Much like the Angels’ major league offense awakening as May turned into June, the same can be said for many of the Angels’ farmhands. The last two weeks saw a number of Angels’ position players, new and old, put up big numbers, and several Angels’ pitchers found themselves moving up to new teams following strong spring starts.
1) Matt Thaiss – C/DH/1B, Salt Lake City, AAA:
So far, no Angels’ minor league position has done more to definitively place themselves atop one of these lists than what Matt Thaiss has done. Alternating between catcher and DH over the last two weeks – with one appearance at 1B – Thaiss has put his well-balanced offensive profile on display, showing strong contact (14 hits in 10 games), discipline (6 walks to 9 strikeouts), and power (four doubles, two triples, five home runs), good for a .359/.457/.949/1.405 slash, while also driving in runs (13), stealing a base, and throwing out three baserunners – his first in his pro career since converting back to catcher. Despite this, there isn’t a clear path to Anaheim at the moment for Thaiss, and it’s likely in his (and the Angels) best interest that he continues getting reps behind the plate at SLC, as well as regular playing time. Should the Angels find themselves buyer, Thaiss’ versatility, ability behind the plate, offensive profile, and MLB-readiness could make him an attractive deadline option – or an easy promotion should they part ways with Kurt Suzuki at some point.
Matt Thaiss with a 2-run HR to give the Salt Lake Bees a 6-2 lead— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) June 11, 2021
That is Thaiss’ 3rd straight game with a HR pic.twitter.com/7oQ9MmrAw9
Matt Thaiss throws out a runner trying to steal second base pic.twitter.com/d2S1Trr5LH— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) June 13, 2021
2021 (SLC, AAA): .327/.435/.655/1.090 with 6 doubles, 3 triples, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 18 BB, 34 K in 30 G/131 PA, 33% CS%
2) Luis Rengifo – SS/2B, Salt Lake City, AAA:
Following right behind Thaiss, Rengifo has also put his varied skill set on display of late. Like Thaiss, Rengifo has demonstrated strong contact skills (17 hits in 10 games), discipline (3 walks to 8 strikeouts), and power, equating Jo Adell’s output over the last two weeks; two double, two triples, and four home runs, giving Rengifo a .395/.435/.814/1.249 slash in June. Settling in as the everday SS in SLC leads one to believe the Angels might see him as the everyday SS starting in 2022, or perhaps sooner if they find themselves taking offers for Jose Iglesias as the summer trade deadline nears. Much like Thaiss, Rengifo could find himself mentioned in trade talks should the Angels wind up buyers.
Luis Rengifo thought leading off with a home run was so much fun yesterday he did it again today pic.twitter.com/DDHSZda6iU— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) June 13, 2021
2021 (SLC, AAA): .302/.371/.519/.890 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 12 BB, 21 K, 7-11 in SB attempts in 33 G/143 PA
3) Jo Adell – OF, Salt Lake City, AAA:
Adell shifted over to CF for the first time this season, drawing six starts in the last ten games while also seeing time in the corners, leading one to believe the Angels might be prepping him to get a look while Trout is on the IL, and Adell’s recent performance at the plate has done nothing to quiet those whispers; relying primarily on his plus-plus power, Adell has slugged.791 in June so far, adding 2 doubles, 2 triples to his 2021 campaign, as well 4 more HR to his minor league lead of 15. Plate discipline remains elusive however as Adell hasn’t drawn a walk since May 20th, but he has trimmed his strikeouts to something tolerable – 14 in 10 games. Still, Adell remains one of the more imposing sources of prospect power and his athleticism could cause the Angels to look past the swing-and-miss issues and give him another shot to contribute sooner rather than later.
Is it Groundhog Day? Because Jo Adell just hit another one. pic.twitter.com/D9wsKceMfI— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) June 6, 2021
2021 (SLC, AAA): .277/.325/.667/.991 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 15 HR, 30 RBI, 6 BB, 50 K, 3-4 in SB attempts in 32 G/151 PA
4) Izzy Wilson – RF/LF, Rocket City, AA:
Who? You’re forgiven if the Angels’ minor league signing of former Braves prospect Isranel ‘Izzy’ Wilson didn’t catch your eye this past winter, but the 6’3”, lefty-swinging hyper-toolsy outfielder who drew occasional comps to Christian Pache and Ronald Acuna Jr. has turned a corner since June began. Wilson’s .406/.472/.906/1.378 slash puts him behind Matt Thaiss for second-highest OPS since June 1, largely in part to the five home runs he added, giving him 10 on the season, right behind Jo Adell for most on the Angels farm. Wilson also demonstrated decent discipline (4 BB, 10 K) and overcome a slow start to show improved contact as well (13 hits in 36 PA), and oh yeah, he swiped four bases as well. The Saint Maarten native is showing all the characteristics of a late-blooming prospect, given he’s still on 23 and playing in a competitive league against older players. Definitely one to watch.
