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Shohei Ohtani making impact for Angels as DH while recovering from Tommy John Surgery

Most Major League Baseball players in baseball history have not been able to have any impact whatsoever to his team while recovering from the serious Tommy John elbow surgery. However, what Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has been able to accomplish in 2019 is quite frankly remarkable. On October 1, the day after the Angels finished their 2018 regular season schedule with a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics, Ohtani had Tommy John surgery. The surgery prevented him from pitching during the 2019 Major League Baseball season. However, Ohtani is not your prototypical baseball player. That is because he is not only used by the Angels for his pitching skills, but his hitting skills as well. Since starting this season with the Angels on May 7, Ohtani has been used as the Angels regular designated hitter and is batting a very respectable .283 with nine home runs and 30 runs batted in. He has also found himself batting third regularly in the Angels lineup. It has been in the last week that Ohtani has heated up offensively. In his last six games, Ohtani is batting .440 with six runs scored, two doubles, one triple, three home runs, eight runs batted in, two walks and two stolen bases. Ohtani’s most magical game during the streak was on June 13 in a 5-3 Angels win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Ohtani became the first Japanese born player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle. Even though the Angels have two of the most exciting players in Major League Baseball in their lineup (Ohtani and outfielder Mike Trout), the Angels are still only an average team in the standings. They currently have a record of 37 wins and 37 losses and are 11.5 games back of the Houston Astros for first place in the American League West. A major reason for the Angels struggles has been their pitching depth. That could be drastically improved in 2020 when Ohtani returns to the starting rotation and could just be their ace. In 2018, while on the mound, Ohtani had a record of four wins, two losses, an earned run average of 3.31, 63 strikeouts and 22 walks while pitching in 51.66 innings.
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Shohei Ohtani making impact for Angels as DH while recovering from Tommy John surgery

Most Major League Baseball players in baseball history have not been able to have any impact whatsoever to his team while recovering from the serious Tommy John elbow surgery. However, what Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has been able to accomplish in 2019 is quite frankly remarkable. On October 1, the day after the Angels finished their 2018 regular season schedule with a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics, Ohtani had Tommy John surgery. The surgery prevented him from pitching during the 2019 Major League Baseball season. However, Ohtani is not your prototypical baseball player. That is because he is not only used by the Angels for his pitching skills, but his hitting skills as well. Since starting this season with the Angels on May 7, Ohtani has been used as the Angels regular designated hitter and is batting a very respectable .283 with nine home runs and 30 runs batted in. He has also found himself batting third regularly in the Angels lineup. It has been in the last week that Ohtani has heated up offensively. In his last six games, Ohtani is batting .440 with six runs scored, two doubles, one triple, three home runs, eight runs batted in, two walks and two stolen bases. Ohtani’s most magical game during the streak was on June 13 in a 5-3 Angels win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Ohtani became the first Japanese born player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle. Even though the Angels have two of the most exciting players in Major League Baseball in their lineup (Ohtani and outfielder Mike Trout), the Angels are still only an average team in the standings. They currently have a record of 37 wins and 37 losses and are 11.5 games back of the Houston Astros for first place in the American League West. A major reason for the Angels struggles has been their pitching depth. That could be drastically improved in 2020 when Ohtani returns to the starting rotation and could just be their ace. In 2018, while on the mound, Ohtani had a record of four wins, two losses, an earned run average of 3.31, 63 strikeouts and 22 walks while pitching in 51.66 innings.
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Next Wave of Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitching Prospects

Jose Soriano, RHP Burlington Bees By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist We’ve hit a point in the season where it’s time to acknowledge what’s been going on with our pitching in the minors. Especially Burlington and Inland Empire. We’ll likely start seeing a couple of these guys move up to IE/Mobile within the next month or so. Last season, the Angels minor leagues saw only 13 pitchers start 20+ games – and of those, only 11 topped 100 innings. Within that group only three had an ERA below 4.00: Suarez at 3.92, Canning at 3.65, and Madero at 3.49. Eight had an ERA over 4.50, and four of those had an ERA over 6. It was not pretty. This year is shaping up to be quite different – even with Canning and Suarez having hardly thrown any minor league innings. PATRICK SANDOVAL – 6’3″, 190, LHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2015 (11th Rd.) (AA/AAA): 4.47 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, .278 BAA, 21 BB, 57 K in 44.1 IP across 12 G/11 GS Dominant in Mobile (32 K in 20 IP), Sandoval has slowed some in SLC (5.18 ERA, 2.14 WHIP) but is still the Angels next-best SP prospect. LUIS MADERO – 6’3″, 185, RHP, 22 years old, signed in 2013 (Intl. FA), acquired by LAA via trade (A+/AA): 3.04 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .251 BAA, 17 BB, 59 K in 56.1 IP across 12 G/10 GS Madero has had no issues adjusting to AA, and could find himself working in the Angel bullpen in September. JEREMY BEASLEY – 6’3″, 215, RHP, 23 years old, drafted in 2017 (30th Rd.) (AA): 3.33 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .256 BAA, 24 BB, 51 K in 54 IP across 12 G/11 GS Bulldog Beasley continues to exceed expectations. Strong GB (55%) and swinging strike (16%) tendencies, sort of like pre-2019 Cahill. Allowed 2 R or fewer in 9 of 12 games. JESUS CASTILLO – 6’3″, 205, RHP, 23 years old, signed in 2011 (Intl. FA), acquired by LAA via trade (AA): 3.41 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .265 BAA, 17 BB, 51 K in 66 IP across 13 G/11 GS Currently leads the org in innings pitched, has rebounded from a poor 2018. Has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 11 of 13 appearances. ANDREW WANTZ – 6’4″, 235, RHP, 23 years old, drafted in 2018 (7th Rd.) (A+/AA): 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .211 BAA, 19 BB, 64 K in 54 IP across 12 G/7 GS After posting a gaudy 47 K in 23 relief IP last year, Angels surprisingly stretched him out to a starter. He hasn’t missed a beat. K/9 near 11. DENNY BRADY – 6’1″, 200, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2017 (7th Rd.)
(A+): 3.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .228 BAA, 20 BB, 65 K in 53 IP across 12 G/7 GS As steady and consistent as a minor league arm can be, has yet to allow more than 3 R in a game. KYLE BRADISH – 6’4″, 190, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (4th Rd.)
(A+): 3.50 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .228 BAA, 20 BB, 58 K in 43.2 IP across 11 G/7 GS A little wild, a little inconsistent, but has shown flashes of straight dominance in a trio of starts: 4/23: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 5/9: 5 IP, 7 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K, 5/21: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K OLIVER ORTEGA – 6’0″, 165, RHP, 22 years old, signed in 2015 (Intl. FA) (A+): 3.26 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .203 BAA, 33 BB, 74 K in 58 IP across 12 G/11 GS Who would have guessed Oliver Ortega would be leading the Angels org in strikeouts in mid-June? Who even knows who Oliver Ortega is? AARON HERNANDEZ – 6’1″, 170, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (3rd Rd.) (A+): 4.26 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, .279 BAA, 21 BB, 35 K in 31.2 IP across 9 G/7 GS. Yet to find a groove, but still posting decent numbers with swing-and-miss stuff, and a decent repertoire of pitches. CRISTOPHER MOLINA – 6’3″, 170, RHP, 22 years old, signed in 2013 (Intl. FA) (A): 2.61 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .193 BAA, 22 BB, 65 K in 58.2 IP across 12 G/9 GS Stumbled a bit in last three games, but prior, had posted a 1.25 ERA and .167 BAA through first 9 appearances. JOSE SORIANO – 6’3″, 168, RHP, 20 years old, signed in 2016 (Intl. FA)
(A): 2.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .201 BAA, 35 BB, 70 K in 62 IP across 13 G/11 GS Not far behind Sandoval from being the Angels best SP prospect – only 2 HR allowed, a 55% GB rate, a little erratic, but big-time potential. HECTOR YAN – 5’11”, 180, LHP, 20 years old, signed in 2015 (Intl. FA)
(A): 3.86 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .220 BAA, 26 BB, 66 K in 44.1 IP across 12 G/8 GS Lots of swing-and-miss stuff could lead Yan into top-of-rotation potential, but he’ll need to work more efficiently and get a handle on the walks. Only 1 HR allowed. COLE DUENSING – 6’4″, 175, RHP, 21 years old, drafted in 2016 (6th Rd.) (A): 4.36 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .250 BAA, 33 BB, 51 K in 44.1 IP across 12 G/9 GS Absolutely awful in 2017-2018, with an ERA near 10.00, Duensing’s dramatic turnaround offers hope for brighter days still ahead. KYLE TYLER – 6’0″, 185, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (20th Rd.)
(A): 4.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .217 BAA, 19 BB, 53 K in 54.1 IP across 12 G/9 GS Another reliever converted to the rotation, Tyler throws strikes (65%) coupled with a strong GB rate (53%), quietly producing and putting himself into the mix. ROBINSON PINA – 6’4″, 180, RHP, 20 years old, signed in 2017 (Intl. FA) (A): 3.22 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .193 BAA, 32 BB, 61 K in 50.1 IP across 12 G/7 GS Steady and consistent, in three pro seasons, has yet to allow an ERA over 3.68, averaging over 10 K per 9, only 7 hits per 9, and a total of 5 HR in 145.2 IP. LUIS ALVARADO – 6’4″, 210, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (17th Rd.) (A): 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .186 BAA, 22 BB, 60 K in 48 IP across 12 G/7 GS Has allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in all but one game, and only 3 ER in the other. Even more exciting is that still doesn’t take into account the 2019 draftees who could ultimately join this list – Jack Kochanowicz, Erik Rivera, Garrett Stallings, Zach Peek, Davis Daniel, Zach Linginfelter – or the legitimate SP prospects who have been injured – Chris Rodriguez, James Swanda, Stiward Aquino – or the other arms who either have had enough prospect pedigree or success to still enter the picture, such as Cooper Criswell, Luke Lind, Connor Van Scoyoc, Jose Natera, Emilker Guzman, Jerryell Rivera, Kelvin Moncion, or Jason Alexander. The growth we’ve seen this year – both in terms of development and depth added – is quite frankly, staggering, and given the number of arms drafted in 2019, only likely to grow. With Eppler’s aggressive promotions, the use of multi-inning relievers. 6-man rotations, and ‘tandem’ starters, there’s a chance we see a lot of these arms start reaching the majors as soon as late 2020 or in 2021.
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Next Wave of Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitching Prospects

