BEST PLAYER: Low Class A Burlington righthander Grayson Long has the look of a rotation workhouse, and midway through his first full season, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound starter is showing the potential to be one.
Long, a 2015 third-rounder from Texas A&M, went 3-3, 1.58 in his first eight starts, striking out 45 and walking 16 in 40 innings and holding opponents to a .190 average. He went on the disabled list on May 30 and had not yet returned.
The first pitcher the Angels selected in 2015 after throwing 96 innings for an Aggies team that fell one win short of the College World Series, he pitched to a 5.03 ERA in 20 innings at Rookie-level Orem last summer.
Long throws from a high three-quarters arm slot that helps keep his pitches down in the zone, and his fastball, which sits at 92-93 mph, has good life. His secondary pitches—slider and changeup—are “works in progress,” according to farm director Mike LaCassa, but they have the potential to be plus pitches.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: Starter-turned-closer Adam Hofacket propelled himself into consideration for the system’s Top 10 Prospects with a strong first-half showing. The Angels selected the 6-foot-1, 195-pound righthander in the 10th round of the 2015 draft from California Baptist.
Los Angeles promoted Hofacket to high Class A Inland Empire in mid-May. In two Class A stops, he went 1-0, 4.61 with two saves through 26 games. He struck out 12.5 and walked 2.0 per nine innings, holding opponents to a .239 average.
Hofacket throws a four-seam fastball with late life from 92-95 mph and a two-seam sinking fastball that sits about 89. He has shown a good feel for his changeup and slider.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Inland Empire righthander Jake Jewell, with his heavy 92-95 mph fastball with late tailing action and a promising slider and curve, vaulted to top-prospect status last season.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound righthander, a 2014 fifth-round pick out of Northeast Oklahoma A&M JC, has struggled this season and could move to the bullpen.
Through 16 starts in the California League, Jewell went 1-7, 6.25 while striking out 61, walking 36 and allowing a whopping 110 hits in 72 innings. He yielded a .359 average and 2.03 WHIP to opposing hitters, with a career-worst 1.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.