By The AngelsWin.com Prospect Posse
Welcome to our updated 2021 prospects list. After the tragedy that was a lost minor league season in 2020, we were very excited to see our minor leaguers in action. The big surprise this year is the veritable explosion of pitching, from strong performances by top prospects Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez, to the emergence of lesser-known guys like Davis Daniel and Robinson Pina, as well as many fringe guys all of a sudden becoming legitimate major league depth in the near future.
The Prospect Posse: Who Are We?
We are a group of nine regular contributors to this website, all of whom consider eyewitness accounts, scouting reports, statistical analysis, and just gut feeling in our assessment. We feel that our list is stronger for the fact that it includes nine contributors, all with slightly different emphases, both in terms of how we consider prospects, and what sort of guys stand out to us. As one can see with the “ranking ranges,” there is often wide disagreement, but it all evens out to provide what we feel is a very strong list.
One thing to note is that the lower in the rankings one gets, the more interchangeable the ordering. In terms of the methodology used to compile this list, some of the prospects are grouped in clusters. For instance, while there’s a gap between #10 and #11, the next three guys (#11-13) are all very close, as are #14-15, and #19-21. There is a large gap between #21 and #22, as well as after #25. In our methodology, there is a similar gap between #17 and #26 as there is between #26 and #50.
To put that another way, we—as a group—are rather clear on who our top 25 are, and how they are tiered in their relative rankings, but after that it is less clear.
Without further ado, here are our updated rankings:
1. REID DETMERS (21, LHP)
Ranking Range: 1-4 Change: +3
Stats: 3.15 ERA, 13, GS, 60 IP, 18 BB, 106 SO in AA/AAA; 10.61 ERA in 2 GS in majors
Detmers has been all that we hoped for and more, largely due to his increased fastball velocity. Despite early struggles in his first two Major League starts, he has shown the flashes of excellence that led him to be our Top Prospect on this list. The floor for Detmers is very high—that of a good mid-rotation starter—but he could be better than that.
2. BRANDON MARSH (23, OF)
Ranking Range: 1-4 Change: Same
Stats: 28 games, .287/.398/.528, 4 HR, in 28 Rk/AAA | 19 games, .154/.257/.215 in 21 major league games
Marsh missed much of the first half due to injury, but when he returned, he completely destroyed AAA pitchers (.382/.417/.735 in 8 games), before being called up. He’s struggled in his first exposure to major league pitching but shows flashes of a well-rounded game. In some ways he’s the hitting version of Detmers: very high floor, with a good ceiling, that of an All-Star who is plus in just about every facet of the game.
3. JO ADELL (22, OF)
Ranking Range: 1-4 Change: -2
Stats: 73 games, .289/.342/.592, 23 HR in 73 AAA games | .304/.360/.478 in 6 major league games
Adell started the year with 7 walks and 57 strikeouts in his first 37 AAA games, but in the next 36 games he doubled his walk rate (15) and cut his strikeouts (42). In his first week in the majors, he’s looked like a completely different player than last year. Jo will require patience, but his ceiling is still very high and his ability to translate his power into the game is improving.
4. CHRIS RODRIGUEZ (23, RHP)
Ranking Range: 2-6 Change: -1
Stats: 3.64 ERA, 29.2 IP, 15 BB, 29 SO in 15 games and 2 starts in the majors
Rodriguez has had an interesting path this year, starting in the major league bullpen after only 78.2 professional innings, and none above A+. He held his own and, after an injury layoff, was sent to AA to be stretched out as a starter. The future still looks bright, and like Detmers he has the potential to be a TOR arm.
5. SAM BACHMAN (21, RHP)
Ranking Range: 4-10 Change: New
Stats: 0.00 in 1 GS, 2 IP, 0 BB, 2 SO in A+ ball
The Angels surprised everyone when they picked Bachman ahead of Kumar Rocker, although that seems less controversial now that Rocker and the Mets failed to reach an agreement. The big question is whether Bachman can stick as a starter, with some concerned about his violent delivery. But the stuff is immense, including a fastball that reaches triple digits and a slider to die for. Even if the Angels convert him to relief, he could be an elite closer.
6. KYREN PARIS (19, 2B)
Ranking Range: 5-8 Change: +1
Stats: .310/.437/.548, 2 HR, 13 SB, and 18 BB in 23 games in A/Rookie ball
Paris started the season hot, but then went down with a fractured fibula for a couple months. He just got back to A ball and is continuing where he left off, displaying speed, defense, contact ability, discipline, and even a touch of power.