Jose Soriano, RHP Burlington Bees By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist We’ve hit a point in the season where it’s time to acknowledge what’s been going on with our pitching in the minors. Especially Burlington and Inland Empire. We’ll likely start seeing a couple of these guys move up to IE/Mobile within the next month or so. Last season, the Angels minor leagues saw only 13 pitchers start 20+ games – and of those, only 11 topped 100 innings. Within that group only three had an ERA below 4.00: Suarez at 3.92, Canning at 3.65, and Madero at 3.49. Eight had an ERA over 4.50, and four of those had an ERA over 6. It was not pretty. This year is shaping up to be quite different – even with Canning and Suarez having hardly thrown any minor league innings. PATRICK SANDOVAL – 6’3″, 190, LHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2015 (11th Rd.) (AA/AAA): 4.47 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, .278 BAA, 21 BB, 57 K in 44.1 IP across 12 G/11 GS Dominant in Mobile (32 K in 20 IP), Sandoval has slowed some in SLC (5.18 ERA, 2.14 WHIP) but is still the Angels next-best SP prospect. LUIS MADERO – 6’3″, 185, RHP, 22 years old, signed in 2013 (Intl. FA), acquired by LAA via trade (A+/AA): 3.04 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .251 BAA, 17 BB, 59 K in 56.1 IP across 12 G/10 GS Madero has had no issues adjusting to AA, and could find himself working in the Angel bullpen in September. JEREMY BEASLEY – 6’3″, 215, RHP, 23 years old, drafted in 2017 (30th Rd.) (AA): 3.33 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .256 BAA, 24 BB, 51 K in 54 IP across 12 G/11 GS Bulldog Beasley continues to exceed expectations. Strong GB (55%) and swinging strike (16%) tendencies, sort of like pre-2019 Cahill. Allowed 2 R or fewer in 9 of 12 games. JESUS CASTILLO – 6’3″, 205, RHP, 23 years old, signed in 2011 (Intl. FA), acquired by LAA via trade (AA): 3.41 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .265 BAA, 17 BB, 51 K in 66 IP across 13 G/11 GS Currently leads the org in innings pitched, has rebounded from a poor 2018. Has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 11 of 13 appearances. ANDREW WANTZ – 6’4″, 235, RHP, 23 years old, drafted in 2018 (7th Rd.) (A+/AA): 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .211 BAA, 19 BB, 64 K in 54 IP across 12 G/7 GS After posting a gaudy 47 K in 23 relief IP last year, Angels surprisingly stretched him out to a starter. He hasn’t missed a beat. K/9 near 11. DENNY BRADY – 6’1″, 200, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2017 (7th Rd.) (A+): 3.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .228 BAA, 20 BB, 65 K in 53 IP across 12 G/7 GS As steady and consistent as a minor league arm can be, has yet to allow more than 3 R in a game. KYLE BRADISH – 6’4″, 190, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (4th Rd.) (A+): 3.50 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .228 BAA, 20 BB, 58 K in 43.2 IP across 11 G/7 GS A little wild, a little inconsistent, but has shown flashes of straight dominance in a trio of starts: 4/23: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 5/9: 5 IP, 7 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K, 5/21: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K OLIVER ORTEGA – 6’0″, 165, RHP, 22 years old, signed in 2015 (Intl. FA) (A+): 3.26 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .203 BAA, 33 BB, 74 K in 58 IP across 12 G/11 GS Who would have guessed Oliver Ortega would be leading the Angels org in strikeouts in mid-June? Who even knows who Oliver Ortega is? AARON HERNANDEZ – 6’1″, 170, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (3rd Rd.) (A+): 4.26 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, .279 BAA, 21 BB, 35 K in 31.2 IP across 9 G/7 GS. Yet to find a groove, but still posting decent numbers with swing-and-miss stuff, and a decent repertoire of pitches. CRISTOPHER MOLINA – 6’3″, 170, RHP, 22 years old, signed in 2013 (Intl. FA) (A): 2.61 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .193 BAA, 22 BB, 65 K in 58.2 IP across 12 G/9 GS Stumbled a bit in last three games, but prior, had posted a 1.25 ERA and .167 BAA through first 9 appearances. JOSE SORIANO – 6’3″, 168, RHP, 20 years old, signed in 2016 (Intl. FA) (A): 2.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .201 BAA, 35 BB, 70 K in 62 IP across 13 G/11 GS Not far behind Sandoval from being the Angels best SP prospect – only 2 HR allowed, a 55% GB rate, a little erratic, but big-time potential. HECTOR YAN – 5’11”, 180, LHP, 20 years old, signed in 2015 (Intl. FA) (A): 3.86 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .220 BAA, 26 BB, 66 K in 44.1 IP across 12 G/8 GS Lots of swing-and-miss stuff could lead Yan into top-of-rotation potential, but he’ll need to work more efficiently and get a handle on the walks. Only 1 HR allowed. COLE DUENSING – 6’4″, 175, RHP, 21 years old, drafted in 2016 (6th Rd.) (A): 4.36 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .250 BAA, 33 BB, 51 K in 44.1 IP across 12 G/9 GS Absolutely awful in 2017-2018, with an ERA near 10.00, Duensing’s dramatic turnaround offers hope for brighter days still ahead. KYLE TYLER – 6’0″, 185, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (20th Rd.) (A): 4.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .217 BAA, 19 BB, 53 K in 54.1 IP across 12 G/9 GS Another reliever converted to the rotation, Tyler throws strikes (65%) coupled with a strong GB rate (53%), quietly producing and putting himself into the mix. ROBINSON PINA – 6’4″, 180, RHP, 20 years old, signed in 2017 (Intl. FA) (A): 3.22 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .193 BAA, 32 BB, 61 K in 50.1 IP across 12 G/7 GS Steady and consistent, in three pro seasons, has yet to allow an ERA over 3.68, averaging over 10 K per 9, only 7 hits per 9, and a total of 5 HR in 145.2 IP. LUIS ALVARADO – 6’4″, 210, RHP, 22 years old, drafted in 2018 (17th Rd.) (A): 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .186 BAA, 22 BB, 60 K in 48 IP across 12 G/7 GS Has allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in all but one game, and only 3 ER in the other. Even more exciting is that still doesn’t take into account the 2019 draftees who could ultimately join this list – Jack Kochanowicz, Erik Rivera, Garrett Stallings, Zach Peek, Davis Daniel, Zach Linginfelter – or the legitimate SP prospects who have been injured – Chris Rodriguez, James Swanda, Stiward Aquino – or the other arms who either have had enough prospect pedigree or success to still enter the picture, such as Cooper Criswell, Luke Lind, Connor Van Scoyoc, Jose Natera, Emilker Guzman, Jerryell Rivera, Kelvin Moncion, or Jason Alexander. The growth we’ve seen this year – both in terms of development and depth added – is quite frankly, staggering, and given the number of arms drafted in 2019, only likely to grow. With Eppler’s aggressive promotions, the use of multi-inning relievers. 6-man rotations, and ‘tandem’ starters, there’s a chance we see a lot of these arms start reaching the majors as soon as late 2020 or in 2021.
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Mike Trout absolutely dominating MLB All-Star voting

Angels slugger Mike Trout is a five-tool player, and, aside from Mookie Betts, is really the only player currently in MLB that fits that mold. But Trout is having a much better season than his counterpart, as his numbers, per usual, are just off the chart. And the All-Star Game voting reflects that as well. Trout is light years beyond everyone else both on the field, and in the All-Star voting as well. Check out the numbers below. Both fans and analysts know that Trout clearly is the most valuable player in the American League this year, and the Angels would be a cellar-dweller without him on the roster.
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Mike Trout absolutely dominating MLB All-Star voting

Angels slugger Mike Trout is a five-tool player, and, aside from Mookie Betts, is really the only player currently in MLB that fits that mold. But Trout is having a much better season than his counterpart, as his numbers, per usual, are just off the chart. And the All-Star Game voting reflects that as well. Trout is light years beyond everyone else both on the field, and in the All-Star voting as well. Check out the numbers below. Both fans and analysts know that Trout clearly is the most valuable player in the American League this year, and the Angels would be a cellar-dweller without him on the roster.
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Jo Adell Returns on Top: Angels Prospect Hotlist (5/26-6/10 2019)

(Photo Cred: Travis @BullPenSeats) by: Adrian Noche, AngelsWin.com Columnist 1.) Jo Adell – OF, AA: There were no cobwebs for Jo Adell upon his return from an ankle sprain and hamstring strain sustained in spring training. Adell is hitting .333/.388/.622 in 11 games this year with 3 stolen bases. On a double header played on June 9th, Adell collected 4 hits in 7 at-bats with a double, a homer, 4 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases. 2019 hitting (High-A, AA): .333/.388/.622  2.) Hector Yan – RHP, Low-A: On June 9th, Hector Yan recorded a season-high for strikeouts with 12 in 5.0 innings pitched. Yan is currently in 4th place in strikeouts in the midwest league with 66 strikeouts in 44.1 innings pitched. After a rough start to the season, Yan has only given up 10 earned runs in his last 34.2 innings pitched. 2019 pitching (low-A): 44.IP, 3.86 ERA, 66 SO, 26 BB, .220 AVG., 1.40 WHIP 3.) Jose Soriano – RHP, Low-A: Jose Soriano has been brilliant this year. Soriano is currently tied with the aforementioned Hector Yan in strikeouts with 66 across 58.0 innings pitched.  Soriano’s ERA stands at 2.48 while hitters are only hitting .205 against him this season. Soriano’s last two starts saw him pitch a combined 11.1 scoreless innings while striking out 11 and only giving up 4 hits and 4 walks. 2019 pitching (low-A): 58.0 IP, 2.48 ERA, 66 SO, 31 BB, .205 AVG, 1.24 WHIP 4.) Jesus Castillo – RHP, AA: Jesus Castillo is continuing to put his rough 2018 campaign behind him. Over Castillo’s last 8 starts, his ERA has lowered from 8.62 to 3.39, the lowest it has been all season. Castillo pitched 11.2 innings while only giving up a single earned run in his last two starts, striking out 8 while only walking 2. 2019 pitching (AA): 61.0 IP, 3.39 ERA, 47 SO, 17 BB, .252 AVG, 1.23 WHIP  5.) Denny Brady – RHP, AA: Denny Brady has been as consistent as they come for the Inland Empire 66ers. Brady has never given up more than 3 earned runs this season. In 53.0 innings pitched, Brady has struck out 65 batters with 20 walks. His ERA sits at 3.06 on the season with a WHIP of 1.25. Brady struck out 8 batters and walked none in 5.0 innings pitched of one-run ball in his last start. 2019 pitching (High-A): 53.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 65 SO, 20 BB, .228 AVG, 1.25 WHIP 6.) Brett Hanewich – RHP, AA: Brett Hanewich capped a breakout campaign in 2018 by representing the Angels in the Arizona Fall League. Hanewich has managed to improve on his impressive 2018 numbers so far this season. Across 2 levels, (High-A and Double-A) Hanewich has struck out 32 batters in 23.1 innings pitched. His ERA stands at 0.77 with a WHIP at 0.99 while hitters are only hitting a miniscule .152 against him. 2019 pitching (High-A, AA): 23.1 IP, 0.77 ERA, 32 SO, 11 BB, .152 AVG, 0.99 WHIP 7.) Brandon Sandoval – OF, AA Sandoval has been a hitting machine as of late. During his last 8 games, Sandoval has seen his average climb from .264 to .297. Overall, Sandoval’s slash line is .297/.344/.360 in 51 games for the Baybears this season. 2019 hitting (AA): .297/.344/360 8.) Aaron Hernandez – RHP, High-A: Aaron Hernandez missed almost all of May due to injury. In his two starts since returning, Hernandez has thrown 6.2 IP while striking out 8, walking 2 and giving up 2 earned runs. Hernandez was shut down upon being drafted in the 3rd round last season. (a trend for plenty other pitchers in the system )Hernandez has a 3.95 ERA in 27.1 IP and 29 strikeouts in his first year of professional ball with the 66ers. 2019 pitching (High-A) 27.1 IP, 3.95 ERA, 29 SO, 19 BB, .286 AVG, 1.79 WHIP
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Jo Adell Returns on Top: Angels Prospect Hotlist (5/26-6/10 2019)