Izzy Wilson with his 2nd HR of the game to tie the game at 4 for the Rocket City Trash Pandas pic.twitter.com/FiKbU4BO8c— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) June 11, 2021
Izzy Wilson with his third HR in the last two games, this one a 3-run HR to give the Rocket City Trash Pandas a 3-0 lead pic.twitter.com/WknwHH3Boo— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) June 11, 2021
2021 (RCT, AA): .224/.325/.514/.839 with 1 doubles, 10 HR, 19 RBI, 15 BB, 42 K, 8-11 in SB attempts in 31 G/123 PA
5) Jeremiah Jackson – SS, Inland Empire, A:
Another Angel happy to see May come to an end, Jeremiah Jackson has once again lit up pitching, posting a robust .351/.442/.676/1.118 slash over the last two weeks – buoyed by an unsustainable .550 BABIP. That said, two of the primary concerns for Jackson – whether his light-tower power would translate after a historic showing in the Pioneer League and if he could improve his plate discipline – are seemingly being addressed, as Jackson mashed four doubles, a triple, and two homers over his last ten games, as well as drawing six walks to 15 strikeouts, perfectly respectable for a middle-of-the-order run producer. Jackson added 13 RBI over the last two weeks, giving him 34 on the season, good for 3rd atop the MILB RBI leaderboards. Jackson collected the Low-A West Player of the Week as well. With the strong performances of Paris, Jackson, and Rengifo, the Angels SS depth on the farm looks to be in good shape for the short and long-term future.
2021 (IE, AA): .231/.319/.463/.782 with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 17 BB, 50 K, 7-9 in SB attempts in 32 G/141 PA
Honorable mention, hitters:
Braxton Martinez (1B, IE A): .357/.500/.690/1.190 with 5 2B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 8 K in 12 G/54 PA – age (27) kept him from the Top 5 this time
Preston Palmeiro (1B/LF/2B, SLC AAA): .292/.370/.625/.995 with 2 2B, 2 HR – benefitting from hitter-friendly parks, or did Rafael’s son find something?
Scott Schebler (OF, SLC AAA): .325/.372/.600/.972 with 5 2B, 2 HR – just keeps on hitting
Dalton Pompey (OF, RCT AA): .303/.361/.576/.937 with 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 4 K in 9 G/36 PA – former Top 100 prospect off to strong start at AA
Mitch Nay (3B, RCT AA): .257/.422/.514/.937 with 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 BB, 7 K in 11 G/45 PA – former first rounder keeps slugging, getting on-base
Michael Stefanic (2B/3B, SLC AAA): .229/.325/.514/.839 with 2B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 8 K – AAA parks adding some HRs to Stefanic’s game
Gavin Cecchini (2B/SS, RCT AA): .267/.313/.511/.824 with 2 2B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 7 K – another former 1st rounder hitting well in AA
Torii Hunter, Jr. (OF, RCT AA): .276/.344/.483/.827 with 3 2B, HR, 3 BB – evolving into a solid 4th OF option
1) Ryan Smith - LHP, Tri-City, A+:
Following another dominating performance at Low-A Inland Empire (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K on June 3rd), southpaw Ryan Smith was the next IE SP to earn a promotion to Hi-A Tri-City, and didn’t miss a step, spinning another strong, nearly unblemished 6 inning start, surrendering zero runs, two hits, one walk, and striking out 9. All told, Smith’s 12 IP of 0.75 ERA ball, with a BAA of .100 and 2 BB to 16 K earns him the top pitching placement on this edition. At 5’11””” and drafted in the 18thRound out of Princeton, Smith is an interesting arm to watch as he advances – more a pitcher than a thrower, he’s balanced, competitive, cerebral approach could make him a strong dark-horse SP prospect if this continues now that he’s facing more age-appropriate competition.
2021 (IE A/TC A+): 1.34 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, .139 BAA, 3 HR allowed, 8 BB, 53 K across 33.2 IP in 6 G/5 GS
2) Davis Daniel - RHP, Tri-City, A+:
Yet to hit a bump this season, righty Davis Daniel might be making a case for being the Angels’ second-best SP prospect Reid Detmers, at least if weighing the candidates by MLB-readiness. Daniel added two more starts to his first pro season, which is also the same number of hits he allowed – only two across 12 IP, along with zero runs, four walks, and 16 strikeouts. Daniel’s strong play earned him the High-A West Pitcher of the Week, and a promotion to AA Rocket City, behind recent fellow righty Aaron Hernandez, could be in the near future. At age 24, there’s a reasonable chance Daniel pitches his way onto the MLB staff by end of the year, especially if the Halos wind up sellers and move multiple arms from the rotation and bullpen.
