Angels’ Long Looks Like A Big Leaguer

ANAHEIMIt’s far too soon to tell whether righthander Grayson Long will develop into a major league starter. After all, the 2015 third-rounder hasn’t completed a full season of pro ball yet.

But Long sure looks the part. One glance at his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame, and it’s easy to see why the 22-year-old already has gained a reputation as a rotation workhorse, and why he projects more as a starter than a reliever.

“He’s a big, strong kid from Texas,” director of minor league operations Mike LaCassa said. “He’s what a starter looks like, that’s for sure.”

Long, who threw 96 innings for a Texas A&M team that fell one win short of the 2015 College World Series, was the first pitcher selected by the Angels in last year’s draft.

After signing for $548,600, Long worked 20 innings at Rookie-level Orem last summer, recording a 5.03 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 10 walks in 20 innings. He allowed only one home run.

The Angels considered starting Long at high Class A Inland Empire this season but instead sent him to low Class A Burlington so he could “work on refining his secondary pitches and fastball command and earn his way up,” LaCassa said.

Long has an above-average fastball with good angle that sits 92-93 mph this season. His secondary pitches—a slider and changeup—are “works in progress,” LaCassa said, but the Angels believe they have the potential to be plus pitches.

Long throws from a high three-quarters arm slot that helps him keep his pitches down in the zone. What he currently lacks in fastball velocity, he makes up for with good life.

“His fastball isn’t 96 (mph), but it plays up,” LaCassa said. “He gets good extension. It has real good ride. It’s deceptive to hitters. It doesn’t do what a normal fastball does.”


• The Angels promoted second baseman Sherman Johnson to Triple-A Salt Lake in early May after he hit .369/.481/.677 with 10 extra-base hits, nine RBIs, 14 walks and 13 strikeouts in his first 19 games at Double-A Arkansas.

• Outfielder Caleb Adams, a 10th-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2014, is off to a torrid start at Inland Empire. He hit .326/.392/.477 with 13 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in his first 36 games.

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