We’ve reached the relative all-star break (at least for the farm system, not the major leagues) and the Angels system isn’t short on top performers this year. *Please note: this is NOT a top prospect list, just a list of which players have performed the best up to this point of the season. The only stipulation for being qualified for this list is that a player must still have their rookie status intact at the major league level. So guys like Carlos Perez or Dustin Ackley aren’t eligible.
Catcher: Wade Wass – AA Mobile. .245/.361 7 DB 10 HR 6 SB. Wass was scarcely on the the prospect radar before this season. Aside from being well built with good actions behind the plate, the offensive contributions simply weren’t there. Until this season.
First Base: Matt Thaiss – Advanced A Ball Inland Empire. .258/.349 10 DB 7 HR. Thaiss is the Angels first round pick from last season, and despite possessing the tools to succeed, his season has been a bit underwhelming to date. Still, he’s outhitting any other first baseman in the system.
Second Base: Tim Arakawa – AA Mobile. .311/.411 1 DB 1 triple 4 SB. The Angels really haven’t had any solid contributions coming from second base this season, which is a shame considering the talent at this position (Hutton Moyer, Jordan Zimmerman, Sherman Johnson). Still, we shouldn’t overlook Arakawa. All this kid has done is hit since the Angels drafted him.
Shortstop: David Fletcher – AA Mobile. .285/.359 9 DB 1 triple 11 SB. Fletcher can be a wizard int he field, and tenacious at the dish, which has drawn him unique comparisons with former Angel David Eckstein. So far this season, he’s showing his performance in AA last year wasn’t a fluke, that he can handle himself at the plate, as well as pretty much any position on the diamond you decide to put him at.
Third Base: Kaleb Cowart – AAA Salt Lake. .321/.393 19 DB 7 HR 15 SB. I think at some point the Angels are just going to be forced to promote Cowart and let him play, or lose him to another organization. Either way, I’m not sure AAA is offering him anything beneficial other than the chance to get everyday at bats. Good thing he just got promoted though, right?
Outfield: Forrest Allday – AA Mobile. .323/.452 5 DB 5 SB. Another one of those players that just hits the ball at every level, but has garnered very little recognition for it. The jump to AA is supposed to be the most difficult but Allday has more walks than strikeouts and is making it look easy.
Outfield: Zach Gibbons – AA Mobile. .278/.342 15 DB 3 triples 3 HR 9 SB. Gibbons is on here not only because his stat line is solid, but also because he’s the only Angels player drafted from last year to be promoted to AA. That’s impressive considering the Angels didn’t pick him until the 17th round of the draft. And while Gibbons has experienced hills and valleys in AA, his numbers at Inland Empire put his more hyped peers to shame.
Outfield: Brennan Lund – Advanced A Ball Inland Empire. .303/.392 10 DB 4 triples 4 HR 14 SB. Lund was slotted in A Ball to begin the season, which was a mistake on the Angels part, but his performance quickly corrected their error when he forced his way into a promotion, and still hans’t stopped hitting since. Lund isn’t a “5-tool player” as much as he just doesn’t have any real weakness to his game, similar to Kole Calhoun.
Designated Hitter: Keith Grieshaber – Class A Burlington. .369/.494 7 DB 11 SB. Keith was a 16th round pick out of a community college in Missouri, and while ehe put up excellent numbers in Rookie Ball last year, the general belief was that those weren’t sustainable. Grieshaber got a late start to his season, but so far, he’s put up some video game type of numbers that will leave us asking again, are those sustainable? The answer is always yes, until he stops hitting.
Reserves: OF Jahmai Jones, SS Roberto Baldoquin, OF Michael Hermosillo, C Taylor Ward.
1. RHP Jaime Barria. AA Mobile. 85 IP 73 K’s 2.12 ERA – Scouts can talk about Barria only throwing low-90’s, only having slightly above average off-speed pitches or already maxing out of his projection until they’re blue in the face. The fact is Barria is only 20 years old and is already in AA, and through his first couple starts, is having his way with those hitters in the same manner he has at every single level.
2. RHP Greyson Long. AA Mobile. 60 IP 53 K’s 3.30 ERA – Long is one of those guys that scouts knew was going to be a major leaguer in some capacity, even before he was drafted. Despite dealing with injuries across his first couple years in the minors, Long has still climbed to AA and is still throwing quite well. Expect to see him in an Angels uniform in the next couple seasons.
3. RHP Jesus Castillo. Advanced A Ball Inland Empire. 67 IP 65 K’s 3.34 ERA – Castillo was held in A ball too long last year, so to see him begin this year in Burlington was laughable. Even more comical was his stat line there. He’s since been moved to the Cal League, which is normally a nightmare for pitchers, but Castillo has more than held his own.
4. RHP Jake Jewell. AA Mobile. 77 IP 56 K’s 3.51 ERA. Can I first just say that I love players from obscure colleges? Jewell has to take the cake here. Northeast Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma. Just awesome. Anyway, Jewell has always projected better as a reliever in my opinion, and the Angels just keep rolling him out there as a starter, which has made them look very smart and me look very foolish this year. I’m pretty happy about that. Jewell first conquered the Cal League, a place that plagued him all last year before moving up to AA Mobile, which is the biggest jump in minor league baseball. He’s definitely held his own in AA.
5. RHP Alex Klonowski. AA Mobile. 66 IP 49 K’s 3.24 ERA. There isn’t a ton of information on Klonowski, but we know one thing for sure, he can handle AA hitters.
Honorable Mention: RHP Joe Gatto. He was one of the worst pitchers in minor league ball last year, and this year, he’s holding his own in the same place as his previous nightmare outings. There’s something to be said about a kid that confronts his issues and has the sort of upside Gatto has.
Eduardo Paredes. AAA Salt Lake. 38 IP 43 K’s 1.89 ERA
Connor Lillis-White. AA Mobile. 37 IP 47 K’s 3.58 ERA
Tyler Warmoth. AAA Salt Lake. 30 IP 27 K’s 2.64 ERA
Adam Hofacket. AA Mobile. 34 IP 38 K’s 2.62 ERA
Samil De Los Santos. Advanced A Ball Inland Empire. 27 IP 35 K’s 1.62 ERA
Sean Isaac. AAA Salt Lake. 37 IP 51 K’s 1.21 ERA