2018 Los Angeles Angels Top 10 Prospects

Angels Top 10 Prospects
1. Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH
2. Jo Adell, OF
3. Jahmai Jones, OF
4. Kevin Maitan, SS
5. Brandon Marsh, OF
6. Jaime Barria, RHP
7. Chris Rodriguez, RHP
8. Matt Thaiss, 1B
9. Griffin Canning, RHP
10. Michael Hermosillo, OF

GOT QUESTIONS? Angels Top 10 Chat

For each organization, we identify the 10 prospects with the highest ceilings, with consideration given to the likelihood of reaching those ceilings.

To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.

Notable Graduations: Trade pickup RHP Parker Bridwell (21 for Orioles), RHP Alex Meyer (3) and RHP Keynan Middleton (9).

Trending: 🔺 Adding Shohei Ohtani and Kevin Maitan in December and Jo Adell in the draft remade system.



Strengths: It’s been more than two decades since Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad all made their debuts in a five-year span, giving the Angels an embarrassment of riches in the outfield that laid the groundwork for their first World Series.They have another impressive collection of outfielders in the wings now, with Jo Adell, Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh all standouts in their own right who could form the core of the next great Angels outfield.

Weaknesses: As impressive as the group of outfielders is, the Angels catchers and infielders are equally unimpressive. First-round picks Taylor Ward and Matt Thaiss have largely underwhelmed, while top shortstops Kevin Maitan and Leonardo Rivas are teenagers who spent all or most of 2017 in Rookie ball and drew mixed reviews.



🔸Best Hitter for Average: Jahmai Jones.
🔸Best Power Hitter: Shohei Ohtani.
🔸Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Matt Thaiss.
🔸Fastest Baserunner: Trent Deveaux.
🔸Best Athlete: Brandon Marsh.
🔸Best Fastball: Shohei Ohtani.
🔸Best Curveball: Joe Gatto.
🔸Best Slider: Chris Rodriguez.
🔸Best Changeup: Jose Suarez.
🔸Best Control: Jaime Barria.
🔸Best Defensive Catcher: Taylor Ward.
🔸Best Defensive INF: Leonardo Rivas.
🔸Best INF Arm: Connor Justus.
🔸Best Defensive OF: Torii Hunter Jr.
🔸Best OF Arm: Brandon Marsh.



(Listed with 2021 season age)

🔸C Taylor Ward (27)
🔸1B Matt Thaiss (26)
🔸2B Leonardo Rivas (23)
🔸3B Kevin Maitan (21)
🔸SS Andrelton Simmons (31)
🔸LF Jahmai Jones (23)
🔸CF Mike Trout (29)
🔸RF Jo Adell (22)
🔸DH Justin Upton (33)
🔸SP Shohei Ohtani (26)
🔸SP Garrett Richards (33)
🔸SP Andrew Heaney (30)
🔸SP Tyler Skaggs (29)
🔸SP Jaime Barria (24)
🔸CL Keynan Middleton (27)



(Listed with 2017 organization)

🔸2008: 3B/SS Brandon Wood (Did Not Play) | WAR: -3.7
🔸2009: RHP Nick Adenhart (Deceased) | WAR: N/A
🔸2010: C Hank Conger (Diamondbacks) | WAR: 2.1
🔸2011: OF Mike Trout (Angels) | WAR: 55.2
🔸2012: OF Mike Trout (Angels) | WAR: **
🔸2013: 3B Kaleb Cowart (Angels) | WAR: -0.2
🔸2014: 2B Taylor Lindsey (Did Not Play) | WAR:N/A
🔸2015: LHP Andrew Heaney (Angels) | WAR: 1.0
🔸2016: C Taylor Ward (Angels) | WAR: N/A
🔸2017: OF Jahmai Jones (Angels) | Top 10



(Listed with 2017 organization)

