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Los Angeles Angels 2019 Top 30 MLB Prospects Midseason Update

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Jo Adell (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

The Angels find themselves in a familiar place to this point of the season—playing well, but not well enough to be in the postseason picture.

A winding season has seen the Angels hover around .500 most of the year, a minor miracle given they were without Justin Upton and Shohei Ohtani for much of the year and free agent pitcher signees Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill have largely flopped. Their season then took a tragic turn earlier this month with the sudden death of Tyler Skaggs, whose loss was devastating far beyond baseball.

In spite of all of it, the Angels are in striking distance of the AL wild card and can be buyers at the trade deadline if they so choose. If not, they have enough young players getting established (David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Griffin Canning) that they can hold steady and take whatever gains they make into next year, when the club expects their window of contention to truly open.


1. Jo Adell, OF

Adell missed the first six weeks of the season with a sprained ankle and strained hamstring, but he has been better than ever since he returned. He is showing increased first-step quickness in the outfield, has improved his pitch selection and plate discipline to cut down on his strikeouts and has added more strength to impact the ball even more than he already was.

2. Jose Suarez, LHP

Suarez ably handled difficult pitching conditions at Triple-A Salt Lake and earned his first big league callup in June. His swing-and-miss stuff is evident, but his control continues to need refinement.

3. Brandon Marsh, OF

Marsh was heating up when he sprained his right ankle retreating to third base after hitting a triple on June 1. His athleticism remains elite, and he was beginning to tap into his extra-base power prior to going on the injured list. 

4. Jordyn Adams, OF

Adams got off to a slow start but has hit .275 with a .357 on-base percentage over his last two months. His mental approach and plate discipline earn positive reviews along with his premium athleticism and loud tools.

5. Chris Rodriguez, RHP

Rodriguez showed front-of-the-rotation stuff before having back surgery to repair a stress fracture in his lower spine in mid-May. The Angels hope the surgery will finally solve his long-standing back problems.

6. Jose Soriano, RHP

Soriano has averaged 95 mph and touched 99 mph on his fastball at low Class A Burlington while flashing a potentially plus power curveball and improving changeup. His walk rate is high, but he isn’t missing by much and projects to stick as a starter.

7.  Will Wilson, SS

The 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft had a long track record of hitting for average and power at North Carolina State and projects as an impact hitter no matter what position he plays on the diamond.

8. Patrick Sandoval, LHP

Sandoval rode his advanced feel for pitching and plus changeup past Double-A and up to Triple-A, where his performance has suffered but evaluators still see an athletic, aggressive, back-of-the-rotation starter.

9. Matt Thaiss, 1B/3B

Thaiss continued to show some of the best strike-zone discipline in the minor leagues prior to earning his first big league callup on July 3. He began playing third base for the first time this year to enhance his versatility and has shown flashes of being able to stand there.

10. Jeremiah Jackson, SS

Jackson worked through swing difficulties in extended spring training and has struggled with strikeouts early at Rookie-level Orem, but he’s also shown the potential to hit for plus power while playing the middle infield.

  1. D’Shawn Knowles, OF
  2. Jahmai Jones, 2B
  3. Jared Walsh, 1B
  4. Jeremy Beasley, RHP
  5. Stiward Aquino, RHP
  6. Kyren Paris, SS
  7. Michael Hermosillo, OF
  8. Hector Yan, LHP
  9. Jack Kochanowicz, RHP
  10. Jose Rojas, 3B/2B
  11. Luis Madero, RHP
  12. Jack Kruger, C
  13. Denny Brady, RHP
  14. Orlando Martinez, OF
  15. Oliver Ortega, RHP
  16. Kevin Maitan, 3B
  17. Trent Deveaux, OF
  18. Livan Soto, SS
  19. Robinson Pina, LHP
  20. Leonardo Rivas, SS
angels-900x635

Jo Adell: Angels 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year

It won't be too long before Adell, the No. 2 prospect in baseball, is sharing an outfield with Mike Trout.

Rising


3B/2B Jose Rojas is older at 26, but his pure ability to hit is among the best in the Angels’ organization in rival scouts’ eyes.

LHP Hector Yan is sitting 93-95 mph on his fastball with a wipeout slider and a potential plus splitter at low Class A Burlington. He is tied for the Angels’ organizational in strikeouts and ranks second in the Midwest League.

RHP Oliver Ortega has opened eyes at high Class A Inland Empire with a 95-98 mph fastball and 81-84 power breaking ball that he can land for strikes, although his control remains inconsistent and leads to erratic performances. He is tied with Yan for the Angels organizational lead in strikeouts.

RHP Denny Brady ranks among the high Class A California League leaders in ERA and strikeouts on the strength of his heavy, 91-94 mph sinker and advanced changeup.

Falling


2B Jahmai Jones keeps tweaking his swing and loses more and more athleticism in the box with every change. He is batting .196 with a .260 on-base percentage and .268 slugging percentage at Double-A Mobile, and rival evaluators consider him almost unrecognizable from a few years ago. 

3B Kevin Maitan isn’t hitting for average, getting on base or hitting for power at low Class A Burlington and has moved off shortstop completely. He is showing neither the tools nor the ability to project as more than a future bench player, at best.

RHP Aaron Hernandez has shown pedestrian stuff and poor control at high Class A Inland Empire, resulting in a 5.06 ERA and .291 opponent average.

RHP Kyle Bradish has put up respectable numbers at high Class A Inland Empire, but his fringe-average fastball, below-average slider and below-average control make it difficult for evaluators to project future success.

Hurting


OF Brandon Marsh (sprained ankle) missed most of June but returned to Double-A Mobile at the start of July.

RHP Chris Rodriguez (back) does not have a firm timetable to return from back surgery, but he should be ready for the start of the 2020 season, at the latest.

OF Michael Hermosillo (core) missed the first two months of the season after having core muscle surgery but returned to game action on June 1.

SS Livan Soto (sprained ankle) suffered a severe ankle sprain on May 3 and is currently on rehab assignment in Arizona. 

SS Leonardo Rivas (strained hamstring) has been on the injured list the last two months but has begun playing in rehab games.

RHP John Swanda (torn UCL) had Tommy John surgery in late May and will be out until 2021.

Graduating


RHP Griffin Canning made his major league debut on April 30 and has remained in the Angels’ rotation since. He went 3-5, 4.43 through the All-Star break.

SS/2B Luis Rengifo received his first callup in late April and has been in the majors for good since late May. He is batting .265 with a .335 on-base percentage while playing both shortstop and second base. 

RHP Ty Buttrey has the lowest ERA among Angels relievers and has emerged as one of the club’s primary setup men.

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