by AngelsWin Prospect Posse
Ranking the Angels prospects over the last two seasons has been tricky, largely due to the lost minor league season in 2020; we still don’t know how that will affect prospects in the long-term.
Another factor that has defined the Angels farm recently is that the talent is largely pooled at the lower levels – especially with the graduation of players like Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Chris Rodriguez and now, Reid Detmers. Only Detmers has retained his rookie status entering the 2022 season.
What was true last year is still mostly true: While it is not a strong farm system, there is still plenty of upside at the lower levels, with a deeper field of high-floor arms from the 2021 draft, including Sam Bachman, Ky Bush, Landon Marceaux, Chase Silseth, Luke Murphy, and Mason Erla.
Most analysts quite understandably rate the Angels farm system in the bottom third, but there’s a lot of volatility at play. A year from now, the Angels farm could drop further, or it could jump a tier. In other words, 2022 is an important year to assess the actual talent level of the Angels organization, and whether or not that talent will actually start percolating upward more, or trickle away.
The top 30 is almost evenly split between 16 pitchers and 14 position players. The former tend to be more prep-heavy high-floor types, while the latter is more high risk/reward. Three players on this list—Detmers, Warren, and Ortega—are already on the major league pitching staff, while a couple others—Daniel and Junk—are AAA depth and could see major league time this year. Of the position players, Stefanic and Davis are the only players who could conceivably get major league playing time this year.
As you can see, the list is headlined by two pitching prospects, both with high floors who should be fixtures in the major league pitching staff for years to come. After those two, however, the questions become larger, with a host of mostly very young position players that could be anything from busts to good or better major leaguers, as well as an assortment of arms, mostly brought in through the “Year of the Pitcher” 2021 Amateur Draft.
Each entry includes a Ranking Range, which gives you a sense of how the nine members of the Angelswin Prospect Posse varied. We also included Other Rankings to compare ours to: Baseball America (BA), MLB.com (MLB), and Fangraphs (FG).
On to the list…
1. REID DETMERS (LHP, 22, MLB)
Ranking Range: Unanimous #1
Other Rankings: BA 1, MLB 1, FG 1
2021 Stats: AA/AAA: 3.19 ERA in 62 IP, 19 BB, 108 SO; Majors: 7.40 ERA in 20.2 IP, 11 BB and 19 SO.
Our consensus #1 pick is a bit of a no-brainer, combining good upside with a very high floor. Detmers dominated the high minors last year resulting in gaudy peripherals, though struggled in his first cup o’ coffee with the major league club. The Angels liked what they saw in Spring Training, so he’s penciled into the Angels’ rotation to start the year. While he’s going to give up some home runs, his arsenal still speaks of a solid mid-rotation starter or better. We could have our next Chuck Finley: an organizational workhorse whose baseline is that of a mid-rotation starter but could have a year or two better than that.
2. SAM BACHMAN (RHP, 22, AA/IL)
Ranking Range: Unanimous #2
Other Rankings: BA 2, MLB 2, FG 2
2021 Stats: A+: 4.40 ERA in 14.1 IP, 4 BB and 15 SO.
The 2021 first-round draft pick held his own in his first exposure to professional hitters, though it was in very limited time. Bachman could rise quickly, although the Angels will be watching his pitch count. The big question is whether he, due to a somewhat violent delivery, can handle the workload of a starter, or if the Angels will have to eventually transition him to the bullpen where he could be an elite closer. Either way, his stuff is probably the best in the Angels system other than Ohtani—including a fastball that has reached 102 –and his upside is higher than Detmers, although with much more risk. There’s an outside chance he could reach the major league team sometime in the second half, although more likely they’ll protect him and he’ll make his major league debut midseason in 2023. If he stays healthy, he’s going to be very good. Note: As if on cue, Bachman begins the season on the Injured List with back spasms.
3. KYREN PARIS (SS/2B, 20, A+)
Ranking Range: 3-4
Other Rankings: BA 3, MLB 4, FG 10
2021 Stats: Rookie/A/A+: .267/.388/.459 in 47 games, 4 HR, 22 SB
Depending upon who you ask, Paris could either be an above average hitting major league shortstop or a fringe bench guy with limited defensive abilities. On paper, though, it is hard not to like what Paris offers: He sprays line-drives and has plenty of speed to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples, and may even develop average home run power. The jury is out on his future position: most project him as a second baseman, but he’s young enough that he could stick at short. He hit an impressive .274/.434/.491 in 29 games in low-A Inland Empire, but missed a lot of time due to injury and struggled to adjust in A+ ball. All things told, though, he’s a 20-year-old who could end the season in AA and, in a best-case-scenario, could get his first taste of the majors as soon as the end of 2023.