🔸2008: RHP Tyler Chatwood (2nd round, Rockies) | WAR: 10.2
🔸2009: OF Randal Grichuk (Cardinals) | WAR: 7.0
🔸2010: RHP Cam Bedrosian (Angels) | WAR: -0.1
🔸2011: 1B C.J. Cron (Angels) | WAR: 2.8
🔸2012: RHP R.J. Alvarez (3rd round, Rangers) | WAR: N/A
🔸2013: LHP Hunter Green (2nd round, Retired) | WAR: N/A
🔸2014: LHP Sean Newcomb (Braves) | WAR: 1.1
🔸2015: C Taylor Ward (Angels) | WAR: N/A
🔸2016: C Matt Thaiss (Angels) | Top 10
🔸2017: OF Jo Adell (Angels) | Top 10

1. Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH 📹
BORN: July 5, 1994
B-T: L-R| HT: 6-3 | WT: 189
SIGNED: Japan, 2017
JAPAN: 3-2, 3.20 ERA | 29 SO | 19 BB | 25 IP
.332/.403/.540 | 8 HR | 0 SB | 202 AB

Track Record: No player since Bryce Harper has matched the mixture of hype and expectation as Ohtani. With a fastball clocked as high as 102 mph and a demonstrated ability to hit home runs 500 feet in the Japanese majors, he became the most sought-after free agent of the 2017 offseason. Ohtani’s star progressively grew in Japan and reached its high point in 2016, when he went 10-4, 1.86 with 174 strikeouts and 45 walks in 140 innings and, while serving as DH on days he wasn’t pitching, hitting .322 with 22 home runs and a 1.004 OPS. A right ankle injury limited him to just five starts in 2017 and he had surgery in October. Ohtani jumped to the U.S. in 2018 and because his bonus was capped as an international amateur, nearly every team pursued him. He chose to sign with the Angels, who paid a $20 million posting fee to Nippon-Ham and $2.315 million in bonus money to Ohtani in early December. His physical revealed a first-degree sprain in his elbow, an injury that is relatively common among pitchers.

Scouting Report: Ohtani is a gifted athlete so prolific as a hitter and pitcher he has all-star potential at both. He can hold his fastball at 97-98 mph as a starter, and he dials it up and down from 93-100. His fastball is fairly straight, but when his command is on, his raw velocity is enough to draw swings and misses. Ohtani’s best pitch is a split-fingered fastball that Ohtani calls a forkball. He throws it with the same arm speed and slot as his fastball, and the pitch dives two feet into the dirt after starting at the hitter’s thigh. Ohtani’s slider is a third plus pitch but lacks consistency, and he also has a curveball and changeup. He has a No. 1 starter’s arsenal but pitches up in the zone too much at times and can fall in love with his breaking pitches, which leads to bouts of inconsistent command. As a hitter, Ohtani packs massive raw power, and he pulverizes anything over the plate to center field or the opposite way to left. He rarely faced inside fastballs in Japan and will have to show he can adjust to them in the majors.

🔸Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale
Fastball: 80. Curveball: 45. Slider: 60. Changeup: 45. Splitter: 70. Control: 55.
Hit: 50. Power: 60. Speed: 60. Field: 45. Arm: 80.

The Future: Ohtani will immediately slot into the Angels’ rotation, and on his off days will get at-bats at DH. If everything comes together, he can be a Cy Young Award contender who hits double-digit home runs.

2. Jo Adell, OF 📹
BORN: April 8, 1999
B-T: R-R| HT: 6-3 | WT: 200
DRAFTED: HS—Louisville, 2017 (1st round)
SIGNED BY: John Burden
MINORS (2 teams): .325/.376/.532 | 5 HR | 8 SB | 203 AB

Track Record: Adell’s skills were raw early in his high school career, but he made adjustments to keep his bat through the zone longer and hit .562 with 25 homers, most in the nation, 22 stolen bases and just seven strikeouts as a senior in 2017. The Angels drafted him 10th overall and signed him for $4.377 million to pass up Louisville. Adell then hit .325 with a .908 OPS at two Rookie-level affiliates.

