Los Angeles Angels 2020 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- So Dylan Bundy was traded for Mattson, Bradish, Peek, and Brnovich. Did any of these fellows really impress you? Any chance Mattson or Bradish will be on the Orioles staff in 2020?
Mike DiGiovanna: Karl, of these four prospects, Bradish is the only one who was in my top 30 (he was in mid-20s) before the trade. He's a college pick who struck out 120 and walked 53 in 101 innings in high-A ball last season, but he has an unorthodox delivery that has led to some command problems, so I doubt he'll be a rotation candidate for the Orioles this spring.
- Does Jared Walsh have a shot at becoming a starting 1B at the MLB Level or is he a product of the "juiced ball" in AAA?
Mike DiGiovanna: Adam, a lot of scouts struggled to reconcile some of those triple-A power numbers with what they were seeing with their eyes, and Walsh certainly fits among these types of players. I don't think he makes consistent enough contact to be a starting 1B at the MLB level but he could certainly be a platoon type of guy, and his ability to pitch in relief will make him a good candidate for that 26th roster spot.
- Any thoughts on Stiward Aquino or Luis Madero?
Mike DiGiovanna: Heard a lot of good things about Aquino this past year. A real gangly kid, 6-6, 215, who missed 2018 because of Tommy John surgery but he looked fully recovered in 2019. Struck out 49 and walked 16 in 36 2/3 rookie-league innings. Fastball sits between 93-95 mph and touches 96 mph. Should add more velo as he matures physically. Has a low-80’s power curve with good downhill action and an improving changeup. Madero fell out of my top 30 this year and his stock seems to have slipped some ... went 5-11 with 5.72 ERA in 20 double-A games last season, but he's still only 22 so has time to bounce back.
Jonathan (Waverly, OH):
- What is Jordyn Adams ceiling? Are you expecting a good 2nd year from him now that he's had a full year to focus on baseball?
Mike DiGiovanna: Since a lot of scouts think Adams rivals Jo Adell in terms of athleticism, I'd say his ceiling is pretty high. Tremendous speed, wiry strong with good bat speed and an advanced feel for strike zone. Projects more as a leadoff guy now but could develop into a middle-of-the-order bat. Has the speed to outrun a lot of his route-running mistakes in the OF. Should hit high-A Inland Empire this year. Will be interesting to watch his development.
So Cal Craig (So Cal):
- Has the sun set for Taylor Ward ??
Mike DiGiovanna: I don't know if the "sun has set" on Taylor, but the shades are definitely drawn and it's getting pretty dark ... drafted as a catcher, moved to 3B, then the OF. Blocked at MLB level by Justin Upton and now Anthony Rendon. Taylor just hasn't done anything well enough at the big-league level to convince Angels he deserves a spot. Probably too early to give up on him but I don't see a bright future for him in Anaheim.
Jahmai Jones (#11-15?):
- Hi Mike, thanks for chatting with us. Am I still in the #11-15 range within the system? I had an overall awful year but started to show some signs during the AFL. Has my struggles been attributed to my tools eroding or the Angels organization trying to get me to tweak with what works for me at the plate too much? Being still only 22 and always been known for my work ethic; do you see me getting back on track in 2020?
Mike DiGiovanna: Great to hear from you Jahmai ... you always ask such insightful questions here :) And yes, you are firmly in that 11-15 range, thanks to your strong second half and even stronger Arizona Fall League seasons. I'm told the Angels still like your tools and love your work ethic but they admit trying to get you to buy into the whole launch-angle thing last season was not a good idea. You looked a lot better once you reverted to your old stance last June. And I hear your defense has improved too. I feel like you've gotten "back on track" and you could really put yourself in a good position with a strong performance at triple-A.
- From my uneducated observations, it appears D'Shawn Knowles took a little bit of a step back this year, while Trent Deveaux maybe figured out his swing and made some progress. Is this in line with what you heard? Are these two pretty close?
Mike DiGiovanna: Miles, you are more educated than you think ... this is exactly what I heard, and that is reflected in our top 30. Knowles is in 10-15 range while Deveaux dropped out, but the latter is probably due to the infusion of some young, higher-end guys who came into the system over the last year than a huge regression by Deveaux. Knowles didn't put up great numbers at Orem last year but he's extremely athletic and so versatile the Angels are trying him at 2B. He also has a clean, compact swing from both sides of the plate and a very strong arm.
- What is wrong with Jahmai Jones? What seemed like a true future star breakout season in 2017 has free fallen the pats 2 years. After his wRC+ still being league average in 2018, it bottomed out in 2019. Did switching defensively from CF to 2nd base really take a toll on him offensively? Do scouts still see the twitchy athlete with tremendous work effort to have a chance to be a major league regular?