4. AROL VERA (SS/2B, 19, A)
Ranking Range: 3-7
Other Rankings: BA 7, MLB 3, FG 3
2021 Stats: Rookie/A: .304/.370/.401 in 57 games, 0 HR, 11 SB
The $2 million international signing from 2019 finally made his professional debut, hitting well in the ACL. It remains to be seen whether he can develop the power or plate discipline to become an everyday player in the majors, but the talent is there. If you were to imagine an ideal future for the Angels, it would feature Vera at SS and Paris at 2B, but as with Paris, Vera still has a wide range of outcomes.
5. JEREMIAH JACKSON (IF, 22, AA)
Ranking Range: 3-6
Other Rankings: BA 5, MLB 8, FG 9
2021 Stats: Rookie/A: .277/.358/.548, 10 HR, 13 SB in 51 games
While he lost a lot of time to injury, Jackson proved in 2021 that the power he displayed in 2019 is legit. His walk rate increased a small amount, but he continued to strikeout at a very high rate. How his plate discipline develops may determine whether he becomes a major league starter. Right now, he looks like a Javier Baez-type with the bat, but he doesn’t have Baez’s defensive skills to fly in the majors, and is probably most likely destined for a platoon role. But there’s significant up-side here: If he develops better plate discipline and refines his defense, he could be one of those rarest of jewels: a power-hitting shortstop in the majors.
6. KY BUSH (LHP, 22, A+)
Ranking Range: 4-10
Other Rankings: BA 6, MLB 5, FG 5
2021 Stats: A+: 4.50 ERA, 5 BB, 20 SO in 12 IP.
The Angels 2nd round pick in the 2021 amateur draft, Bush struggled with command in college, but has enough to his arsenal to give him a chance at a major league rotation spot. Look for 2022 to be a year of refinement, but he could also have a Daniel-esque season and rise quickly if things come together. His likely future is as a good reliever or back-end starter, but he’s got a very good chance of being a major leaguer.
7. DENZER GUZMAN (SS, 18, R)
Ranking Range: 5-12
Other Rankings: BA 9, MLB 6, FG 4
2021 Stats: DR Rookie: .213/.311/.362, 3 HR, 11 SB in 44 games.
The Angels’ top international signing early last year, Guzman has a promising hit tool, although it remains to be seen whether he sticks at short. At 18, he’s got a long road ahead of him, but look for his hitting skills to start manifesting in the stat line this year, probably stateside in the ACL.
8. ALEXANDER RAMIREZ (OF, 19, A)
Ranking Range: 5-12
Other Rankings: BA 10, MLB 12, FG 22
2021 Stats: Rookie/A: .206/.323/.367, 5 HR, 4 SB in 54 games
There’s a good argument that, with the graduation of Adell and Marsh, Ramirez is the highest upside bat in the Angels farm system. But he’s very raw at this point, with excellent bat speed and power, but strikes out a ton. His stat line is deceptive, as he hit quite well in 35 Rookie ball games (.276/.396/.512) before being completely overmatched in 19 A-ball games (.083/.185/.111). One could imagine a future anywhere from Manny Ramirez to Jabari Blash.
9. JORDYN ADAMS (CF, 22, A+)
Ranking Range: 9-15
Other Rankings: BA 4, MLB 7, FG 6
2021 Stats: A+ .217/.290/.311, 5 HR, 18 SB in 71 games.
Of all the players on this list, none are as in the hot-seat as Adams. Two years ago, he was sometimes mentioned in the same breath as Adell and–some even claiming his upside was higher. Certainly, the athleticism is there: he’s probably the fastest player in the organization, is a strong defensive center fielder with elite potential, and has a bit of pop to his bat. But at this point, he’s still a raw talent who has not only shown little improvement in three minor league seasons, but took a step back last year, with almost no signs of a refined plate approach; or to put it another way, he ended 2019 in A+ and is starting 2022 in A+. At 22, it is too soon to give up on Adams, but he’s going to require patience. At this point he probably projects as a toolsy fourth outfielder, which would be a disappointment because the talent is there to be so much more.
