The Angels farm system is frequently overlooked by many experts, which was warranted two years ago but has since become an outdated look of the farm system. With high draft picks and multiple prospects acquired via trade, the farm system is now well on its way to becoming one of the best in baseball.
*Note – Recent international signees such as Trent Deveaux would certainly rank among the Top 30, however, because we haven’t had a first hand look and there are either vague or conflicting reports regarding these prospects, we’ve held off from including them in this version of the Top 30. International prospects WILL be included in the Winter Top 30, which includes in-depth scouting reports of all the Angels prospects. To see an example, click this link to see last season’s Top 30 Angels Prospects.
A – A future major league that profiles as a better than average starter in the field, front of the rotation starter on the mound, or one of the elite bullpen arms in major league baseball.
B – A future major leaguer that profiles to be an average starter in the field, mid-rotation starter on the mound, or a very good closer or setup man in relief.
C – A fringe major leaguer that profiles into a reserve role in the majors, a back-end of swing starter on the mound, or a middle reliever or mop up duty in relief. “C” grades are frequently given when a prospect hasn’t yet shown which way he’ll break in the majors.
1. OF Jahmai Jones – High ceiling former second round pick, currently in A Ball. Brother is an NFL wide receiver. 55 grade power, speed and arm. Impressive set of tools and refinement considering he’s only 19. Grade: A-
2. OF Jo Adell – First round pick out of a prep high school in Kentucky. Looks like an NFL wide receiver. 60+ grade power, speed and arm. Superstar potential, but considered raw, may need lots of development time, or may need very little depending on how he adjusts. Grade: A-
3. RHP Griffin Canning – Second round pick out of UCLA. Considered one of the best pitchers in the country, but a pre-draft medical screening scared teams away due to potential shoulder issues down the road. Tumbled out of the first round and into the Angels lap. Fringe-plus fastball, plus curve, plus slider, plus change up. Funky delivery. Won’t need much time in the minors. Grade: A-/B+
4. OF Brandon Marsh – High ceiling former second round pick currently in Rookie Ball. Former standout wide receiver in high school. 55 grade power, speed and arm. Great work ethic, had been called a “gym-rat” multiple times. “Loud tools”. Needs to stay healthy. Grade: B+
5. RHP Jaime Barria – International signing from Panama. Still only 20 years old and seeing a great deal of success in AA. Has breezed through the low minors. Praised for his work ethic and maturity. Average fastball with good off-speed pitches and good command. Could be front of the rotation starter or back of the rotation starter, depending on who you ask. Looks like a solid #3/4. Grade: B+
6. 1B Matt Thaiss – Former first round pick out of Virginia, currently in Advanced A Ball. Great plate discipline and contact. Has turned into a very good defensive first baseman in a short amount of time. Solid gap power, but has struggled with using the whole field. Starting MLB first baseman and top of the order upside, bench bat floor. Grade: B
7. RHP Chris Rodriguez – Former fourth round pick from Miami area high school, currently in Rookie Ball. Tremendous upside on the mound with mid-90’s fastball, plus slider and fringe-plus change up. Good control and refinement. Front of the rotation upside. Some reliever potential too as his delivery is high effort. Grade: B
8. OF Jacob Pearson – Third round selection from a Louisiana high school. Great swing from the left side of the plate. Strong kid with good blend of power and speed. Has long been known in showcase circuits as potential first round pick before injury. Torn labrum two years ago and arm still hasn’t fully recovered. Grade: B
9. OF Michael Hermosillo – Former late round selection from a high school in Illinois. Was a standout running back in football and was expected to stay on the gridiron before signing. Very good speed and pull power. Good eye at the plate and solid defense at all outfield positions. Great showing in AFL last fall. Is performing much better than his numbers in AA show. Grade: B
10. RHP Eduardo Paredes – Low profile international signee has climbed the minor league ladder much quicker than expected. Pure reliever, with great command of all of his pitches. Low three-quarters/borderline sidearm delivery. Fastball clocked in the mid-90’s with extreme sinking and tailing action. Can go multiple innings if needed. Grade: B