Scouting Report: The Angels believed Adell possessed the best combination of power, speed and arm strength in the 2017 draft. He has shown top-of-the-scale speed, has the strength to mash 450-foot homers and the arm to make laser-like throws from the outfield. The broad-shouldered, muscular Adell stands out most for his quick-twitch athleticism, bat speed, raw power and ability to make consistent hard contact. His quick hands allow him to get to high pitches and he shows maturity in his at-bats and work ethic. He may not become an elite defender but is solidly above-average in center or right field. Adell’s speed may not translate into stolen bases as he matures physically and adds muscle.

The Future: Adell has the ability, makeup and intangibles to grow into an all-star-caliber outfielder.

3. Jahmai Jones, OF 📹
BORN: Aug. 4, 1997
B-T: R-R| HT: 6-0 | WT: 215
DRAFTED: HS—Norcross, Ga., 2015 (2nd round)
SIGNED BY: Todd Hogan
MINORS (2 teams): .282/.348/.446 | 14 HR | 27 SB | 518 AB

Track Record: Jones is an explosive athlete whose father and two brothers played in the NFL. He signed for $1.1 million in 2015 and spent most of his first two seasons in Rookie ball. Jones raised his profile in 2017 by mastering two Class A levels.

Scouting Report: Pitchers exploited Jones’ tendency to chase breaking balls early in 2017, and he hit just .165 at low Class A Burlington in his first 26 games. He rebounded to earn a July 20 promotion to high Class A Inland Empire. Jones makes consistent contact, sprays line drives all over the field, has plus speed and gap-to-gap power—and his defense is improving. His build is thick and strong, and the ball jumps off his bat. A short stroke and plus bat speed indicate that Jones could be an above-average hitter, but there are questions whether he’ll be able to manage the strike zone. He doesn’t project as a home run hitter but scouts like the adjustments he makes with two strikes, when he widens his stance, chokes up and tries to put the ball in play. An average arm could fit best in left field.

The Future: If Jones maintains his speed and improves his plate discipline, he could be a prototype leadoff man. He should see Double-A Mobile in 2018.

4. Kevin Maitan, SS 📹
BORN: Feb. 12, 2000
B-T: B-R | HT: 6-2 | WT: 190
SIGNED: Venezuela, 2016.
SIGNED BY: Gordon Blakely/Mike Silvestri/Rolando Petit (Braves).
MINORS (2 teams): .241/290/.340 | 2 HR | 2 SB | 162 AB

Track Record: Evaluators considered Maitan the top prospect in the 2016 international class and the top hitter out of Latin America in years. The Venezuelan switch-hitter signed with the Braves for $4.25 million but had an underwhelming pro debut in Rookie ball in 2017. After the season, Major League Baseball declared Maitan a free agent as part of the Braves’ penalties for international signing violations.

Scouting Report: The Angels signed Maitan for $2.2 million in December. Most worrisome about his debut was that he gained significant weight in his lower half and few scouts now believe he will be able to stick at shortstop. His righthanded swing was quick and direct, but his lefthanded swing showed significant length and less bat speed. Maitain has plus power potential, but his approach will have to be refined to tap into what scouts have long seen as plus hitting ability. He has good body control, a plus arm and soft hands, but his range was limited by his lack of speed and first-step quickness.

The Future: The Angels expect to let Maitan stick at shortstop for now, but most scouts envision him shifting to third base eventually—unless he drops weight. He has the hitting ability to be an impact player.

5. Brandon Marsh, OF
BORN: Dec. 18, 1997
B-T: L-R. | HT: 6-3 | WT: 210
DRAFTED: HS—Buford, Ga., 2016 (2nd round).
SIGNED BY: Todd Hogan
MINORS: .350/.396/.548 | 4 HR | 1o SB | 177 AB

Track Record: Marsh, who signed for $1.073 million as the No. 60 overall pick in 2016, didn’t play after his signing was delayed when a medical exam found a stress reaction in his lower back. He flashed five-tool potential in his 2017 pro debut in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.