(Photo Cred: Travis @BullPenSeats) by: Adrian Noche, AngelsWin.com Columnist 1.) Jo Adell – OF, AA: There were no cobwebs for Jo Adell upon his return from an ankle sprain and hamstring strain sustained in spring training. Adell is hitting .333/.388/.622 in 11 games this year with 3 stolen bases. On a double header played on June 9th, Adell collected 4 hits in 7 at-bats with a double, a homer, 4 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases. 2019 hitting (High-A, AA): .333/.388/.622  2.) Hector Yan – RHP, Low-A: On June 9th, Hector Yan recorded a season-high for strikeouts with 12 in 5.0 innings pitched. Yan is currently in 4th place in strikeouts in the midwest league with 66 strikeouts in 44.1 innings pitched. After a rough start to the season, Yan has only given up 10 earned runs in his last 34.2 innings pitched. 2019 pitching (low-A): 44.IP, 3.86 ERA, 66 SO, 26 BB, .220 AVG., 1.40 WHIP 3.) Jose Soriano – RHP, Low-A: Jose Soriano has been brilliant this year. Soriano is currently tied with the aforementioned Hector Yan in strikeouts with 66 across 58.0 innings pitched.  Soriano’s ERA stands at 2.48 while hitters are only hitting .205 against him this season. Soriano’s last two starts saw him pitch a combined 11.1 scoreless innings while striking out 11 and only giving up 4 hits and 4 walks. 2019 pitching (low-A): 58.0 IP, 2.48 ERA, 66 SO, 31 BB, .205 AVG, 1.24 WHIP 4.) Jesus Castillo – RHP, AA: Jesus Castillo is continuing to put his rough 2018 campaign behind him. Over Castillo’s last 8 starts, his ERA has lowered from 8.62 to 3.39, the lowest it has been all season. Castillo pitched 11.2 innings while only giving up a single earned run in his last two starts, striking out 8 while only walking 2. 2019 pitching (AA): 61.0 IP, 3.39 ERA, 47 SO, 17 BB, .252 AVG, 1.23 WHIP  5.) Denny Brady – RHP, AA: Denny Brady has been as consistent as they come for the Inland Empire 66ers. Brady has never given up more than 3 earned runs this season. In 53.0 innings pitched, Brady has struck out 65 batters with 20 walks. His ERA sits at 3.06 on the season with a WHIP of 1.25. Brady struck out 8 batters and walked none in 5.0 innings pitched of one-run ball in his last start. 2019 pitching (High-A): 53.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 65 SO, 20 BB, .228 AVG, 1.25 WHIP 6.) Brett Hanewich – RHP, AA: Brett Hanewich capped a breakout campaign in 2018 by representing the Angels in the Arizona Fall League. Hanewich has managed to improve on his impressive 2018 numbers so far this season. Across 2 levels, (High-A and Double-A) Hanewich has struck out 32 batters in 23.1 innings pitched. His ERA stands at 0.77 with a WHIP at 0.99 while hitters are only hitting a miniscule .152 against him. 2019 pitching (High-A, AA): 23.1 IP, 0.77 ERA, 32 SO, 11 BB, .152 AVG, 0.99 WHIP 7.) Brandon Sandoval – OF, AA Sandoval has been a hitting machine as of late. During his last 8 games, Sandoval has seen his average climb from .264 to .297. Overall, Sandoval’s slash line is .297/.344/.360 in 51 games for the Baybears this season. 2019 hitting (AA): .297/.344/360 8.) Aaron Hernandez – RHP, High-A: Aaron Hernandez missed almost all of May due to injury. In his two starts since returning, Hernandez has thrown 6.2 IP while striking out 8, walking 2 and giving up 2 earned runs. Hernandez was shut down upon being drafted in the 3rd round last season. (a trend for plenty other pitchers in the system )Hernandez has a 3.95 ERA in 27.1 IP and 29 strikeouts in his first year of professional ball with the 66ers. 2019 pitching (High-A) 27.1 IP, 3.95 ERA, 29 SO, 19 BB, .286 AVG, 1.79 WHIP
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Los Angeles Angels Minor League Hotlist (5/13-5/26 2019)

By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist 1) Spencer Griffin – OF, A: 
Perhaps the greatest surprise of the 2019 hotlist is this week’s top entrant, Burlington outfielder Spencer Griffin! Despite going hitless in four straight games a week ago, Griffin (2017, 16th Rd.) led all Angel farmhands with a 1.122 OPS over the last two weeks, slashing .350/.422/.700, ripping 2 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs, paced by 5 BB vs. 11 K. Only 22, continued strong play could lead him into future discussion on the 4th OF depth charts alongside names like Michael Hermosillo, Brennon Lund, and Torii Hunter, Jr., as Griffin is comfortable at all three outfield positions.
2019 hitting (A): .238/.341/.411/.752 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 23 BB, 59 K in 44 G/176 PA 2) Cesar Puello – CF/LF/RF, AAA:
The one-time Top 100 prospect continues to play well, earning his third consecutive placement on the Top 10 hotlist. Playing mostly CF over the last two weeks, Puello continues to do what he’s done all season – get on base (.419 OBP), hit for contact (.308 BA), and hit for power (.577 SLG). Only 28, Puello is likely cast as a quad-A player (potential Japanese/Korean league star?) but opportunity remains for him to be an interesting, unexpected contributor to the Angels – or another MLB club – should need arise.
2019 (AAA): .303/.439/.515/.954 with 7 doubles, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 22 BB, 37 K in 41 G/164 PA 3) Taylor Ward – LF, AAA:
Over the last two weeks, Ward has teetered on topping the list, or falling off completely, but in the end, his strong plate discipline (11 BB to 12 K) and power (3 doubles, 3 home runs) kept him in the mix, as he posted a .220/.396/.512/.908 slash in the second half of May. Notably, Ward has played only LF defensively during this time, save for a few innings at 3B yesterday, along with a couple games at DH.
2019 (AAA): .279/.422/.590/1.012 with 11 doubles, 9 HR, 20 RBI, 28 BB, 30 K in 33 G/155 PA 4) Brandon Marsh – CF, AA:
Finally! The talent and athleticism from 21-year old Brandon Marsh has translated into the production we’ve waited for, bringing him onto the hotlist on the strength of a .306/.443/.429/.871 slash, knocking 6 doubles in 14 games, while drawing 12 walks to 18 strikeouts. Playing CF almost exclusively, Marsh will likely soon cede to one of the corners upon the return of Jo Adell, but Marsh’s .935 May OPS, defense, and plate discipline might give him the slight edge on MLB-readiness between the two.
2019 (AA): .273/.377/.350/.727 with 8 doubles, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 24 BB, 50 K in 40 G/167 PA 5) Matt Thaiss – 3B/1B, AAA:
After starting the month of May in a cold spell (.205/.294/.318), Thaiss warmed as the month continued, swatting three home runs and a double, driving in 8, and walking 9 times vs. 13 strikeouts, giving him a .271/.386/.479/.865 slash. Also worth noting, Thaiss played a majority  of this time at 3B, eight games, as the infielder continues to improve upon his versatility and thus, his MLB chances.
2019 (AAA): .260/.367/.409/.776 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 31 BB, 36 K in 47 G/215 PA 6) Jose Rojas – DH/1B, AAA:
Mirroring Matt Thaiss, at least offensively, is Jose Rojas, who also started the month of May ice-cold (.159/.174/.273) before re-emerging on the strength of his power (1 double, 1 triple, 2 HR) and a much-improved stretch plate discipline (9 walks to 7 strikeouts), leading him to a .243/.375/.486/.861 slash. One difference between the two is their performance in the field, as Rojas’ limitations defensively have increased his playing time at DH and 1B. Rojas hasn’t appeared in LF since 4/27.
2019 (AAA): .262/.326/.482/.808 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 17 BB, 37 K in 42 G/184 PA Honorable mention, hitters:
Michael Cruz (DH/C, A+): .333/.345/.519/.863 with 2 3B, 1 HR –  not enough playing time (8 G/29 PA)
Jarrett Parker (RF, AAA): .282/.417/.436/.853 with 3 HR, 8 BB, 11 K
Bo Way (LF/RF, AA): .279/.340/.488/.829 with 6 2B, HR, 4 BB, 7 K
Jordyn Adams (OF, A): .283/.309/.434/.743 with 2 2B, 2 HR but only 1 BB in 55 PA 7) Jesus Castillo – RHP, AA: 
Castillo continues to re-assert himself as an interesting Angels pitching prospect, adding three more strong starts over the last two weeks, only allowing three earned runs across 17 innings (1.59 ERA) and only walking four. While not blessed with overpowering stuff, only 10 strikeouts in that time, Castillo has helped himself by keeping the ball in the yard (zero HR allowed all year, save for one disastrous performance in late April) and painting the corners with great command. No longer on the 40-man, Castillo still serves as rotation depth, but might also find himself catching the eye pitching-starved teams such as Baltimore, Miami, Kansas City, should the Angels wind up buyers and seek rental help from those clubs.
2019 (AA): 4.01 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .262 BAA, 15 BB, 39 K across 49.1 IP in 10 G/8 GS 8 ) Jose Soriano – RHP, A:
Just like the last hotlist, Soriano surged into placement with a dominant performance at the end of the week, pitching into the 7th for the first time this year, striking out 10 across 6.1 innings on 5/26, punctuated by 19 swinging strikes. The 20-year old didn’t have the prettiest ERA over his last three starts – 5.79 in 15.1 IP – but he did manage 23 strikeouts in that time, keeping walks in check with 7 allowed. Now nearing 50 IP on the year, Soriano is regularly throwing 85 pitches per game, and is likely growing into the Angels top RHP SP prospect, now that Griffin Canning has graduated to the majors.
2019 (A): 3.09 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .224 BAA, 27 BB, 55 K across 46.2 IP in 10 G/9 GS 9) Luis Madero – RHP, AA:
Madero continues to settle in following his recent promotion to AA Mobile, as the 6’3″ 22-year old posted two strong starts over the last two weeks, totalling 11 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, and 12 K. Throwing just shy of 90 pitches per game and currently on the 40-man, Madero’s likely starting to creep into the MLB depth charts and with strong results, could be in line for a September call-up for an audition as a future multi-inning reliever or Felix Pena-esque stater.
2019 (A+/AA): 2.57 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .235 BAA, 13 BB, 44 K across 33.1 IP in 9 G/8 GS 10) Brett Hanewich – RHP, A+/AA:
Control has long been an issue for 2017 9th Round pick Brett Hanewich, who walked 6 per 9 innings in his first two years of pro-ball. That has not been the case this year however, as Hanewich has halved that total down to a respectable (for a reliever) 3.1 per 9 innings – while boosting his strikeout totals. Hanewich earned a promotion to AA Mobile this week, and continued where he left off in Inland Empire – throwing perfect relief. In his last three games, Hanewich has thrown 5 IP, allowing 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, and striking out 11.
2019 (A+/AA): 0.89 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, .119 BAA, 7 BB, 29 K across 20.1 IP in 14 G Honorable mention, pitchers:
Patrick Sandoval (LHP, AAA): 7.2 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA in 2 GS – settling in to AAA SLC
Kyle Bradish (RHP, A+): 9.2 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 16 K, 2.79 ERA in 2 GS
Jason Alexander (RHP, AA): 14 IP, 17 H, 5 BB, 19 K, 5.79 ERA – dramatic increase in strikeouts is worth watching
Luis Alvarado (RHP, A+): 10.2 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 18 K, 1.69 ERA in 3 games 
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Los Angeles Angels Minor League Hotlist (5/13-5/26 2019)