11. SS David Fletcher – Former sixth round pick from Loyola Marymount, currently in AA. Fletcher has great bat-to-ball skills, plate discipline, footwork and glove work. Sprays pitches to all fields with his line drive oriented swing. Fletcher will be a major leaguer someday soon, the only question is what his role will be. He has the capability to be a starting shortstop or second baseman, but may end up serving in a utility role. Draws comparisons with former Angel David Eckstein. Grade: B-
12. RHP Grayson Long – Former fourth round pick from Texas A&M. Big bodied starter with three quality pitches. When he’s healthy and throwing strikes, he can breeze through an order. Having an easy time with AA hitters, may be time for a promotion soon. #4/5 starter upside. Clean delivery. Looks perfectly capable of 180+ innings a year. Grade: B-
13. RHP Parker Bridwell – Former ninth round pick originally by the Orioles. Baltimore failed to develop him as a competent starter, and tried him in the bullpen, which itself turned into a disaster. Angels GM Billy Eppler bought low, believing a change of scenery could help Parker. It has and he’s since transitioned back to a starter. Bridewell has done quite well in his spot starts with the Angels, and has cemented his place in the depth chart with some impressive showings in AAA Salt Lake as well. Fastball sits 92-95 with cutting action. Good slider. As long as he throws strikes, he can be effective. Grade: B-
14. C Taylor Ward – Former first round pick by the Angels, currently in Advanced A Ball. Ward has loud tools for a catcher. Great, athletic build, quick behind the plate. One of the best arms in minor league baseball. Power at the plate, and good plate discipline. The biggest issue with Ward is that these tools haven’t translated to game time performance the way the Angels had hoped. Trouble with keeping balls in front of him, power hasn’t played up. Still a lock to be a catcher in the majors at some point, but unless he can capitalize on tools, he may amount to only a backup option. Grade: B-/C+
15. SS Nonie Williams – Former third round pick repeating Rookie Ball. 60+ grade speed, power and arm. Switch hitter, but has struggled with quality pitching so far. Lacking refinement at the plate and actions in the field to reach full potential yet. May work better as a third baseman, second baseman or center fielder if he can’t stay at shortstop. Could become a 30/30 threat in the middle infield or amount to nothing. Grade: B-/C+
16. LHP Nate Smith – Could easily be ranked one of the best pitchers in the Angels organization when he’s healthy, which he hasn’t been in a year. Every level of the minor leagues was too easy for Nate before an ignored shoulder injury began to take its toll. Still, when Smith is healthy he combines a mediocre 90 mph fastball with great slider, good curveball, good change up and good command. Future back-end starter in the majors. Grade: B-/C+
17. RHP Jesus Castillo – Former high profile international prospect acquired at the trade deadline from the Cubs in return for reliever Joe Smith. Slow developing but turned the corner last year at age 20. Has carved up Class A and Advanced A Ball hitters this year. Average fastball with average slider. Plus change up and control. Grade: B-/C+
18. RHP Cole Duensing – Former sixth round pick from last draft, Duensing’s post-draft stock exploded upon seeing him, and hearing of his exploits over the summer. After a great performance in the Arizona Summer League, Duensing hit the weight room and turned a 175 lbs frame and 91 mph fastball into a 190 lbs frame and 94 mph fastball. Not bad for his first offseason. I’m not entirely sure why the Angels have held him back in the Arizona Summer League after such an impressive showing last year, or why he’s pitching in relief now when everything about him suggests he’s a starter. Still, a ton of upside here, but clearly a lot of development left. Grade: B-/C+
19. RHP Jake Jewell – Hard throwing righty that we always assumed would end up in the bullpen due to rough delivery and control issues. The Angels stuck with him in the rotation through some rough times. Now that he’s in AA, we’re seeing Dan Haren-esque pinpoint control and a smooth, easy, repeatable delivery. Jewell sits 94-95 on the radar gun with a solid slider and a “show me” change up. Grade: C+
20. SS Leo Rivas – Low profile international signee, Rivas wasn’t signed until 17, a year later than many international prospects. By the time he was 18, he had already made it stateside and was holding his own with recent high school picks in the U.S. Now at age 19, Leo is laying waste to the Pioneer League and angling for a promotion. Great bat to ball skills, plate discipline, speed, footwork and glove. Rivas lacks the arm to remain at shortstop long term. Grade: C+