Scouting Report: Stronger after months of rehabilitation, Marsh shined in 2017 despite missing a month with a sprained thumb. A standout wide receiver who helped his high school team win Georgia state championships in 2013 and 2014, Marsh is an elite athlete with a strong frame, plus speed and a plus arm. He looked raw offensively at 2016 instructional league but showed advanced plate discipline at Orem, sitting on pitches like a college hitter. Marsh has shown an ability to hit to all fields and could grow into more power as he matures physically. The way the ball comes off his bat leads some scouts to project above-average power in his future. The Angels believe Marsh has the speed and instincts to cover center field, though he could move to a corner.

The Future: With a good—and healthy—first half at low Class A Burlington in 2018, Marsh could reach high Class A Inland Empire by the all-star break.

6. Jaime Barria, RHP
BORN: July 18, 1996
B-T: R-R | HT: 6-1 | WT: 210
SIGNED: Panama, 2013
SIGNED BY: Roman Ocumarez.
MINORS (3 teams): 7-9, 2.80 ERA | 117 SO | 31 SB | 142 IP

Track Record: Barria has gained 30 pounds since he signed for $60,000 as a 16-year-old, and he’s continued to add velocity as he’s added strength. He made a quantum leap in 2017, when he advanced from high Class A Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake in his age-20 season. Barria recorded a 2.80 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 31 walks in 141.2 innings.

Scouting Report: Barria doesn’t have electric stuff. He relies on pitchability and racking up early-count outs, but his advanced feel for pitching, sneaky deception, pinpoint control and knack for turning up his intensity in jams pushed him to Triple-A. He works in and out and up and down with a fastball that sits 92 mph. Barria’s best pitch is a changeup with fade at 77-80 mph that projects to be at least above-average. His curveball, once loopier and slower, is thrown harder and shorter and sometimes with big depth and projects as a possible out pitch. Barria has the intangibles you’d expect in a big league starter—good mound presence and demeanor, confidence in his repertoire and the ability to control the running game and field his position.

The Future: With his work ethic and progress, Barria shows the potential to be a No. 4 or 5 starter.


7. Chris Rodriguez, RHP
BORN: July 20, 1998
B-T: R-R| HT: 6-2 | WT: 185
DRAFTED: HS—Pace, Fla., 2016 (4th round)
SIGNED BY: Ralph Reyes
MINORS (2 teams): 5-3 6.16 ERA | 56 SO | 14 BB | 57 IP

Track Record: Rodriguez, who signed for a well above-slot $850,000 in 2016, is considered by some to be the most promising homegrown arm in the Angels system. But his 2017 results—he ran up a 6.16 ERA in 14 starts at Rookie-level Orem and low Class A Burlington—didn’t match his potential.

Scouting Report: Rodriguez features a lively four-seam fastball that averages 95 mph, has touched 97 and sometimes cuts away from righthanded batters. He complements it with a sinking two-seamer that runs in to righties, making for an uncomfortable at-bat. He can throw his 83-86 mph changeup, his best secondary pitch, in any count, and it sometimes looks like a screwball the way the bottom drops out. He gets a hard, late break and good tilt on his 82-85 mph slider, and he began throwing more of a 12-to-6 curveball. Rodriguez has an athletic, rhythmic delivery, but a pronounced head whack is a red flag for some scouts. In part because of that, evaluators do not project Rodriguez to ever have more than average control.

The Future: Rodriguez is mature with a good work ethic. With polish and experience, he could develop into a mid-rotation starter.