10. EDGAR QUERO (C, 19, A)
Ranking Range: 7-20
Other Rankings: BA 27, MLB 9, FG 12
2021 Stats: Rookie/A: .240/.405/.463, 5 HR, 2 SB in 39 games
Quero was one of the biggest surprises in the Angels minor league system last year, and gives the organization an actual catching prospect to dream on. But at this point, it is just that: a dream. The potential is there, both offensively and defensively, to be a major league regular, but it is really too soon to predict what he might become. Most scouts seem to indicate his offensive potential is more tied to his hit tool than power.
11. DAVIS DANIEL (RHP, 25, AAA)
Ranking Range: 10-20
Other Rankings: BA 13, MLB 13, FG 13
2021 Stats: A+/AA/AAA: 4.08 ERA, 34 BB, 154 SO in 114.2 IP
After missing the 2019 season due to injury, Daniel jumped two levels in his professional debut. He dominated A+ (2.31 ERA in 46.2 IP) and AA (2.68 ERA in 47 IP) but was bombed in AAA, giving up 7 home runs in 21 innings (10.29 ERA). At the very least, Daniel could be an above average middle reliever, but could conceivably get major league starts this year and still has a chance for a spot in the Angels rotation.
12. ADRIAN PLACENCIA (2B, 19, A)
Ranking Range: 16-Honorable Mention
Other Rankings: BA 17, MLB 10, FG 8
2021 Stats: Rookie: .175/.326/.343, 5 HR, 3 SB in 175 PA.
A strange stat-line for Placencia: He put up a passable OBP despite hitting .175, due to 28 walks in 43 games. Placencia started strong, with a .903 OPS through his first 18 games, but then struggled afterwards. All we can really say at this point is that he’s a work-in-progress with good offensive potential.
13. BRENDON DAVIS (IF, OF, 24, AAA)
Ranking Range: 10-Honorable Mention
Other Rankings: BA 33, MLB 22, FG 29
2021 Stats: A+/AA/AA: .290/.362/.561, 30 HR, 16 SB in 545 PA
On one hand, Davis is another middle infielder with power but a ton of swing-and-miss. On the other, he dominated three levels, and his AAA performance (.333/.409/.641 in 31 games) was his best. At the very least, this was a great waiver pick-up by the Angels, and if Davis is capable of playing adequately at multiple positions—he played a bit of SS, 2B, 3B, and LF last year—he could be a useful player going forward.
14. JACK KOCHANOWICZ (RHP, 21, A)
Ranking Range: 8-27
Other Rankings: BA 25, MLB 16, FG 26
2021 Stats: A: 6.91 ERA, 35 BB and 73 SO in 83.1 IP
An ugly first professional season for Kochanowicz, who have up a ton of hits (102), and it wasn’t like he improved as the season progressed: he was hit hard all year long. On the other hand, it was his first year in live games--after being drafted in 2019, he didn’t play and then lost 2020 to the pandemic--and at this point in his development, the stats are secondaery.. Kochanowicz is another wait-and-see prospect: we just don’t know how he’ll develop, although there’s room for optimism, with his big frame and projectible stuff, and reportedly good mental make-up. He’s a solid break-out candidate for 2022.
15. MICHAEL STEFANIC (IF, 26, AAA)
Ranking Range: 9 – Honorable Mention
Other Rankings: BA 22, MLB 27, FG NR
2021 Stats: AA/AAA: .336/.408/.493, 17 HR, 6 SB in 554 PA
Stefanic has quietly ascended the minor league ladder, from being an undrafted and unsigned player in 2018 to dominating two levels of the minors last year, and impressing in Spring Training this year. He’s going to hit for average in the majors and has a bit of pop; he lacks speed and there are concerns about his defense, but none other than Joe Maddon declared that his defense has “been actually better than I was told.” Stefanic is the type of player it is fun to root for, and he’ll almost certainly get his chance in the majors sometime this year.
16. JANSON JUNK (RHP, 26, AAA)
Ranking Range: 8 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 18, MLB 11, FG 7
2021 Stats: Majors: 3.86 ERA, 2 BB, 10 SO in 16.1 IP; AA: 2.81 ERA, 27 BB, 97 SO in 93 IP
With a name like this, Junk is just destined for a major league career. Brought over from the Yankees in the Andrew Heaney deal, Junk pitched very well in AA and earned a call-up, holding his own in 16.2 IP. As the season starts, he’s first in line in AAA to get a call-up if the Angels have need for a starter. He’s generally seen as either a back-end starter or middle reliever, but he’s got one of the highest floors among Angels pitching prospects.