By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist 1) Spencer Griffin – OF, A: 
Perhaps the greatest surprise of the 2019 hotlist is this week’s top entrant, Burlington outfielder Spencer Griffin! Despite going hitless in four straight games a week ago, Griffin (2017, 16th Rd.) led all Angel farmhands with a 1.122 OPS over the last two weeks, slashing .350/.422/.700, ripping 2 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs, paced by 5 BB vs. 11 K. Only 22, continued strong play could lead him into future discussion on the 4th OF depth charts alongside names like Michael Hermosillo, Brennon Lund, and Torii Hunter, Jr., as Griffin is comfortable at all three outfield positions.
2019 hitting (A): .238/.341/.411/.752 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 23 BB, 59 K in 44 G/176 PA 2) Cesar Puello – CF/LF/RF, AAA:
The one-time Top 100 prospect continues to play well, earning his third consecutive placement on the Top 10 hotlist. Playing mostly CF over the last two weeks, Puello continues to do what he’s done all season – get on base (.419 OBP), hit for contact (.308 BA), and hit for power (.577 SLG). Only 28, Puello is likely cast as a quad-A player (potential Japanese/Korean league star?) but opportunity remains for him to be an interesting, unexpected contributor to the Angels – or another MLB club – should need arise.
2019 (AAA): .303/.439/.515/.954 with 7 doubles, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 22 BB, 37 K in 41 G/164 PA 3) Taylor Ward – LF, AAA:
Over the last two weeks, Ward has teetered on topping the list, or falling off completely, but in the end, his strong plate discipline (11 BB to 12 K) and power (3 doubles, 3 home runs) kept him in the mix, as he posted a .220/.396/.512/.908 slash in the second half of May. Notably, Ward has played only LF defensively during this time, save for a few innings at 3B yesterday, along with a couple games at DH.
2019 (AAA): .279/.422/.590/1.012 with 11 doubles, 9 HR, 20 RBI, 28 BB, 30 K in 33 G/155 PA 4) Brandon Marsh – CF, AA:
Finally! The talent and athleticism from 21-year old Brandon Marsh has translated into the production we’ve waited for, bringing him onto the hotlist on the strength of a .306/.443/.429/.871 slash, knocking 6 doubles in 14 games, while drawing 12 walks to 18 strikeouts. Playing CF almost exclusively, Marsh will likely soon cede to one of the corners upon the return of Jo Adell, but Marsh’s .935 May OPS, defense, and plate discipline might give him the slight edge on MLB-readiness between the two.
2019 (AA): .273/.377/.350/.727 with 8 doubles, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 24 BB, 50 K in 40 G/167 PA 5) Matt Thaiss – 3B/1B, AAA:
After starting the month of May in a cold spell (.205/.294/.318), Thaiss warmed as the month continued, swatting three home runs and a double, driving in 8, and walking 9 times vs. 13 strikeouts, giving him a .271/.386/.479/.865 slash. Also worth noting, Thaiss played a majority  of this time at 3B, eight games, as the infielder continues to improve upon his versatility and thus, his MLB chances.
2019 (AAA): .260/.367/.409/.776 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 31 BB, 36 K in 47 G/215 PA 6) Jose Rojas – DH/1B, AAA:
Mirroring Matt Thaiss, at least offensively, is Jose Rojas, who also started the month of May ice-cold (.159/.174/.273) before re-emerging on the strength of his power (1 double, 1 triple, 2 HR) and a much-improved stretch plate discipline (9 walks to 7 strikeouts), leading him to a .243/.375/.486/.861 slash. One difference between the two is their performance in the field, as Rojas’ limitations defensively have increased his playing time at DH and 1B. Rojas hasn’t appeared in LF since 4/27.
2019 (AAA): .262/.326/.482/.808 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 17 BB, 37 K in 42 G/184 PA Honorable mention, hitters:
Michael Cruz (DH/C, A+): .333/.345/.519/.863 with 2 3B, 1 HR –  not enough playing time (8 G/29 PA)
Jarrett Parker (RF, AAA): .282/.417/.436/.853 with 3 HR, 8 BB, 11 K
Bo Way (LF/RF, AA): .279/.340/.488/.829 with 6 2B, HR, 4 BB, 7 K
Jordyn Adams (OF, A): .283/.309/.434/.743 with 2 2B, 2 HR but only 1 BB in 55 PA 7) Jesus Castillo – RHP, AA: 
Castillo continues to re-assert himself as an interesting Angels pitching prospect, adding three more strong starts over the last two weeks, only allowing three earned runs across 17 innings (1.59 ERA) and only walking four. While not blessed with overpowering stuff, only 10 strikeouts in that time, Castillo has helped himself by keeping the ball in the yard (zero HR allowed all year, save for one disastrous performance in late April) and painting the corners with great command. No longer on the 40-man, Castillo still serves as rotation depth, but might also find himself catching the eye pitching-starved teams such as Baltimore, Miami, Kansas City, should the Angels wind up buyers and seek rental help from those clubs.
2019 (AA): 4.01 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .262 BAA, 15 BB, 39 K across 49.1 IP in 10 G/8 GS 8 ) Jose Soriano – RHP, A:
Just like the last hotlist, Soriano surged into placement with a dominant performance at the end of the week, pitching into the 7th for the first time this year, striking out 10 across 6.1 innings on 5/26, punctuated by 19 swinging strikes. The 20-year old didn’t have the prettiest ERA over his last three starts – 5.79 in 15.1 IP – but he did manage 23 strikeouts in that time, keeping walks in check with 7 allowed. Now nearing 50 IP on the year, Soriano is regularly throwing 85 pitches per game, and is likely growing into the Angels top RHP SP prospect, now that Griffin Canning has graduated to the majors.
2019 (A): 3.09 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .224 BAA, 27 BB, 55 K across 46.2 IP in 10 G/9 GS 9) Luis Madero – RHP, AA:
Madero continues to settle in following his recent promotion to AA Mobile, as the 6’3″ 22-year old posted two strong starts over the last two weeks, totalling 11 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, and 12 K. Throwing just shy of 90 pitches per game and currently on the 40-man, Madero’s likely starting to creep into the MLB depth charts and with strong results, could be in line for a September call-up for an audition as a future multi-inning reliever or Felix Pena-esque stater.
2019 (A+/AA): 2.57 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .235 BAA, 13 BB, 44 K across 33.1 IP in 9 G/8 GS 10) Brett Hanewich – RHP, A+/AA:
Control has long been an issue for 2017 9th Round pick Brett Hanewich, who walked 6 per 9 innings in his first two years of pro-ball. That has not been the case this year however, as Hanewich has halved that total down to a respectable (for a reliever) 3.1 per 9 innings – while boosting his strikeout totals. Hanewich earned a promotion to AA Mobile this week, and continued where he left off in Inland Empire – throwing perfect relief. In his last three games, Hanewich has thrown 5 IP, allowing 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, and striking out 11.
2019 (A+/AA): 0.89 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, .119 BAA, 7 BB, 29 K across 20.1 IP in 14 G Honorable mention, pitchers:
Patrick Sandoval (LHP, AAA): 7.2 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA in 2 GS – settling in to AAA SLC
Kyle Bradish (RHP, A+): 9.2 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 16 K, 2.79 ERA in 2 GS
Jason Alexander (RHP, AA): 14 IP, 17 H, 5 BB, 19 K, 5.79 ERA – dramatic increase in strikeouts is worth watching
Luis Alvarado (RHP, A+): 10.2 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 18 K, 1.69 ERA in 3 games 
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Los Angeles Angels Minor League Hotlist (4/29-5/12 2019)

By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist While lower-level pitching has been dominant for the Angels farm so far this year, multiple strong performances made it difficult to identify individual standouts – during this time, quietly, several hitters have made strides over the last two weeks. 1) Jared Walsh – 1B/LHP, AAA:
Walsh picked up seven multi-hit games over the last two weeks, clubbing seven doubles and three home runs along the way, resulting in a .388/.484/.714/1.198 slash over 14 games, while also drawing 9 walks. Oh yeah, and he also made three relief appearances, picking up one save. With Bour, Pujols, and Ohtani all ahead of him on the depth chart, his path to Anaheim isn’t abundantly clear, but he’s certainly stating his case.
2019 hitting (AAA): .299/.394/.976 with 11 doubles, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 18 BB, 41 K in 36 G/160 PA
2019 pitching (AAA): 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .238 BAA, 2 BB, 4 K across 5 IP in 5 G 2) Jarrett Parker – RF/LF, AAA:
Nearly matching Walsh’s offensive production over the last two weeks is quasi-big leaguer Jarrett Parker, recently returned from injury. Playing the corner outfield positions, the 30-year old posted a slash of .326/.473/.674/1.147 boosted by 6 doubles, 3 homers, driving in 13 runs, and drawing 12 walks to 15 strikeouts. While there is no longer a clear path for Parker to support the main cast in Anaheim, he remains intriguing AAA depth.
2019 (AAA): .324/.467/.620/1.086 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 19 BB, 22 K in 21 G/90 PA 3) Cesar Puello – CF/LF/RF, AAA:
Puello is surprisingly the only hitter carry-over from the last hotlist, as he maintained a .293/.396/.561/.957 slash over the last two weeks. High contact skills have long boosted the offensive profile for Puello, 28, whose power finally flashed in recent weeks, adding 2 doubles and three homers. Like Parker, Puello is out of options and not on the 40-man, so he isn’t likely to see Anaheim barring serious injury issues on the big-league club, so he’ll remain as AAA insurance. He’s already been hit by a pitch 10 times.
2019 (AAA): .302/.444/.500/.944 with 6 doubles, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 17 BB, 28 K in 31 G/133 PA 4) Francisco Del Valle – RF/LF, A:
The first of a few surprise hotlist entrants, 20-year old Del Valle, a 2016 14th rounder out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, has been a steady bat for Burlington, slashing .289/.413/.500/.913 since returning May 1st. While his upside is likely limited to that of a 4th OF, he has demonstrated good discipline and doubles-powers in his brief career, and could open some eyes once he reaches the friendly hitting environments of the California League.
2019 (A): .229/.319/.390/.710 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 10 BB, 28 K in 30 G/120 PA 5) Leonardo Rivas – SS/CF/3B/2B, A+:
The switch-hitting 21-year old infielder reached base safely in all 12 games he played the last two weeks, earning a hit in all but one, giving way to a .320/.370/.520/.890 slash, popping 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 HR along the way. While he’s still striking out quite often – 16 times in that time – the increase in power has brought his prospect pedigree back into focus. The infielder also added a couple appearances in CF in this time, also furthering his value.
2019 (A+): .246/.333/.435/.768 with 8 doubles, 3 triples, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 18 BB, 43 K in 34 G/156 PA 6) Nonie Williams – LF/CF/RF, A:
??? What? Yes! Once again, Nonie has responded to one of his lowest lows by posting one of his highest highs. Days shy of turning 21, the 2016 3rd rounder has shaken off another poor start by responding with a .250/.348/.525/.873 slash so far in the month of May, exhibiting some power (5 doubles, 2 homers) and a bit of an eye – 6 walks, though 21 strikeouts is still worrisome – as his career continues to trend away from the sweet-swinging infielder he was drafted as and more towards an all-or-nothing power-hitting outfielder.
2019 (A): .187/.320/.336/.657 with 7 doubles, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 6-7 in SB attempts, 19 BB, 47 K in 32 G/129 PA 7) Kevin Maitan – 3B/2B, A:
Shaking off another slow start, Maitan, the youngest player on Burlington’s roster, has been showing signs of life since mid-April, and that’s continued the last two weeks. Posting a .295/.340/.477/.818 over the last two weeks, Maitan is showing power (2 doubles, 2 HR) and some improved hitting. He even stole two bases.
2019 (A): .215/.278/.306/.584 with 2 doubles, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 11 BB, 34 K in 32 G/133 PA Honorable mention, hitters:
D.C. Arendas (1B, A): .353/.450/.794/1.244 with 3 3B, 3 HR –  at 25, he’s 4 years older than the league average.
Taylor Ward (LF/1B/3B, AAA): .286/.444/.714/1.159 with 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 BB, 6 K – not quite enough playing time (8 G/36 PA)
Dustin Garneau (C, AAA): .217/.400/.478/.878 with 3 2B, HR, 6 BB, 8 K – also not enough playing time
Jhoan Urena (3B/1B, AA): .250/.372/.417/.789 with 3 2B, HR, 7 BB, 9 K – only 24, worth keeping an eye on, good pop, discipline 8 ) Jose Soriano – RHP, A: 
Soriano, one of the Angels’ most intriguing pitching prospects who offers considerable upside, spun two great performances over the last two weeks, striking out 14 over 11 innings, allowing only two hits (.065 BAA) to go with an 0.82 ERA. Control continues to be a bit of an issue – he also walked 6 – but his 5/09 start at Dayton showed his potential brilliance, generating 19 swinging strikes on 88 pitches, allowing no hits over 6 IP.
2019 (A): 1.72 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .196 BAA, 20 BB, 32 K across 31.1 IP in 7 G/6 GS 9) Jose Suarez – LHP, AAA:
With Griffin Canning’s ascension to the Anaheim rotation, Suarez is now the #1 SP prospect on the farm. Suarez started the year with a balky shoulder, but returned to AAA action (as one of the youngest in the league) with two starts against two very good offensive teams in great hitter-friendly environments, showing his promise in both appearances. Capping at 5 IP/~80 pitches in each start, Suarez was stingy, surrendering one, only allowing 6 hits and 4 walks vs. 8 strikeouts.
2019 (AAA): 0.90 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .171 BAA, 4 BB, 8 K across 10 IP in 2 G/2 GS 10,tied) Cristopher Molina – RHP, A:
The lanky 22-year old has yet to allow more than 2 runs in a game this season, and only allowed one earned, good for a 0.60 ERA, over the last two weeks across three ‘starts’, two of which were conventional, one in relief. Across 15 innings, Molina struck out 19, limiting opponents to a .204 BAA, only walking 6. He’s yet to allow a HR on the season, and is likely making a case for a promotion to Inland Empire in the near future.
2019 (A): 1.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .178 BAA, 11 BB, 41 K across 33.1 IP in 7 G/4 GS 10,tied) Robinson Pina – RHP, A:
Equally impressive as Molina and therefore tying for the last spot on the list, the even lankier 20-year old Pina delivered similar success in two ‘starts’ (one in relief), capped by a 5-inning, 0 BB, 10 K performance against Bowling Green on May 8th. While he doesn’t possess the same swing-and-miss stuff as Molina, Pina has generated very similar results, each averaging 6 hits allowed, 3-4 walks, and 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
2019 (A): 2.01 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .204 BAA, 14 BB, 39 K across 31.1 IP in 7 G/4 GS Honorable mention, pitchers:
Patrick Sandoval (LHP, AA/AAA): 12.2 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 3.55 ERA in 3 GS – earned the promotion to SLC
Denny Brady (RHP, A+): 14.2 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 20 K, 4.30 ERA in 3 games – could be a AA promotion candidate before long
Oliver Ortega (RHP, A+): 10.1 IP, 6 H, 11 BB, 17 K, 3.48 ERA in 3 games – including a 5 IP, 1-hit, 9 K start
Jason Alexander (RHP, AA): 8 IP, H, 0 BB, 9 K – delivered a dominant 8 IP one-hitter in his lone eligible appearance
Jesus Castillo (RHP, AA): 12.2 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 2.13 ERA in 2 games – had a chance to break top 10 yesterday, but game was PPD
Andrew Wantz (RHP, A+): 13 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 12 K, 2.08 ERA in 3 games – feels like a multi-inning RP candidate in near-future
Jeremy Rhoades (RHP, AAA): 8 IP, 4 H, BB, 9 K, 1.13 ERA in 5 games – could play into Anaheim depth relief again
Connor Higgins (LHP, A): 5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA in 3 games – lanky lefty comes with upside
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Los Angeles Angels Minor League Hotlist (4/29-5/12 2019)