8. Matt Thaiss, 1B 📹
BORN: May 6, 1995
B-T: L-R | HT: 6-0 | WT: 200
DRAFTED: Virginia, 2016 (1st round)
SIGNED BY: Nick Gourneault
MINORS: .274/.375/.395 | 9 HR | 8 SB | 514 AB

Track Record: Thaiss, who signed for $2.15 million, was a bat-first catcher in college. The Angels were sold on his bat but not his glove, so they announced him as a full-time first baseman when signing him. He hasn’t gotten behind the dish in two pro seasons.

Scouting Report: Thaiss has carried the advanced plate discipline he showed in college to pro ball, where he has a high walk rate (12 percent) and moderate strikeout rate (17 percent). His power, however, slipped in 2017 after a July 11 promotion to Double-A Mobile, where he hit only one home run in 49 games. Thaiss has made strides defensively at first base. He looked a little rigid and rough around the edges at 2016 instructional league, but his range, hands and ability to pick balls in the dirt improved dramatically. Thaiss controls the strike zone and knows how to battle and spoil pitches. He has a good approach, doesn’t chase pitches and isn’t afraid to work deep counts. He hits the ball hard but does not elevate enough to clear the fence regularly.

The Future: Unless Thaiss learns how to turn on the ball and punish mistakes, his ceiling will be limited to an on-base-oriented hitter and possible second-division player at first base.

9. Griffin Canning, RHP 📹
BORN: May 11, 1996
B-T: R-R | HT: 6-2 | WT: 180
DRAFTED: UCLA, 2017 (2nd round)
SIGNED BY: Ben Diggins
MINORS: Did Not Play

Track Record: A heavy workload as a junior at UCLA and a report of “potential issues” in a predraft MRI didn’t scare the Angels off Canning, a projected first-round pick who fell to the second round and signed for $1.459 million.

Scouting Report: The Angels were comfortable with Canning’s medicals, but were still very careful with him. He spent the summer at their Arizona complex working on strength and conditioning and didn’t pitch for an affiliate. Canning’s four-pitch mix includes a high-spin four-seam fastball between 90-94 mph that he commands and a slider, curveball and changeup that all flash above-average potential. His changeup was his go-to secondary pitch as a sophomore, but he threw more breaking balls as a junior, when he recorded a 2.34 ERA in 119 innings and finished second in the nation with 140 strikeouts. He showed durability under a robust workload in 2017, throwing a 134-pitch shutout against rival Southern California in early May. Canning is a polished and advanced college pitcher who could move quickly through the system, but he needs to show he is healthy.

The Future: Canning will make his debut at a Class A affiliate in 2018 and projects as a mid-rotation starter.

10. Michael Hermosillo, OF
BORN: Jan. 17, 1995
B-T: R-R| HT: 5-11 | WT: 190
DRAFTED: HS—Ottawa, Ill., 2013 (28th round)
SIGNED BY: Joel Murrie
MINORS (3 teams): .267/.366/.397 | 9 HR | 35 SB | 446 AB

Track Record: A 28th-round pick who was committed to Illinois to play football out of high school, Hermosillo signed for $100,000 and certainly didn’t come with a “can’t-miss” label. After two so-so seasons to begin his career, he blossomed at low Class A Burlington in 2016 and jumped all the way to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2017, combining to hit .267/.366/.397 with nine home runs and 35 stolen bases.

Scouting Report: Hermosillo makes good contact and has shown solid plate discipline throughout his career, though his strikeout-to-walk ratio dipped as he faced better pitchers in 2017. A dead-pull hitter, he needs a more balanced approach at the plate in order to use all fields. A limited launch angle prevents him from hitting more home runs. He has an above-average arm, allowing him to handle all three outfield positions. He has shown solid instincts in center field, but is better coming in on balls than going back. His base-stealing techniques, raw when he signed, have improved.

The Future: Hermosillo was invited to big league camp in 2017, and he made the 40-man roster after the season. But unless he adds more power, his ceiling may be that of a fourth outfielder.

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