Mike DiGiovanna: Hey Alex, just answered a question about Jones, but to recap ... he really struggled in the first half last year while trying to incorporate more launch angle into his swing. Reverted back to old stance and bat path in June and had a much better second half. Then shined in the Arizona Fall League. Angels still like his tools and love his work ethic and he's improving defensively at 2B so I wouldn't give up on him yet. Not sure if he'll be a major league regular but has a shot of becoming a utility player.
Logan Field (LA):
- Thanks for taking ur time Mike! Do you think the Angels will trade Marsh for Boyd? We need pitching and I like Boyd’s upside. I think it’s a fair deal. Thank you Mike!
Mike DiGiovanna: Logan, if the Angels and Tigers were willing to make that trade it probably would have been done by now so there was obviously some kind of snag. I'm guessing the Tigers would want more than one prospect for a pretty well-established, competent, still relatively young middle-of-the-rotation MLB starter so it's probably not a "fair deal" straight up.
- Thanks for chatting with us today. Brandon Marsh seemed to really turn a corner at the plate in August and carried that over to a very impressive AFL. Do you think the Angels have unlocked something for him to consistently get to his plus power? If so, are we talking about a top 50 prospect in all of baseball sometime in 2020?
Mike DiGiovanna: Alex, Marsh did turn a corner at the plate. For the first several months of the season, he hit from more of a crouched position and was slashing at pitches. His hands were not in position to get the barrel to the zone on time, and he did not drive the ball with much authority. A mid-season adjustment to stand more upright in the box helped free up Marsh to get to certain pitches better and unlock some power. That was evident in the AFL, where he slashed .328/.387/.522 with two homers, five doubles and 11 RBIs in 19 games. If he continues to hit for plus power, yes, I think he'll be in top 50 prospects this year. And remember, many scouts rate him better defensively than Jo Adell.
Angels top 100 (How many?):
- Even though the Angels have greatly improved both their high end prospect and depth levels in the minors do you think only Adell and Marsh crack the preseason top 100?
Mike DiGiovanna: Very difficult question for me to answer because I don't know how the Angels' next 2-4 prospects compare to those around baseball ... Adell is among top five and Marsh should make top 100. Would think Jeremiah Jackson, with his late-season power surge, would have a chance to slip in there.
Brandon Marsh (top 100?):
- Ever since being drafted in 2017 I've been lauded for my athleticism and projectability. I've shown flashes but have struggled to consistently show the high end offensive upside many scouts had projected for me. After changing my pre-load mechanics, I seem to finally be able to consistently take advantage of my raw strength and drive the ball with hard contact. Has this new stance also allowed me to get more loft in my swing? With the proper swing mechanics do you think I have the ability to be a 25+ HR guy?
Mike DiGiovanna: Yes. And yes. In other words, see response about Marsh above :)
Jordyn Adams (Future Top 100?):
- For baseball having been my secondary sport in HS, it's incredible I was able to put together a slightly above average wRC+ in my first taste of full season ball. Were scouts as impressed with how quickly I've been able to adjust to pro ball after being drafted? Am I seen as a potential smaller version of org mate Jo Adell?
Mike DiGiovanna: Several scouts see Adams on a par athletically with Adell, and that's impressive. How that athleticism translates to baseball skills over the next year or two will determine whether Adams approaches that potential. The fact that he touched high-A Inland Empire as a 19-year-old last season is encouraging. 111 strikeouts in 420 at-bats across three levels a little high but scouts are still impressed by his feel for the strike zone.
Matt (Lala Land):
- Jordyn Adams really opened eyes after being able to more than hold his own in LoA after never really concentrating on baseball before being drafted. What are scouts' thoughts on him going into 2020? Is he a potential massive breakout prospect? Would it shock you at all if we're talking about a top 25 prospect in all of baseball come 2021?
Mike DiGiovanna: See above answers about Adams ... top 25 prospect in all of baseball in 2021 might be a bit of a reach but he could break into the top 100 for sure with a solid high-A-ball season and if he touches double-A.
Andrew (Cedar Lake IN):
- Is Marsh good enough in CF to immediately push Trout to a corner upon his arrival?
Mike DiGiovanna: I don't think Marsh would "immediately" push Trout to a corner OF spot upon his arrival because I think Trout has a few more good CF years in him, and the Angels aren't going to push him off that spot if he still wants to play it and believes he can play it at a high level. That being said, scouts rave about Marsh's defensive ability. Good route-running and instincts, great arm, a better defensive prospect than Jo Adell, who is pretty darn good.