Davis Daniel today for the Tri-City Dust Devils: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB’s, 8 K’s.— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) June 10, 2021
Daniel had a no-hitter through 6.1 innings.
Here are his 8 K’s: pic.twitter.com/wRvdsJ3FC4
2021 (TC A+): 2.35 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .171 BAA, 1 HR allowed, 16 BB, 41 K across 30.2 IP in 6 G/6 GS
3) Kyle Tyler - RHP, Rocket City, AA:
Steady as ever, Rocket City righty Kyle Tyler maintained his strong season over his last three starts, despite one of them being lackluster. That start was bookended with two gems: an 8 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 7 K performance against Chattanooga and a 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K showing against Tennessee, giving Tyler 17.2 IP of 1.53 ERA ball, allowing a .161 BAA and 5 BB to 15 K. Fangraphs recently noted that Tyler’s velocity has ticked up a few miles since ’19, now hitting 92-95 with some carry, improving his chances at moving into the MLB depth charts as at least an up-and-down spot starter. Perhaps a move to relief could spike the velocity even further…
2021 (RCT AA): 2.08 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .199 BAA, 3 HR allowed, 12 BB, 38 K across 39 IP in 7 G/7 GS
4) Jaime Barria - RHP, Salt Lake City AAA:
His performance is sort of the pitching equivalent to Matt Thaiss or Luis Rengifo; not good enough yet to crack the big-league club, but impressive despite the park conditions. Posting a 0.90 ERA and .176 across two starts on a Salt Lake staff is noteworthy even if it didn’t come with eye-opening peripherals, but that’s Jaime Barria. Not flashy, not dominant, but durable and effective. Due to roster shuffling, Barria has only made 6 appearances on the season between SLC and Anaheim, but his inability to crack a faulty Angels staff could garner some interest if the Angels pursue rental help at the deadline. Cheap, durable pitching under control always has some demand, and if Barria can’t find it here, the Angels might be better served seeing what they can get for him. Additionally, he could find himself a late-summer fixture in Anaheim should the Angels sell.
Gran trabajo de Jaime Barria hoy en Triple A con los Angelinos. Trabajó— MLBPTYOFICIAL (@mlbptyoficial) June 14, 2021
2021 (SLC, AAA): 3.20 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 23 H 4 HR allowed, 2 BB, 11 K across 19.2 IP in 4 G/4 GS
5) Jack Dashwood - LHP, Inland Empire:
Perhaps overlooked by some of the more dazzling performances by Inland Empire arms such as Brent Killam, Ryan Smith, and Jose Salvador is the efforts so far by 6’6” lefty Jack Dashwood. The 23 year old, a 12th rounder from the 2019 draft, has been versatile as he’s been effective. Over the last two weeks, Dashwood has made three appearances – one start and twice as a multi-inning reliever – adding 11.1 IP of 0.79 ERA ball to his first pro season. But what’s more notable is what Dashwood hasn’t allowed – a walk. Across seven games on the year, Dashwood has now thrown 26 IP while striking out 35 and walking zero Tally in 21 hits allowed, and Dashwood’s WHIP stands at a shiny 0.81. With some fellow southpaws promoted to Tri-City in Killam and Smith, there’s a chance Dashwood picks up more appearances now as a starter, where he could continue in their footsteps.
2021 (IE, A): 2.77 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, .214 BAA, 2 HR allowed, 0 BB, 35 K across 26 IP in 7 G/2 GS
Honorable mention, pitchers:
Reid Detmers (LHP, RCT AA): 11 IP, 0.82 ERA, .179 BAA, 3 BB, 16 K in 2 G/2 GS – a hard luck bump from the Top 5, but wanted to get some new names in, and this performance is to be expected from Detmers now
Aaron Hernandez (RHP, TC A+/RCT AA): 10 IP, 3.60 ERA, .167 BAA, 7 BB, 12 K in 2 G/2 GS– earned first AA start
Jake Faria (RHP, SLC, AAA): 11.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, .200 BAA, 6 BB, 17 K in 2 G/2 GS– strong strikeout numbers and a recent stinginess allowing runs could earn him a spot in Anaheim
Dakota Donovan (RHP, IE A): 5.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, .227 BAA, 5 H, 3 BB, 11 K in 4 G
Tim Peterson (RHP, SLC AAA): 5.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, .118 BA, 0 BB, 7 K in 4 G – great relief numbers to in AAA so far
AJ Ramos (RHP, SLC AAA): 4.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, .176 BAA, 2 BB, 7 K in 4 G – one-time closer providing strong relief in AAA as well
Connor Higgins (LHP, RCT AA): 4 IP, 2.25 ERA, .294 BAA, 3 BB, 4 K in 4 G
Adam Seminaris (LHP, IE A): 6.1 IP, 4.26 ERA, .280 BAA, 0 BB, 10 K in 2 G/1 GS – strong return to action from ’20 draftee