By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist While lower-level pitching has been dominant for the Angels farm so far this year, multiple strong performances made it difficult to identify individual standouts – during this time, quietly, several hitters have made strides over the last two weeks. 1) Jared Walsh – 1B/LHP, AAA:
Walsh picked up seven multi-hit games over the last two weeks, clubbing seven doubles and three home runs along the way, resulting in a .388/.484/.714/1.198 slash over 14 games, while also drawing 9 walks. Oh yeah, and he also made three relief appearances, picking up one save. With Bour, Pujols, and Ohtani all ahead of him on the depth chart, his path to Anaheim isn’t abundantly clear, but he’s certainly stating his case.
2019 hitting (AAA): .299/.394/.976 with 11 doubles, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 18 BB, 41 K in 36 G/160 PA
2019 pitching (AAA): 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .238 BAA, 2 BB, 4 K across 5 IP in 5 G 2) Jarrett Parker – RF/LF, AAA:
Nearly matching Walsh’s offensive production over the last two weeks is quasi-big leaguer Jarrett Parker, recently returned from injury. Playing the corner outfield positions, the 30-year old posted a slash of .326/.473/.674/1.147 boosted by 6 doubles, 3 homers, driving in 13 runs, and drawing 12 walks to 15 strikeouts. While there is no longer a clear path for Parker to support the main cast in Anaheim, he remains intriguing AAA depth.
2019 (AAA): .324/.467/.620/1.086 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 19 BB, 22 K in 21 G/90 PA 3) Cesar Puello – CF/LF/RF, AAA:
Puello is surprisingly the only hitter carry-over from the last hotlist, as he maintained a .293/.396/.561/.957 slash over the last two weeks. High contact skills have long boosted the offensive profile for Puello, 28, whose power finally flashed in recent weeks, adding 2 doubles and three homers. Like Parker, Puello is out of options and not on the 40-man, so he isn’t likely to see Anaheim barring serious injury issues on the big-league club, so he’ll remain as AAA insurance. He’s already been hit by a pitch 10 times.
2019 (AAA): .302/.444/.500/.944 with 6 doubles, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 17 BB, 28 K in 31 G/133 PA 4) Francisco Del Valle – RF/LF, A:
The first of a few surprise hotlist entrants, 20-year old Del Valle, a 2016 14th rounder out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, has been a steady bat for Burlington, slashing .289/.413/.500/.913 since returning May 1st. While his upside is likely limited to that of a 4th OF, he has demonstrated good discipline and doubles-powers in his brief career, and could open some eyes once he reaches the friendly hitting environments of the California League.
2019 (A): .229/.319/.390/.710 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 10 BB, 28 K in 30 G/120 PA 5) Leonardo Rivas – SS/CF/3B/2B, A+:
The switch-hitting 21-year old infielder reached base safely in all 12 games he played the last two weeks, earning a hit in all but one, giving way to a .320/.370/.520/.890 slash, popping 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 HR along the way. While he’s still striking out quite often – 16 times in that time – the increase in power has brought his prospect pedigree back into focus. The infielder also added a couple appearances in CF in this time, also furthering his value.
2019 (A+): .246/.333/.435/.768 with 8 doubles, 3 triples, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 18 BB, 43 K in 34 G/156 PA 6) Nonie Williams – LF/CF/RF, A:
??? What? Yes! Once again, Nonie has responded to one of his lowest lows by posting one of his highest highs. Days shy of turning 21, the 2016 3rd rounder has shaken off another poor start by responding with a .250/.348/.525/.873 slash so far in the month of May, exhibiting some power (5 doubles, 2 homers) and a bit of an eye – 6 walks, though 21 strikeouts is still worrisome – as his career continues to trend away from the sweet-swinging infielder he was drafted as and more towards an all-or-nothing power-hitting outfielder.
2019 (A): .187/.320/.336/.657 with 7 doubles, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 6-7 in SB attempts, 19 BB, 47 K in 32 G/129 PA 7) Kevin Maitan – 3B/2B, A:
Shaking off another slow start, Maitan, the youngest player on Burlington’s roster, has been showing signs of life since mid-April, and that’s continued the last two weeks. Posting a .295/.340/.477/.818 over the last two weeks, Maitan is showing power (2 doubles, 2 HR) and some improved hitting. He even stole two bases.
2019 (A): .215/.278/.306/.584 with 2 doubles, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 11 BB, 34 K in 32 G/133 PA Honorable mention, hitters:
D.C. Arendas (1B, A): .353/.450/.794/1.244 with 3 3B, 3 HR –  at 25, he’s 4 years older than the league average.
Taylor Ward (LF/1B/3B, AAA): .286/.444/.714/1.159 with 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 BB, 6 K – not quite enough playing time (8 G/36 PA)
Dustin Garneau (C, AAA): .217/.400/.478/.878 with 3 2B, HR, 6 BB, 8 K – also not enough playing time
Jhoan Urena (3B/1B, AA): .250/.372/.417/.789 with 3 2B, HR, 7 BB, 9 K – only 24, worth keeping an eye on, good pop, discipline 8 ) Jose Soriano – RHP, A: 
Soriano, one of the Angels’ most intriguing pitching prospects who offers considerable upside, spun two great performances over the last two weeks, striking out 14 over 11 innings, allowing only two hits (.065 BAA) to go with an 0.82 ERA. Control continues to be a bit of an issue – he also walked 6 – but his 5/09 start at Dayton showed his potential brilliance, generating 19 swinging strikes on 88 pitches, allowing no hits over 6 IP.
2019 (A): 1.72 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .196 BAA, 20 BB, 32 K across 31.1 IP in 7 G/6 GS 9) Jose Suarez – LHP, AAA:
With Griffin Canning’s ascension to the Anaheim rotation, Suarez is now the #1 SP prospect on the farm. Suarez started the year with a balky shoulder, but returned to AAA action (as one of the youngest in the league) with two starts against two very good offensive teams in great hitter-friendly environments, showing his promise in both appearances. Capping at 5 IP/~80 pitches in each start, Suarez was stingy, surrendering one, only allowing 6 hits and 4 walks vs. 8 strikeouts.
2019 (AAA): 0.90 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .171 BAA, 4 BB, 8 K across 10 IP in 2 G/2 GS 10,tied) Cristopher Molina – RHP, A:
The lanky 22-year old has yet to allow more than 2 runs in a game this season, and only allowed one earned, good for a 0.60 ERA, over the last two weeks across three ‘starts’, two of which were conventional, one in relief. Across 15 innings, Molina struck out 19, limiting opponents to a .204 BAA, only walking 6. He’s yet to allow a HR on the season, and is likely making a case for a promotion to Inland Empire in the near future.
2019 (A): 1.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .178 BAA, 11 BB, 41 K across 33.1 IP in 7 G/4 GS 10,tied) Robinson Pina – RHP, A:
Equally impressive as Molina and therefore tying for the last spot on the list, the even lankier 20-year old Pina delivered similar success in two ‘starts’ (one in relief), capped by a 5-inning, 0 BB, 10 K performance against Bowling Green on May 8th. While he doesn’t possess the same swing-and-miss stuff as Molina, Pina has generated very similar results, each averaging 6 hits allowed, 3-4 walks, and 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
2019 (A): 2.01 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .204 BAA, 14 BB, 39 K across 31.1 IP in 7 G/4 GS Honorable mention, pitchers:
Patrick Sandoval (LHP, AA/AAA): 12.2 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 3.55 ERA in 3 GS – earned the promotion to SLC
Denny Brady (RHP, A+): 14.2 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 20 K, 4.30 ERA in 3 games – could be a AA promotion candidate before long
Oliver Ortega (RHP, A+): 10.1 IP, 6 H, 11 BB, 17 K, 3.48 ERA in 3 games – including a 5 IP, 1-hit, 9 K start
Jason Alexander (RHP, AA): 8 IP, H, 0 BB, 9 K – delivered a dominant 8 IP one-hitter in his lone eligible appearance
Jesus Castillo (RHP, AA): 12.2 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 2.13 ERA in 2 games – had a chance to break top 10 yesterday, but game was PPD
Andrew Wantz (RHP, A+): 13 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 12 K, 2.08 ERA in 3 games – feels like a multi-inning RP candidate in near-future
Jeremy Rhoades (RHP, AAA): 8 IP, 4 H, BB, 9 K, 1.13 ERA in 5 games – could play into Anaheim depth relief again
Connor Higgins (LHP, A): 5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA in 3 games – lanky lefty comes with upside
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Angelswin.com Interviews Former Angel Adam Riggs

Adam Riggs captured wearing the “Angees” uniform. Interviewed by David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer One of the things I love most about baseball is when I have the chance with former players. No one knows the game like they do, as they have insights that fans won’t always catch. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with a former Angel–Adam Riggs. When I first heard that I would get the chance to interview him, I immediately thought of the time he ran out to left field with one of the greatest uniform malfunctions ever (pictured above). So, of course, I had to ask him all about that, and it turns out, there was more to the story. But, in talking with Adam, I learned so much more. I learned about how he came to play for the Angels, and how that helped save his career, what it was like as a player in Scioscia’s clubhouse, spring training ordeals, and his favorite memories and players. And, I got to fill in some key details about a key episode in Angels history involving Jose Guillen. Many fans remember that situation, but few will recall that it was Adam Riggs who went out the next day to play left field for a team trying to make the playoffs. Adam helped fill in some key details of what it was like for him as that player to live through that experience. Since retiring from baseball, Adam has started a podcast on the BLEAV Podcast Network. Along with his co-host Matt Gallant, they do a weekly Angels podcast talking all things baseball. It’s well worth listening to, as Adam provides baseball knowledge and experience having scrapped together a solid career with several teams. With his background, he can talk about what it’s like to be an athlete having to constantly prove himself and earn his playing time. Fans can catch up on all of Adam Riggs’ podcasts by clicking here. Fans can also subscribe to catch all of the weekly shows. I’d recommend it, as Adam is planning on getting other veteran players to have even more in depth discussions to share different perspectives from the industry. Please click below to listen to our interview with Adam Riggs. https://thesportsdailydigital.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/angelswin.com-interviews-adam-riggs-1.wav   
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Los Angeles Angels Minor League Hotlist