21. RHP Elvin Rodriguez – A low profile signee form the Dominican Republic, Elvin looks all arms and legs on the mound. Tall, and thin. Rodriguez’s fastball sits 92-93 with what looks like a curve ball but is called a slider, and a change up he hasn’t shown a willingness to use frequently. Has received plus marks for his attitude, work ethic and ability to attack hitters and control the zone. Rodriguez quick work of the Dominican and Arizona Summer Leagues as an 18 year old and is having his way with hitters in the Pioneer League as a 19 year old, which is a very difficult thing to do. Grade: C+
22. RHP John Swanda – Not much we know about him beyond his draft videos and scouting reports (we prefer to see things first hand). Low-90’s fastball, good curve and above average control is what we read about on the internet. Swanda was a Nebraska commit, but has since signed with the Angels. Grade C+
23. OF Brennon Lund – Former eleventh round pick by the Angels, likely would’ve gone as high as the fourth round if signability concerns weren’t present coming out of BYU. Has breezed through Rookie Ball and A Ball already. Having a very easy go of it in Advanced A as well. Very simple swing mechanics, and great instinct for the game in general. Could be a starting outfielder in the major leagues if he continues to hit the way he has his whole life. Tools aren’t loud enough to call him a future starting OF yet, but guys that keep hitting force their way into those roles. Grade: C+
24. OF Troy Montgomery – Former eighth round pick by the Angels out of Ohio State. Surprising power/speed/defense combination. Strongly built, he can cover some ground in the outfield and put a charge into a ball. Contact ability has become a red flag in Advanced A Ball, and adjustments are needed. He could still turn into a Kole Calhoun type of player. Grade: C+
25. RHP Joe Gatto – Former second round pick out of a New Jersey high school. Gatto has a 92-93 mph fastball, 12-6 curve and a “plus” change. Big bodied, and strong, Gatto has the type of upside that could make him a dependable #4/5 starter in the big leagues for years to come. After a rough start to his professional career, Gatto has turned things around this year in Burlington and appears ready to begin climbing the minor league ladder. Grade: C+
26. LHP Jose Suarez – International signee with intriguing three pitch blend. Fringe fastball, but a big bending curve and a solid change up to go with clean mechanics and good command of all of his pitches. Grade: C
27. LHP Jonah Wesely – A big lefty that many thought would be developed as a starter but has since been moved to relief and flourished in that role. Jonah has a fastball that can touch 95 and a big, sharp bender that leaves hitters guessing whether it’s a strike or not. He likely would already be knocking on the door to the majors by now (given Alvarez’s struggles) if it weren’t for needing Tommy John surgery. The first year back is typically a pretty rocky experience, but Jonah’s been quick to put any struggles in his rearview. As has become par of the course, we’re seeing a lot of strikeouts and an ERA around 3.00. Grade: C
28. OF Brendon Sanger – Former fourth round pick by the Angels, blessed with a beautiful left-handed swing, great plate discipline, very good raw power and solid athleticism. Angels experimented with putting him in the infield last year, but Sanger just didn’t take to those positions very well at all, and that got in his head at the plate too. He’s since been moved back out to the outfield, and is putting up really solid numbers at Inland Empire. Grade: C
29. RHP Vicente Campos – Campos is one of those guys teams keep around as a letter ticket. If Vicente is healthy, he’s coming at you with three “plus” pitches and outstanding command. He has what it takes to be a very good mid-rotation starter or back of the bullpen reliever. But it’s been quite a while since Campos was healthy for any stretch of time, which explains why other teams were willing to jettison him. Grade: C
30. OF Jonah Todd – Sixth round pick by the Angels out of Auburn. Todd shows very little in the way of power, and was most certainly a safe pick designed to offset the potential costs of drafting other upside players in the first ten rounds. Still, Todd does have some things working for him. He’s got a great approach at the plate, has a very simplistic, repeatable line drive swing. He sees the ball very well and is a hustler down the lines. Jonah plays solid defense and is a good bet to make it to the upper levels of the minor league ladder very quickly, so he’ll give us an idea as to what he can do in the major leagues sooner than others.