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