By Tres Heftner, AngelsWin.com Columnist Here are Top-10 Minor League Performers in the Angels Farm System 4/22/19 – 4/28/19 1) Jose Rojas – IF, AAA: 
The 26-year old infielder continued to build upon his hot spring with an even hotter April, slashing a firm .407/.429/.889/1.317 over the past week, driving in 13 runs in only 6 games, including a 2 HR, 6 RBI performance on 4/22 against Sacramento. Playing 3B primarily, Rojas also made two appearances at LF and one at 2B this week.
2019: .333/.388/.603/.991 with 3 doubles, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 7 BB, 12 K in 20 G/85 PA 2) Matt Thaiss – IF, AAA: 
Coming into the week, Thaiss was mired in a 3-35 slump (.086 BA), but the BAbip gods smiled upon thee.  Thaiss went 10-17 (.588) to go with 7 BB against 1 K over his last 25 PA, with a double and HR leading to his .588/.680/.824/1.504 slash on the week – boosted by a .563 BAbip. Thaiss also continued to see time at 3B, playing twice more at the hot corner vs. Albuquerque.
2019: .289/.406/.434/.840 with 4 doubles,1 triple, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 16 BB, 12 K in 22 G/101 PA 3) Taylor Ward – IF/OF, AAA: 
Ward added LF to his pro resume this week, making a nice sliding catch vs. Albuquerque, while also adding two more appearances at 1B. The increased versatility should boost his odds and value to the Angels as the season goes on, as could his offense, if he maintains it. Ward added 3 doubles and 2 homers to his season over the week, slashing .429/.478/.857/1.335 across five games.
2019: .305/.408/.559/.968 with 6 doubles, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 9 BB, 16 K in 16 G/72 PA 4) Torii Hunter, Jr. –  OF, A+: 
2019 is a key year for Hunter, still acclimating to the life of pro baseball, and the Angels pinned high expectations on the 24-year old OF by counting on him to help lead the offense at Inland Empire. While Torii Jr. might never have the game-changing power, defense, or baserunning his father possessed, he’s continued to make improvements to his offensive profile suggesting he might yet have a future as a 4th OF. Hunter slashed .333/.467/.542/1.008 over the week, adding a triple, a home run, 6 RBI, and 2 more SB to his season totals. Since the first week of the season, Torii Jr. has 12 BB to 14 K and a .413 OBP and his 15 walks rank third on the Angels farm.
2019: .250/.384/.338/.721 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 15 BB, 21 K in 23 G/99 PA 5) Cesar Puello –  OF, AAA:
While he may be walking along the precipice of being no more than a career 4A journeyman, Puello undoubtedly continues to produce. Seeing time at all three positions in the outfield, the 28-year old Puello continues to demonstrate advanced plate discipline to go with good contact and good power, drawing 4 BB, hitting three doubles, and adding one HR to give him a slash of .429/.571/.714/1.286 for the week. While he may not see time outside of SLC, he offers some intriguing depth for the Angels if he continues to post hefty OBP results.
2019: .303/.465/.455/.920 with 4 doubles, 2 HR, 12 BB, 14 K in 20 G/86 PA Honorable mention, hitters:
Gleyvin Pineda (IF, A): .357/.500/.500/1.000 with triple, 4 BB, 5 K
Connor Justus (IF, AA): .294/.400/.529/.929 with one walk-off HR
Jarrett Parker (OF, AAA): .333/.481/.524/1.005 with 2B, HR, 6 BB, 5 K 5) Kyle Bradish – RHP, A+: 
The 2018 4th Rounder has looked like a strong pick all season, and the past week only added to that excitement. The 6’4″ righty provided 4 innings of a 9-inning ‘no-hitter’; between starter Aaron Hernandez (4 IP) and Austin Warren (1 IP) on April 23rd vs. Rancho Cucamonga, and followed that up by allowing only one hit across 5.1 IP days later against Lake Elsinore. Over the week, Bradish held hitters to a .033 BAA, allowing 4 BB, 1 ER, and striking out 13 in 9.1 IP, and might find himself in AA Mobile before long.
2019: 1.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .159 BAA, 10 BB, 22 K across 20 IP in 5 G/3 GS 6) Hector Yan – LHP, A: 
One of the Angels’ more intriguing pitching prospects, the 20-year old, 5’11” lefty flashed some of that brilliance this past week across two appearances, reining in some early control issues and striking out 15 hitters across 9 IP, while only allowing 6 hits, one run, and four walks. The Angels continue to piggyback their young starters, as Yan closed out the game on 4/22 with four scoreless innings before a more traditional start later in the week on 4/28.
2019: 4.82 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .242 BAA ,12 BB, 26 K across 18.2 IP in 5 G/3 GS 7) Jeremy Beasley – RHP, AA: 
Never considered a top prospect, Beasley continues to will his way into the discussion and might find himself entering the fray for the SLC-Anaheim shuttlebefore long. Like Yan, Beasley appeared in two games this week, starting one and closing out another, striking out 13 across 10 IP, only allowing 1 run, 5 hits, and 2 walks along the way. Only 23, the 30th round draft pick out of Clemson back in 2017 continues to prove his mettle.
2019: 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .197 BAA, 9 BB, 26 K across 20.2 IP in 5 G/4 GS 8 ) Cole Duensing – RHP, A:  
While he flashed some potential in 2016 after being selected by the Angels in the 6th round, the 6’4″ RHP had a future in doubt following 9.74 ERA over 28 games and 93.2 IP in 2017-2018, a stretch where he allowed a staggering 136 hits, 21 HR, 102 runs, 58 walks, and only 64 strikeouts. 2019 has been entirely different, as the 21-year old Duensing continued to add to a solid turnaround year by posting a 1.86 ERA, .176 BAA over 9.2 IP, allowing only 6 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 11.
2019: 2.11 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .240 BAA ,14 BB, 20 K across 21.1 IP in 5 G/4 GS 9) Jorge Tavarez – RHP, A+: 
The diminutive (5’10”, 150) reliever was lights-out last season, and it’s continued into 2019. Over the last week, Tavarez made three appearances, all for multi-innings, and delivered 7 innings of spectacular relief, allowing one run, zero walks, only three hits, and striking out 12. Blessed with an above-average 12-6 curveball with elite spin rate, the 23-year Tavarez might be pitching his way into the Angels depth charts before long.
2019: 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .196 BAA, 4 BB, 21 K across 14 IP in 9 G 10) Adrian De Horta – RHP, AA: 
Signed as a minor league free agent in March 2018, De Horta didn’t show much last year, but opened eyes with a gutsy appearance in this year’s ST exhibition series against the Dodgers, and he’s followed up on that with a strong April, capped by a solid start on 4/24 vs. Pensacola, allowing one hit and striking out 7 across five innings. As the Angels continue to promote arms, De Horta could be in AAA Salt Lake before long.
2019: 2.03 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .156 BAA, 8 BB, 23 K across 13.1 IP in 3 G/2 GS Honorable mention, hitters:
Oliver Ortega (RHP, A+) 4 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 BB, 9 K
Aaron Hernandez (RHP, A+): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K
Luis Madero, RHP, A+/AA): 9 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, and a promotion to AA Mobile
Cristopher Molina, RHP, A): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
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AngelsWin.com Interviews Angels Outfield Prospect Torii Hunter, Jr.

Interview Conducted by David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer April 2, 2019. Ever get the feeling of deja vu? The very first Major League player that I interviewed in the Angels clubhouse was Torii Hunter. And he was a pleasure to interview. I had followed his career for quite a while, long before he was an Angel, as I have many cousins in Minnesota who would rave about him as a player. I was thrilled that we got to see him play as an Angel for a while. I recently had the opportunity to interview his son, a rising outfield star in the Angels system. Like his father, Torii Hunter, Jr. is a pleasure to talk to. And, like his father, he provides great defense in the outfield with a blend of speed and power. Torii will be starting the 2019 season with the IE66ers tonight at home. You can purchase tickets for them here. It’s well worth the drive out there to see him and all the other players develop into future Major Leaguers. With the rising pool of talent that the Angels have, you will want to make the trip out there many times. While you too may experience a bit of deja vu when you see Torii Hunter, Jr. in the outfield, remember, he’s his own man with his own destiny. And he will go as far as his tools and talent will take him. You can watch our interview with Torii Hunter, Jr. by clicking on the image below. AngelsWin.com Interviews Torii Hunter, Jr. April 2, 2019 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.  
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An Angel for Life

May 13, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates after scoring off a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer   If the rumors are true, and at this point they appear to be so, Mike Trout has agreed in principal to a deal that will make him an Angel for life. Wow. What a way to turn around the offseason. Prior to today, I would have given the Angels a “B-” for their efforts during the offseason, but all that changed today. This deal changes all that because the biggest potential issue for the next two years has been settled. Mike Trout will be here for another 12 years. If the proposed numbers hold true, Mike Trout will sign the largest sports contract in history. And well he should. No other player in the history of the game has been as good and productive as Mike Trout at a similar age. If I could start a baseball team with any single current player in baseball, by far my first choice would be Mike Trout. Not only is he an incredible talent on the field, he is a an incredible asset off the field. His interactions with fans are not forced or reluctant. He genuinely engages with fans before the games. His love for baseball and enthusiasm to play is infectious. He reminds people of all that is good and right in sports, He is humble and honest. He lets his actions speak for themselves and doesn’t seek the limelight. He brings us back to a time when we played baseball and demonstrates our love for the game. When Mike Trout signs this contract, he will do the one last thing that separated him from the pantheon of baseball greats: he will create a specific time and place for his legacy. Just as Cobb, DiMaggio, Koufax, Ruth, Williams, etc. are all associated with one team and one time, Trout will be forever remember for the time he played and the Angels. Fifty years from now, whether they are Angels fans or not, baseball fans will tell their grandchildren how they saw Mike Trout play for the Angels, just as our grandparents told us about seeing their greats play. In 2014, When Mike Trout signed his first contract extension, I asked him at the press conference what it meant to him that an entire generation of Angels fans would grow up seeing him play. I compared it to Trout’s hero Derek Jeter, a lifelong Yankee. With this contract extension, multiple generations of Angels fans will grow up seeing him play. And like his hero, it will all be for one team. That’s something special. But, even more special, is that Angels fans will get to see him evolve. When Mike Trout first broke into the Major Leagues, Torii Hunter took him under his wings and helped show him the ropes. After Torii left, Albert Pujols helped to mentor him. But, in an interesting story written by Bob Nightengale for USA Today, Mike Trout watched video of the Angels’ top prospect Jo Adell, and even gave Adell his phone number to help him. Mike Trout made an integral part of the Angels’ presentation to Shohei Ohtani by calling and speaking with him, and has since done a lot to help Shohei adapt to life playing baseball in America. That’s the evolution of Mike Trout–from a rookie to a face of a franchise to a mentor to his teammates. This is the Mike Trout team. This is the Mike Trout era. After the Angels won the World Series in 2002, my favorite moment was seeing Tim Salmon–Mr. Angel–hoist the trophy. Knowing that there were several points where Tim could have left for more money to play for other teams, watching him hold that trophy was magical. Everyone could see that his loyalty and dedication to the team had been rewarded, and the fans loved him for it. When Mike Trout hoists the World Series trophy–which he will do as an Angel–it will be something even more magical. Just as Salmon was rewarded and loved, so will Trout be. We, the fans, know how much he did (and will do) to earn that moment, and we will thank him for it. There will be a bonding between us and him that will forever connect us in that moment. An Angel for life. Not many players can say that. But that’s what Trout chose to be, and we are so lucky that he did.        
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Here's how Mike Trout's record-setting deal still seems like a bargain

How exactly do you compensate someone who has already outproduced more than half of current National Baseball Hall of Fame members despite being just 27 years old? Handsomely, as we found out Tuesday when news of Mike Trout‘s agreement on a contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels broke. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report the record-setting agreement, which comes out to a 12-year, $430 million contract for the two-time American League MVP. Further reports have mentioned Trout will play out the final two years of his current six-year, $144.5 million contract before this new deal takes effect. So, this essentially means the Angels are agreeing to pay their outfielder $363.5 million in new money. This comes not even three weeks after Bryce Harper‘s $330 million payday with the Philadelphia Phillies, which ended up being a short-lived record. Any way you slice it, $430 million is an incredible amount of money. Could it still be a bargain by the time his age-38 season rolls around in 2029, though? The answer to that question is yes. Thanks to the projection models over at FanGraphs, there’s also proof to back up that claim, as Ben Gellman-Chomsky pointed out on Twitter. FanGraphs has three different scenarios with which we can project a player’s future performance: aging well, aging normally, and aging poorly. You can see how each of these scenarios would play out in Ben’s tweet, but here are the pictures so you can see them side by side. First, if Trout ages well: Next is Trout aging normally (well, for Mike Trout, at least): Lastly, here’s what it’d look like if Trout ages poorly and the end of his contract isn’t nearly as enjoyable as the first portion of his career: Let’s not forget that each of these fWAR totals is on top of what he’s already produced since debuting in 2011. If he beats the normal aging curve, Trout could finish his age-38 campaign with 173.2 career fWAR. That number would drop to 164.2 if he ages normally, and it “plummets” to 147.7 if he ages poorly. Things can obviously go haywire compared to these projections (after all, they’re called projections for a reason). But still, using this as a guide makes for an eye-popping observation. Below is a table of the top five players in baseball history when using fWAR as the benchmark: Basically, FanGraphs is projecting Trout to finish this contract as the fifth-best player in baseball history when accounting for their worst-case scenario. The Angels would also almost double their money in that scenario when looking at the value of Trout’s performance. If there’s any player in baseball that deserves this huge payday, it’s Trout. By the way he’s been producing, though, this could end up being viewed as a steal for Los Angeles. And that’s even more crazy to think about. About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book and created an online class about how to get started as a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here. Twitter

