Trent Deveaux should benefit from a little stability this season after the speedy, 18-year-old outfielder signed with the Angels for $1.2 million out of the Bahamas in 2017.
Deveaux’s first season was one of constant adjustments as the Angels moved him from shortstop to the outfield and then guided him through three or four different batting stances in an effort to find some kind of consistent rhythm at the plate.
As a result, Deveaux struggled in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season, hitting .199/.309/.247 with one home run, seven stolen bases and 68 strikeouts in 44 games.
The lanky, 6-foot-2, 175-pound Deveaux was then sent to Dominican instructional league for another month of work, and he seemed to find a lower-body setup that allows him to better recognize pitches, keep his bat in the zone a little longer and make more contact.
Deveaux is also reaping the benefits of a strength and conditioning program that has added muscle to his lean frame and should boost his power potential in the future.
“Trent has shown physical strength gains this spring,” minor league field coordinator Chad Tracy said. “He managed to stay lean with his weight gain and maintain his elite speed tool. He’s shown increased comfort and competitiveness in the batter’s box due to his physical maturity. He’s made progress across the board.”
Deveaux, a former sprinter in the Bahamas, is an elite athlete and runner who has been clocked at 6.2 seconds in the 60-yard dash, an 80-grade run time. He’s still learning to steal bases but has little trouble scoring from first on balls hit to the gaps.
Deveaux, who is expected to remain in extended spring training before joining an affiliate, can play all three outfield spots. He has the makings of a premier defender in center field, with plus range and plus instincts, and his arm is strong enough to play right field.
The biggest question is Deveaux’s bat. Like most teenagers in pro ball, he hunted fastballs early and struggled with offspeed pitches. But he seemed to find a more comfortable swing in the final two weeks, and the Angels like the way the ball is coming off his bat this spring.