone, the upside is a full-time regular.

9. Arol Vera (SS)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Unknown
  • Tools Summary: Top 2019 international free agent with a solid hit tool and promise of future power

Arol Vera was the Angels big international free agent signee in 2019.  The switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela is a solid up the middle player and should be able to stay in the dirt as he progresses through the development process.  He has a solid approach, shows more power from the left side with a swing that should be able to make solid contact.  He’s not a burner but does show solid speed on the bases.

10. Jose Soriano (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP or Closer
  • Tools Summary: Intriguing pitcher with two double-plus pitches.  However, he currently has 30-grade control, but there is enough athleticism to dream of better results

Jose Soriano has some of the best stuff in the minor leagues.  He has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, touching triple digits, and a curveball that also projects to be a plus pitch.  The problem though is he has no idea where either pitch is going.  In 238 career innings, he’s walked over five per nine. The good news is that he shows plenty of athleticism on the mound with simple and clean delivery.  He just doesn’t repeat it and the result is well below-average control. 

11. Jack Kochanowicz (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Projectable right-hander who has yet to pitch in a professional game

The Angeles selected Jack Kochanowicz in the third round of the 2019 Draft.  He’s a large human at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, but still has some projection remaining.  In fact, at the alternate site, he was hitting the mid to upper 90s with his fastball while showing a feel for a curveball and change-up.  He’s at least three years away and we need to see him pitch in a game, but it’s a starter profile and potentially a good one.

12. Hector Yan (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 75 SP or Reliever
  • Tools Summary: Smallish lefty with a solid arsenal. 

At 5-foot-11, Hector Yan is undersized but has a solid arsenal with a fastball that will touch the mid-90s with the ability to spin a curveball.  He worked on repeating his delivery at the Alternate Site, but my understanding is there is still work left.  I think the upside is a back of the rotation arm but more likely a swing starter/reliever.

13. Denzer Guzman (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Int’l player expected to sign ETA: 2024+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS/2B with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Athletic, 16-year-old with a nice swing with some future power upside

The Angels are expected to sign Denzer Guzman on January 15th.  He’s an athletic shortstop who eventually could grow out of the position as he fills out.  Evaluators love the swing and believe he’ll be able to hit at the highest level with the potential for solid pop.  There’s a long way to go but he’ll likely sign for around $2 million, so Dynasty League owners need to take notice.

14. Robinson Pina (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 SP or Closer
  • Tools Summary: Plus fastball/slider with poor control

20-year-old Robinson Pina is one of the best arms in the lower levels of the Angels system.  He has swing and miss stuff but doesn’t always know where the ball is going.  He has a fastball that sits 92 to 94 MPH with a slider that is his primary out-pitch.  His stuff is tough to pick up as he has an exaggerated stride to the plate that coupled with his length, can be very intimidating to batters.  When he can find his release point, he can be dominating, but once he loses it, things quickly go bad. 

15. Stiward Aquino (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Great size with a chance to have a plus arsenal.  He currently has 30-grade control but is athletic enough to predict improvement.

Stiward Aquino might be the most intriguing player on the Angles list.  He missed all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John Surgery, finally getting back on the mound in June of 2019.  What makes him an intriguing talent is he’s 6-foot-6 (might be taller) with a plus fastball and curveball.  His fastball moved up a solid grade after he returned to the mound.  Given his size and long levers, it’s going to take him time to synch his delivery.  He’s a little stiff on the mound and his release point is not consistent at all.  While I wouldn’t label him “athletic”, I do think he’s athletic enough that you can predict improved future control.

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