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WATCH: Mike Trout crushes ball at batting practice, already in midseason form

Angels slugger Mike Trout is a true five-tool player, as he truly can do it all. Trout can run, catch, he can absolutely rake. Spring training is where — like NFL training camps — players attempt to get back in shape, having spent time away from the weight room and baseball diamond. Apparently, Trout didn’t stop working out, because he showed up to spring training not even skipping a beat from where he left off at the end of last season. Check out this video of him in the batting cage, where he absolutely annihilated a baseball, then had a great reaction afterward. “Ooh, I almost hit a trash can,” Trout remarked. It’s hard not to feel bad for the trash can.
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AngelsWin.com

 

Celebrating 15 years of unraveling Angels Baseball, one thread at a time

By Geoff Stoddart, Director of Social Media Before there was Facebook.  Before there was Twitter.  Before there was SnapChat or Instagram, there was AngelsWin.com. In February of 2014, Charles Richter launched the website as a way for Angels fans around the country and around the world to stay connected to the team they loved and discuss topics that impacted them. What started out as a simple message board & blog grew into a news and reporting outlet, also being rewarded with a Major League Baseball media credential by the Angels.  Correspondence from AngelsWin have participated in such team events and press conferences as the introduction for Albert Pujols, the contract extension for Mike Trout and the welcome Shohei Ohtani, to name just a few.  Over the years, the site has been recognized by Forbes, Fox Sports, ESPN, MLB Network, Japan Times, Washington Post, MLB Trade Rumors, local media outlets in the Orange County Register and LA Times and Angels Broadcast crews over the air for their reporting and insights. The site has also hosted many fan events, including Spring and Summer Fanfests where they’ve had such guests as Arte Moreno, Tim Salmon, Don Baylor, Kole Calhoun, ex-GM Jerry Dipoto, Victor Rojas, Jose Mota, Terry Smith, Rex Hudler, Steve Physioc and Tim Mead. As AngelsWin looks to the future, they will continue to provide the news, the stats, information and fan events.  But at its core, AngelsWin will always continue to be an online community forum that launched the site and as a result has forged many lifelong friendships & memories. AngelsWin.com: The internet home for Angels fans – where fans can cheer, argue, laugh, complain and discuss the team they love. So a toast to 15 great years and another toast to 15 more.  Go Angels!
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Why Angels' GM Billy Eppler's patience with the farm may lead to sustained future success

By Chuck Richter, AngelsWin.com Founder The San Diego Padres were just ranked as having the best farm system in baseball by Baseball America. Did you know the last time the Angels were ranked with the #1 farm system in baseball? 2005. Unlike the Padres, who haven’t been in the playoffs since 2006, the ’05 Angels made the playoffs the year prior to being ranked as the No. 1 farm system, and were the World Series champions three years prior to that. After being ranked as having the best farm system in baseball in 2005, the Angels went on to make the playoffs in four of the next five seasons. The Angels’ top 30 prospects in 2005 had a bunch of talent that made it to the big leagues. Twenty of them made it to the big leagues, and half of them had a solid career. That was an incredible amount of talent. Check it out. Now, think think about the fact that we finally have a top 10 farm system again. Combine that with the talent we have on the Major League club such as Trout, Ohtani, Simmons, Upton, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Buttrey, and Anderson. I liken our 2019 club to our 2006 team. We graduated most of those ’05 top 30 prospects that year and they began contributing along with our existing core of vets in Vlad, GA, OC, Weaver, Lackey, K-Rod, Shields, Escobar, Colon. This year, we should do the same with many of our current top 30 prospects starting to contribute along with our current core of vets. Now consider that next year, in our 2020 season, we’ll have an established mix of veterans and young core that can hit the ground running. That could lead to a magical run like 2007-2009. While it may wear on our patience at times that the 2019 Los Angeles Angels may resemble the 2006 club, especially by missing the playoffs, ultimately, we need to see that this year will be a stepping stone, much like 2006 was. Making the playoffs for 3 straight years couldn’t have happened without that transitional season in 2006. We needed the ’06 season to introduce to the prospects to the Majors and give them the opportunity to succeed. I believe the present Angels may have a chance to be a bit better and sustain longer success than they did from ’07-’09. Eppler appears to have set up this club up for more success than we had in 2007-2009. His one year deals for veteran help this season could catapult the Angels into a playoff berth this year. Or, they could end up being yet another boon to the farm system by adding more players like they did in the Maldonado and Kinsler trades. The Angels have the talent to acquire a piece in a trade, if warranted, or, can continue to stock up on talent to sustain the parent club for years. By the end of 2019, the Angels could very well be a top 3 farm system. And, at the same time, they could be on the verge of challenging the Houston Astros in the standings. This season will be an integral part of a larger plan to vault the Angels back into dominance of the A. L. West for a long time.
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AngelsWin.com

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2019 Angelswin.com Primer Series: Shortstop

By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer Results 2018 was a banner year for Andrelton Simmons, who posted his best WAR season to-date in the Majors, at a sterling 5.5 WAR. Clearly a lot of that production was on the defensive side of the spectrum but he also turned in a 2nd consecutive above average offensive season too, begging the question of whether or not the Angels should consider extending him. You may agree or disagree but finding defensive-wizards at critical defensive positions that can post 5-WAR seasons is not an easy task, so it should be on the table in the author’s opinion. Beyond the actual physical results, Simmons continues to show how brilliant he is tactically on the baseball battlefield. His in-game awareness, ability to back-pick overly aggressive runners, and his range and coverage of the infield is second to none in baseball right now. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) So we mentioned above that 2018 was Andrelton’s best season of his career at 5.5 WAR. It is now the 2nd consecutive season that Simmons has exceeded the 5-WAR mark, as he posted 5.1 WAR last year in 2017. A significant amount of this WAR improvement has actually come on the offensive side of the ball as Andrelton has worked hard to improve his at-bat’s over the last two seasons. It is hard to gauge how long Simmons can operate at the 5-WAR level as defense is usually the first player ability that declines with age. Andrelton will be entering his age 29 season in 2019, so age-related decline is something coming into view on the horizon that Eppler and the Angels will need to consider if they really are interested in extending him past his last year of contractual control in 2020. Offense (wRC+) The main improvement has come from Andrelton’s increased Hard% (hard hit rate) over the last two seasons. In 2017 he had a Hard% of 29.2% and in 2018 he jumped to 36%. Both of these numbers exceed his career average of 27.4%. Also over those same two years, he has become more of a pull hitter. In 2017 he had a 45.3% Pull% and in 2018 it jumped to 51%, both higher than his career 42.3% Pull%. When you combine the harder hit balls to the pull-side along with slight increases in his isolated power (ISO), it has allowed Simmons to place the ball more in the outfield grass. BABIP has been favorable to Andrelton so that could possibly normalize but the changes in ISO and Hard% are probably real advancements that have led to the higher BABIP number so it is not too much of a concern. In the end he has matured as a hitter and it looks like those changes are here to stay resulting in overall better plate performance that should continue for at least the next couple of seasons, if not longer. Defense (DEF) To get a real taste and flavor of how good Andrelton Simmons is on defense, you need to perform a historical comparison of shortstops. Below is a table listing all shortstops from 2002-2018 with a minimum of 1000 innings played sorted by FanGraphs ‘DEF’ metric divided by total innings played to convert it to a rate statistic: Other than perhaps Nick Punto, no one else really comes close to Simmons consistent defensive rates. Even Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 innings agrees: In comparison to the nearest active player on the list, Francisco Lindor, who is also considered a fine defensive shortstop, Andrelton exceeds him by 32.5% in Def/Inn and by almost 50% in UZR/150! The point being made here is that Simmons is a truly gifted defensive player at the most defense-critical position in baseball. Due to the ‘Def’ and ‘UZR’ statistics being imprecise and a lack of quality information for previous generations it is hard to slot Andrelton in on a list of all-time great shortstops (think Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, Art Fletcher, Ernie Banks, et al) but you have to think he would give any of them a real run for their money. Eppler has made team defense a very high priority, particularly up-the-middle defense (C, SS, 2B, and CF) and if the Angels want to continue that pursuit of excellence keeping a guy like Simmons on the team would make a lot of sense. If Andrelton gets injured, the Angels currently have a backup option in Zack Cozart, himself a quality defensive shortstop, and Luis Rengifo down in the high Minors if things get really rough. Projections The Steamer projection system sees Andrelton hovering just below his 3-year running average of 4.4 WAR at 4 WAR. When you consider Simmons age (29 years old for most of the 2019 season) and the fact that defense is the first attribute that a player usually sees decline in, expecting a 4-5 WAR season is probably a reasonable hope for Angels fans. In fact his running 3-year average of 4.4 WAR is probably a good target. If Andrelton exceeds that number fantastic! If he falls short he is still excelling in all likelihood. Either way the Angels are getting what they paid for and more. This is probably the best value trade to-date for Billy Eppler and may go down as the best overall when all is said and done. Contractual Details Simmons is entering his 2nd to last year of contractual control in 2019. Currently, after the 2020 season is complete he will become a free agent. The current deal was $58M over 7 years that he signed with the Atlanta Braves, originally, prior to the 2014 season at the tender age of 24 years old. The Halos will pay Andrelton $13M in 2019 and $15M in 2020, albeit at a very team-friendly $8.3M average annual value (AAV) across those two seasons. It is the author’s opinion that the Angels should seriously consider a contract extension for Simmons. This contract value will vary based on your opinion of how defense-first players decline but let me offer up a rudimentary guess at a potential extension contract. Below is a table using a standard, basic WAR model, a defensive-decline model that discounts more than the standard model, and a historic comparison model: The first two models use Simmons 3-year running WAR average as a starting base and then add in a 7% year-to-year inflation and also age-related decline (the standard model) and, in the case of the defensive-decline model, additional negative WAR decline year-to-year. Now let me be clear: the author does not believe in either the standard or defensive-decline models. They are simply there to show you how WAR is still inaccurate as a tool for contract modeling for defense-first players. No one in their right mind would fork out $284M much less $197M for Andrelton in free agency in the author’s personal opinion (and probably the opinion of many, many others). This brings us to the historical comparison model which is simply taking two recent comparable players, Elvis Andrus and Troy Tulowitzki, and projecting a Simmons extension offer based on those deals. Here is Elvis Andrus’ last six years of his current contract that aligns well age-wise with Simmons: That is approximately $90M over six years and it is an easy case that a 7th year would tack on another $10M-$13M, bringing it up, just above, $100M. There is also an easy case to be made that Simmons is a superior player to Elvis but we will leave that alone for now. Now here is Troy Tulowitzki’s seven years starting at age 29: That is $114M in total for those years. There is a reasonable case to be made that Tulowitzki, when healthy, was a better overall player than Andrelton but that too we will not touch here. Inflation plays a factor here (and that is reflected in Andrus’ contract above) but reasonably there is a case to be made that on a 7-year deal, if it was presented to Andrelton this off-season, an extension contract would probably be somewhere in the $100M-$130M range. Simmons is clearly a superior defender to Andrus and in fact is a better hitter too. Andrelton has also been a much healthier, consistent player than Tulowitzki so there is a case, overall, that Simmons should be on the higher end of not only the salary range but the WAR range as well. Previously the author had pegged an estimated 6-year, $102M deal, beginning at the end of 2019, as a target. If the Angels were to jump a year early, it would probably be a 7-year, $120M extension contract. In the end, the Angels need to manage risk and waiting one more year will give them more information about Simmons health and performance. In the era of analytics more data equals greater knowledge and reduces financial exposure and risk. Waiting one more year is worth it from a front office perspective. Finally one more thing to consider is the available pool of replacement shortstops in the 2020-2021 off-season. In that off-season, it is a truly uninspiring group of names that includes Freddy Galvis and Jurickson Profar. However, in the following 2021-2022 off-season you see a more interesting group that includes Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story among others. If the Angels were willing to bridge the 2021 season with a player like Luis Rengifo (himself a potential replacement, perhaps), they could choose to strike at a younger shortstop the year after. Replacement Options Part of the reason the Angels acquired Zack Cozart in free agency was to add insurance behind Simmons if he were to get injured and was out for an extended period of time. To be frank Cozart, despite his strong history of good defense at shortstop, is no Andrelton, in terms of defense. To be even more frank you would be hard pressed to find a better overall player at the position, except for perhaps Francisco Lindor or Manny Machado. Behind Cozart the Angels have depth in the high Minors with Luis Rengifo and, maybe, someone like David Fletcher. Long-term the Angels will need to consider the value of retaining Andrelton versus letting him enter free agency. That decision, based on the above, is more likely to come next off-season, prior to Simmons last year of control, when Eppler has more information to base his final decision on. Personally, the author believes Andrelton walks on water and would like to see him locked up sooner rather than later but the Angels could feel differently and may have other areas they want to focus their resources on in the future. It should be noted that Eppler almost certainly wants a strong defensive player at shortstop so that will definitely factor in to the strategic five-year outlook. Summary Andrelton Simmons is a terrific player to have on your team. He plays exceptional defense at the most defensive-critical position in baseball. His offense is above League-average and his wRC+ of 109, in 2018, was significantly above the League-average at shortstop of 95 wRC+. His in-game instincts and leadership on the field are second-to-none in the game right now. No one on this team takes his own personal mistakes more to heart than Simmons does, which drives him to constantly improve his game. In the end Andrelton is the type of player you want on your team. He is dedicated and committed to his craft and drives himself to perform at the highest level that he can at all times. That makes him a keeper in my book.
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2019 Angelswin.com Primer Series: Right Field