Justin (Tucson, AZ):
- Am I assessing Brandon Marsh’s scouting report correctly by comparing him to early years Christian Yelich? Marsh seems to be hitting ground balls at a high clip, similar to Yelich at the same stage. Both having above average hit tools with speed, etc
Mike DiGiovanna: Wow, it's pretty tough to compare even a real good prospect to a perennial MVP candidate, but Marsh is certainly a trajectory to become a starting outfielder in the major leagues ... he showed a lot more pull-side power in the second half last year after he changed his stance and he's making solid, consistent contact. With a good triple-A first half he could put himself in position to be called up of one of the Halos' OFs gets hurt.
- What does Robinson Pina need to accomplish to join Soriano and Yan at the back end of the top 10?
Mike DiGiovanna: Pina is not far off, and he'll probably move into the top 10 with better command. He walked 61 in 108 innings at low-A Burlington last season. But he also struck out 146 after scrapping his changeup in favor of a split-fingered fastball. Pina is a pretty physical, broad-shouldered guy, 6-4, 200, with a fastball that averages 93 mph and tops out at 96 mph. Also has a pretty nice curve and a kind-of-nasty mound demeanor, which is good.
Marcus (Southern California):
- What is the status of Luiz Gohara? Is he still considered a prospect(He's pitched less than 50 innings in the MLB)? Is he still rehabbing or will he be ready for spring training?
Mike DiGiovanna: Marcus, it will be really interesting to see how Gohara looks this spring, what kind of shape he's in ... he missed most of the last two years because of injuries, he's struggled with his weight, but he's always had great stuff. I think he's still considered a "prospect," but I didn't put him in my top 30 because he's pitched so little lately. Angels are basically taking a flier on him. No risk, potentially high-reward investment.
Darren (Irvine, CA):
- Jared Walsh doesn’t seem to get enough appreciation in most Angels’ prospect lists, is that due to his older Age or just his lack of defensive value? Can’t argue with Bat though. His stats are gaudy, even for a juiced up PCL last year.
Mike DiGiovanna: His age and lack of a true defensive position definitely hurt him, but he's put up pretty solid power numbers for the past two years and off-the-chart numbers last year, but yeah, those triple-A numbers from last year might be a little deceiving. He didn't hit much in his limited MLB at-bats. His ability to pitch in relief make him a prime candidate for that 26th roster spot though.
Jason (Los Angeles):
- What past or current players would you compare Jo Adell to?
Mike DiGiovanna: I was actually thinking about this question this morning and I'm not sure I can give you a great answer because I haven't seen Jo play in person that much ... physically he reminds me a little of B.J. Upton but with more power potential ... maybe it's because of his beard but he also gives off a little Jason Heyward vibe, with similar athleticism and defensive abilities but better power from the right side. It would be unfair to compare him to Mike Trout but he has the potential with his size, power, speed, arm, etc, to have a similar tool set. If he can make consistent contact at the MLB level he should be really good.
Tamela Lee (Los Angeles):
- Let’s get the obvious out of the way. How long before Big Joe is contributing on a regular basis in the big leagues? Hoping he’s going to be ready soon!
Mike DiGiovanna: By Big Joe, I'm assuming you mean Big Jo, as in Jo Adell? If so ... I think he'll need a little more work at triple-A to start this season but I think he'll be ready to play in the big leagues by the All-Star break. Of course, I've seen plenty of young guys play their way onto the MLB roster with great spring trainings, and I wouldn't rule that out with Adell, but the Angels don't want to rush him, and there is a financial benefit to them to wait a little bit to start his big-league "clock."
Taylor (Southern California):
- What are your thoughts on Kyren Paris? Is #10 too low? Did you consider him higher? Do you think he could be a 2nd round steal? Having already traded Will Wilson, the Angels must be very high on him. I hear his aptitude, athleticism, confidence and makeup are all off the charts ... Remember he should still be in High School and was the youngest player in the 2019 Draft. Where would he go if he were in the 2020 Draft? Top 10/15 picks?
Mike DiGiovanna: I would say #10 is pretty darn high for a kid who just turned 18 in November, so I don't think #10 is too low. I got the sense Will Wilson was a guy with a high floor and a lower ceiling, and Paris appears to be a kid with a higher ceiling. A hand injury limited him to three rookie-league games last year, but I heard he's already added 9-10 pounds from last summer, so he's already beginning to mature physically. As for his aptitude, athleticism, confidence and makeup, he rates very highly in all of those categories. It's pure speculation but I would have to think he would have been a first-rounder in the 2020 draft with another year of development.
Mike (Huntington Beach, CA):
- How far did Jahmai Jones drop? It seems like he made a swing change mid-season and hit just under .300 from July on.