17. COLEMAN CROW (RHP, 21, AA)
Ranking Range: 15-30
Other Rankings: BA 28, MLB 23, FG NR
2021 Stats: A: 4.19 ERA, 29 BB, 62 SO in 62.1 IP.
After Crow was drafted in the 28th round in 2019 out of high school, and given a fifth-round bonus to convince him to opt out of his college commitment, he didn’t pitch in 2019 and lost 2020 to the pandemic, and thus is a bit of a sleeper prospect. Perhaps most noteworthy is his AZFL performance: in 17 IP he walked 2 and struck out 20, with a 1.59 ERA. By season’s end, he’s a good bet to be knocking at the door of our top 10.
18. NELSON RADA (16, OF, R)
Ranking Range: 11 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA NR, MLB 20, FG NR
2021 Stats: NA
Consider this: Venezuelan center fielder Nelson Rada was born in 2005. He also wears braces and thinks he could be Ken Griffey Jr. As with his fellow 2021-22 international signee Randy DeJesus, he’s really only one to dream on at this point, and we should probably learn our lesson from Trent Deveaux and D’Shawn Knowles.
19. MASON ALBRIGHT (LHP, 19, A)
Ranking Range: 13 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 29, MLB 14, FG 14
2021 Stats: Rookie: 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 8 SO in 8 IP
Another high school pitcher bought out of his commitment to enter the Angels farm system with the largest bonus ever given to a player outside of the first 10 rounds.
20. AUSTIN WARREN (RHP, 26, MLB)
Ranking Range: 9 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 11, MLB 17, FG 21
2021 Stats: Majors: 1.77 ERA, 5 BB, 20 SO in 20.1 IP
Warren was surprisingly good in his major league call-up last year, earning him a spot in 2022’s bullpen. But it is probably worth reminding ourselves that his minor league career, while solid, isn’t quite as good as his MLB debut would imply.
21. LANDON MARCEAUX (RHP, 22, A+)
Ranking Range: 9 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 9, MLB 15, FG 25
2021 Stats: Rookie: 14.73 ERA, 0 BB, 6 SO in 3.2 IP
Marceaux pitched batting practice for a few innings last year, but still features as a high floor college arm that should rise relatively quickly. His best quality is his command, which takes his rather pedestrian stuff up a notch. Perhaps more than any other 2021 draftee, he exemplifies the Angels strategy of filling out the minors with usable arms. In another year or two, he’ll be a very nice depth piece for the major league club.
22. CHASE SILSETH (RHP, 22, AA)
Ranking Range: 16-30
Other Rankings: BA 12, MLB 18, FG 28
2021 Stats: Rookie/AA: 10.13 ERA, 1 BB, 7 SO in 5.1 IP
Take Marceaux, and rinse and repeat: at least as far as the 2021 draft strategy. But Silseth has better stuff and is thus more of a higher upside, lower floor variation on the theme. His main concern is durability, which may imply that a move to the bullpen is in his future. But he could be a quick riser.
23. WERNER BLAKELY (IF, 20, A)
Ranking Range: 14 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 23, MLB 24, FG 20
2021 Stats: Rookie: .182/.339/.284, 3 HR, 15 SB in 186 PA
Not a promising professional debut for Blakely. But consider that he went 1-for-50 to end the season, and was hitting .241/.382/.380 through 32 games played at the end of August. His walk rate is encouraging, and he’s got enough tools that there’s a path before him towards a major league job, probably as a utility in fielder, but he’s quite raw at this point.
24. ALEJANDRO HIDALGO (RHP, 19, A)
Ranking Range: 16 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 34, MLB 19, FG 11
2021 Stats: Rookie: 4.67 ERA, 9 BB, 31 SO in 27 IP
Signed out of Venezuela in July of 2019, Hidalgo fits in nicely with the other second tier Angels pitching prospects: He’s got a good chance of reaching the majors, but with limited upside.