By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer Results Let us start this conversation with a game of blind player comparison using information from FanGraphs. One of the names below is Kole Calhoun. Guess the other two without looking (answer in the Summary below): In order to better understand Kole’s 2018 season we need to break it up into the 1st and 2nd half numbers: It has been well documented that Calhoun made a significant change to his swing to start the season last year, which resulted in a terrible first half, and then, after a significant disabled list stint, he returned on June 18th, utilizing yet another new stance, which produced far better results. Clearly whatever he was doing from late June through the end of the season was spot on. His ground ball percentage plummeted 13.4% to 36.1%, his line drive rate shot up to an exceptional 27.1%, and his HR/FB ratio shot up 3% to 16.4%. The experiment with his swing really appears to have messed with Calhoun’s season as he sought a solution to his inconsistency in 2017. However, the good news is that he finally found the answer when he hit the disabled list and returned a reinvigorated hitter. If he can replicate his 2nd half there will be zero concern about his production in 2019. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) So, at 0 WAR, Kole clearly had the worst offensive season of his career. This brings his running 3-year average WAR to 1.8. Calhoun, just like Upton, is now on the wrong side of 30 years old (he will be age 31 for the 2019 season). Some feel that his struggles in 2017 and 2018 reflect age-related decline but the peripheral numbers (Hard%, BABIP, LD%, etc.) tell a decidedly different tale. Father time will eventually take his toll on Kole but everything regarding his swing changes and the underlying story with respect to his quality of contact point to a competent player. Offense (wRC+) As we touched on above, Kole turned in a really solid 109 wRC+, in the 2nd half, in comparison to the terrible 51 wRC+ from the 1st half. It is that 2nd swing change, upon Calhoun’s return from the disabled list, that gives a lot of hope that he will prove a very valuable member of the team in 2019. His isolated power jumped 60 points from the 1st to 2nd half, providing a sparkling .192 ISO. His doubles jumped up, in part to the 27.1% LD% rate, from 5 to 13 from the 1st to 2nd half. Kole pulled the ball a lot but the primary difference, beyond the defensive shifts, was his ability to loft the ball more, primarily by reducing the number of ground balls he hit and his elevated Hard% rate, which made all the difference in driving the ball past the defenders. Calhoun has a career .293 BABIP and his 1st half number was .206, while his 2nd half BABIP normalized to .282. It should be expected that, barring more swing changes, he should return to his career number which should generate solid offensive results. Defense (DEF) As far as Kole’s defense, FanGraphs ‘Def’ score has not favored him as much as Ultimate Zone Rating has. FanGraphs gave Calhoun a -3.4 score for 2018 which is a fairly big swing from his 2.0 score in 2017. In fact FanGraphs seems to alternate year-to-year between positive and negative scores in regard to his defense. UZR/150 however likes Kole’s range in particular and has given him consistently solid scores over the last five seasons, although they too have alternated up and down. Age tends to hit defense first  but there is reason to believe that Calhoun should perform well in the field in 2019, although it may not reach the heights it has in previous seasons. He has always been a hard-working gamer out in right field so the Angels assuredly feel comfortable with his defensive projections for next season. Of course if Calhoun’s defense begins to noticeably decline, the Angels definitely have other solutions to turn too, in the Minors, such as Jo Adell and Michael Hermosillo, long-term. Projections All the projection systems agree that Kole should return to his career norms in 2019. A 20-HR, 70+ RBI/Runs type of season seems quite doable for him, likely running a .250/.320/.420 slash line with an approximate 105 wRC+. This is partly based on Calhoun retaining the 2018, 2nd half performance level he turned in last year but it really is not a stretch to see him get there, so it feels low-risk for a player that has consistently hit those numbers for five of the last six MLB seasons. Expecting a 2.5 WAR season feels right at this stage in his career. Contractual Details Kole is entering the last guaranteed year of his 3-year, $26M deal he signed prior to the start of the 2017 season. The jury is still out on whether or not it was a good signing, particularly after his abysmal 2018, but Calhoun still has the 2019 season to redeem himself and if he performs even moderately well, he will have been worth the money paid. Kole was signed to that deal with the explicit knowledge that the Angels would pivot in a different direction once his guaranteed years expired or at the end of his 2020 option year, if the Angels pick it up. Replacement Options Right now the Halos have young Jo Adell, who will likely start 2019 in AA or AAA, nearly ready to take over right field duties, probably later this year or to start 2020. Basically if the Angels are not in contention at the trade deadline, they will almost certainly trade Kole and bring up Adell for the remainder of the season. However, if the Angels are in it, they could go two different routes with one being a trade of Calhoun and promotion of Adell or, if Kole is excelling, they could simply retain him and move him in the off-season. In the end Adell is the Angels future in right field and rightfully so. Fortunately Calhoun’s contract has the built-in flexibility (his 2020 option year) to allow Jo to come along at his own pace and earn the job, hopefully sooner rather than later. So with this understanding, Kole will almost certainly start 2019 in right field. If he has trouble producing the Angels will bring up Adell once they have the additional year of control. Otherwise, the teams and Calhoun’s performances will drive what happens next at the Major League level. If Adell struggles in 2019, the Angels will seriously consider exercising Kole’s option year to fill the gap. After that Jo should be on the roster no matter what happens performance-wise. Summary Hard contact (Hard%) in general is highly sought after in Major League Baseball. It simply means the player is squaring up the ball consistently and with authority. Here are the player answers to our pop quiz above: Kole Calhoun led the Angels in hard hit percentage (Hard%). Out of 140 qualified hitters in 2018, Calhoun ranked 16th overall in the same category. When you combine his 1st half BABIP and ground ball issues, it becomes pretty clear that his swing adjustment at the start of 2018 was a major factor in his poor 1st half performance and that his second swing adjustment, in mid-June, brought about much better results akin to the Kole we know and love. A resurgent Calhoun seems like a pretty good bet to make in 2019 and  when you combine that logic with his remaining contractual control, he is the best choice and risk for Billy Eppler to make with a talented, athletic player like Jo Adell knocking on the Major League door within the next year.
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2019 Angelswin.com Primer Series: Left Field

By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer Results For 2018, Justin turned in a typical offensive-oriented season, playing below-average defense out of the left field position. As he had done in the previous two years, he hit the 30-home run threshold while also exceeding 80 runs and runs batted in with a handful of stolen bases to boot. Although his strikeouts were elevated, his walk and on-base percentages hovered around his career averages. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) In 2018, Upton was worth 3.1 WAR. This is 0.3 WAR below his 3-year running average of 3.4 WAR. Out of 22 qualified left fielders, he ranked 9th overall in WAR for 2018. Justin is now on the wrong side of 30 years old (he will be age 31 for most of 2019) but age-related decline will probably not be an issue near-term. Aging is different for every player, so we will discuss it here, in the future, once there is evidence that his production is in decline. Offense (wRC+) Last season Justin produced a 124 wRC+ over 613 plate appearances (PA’s). This is in-line with his career average of 121 wRC+ and his durability on the field, as this was his 8th consecutive season with 600 or more PA’s. Out of 22 qualified left fielders, he ranked 6th in wRC+ for 2018. Upton’s Isolated Power (ISO) was down for the year but that was primarily due to a significant number of doubles that turned into singles in 2018. In the previous two seasons he hit 28 and 44 doubles, respectively, in comparison to the 18 he hit last season. This is likely due to an off-nominal hit distribution (sample size noise) because Justin had his highest hard-hit rate (Hard%) of his career in 2018 at 43.8%. Additionally, he pulled the ball more than usual exceeding his career average by 12.4%. The latter may be intentional as the Angels had the highest pull rate (Pull%) in baseball. It should be noted however that Upton’s ground ball (GB%) rate was 2.3% higher than his career average, while his fly ball (FB%) was 4.5% lower than his career average. This is probably the primary reason why some of those doubles were converted to singles. As a final note Justin stole 8 bases on a total of 10 attempts. He has never been an overly prolific base stealer (his high was 21 in 2011) and seems to prefer picking selective spots to run on opposing pitchers to keep his success rate at a productive level. Defense (DEF) Justin turned in another typical below-average season defensively, roaming the left field corner. FanGraphs ‘Def’ score rated him at -7.2, which is not great, but it is not the worst. Out of 22 qualified left fielders, Upton ranked 17th based on the ‘Def’ metric. Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR/150) was a bit kinder to Justin, giving him slightly above-average marks for range and errors, but still nicked him with an overall negative score. This has been a known quantity for some time now and at some point over the next two years, likely after Albert Pujols retires, the Angels, if they have not traded Justin, may move him to first base or designated hitter for the remainder of his contract as the team will likely have better defensive outfielders to place there in Brandon Marsh and Jordyn Adams or potentially sliding Mike Trout over if his defense declines in center field. Projections The Steamer projection system sees Upton producing a nearly identical slash line in 2019 as he produced in 2018. This makes sense considering the stage Justin is at in his career and his likely spot as a middle-of-the-order hitter in the Angels 2019 lineup. The offense may hover up and down based on how the final batting order shakes out but it should be a similar result unless Upton kicks it into a higher gear and gives us one of his not oft-seen 4+ WAR seasons. Contractual Details Upton will be entering the 2nd season of a 5-year, $106M contract he signed at the end of the 2017 season. So far, the Angels have received exactly what they have paid for and perhaps a little more, so it has worked out for both sides to-date. Justin will very likely stick around through at least 2020, as the Angels have some high-quality prospects (Marsh and Adams mentioned above) in the pipeline but they are both probably two years away from making an impact at the Major League level. Even then the Angels could decide, if Upton continues to perform well offensively, to have Justin make the aforementioned move to first base or designated hitter if they want to keep his bat in the fold and improve the team defensively. If Billy Eppler decides to move J-Up in trade, the team will likely need to eat some salary if they want to get a truly significant prospect or prospects back in return as his surplus value is effectively negligible. Replacement Options Based on Upton’s contractual length and commitment of team resources (money), it is very unlikely that the Angels will trade him. As indicated above he has minimal surplus trade value, at this time, and the Angels have no readily available options that will give them the production value Justin has provided and is projected to produce. So with this understanding, he is a near-lock to start the season with the Halos and will likely be on the 2020 roster as well. After that the Angels will probably have other options to consider that could push Upton to a different position or allow the Angels to move him in trade. Summary Justin has been exactly what the Angels have asked for to-date. He is a strong hitter behind Trout that forces opposing pitchers to pick and choose whether they want to face Mike or take their chances with Upton. Based on who the Halos place in the lead-off spot, the lineup will likely be a 2-3-4 of Trout, Upton, and Ohtani which is a formidable trio, particularly against right-handed pitchers. This should present Upton with plenty of opportunities to succeed. Right now, Justin is a core piece of this offense that is a liability on the field. Eppler knew this going into the deal and Upton has held up his end of the bargain heading into the 2nd year of his contract and is expected to provide fair value over the remainder.
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