7. AROL VERA (18, SS)
Ranking Range: 5-9 Change: +3
Stats: .307/.374/.446 in 26 Rookie ball games
Vera started the year scalding hot, hitting over .400 for his first week or so, but has cooled off, in a 1-15 funk as of this writing; still, a very promising start to his professional career.
8. JORDYN ADAMS (21, OF)
Ranking Range: 5-11 Change: -3
Stats: .207/.278/.341 in 46 games in A+
The luster has dimmed somewhat as Adams has struggled this year, although some of that may be due to an injury that kept him out for six weeks. The talent is there, but it remains to be seen whether he can convert it to baseball skills.
9. JEREMIAH JACKSON (21, IF)
Ranking Range: 6-11 Change: -1
Stats: .248/.322/.510 in 39 games in A ball Jackson continued where he left off in 2019, but at a level higher: lots of HR and strikeouts, although there are signs of slight improvement in BB%. He’s been out with quad strain for the last month and a half.
10. ALEXANDER RAMIREZ (18, OF)
Ranking Range: 8-14 Change: +3
Stats: .290/.380/.548 in 23 Rookie games
With Adell and Marsh in the majors, Ramirez is arguably the highest upside bat in the Angels system.
11. JACK KOCHANOWICZ (20, RHP)
Ranking Range: 11-17 Change: -6
Stats: 6.75 ERA in 14 GS, 57.1 IP, 26 BB, 50 SO in A ball
Kochanowicz is a work in progress, but the Angels are focusing in on developing his individual pitches, so don’t worry too much about that ERA. He'll require patience, but remains one of the higher upside pitchers in the organization.
12. ADRIAN PLACENCIA (18, 2B)
Ranking Range: 8-24 Change: +16
Stats: .226/.407/.484 in 19 Rookie games
Placencia was noted for his sweet swing and, so far, the results are promising, displaying advanced plate discipline in his first professional season.
13. KY BUSH (21, LHP)
Ranking Range: 9-18 Change: New
The Angels 2nd round pick in the 2021 Amateur Draft, Bush improved over his college career and could end up being a steal in the second round.
14. DAVIS DANIEL (24, RHP)
Ranking Range: 14-22 Change: +17
Stats: 2.47 ERA in 14 GS, 73 IP, 25 BB, 100 SO in A+/AA ball
While the focus has been on Detmers and Rodriguez, Daniel has not-so-quietly made a huge impression in his first full professional season, dominating A+ and adjusting quickly to AA. On the depth chart for the major league club next year, as either a starter or reliever.
15. EDGAR QUERO (18, C)
Ranking Range: 12-27 Change: New
Stats: .304/.513/.679 in 20 games in Rookie ball
Quero is one to dream on: an international signing who has utterly dominated Rookie ball. While it is very, very early, it is hard not to be excited about a hard-hitting catching prospect.
16. ROBINSON PINA (22, RHP)
Ranking Range: 13-33 Change: +10
Stats: 3.48 ERA in 16 GS, 75 IP, 46 BB, 107 SO in A/A+ ball
After a rough beginning to the season and a demotion to A ball, Pina has been impressive in his return to A+. Like Daniel, if he doesn’t stick in the rotation he could end up as a high leverage major league reliever.
17. ALEJANDRO HIDALGO (18, RHP)
Ranking Range: 13-32 Change: New
Stats: 3.55 ERA IN 4 GS, 25.1 IP, 8 BB, 30 SO In Rookie ball
An international signing, Hidalgo has impressed with his first exposure state-side.
18. DENZER GUZMAN (17, SS)
Ranking Range: 14-Not Ranked Change: New
Stats: .296/.333/.333 in 8 games in the Dominican Rookie league.
Not much to go on yet, but Guzman’s scouting profile and chatter shows a lot of promise.
19. WERNER BLAKELY (18, IF)
Ranking Range: 14-NR Change: Same
Stats: .214/.385/.314 in 21 games in Rookie ball
Another raw but talented young middle infielder, Blakely has displayed excellent plate discipline in his first season.
20. D’SHAWN KNOWLES (20, OF)
Ranking Range: 14-NR Change: -4
Stats: .225/.284/.355 in 62 games in A ball (23 of 24 in stolen bases)
It is hard not to be disappointed with Knowles’ performance this year, as his numbers have trended down over the last few seasons. Of interest, he's played a few games at shortstop, implying that the Angels want to diversify his skill-set.