A significant bump in velocity in 2018 earned Luis Madero a spot on the 40-man roster in November, a move that prevented the 21-year-old Venezuelan righthander who has not pitched above high Class A Inland Empire from being plucked by another team in the Rule 5 draft.
The fastball of the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Madero topped out at 91 mph in 2017, a season in which he was acquired from the Diamondbacks for reliever David Hernandez.
Madero worked hard in the weight room to add muscle before the 2018 season, putting on what minor league pitching coordinator Matt Wise described as “a good chunk of healthy weight.” Madero’s fastball reached 95 mph toward the end of 2018.
Madero, who signed for $160,000 as a 17-year-old in October 2013, recorded a 3.49 ERA in 23 starts between low Class A Burlington and Inland Empire last season, striking out 95, walking 27 and allowing eight home runs in 105.2 innings.
Over his last six starts in the hitter-friendly California League, Madero posted a 1.80 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 30 innings.
That was a marked improvement over 2017, when he ran up a 6.42 ERA in 15 starts across three levels of the D-backs and Angels systems, striking out 63, walking 20 and allowing eight homers in 75.2 innings.
Madero can also throw his breaking ball, which is a more side-to-side slurve than curveball, and his swing-and-miss changeup, which has nice fading action, in any count. He has good arm action, a smooth, repeatable delivery and takes a big stride off the mound, creating good extension in his delivery.
Madero is polished for his age and has good command. Though his stuff projects more toward the back of a rotation, the Angels love his work ethic and are encouraged by the strides he made last year.
“He’s been an unbelievable student, and he worked his butt off in the weight room,” Wise said. “He’s a good competitor. He gets after it. He wants the ball.”
— The Angels hired Kevin Ferris away from the Rays to become the organization’s new director of research and development, a position from which Ferris will look to expand upon the Angels’ use of analytics throughout the system.
— Former big league infielder Mike Gallego, who spent the last three seasons as the Angels’ baseball development director, was promoted to the major league staff as a third base coach and infield coach.