Mike DiGiovanna: He dropped pretty far in the first half. Did not impress many scouts at all with his inability to grasp a swing that incorporated more launch angle. But he reverted to his old stance and swing in the second half, had a really strong Arizona Fall League, and he may have salvaged his career because of it. This is a big season for him. Will need to play well at triple-A to keep his stock up.
Zack (Anaheim, CA):
- How pleased are the Angels with William Holmes as a pitcher and hitter?
Mike DiGiovanna: The Angels seem very pleased with this kid, and I think he's really intriguing. He's a physical specimen, just turned 19 and is 6-3, 220 with broad shoulders, a muscular, athletic frame and huge hands. He's already shown good power potential as a hitter but I think he may have more upside as a pitcher with a lively fastball that averages 94 mph and touches 97 mph, a big-breaking 78-mph curve and an 82-mph changeup.
Marcus (Southern California):
- A lot of prospects have gone through multiple position changes since Eppler became GM, i.e. Jones, Thaiss, Ward, etc. Which transitions have been the most successful? And where do you see the above mentioned sticking on the diamond?
Mike DiGiovanna: I think moving Thaiss from catcher to 1B has been most successful because of these three prospects, he seems to be the one with the most upside and the best chance of playing pretty regularly (though probably in a platoon) in the big leagues. Ward hasn't hit well enough to stick in the big leagues and he doesn't seem that comfortable at 3B or in LF. Jones had some rough spots at 2B defensively after moving from the OF but improved in the second half last season and appears athletically good enough to stick in the infield.
Bill B (Glen Allen, VA):
- If no Jo, is this system at or near the bottom in minor league baseball? Not sure whether or not that really matters in the short term to the major league club. Thanks
Mike DiGiovanna: I don't know all the ins and outs of how entire systems are rated by Baseball America but I do know that having a guy like Adell, who is among the top five prospects in all of baseball, definitely skews the Angels upward. Without him I'm pretty sure Angels would be in the 20-30 range, not the middle of the pack range. The system has thinned out a bit, and there isn't much at triple-A or double-A that can impact the big league team now, but there are a lot more extremely athletic, higher-ceiling position players and pitchers in the system now than there were 4-5 years ago.
- What are your thoughts on Kyle Tyler?
Mike DiGiovanna: Tony, I don't know much about Kyle but as a college pick who is 23 and pitched pretty well at high-A Inland Empire last year (3-0, 2.33 ERA in four games) after dominating at low-A Burlington he appears to be on a good track.
- What is the status on Chris Rodriguez and his progression from injury? Where do you anticipate he will start the season?
Mike DiGiovanna: Rodriguez sat out the entire 2018 season because of a stress-reaction in his lower-back and was shut down in late-April 2019 and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his back, but he appears to be healthy entering 2020, and he still has a tantalizing four-pitch mix (fastball, slider, curve, changeup) that the Angels are very high on. I anticipate he'll start the season at Inland Empire but should be in double-A by the All-Star break.
- What would u say is a far deal for Boyd? Marsh and Sandoval? Thanks for ur time to chat!
Mike DiGiovanna: I would make that deal if I was the Tigers ... might be a tad too much from the Angels' end, and with Bundy, Teheran aboard, the Angels probably don't want to give up too much for a guy who wouldn't be a massive upgrade over what they have now ... Boyd is a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy but certainly not an ace and probably not a No. 2 in my mind.
Marcus (Southern California):
- The Angels had an ERA of 7.29 in Houston in 75.1 innings (9 games) with an OPS of .984 last year. Barria started two of those games. Suarez started 3 of those games. Beyond that, ow does the Angels organization think of Suarez and Barria going into 2020?
Mike DiGiovanna: I don't think Barria has ever been viewed as more of a back-of-the-rotation innings-eater, a solid guy to have as depth should a big-league starter go down, so I don't think the Angels' opinion of him has changed. Suarez is tougher to evaluate because while he certainly did not look good last year, you could easily make the argument that he should not have been in the big leagues in the first place, so no wonder he was in over his head. Suarez should be able to stay in triple-A for most of this season, which is where he belongs, and he should be able to re-establish himself with a strong season there.
Franz treidler (Bristol MAine):
- Although he helped bring Rendon, did the Angels waste a first round pick in Wilson who failed to make the Giants too ten.
Mike DiGiovanna: I don't think so. The Wilson pick was a little confusing to me because he didn't fit the mold of the higher-risk, higher-reward type of guys the Angels have been taking in the first and second rounds in recent years. Wilson is more of a high-floor, polished, closer-to-the-big-leagues pick but I'd be surprised if he developed into an All-Star. Plus, the Angels have a whole bunch of younger shortstops (Jeremiah Jackson, Arol Vera, Kyren Paris, etc) who are probably better prospects, making Wilson somewhat dispensable.