2023 International Reviews: Los Angeles Angels
With 20-year-old Cuban catcher Edgar Quero in Double-A and 17-year-old outfielder Nelson Rada in Low-A, the Angels have two signings from their 2021 international class moving through the system quickly, with Quero entering Top 100 prospect conversations.
A few of the Angels’ top signings from this year’s class were in Arizona for spring training, though they’re back in the Dominican Republic now and expected to make their pro debuts once the Dominican Summer League season begins.
Top Of The Class
The organization’s top signing for the class is Felix Morrobel, a 17-year-old Dominican shortstop who landed a $900,000 bonus. He’s 6 feet, 175 pounds with good bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate. He’s a tick more advanced from the left side, but both swings produce a high contact rate with a sound approach for his age to spread line drives around the field with gap power. Morrobel has the actions, range and tools that should allow him to handle shortstop. He’s light on his feet with good hands and good body control at the position to go with a solid-average arm.
The Angels also gave $900,000 to 17-year-old Dominican outfielder Byron Castillo. There’s no one big carrying tool with Castillo, but he does a variety of things well. He’s 6 feet, 195 pounds with good strength for his age already and a chance to grow into 20-plus home run power. He has shown solid feel for hitting from the right side, though his swing is geared more for power. He’s an average runner with an average arm and solid instincts for his age in center field. He could start his development in center field, though it’s likely he outgrows the position and fits best in a corner long term.
Names To Know
Anyelo Marquez, SS, Dominican Republic: Signed for $600,000, Marquez is a 17-year-old with sweet hands that play on both sides of the ball. He’s 6 feet, 165 pounds with good bat control, leading to a low swing-and-and miss rate to shoot line drives around the field with gap power from the left side. Marquez isn’t a big runner and will need to get stronger, but he has the hands and actions to stick in the middle infield, either at shortstop if his arm improves or possibly flip to second base.
Juan Flores, C, Venezuela: Flores was one of the best defensive catchers in Venezuela this year. Signed for $280,000, Flores has impressive instincts and athleticism behind the plate for a 17-year-old catcher. He has good mobility, a 55 arm that should tick up to plus as he gets stronger and draws strong reviews for his ability to work with pitchers and do the little things managers love to have in a catcher. At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Flores’ defense is his calling card, with a power-over-hit profile from the right side.
Edwardo Espinal, OF, Dominican Republic: Signed for $250,000, Espinal has an athletic build (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) at 17 and has flashed skills on both sides of the ball. He’s a righthanded hitter with good hand-eye coordination to put the ball in play at a high clip with flashes of power that should spike more as he fills out. He’s not a burner but he’s the type of player who could get faster with more strength and develop into a plus runner in center field, where he has good instincts for his age.
Ubaldo Soto, RHP, Dominican Republic: Soto is still 16, one of the younger signings for the Angels this year, with good projection indicators. He’s a good athlete who has a lot of room to fill out his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, with a loose arm and a starter look. Signed for $250,000, Soto throws strikes with a fastball that has been up to 92 mph and should grow once he gets stronger, mixing in a changeup and a slurvy breaking ball.
Francis Texido, LHP, Cuba: Another $250,000 signing for the Angels, Texido is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds at 18 who throws strikes and mixes four pitches. With a fastball up to 91 mph, Texido isn’t overpowering, but he’s athletic with a good delivery, has a changeup that has a chance to be plus, a short slider and a curveball.
Samil Dishmey, OF, Dominican Republic: Dishmey is an athletic corner outfielder who drives the ball well when he squares it up, with power his best tool. He’s 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and shows flashes of above-average raw power from the left side that should continue to grow given the strength projection left in his frame. He signed for $175,000.
Bryan Martinez, SS, Dominican Republic: Martinez, a 17-year-old who signed for $125,000, is 6-foot-2, 170 pounds with lots of physical projection remaining. He has shown good bat control from the left side of the plate with gap power that’s trending up and should turn into more home run shots once he packs on more weight to his thin frame. As he fills out, he could end up outgrowing shortstop and move to either third base or possibly second, but he has the footwork and actions to play in the infield with a chance to handle shortstop.
Victor Rodriguez, SS, Dominican Republic: Rodriguez is an offensive-oriented shortstop who signed with the Angels for $125,000. He’s 5-foot-10, 185 pounds at 17 with a lot of strength to his frame, helping him generate a lot of hard contact when he connects. Rodriguez trained as a shortstop before signing, though he likely fits better at second or third base long term.
For $50,000, the Angels signed Venezuelan righthander Davidxon Lara. He’s still 16 until July 31, so he’s one of the younger players signed this year, but his feel for pitching is advanced for his age. He’s 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with a starter look and the ability to mix three pitches effectively. Lara throws a lot of strikes with a fastball that has touched 91 mph. There’s strength projection there for his velocity to increase, but his fastball already produces a lot of awkward swings from hitters with its late life, mixing in a curveball and changeup to round out his repertoire.