25. LUKE MURPHY (RHP, 22, AA)
Ranking Range: 18 - 29
Other Rankings: BA 20, MLB 29, FG 36
2021 Stats: A+: 3.00 ERA, 1 BB, 15 SO in 9 IP
Another example of the Angels’ Year of the Pitcher, in terms of the amateur draft. In case you’re counting, he’s the fifth guy on this list – after Bachman, Bush, Marceaux, and Silseth. With a strong fastball-slider combo, Murphy could ascend quickly and be ready for the major league bullpen sometime within the next year or two.
26. OLIVER ORTEGA (RHP, 25, MLB)
Ranking Range: 14 – Honorable Mention
Other Rankings: BA 21, MLB NR, FG 34
2021 Stats: Majors: 4.82 ERA, 2 BB, 4 SO in 9.1 IP; AA/AAA: 5.48 ERA, 18 BB, 61 SO in 42.2 IP
It seems that Ortega has been hanging around the last third of this list for years upon years. He finally reached the majors in 2021, and is set to join the bullpen this year. He has very dominant stuff, but also a penchant for walks and inconsistency all around. Meaning, he’s the type of pitcher who, if used properly and with a bit of improvement in his control, could be a positive contributor to the major league bullpen.
27. ROBINSON PINA (RHP, 23, AA)
Ranking Range: 19 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA NR, MLB NR, FG 34
2021 Stats: A/A+/AA: 4.44 ERA, 56 BB, 140 SO in 95.1 IP
It is hard not to take notice of those 140 SO in 95.1 IP last year, but also hard to ignore the 56 walks. Pina had quite a wild ride in 2021, starting the year by struggling in five starts in A+ Tri-City (7.20 ERA in 15 IP), then was demoted to A-level Inland Empire where he dominated in four starts (1.19 ERA in 22.2 IP), then pitched well back in Tri-City (3.40 ERA in 42.1 IP), before being promoted to AA Rocket City, where he got shelled in four starts (9.39 ERA in 15.1 IP).
28. ADAM SEMINARIS (LHP, 23, A+)
Ranking Range: 17 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA NR, MLB NR, FG 18
2021 Stats: A/A+ 4.86 ERA, 26 BB and 112 SO in 83.1 IP
The Angels’ 5th round pick from the 2020 draft out of Long Beach, Seminaris may be one of the pitchers on this list most likely to eventually reach the majors, although probably as a middle reliever. A lefty with mediocre stuff, Seminaris is athletic and with a plus change-up. His performance improved throughout last year, with a 2.84 ERA in his four A+ starts.
29. MASON ERLA (RHP, 24, AA)
Ranking Range: 17 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 24, MLB 25, FG 27
2021 Stats: Rookie/A+ 1.23 ERA, 0 BB and 11 SO in 7.1 IP.
A late round pick in 2021, yet another highish floor pitcher that the Angels filled the draft with. His stuff is quite good, with a fastball in the 94-97 range but a violent delivery that make him an injury risk. But he’s the type of player who could be in Anaheim within the next year or two, and be a strong bullpen piece.
30. D’SHAWN KNOWLES (OF/IF, 21, A)
Ranking Range: 22 – Not Ranked
Other Rankings: BA 14, MLB 30, FG NR
2021 Stats: A: .227/.280/.355, 5 HR, 31 SB in 393 PA
There are two silver linings to Knowles’ disappointing year: One, he dominated the base-paths, getting caught in just one out of 32 attempts; two, he played eight games at shortstop, somewhat adequately (although committed 3 errors). After a surprisingly good debut in 2018, Knowles’ prospect status has fallen each year. Yet he still has the skill-set to become a 4th outfielder, and the Angels might be considering a multi-positional future for him.
HONORABLE MENTIONS IN BRIEF
Other prospects that received a top 30 vote from at least one of our nine members include:
For pitchers, Jose Marte saw a few innings last year for the Angels and contended for a bullpen job out of spring, and is part of the AAA “extended bullpen.” Elvis Peguero – see Jose Marte. Hector Yan’s stock has fallen with reduced velocity; if he can get it back, he has a future as an Ortega-esque reliever. Stiward Aquino has been around forever (well, since 2017 in Rookie ball), but hasn’t really advanced due to an assortment of injuries. Ah, William Holmes, formerly English – wherefore art thou? Erik Rivera tantalized in his first pro start last year in A ball, but then promptly got injured – but don’t sleep on him as a promising pitcher. Fernando Guanare is very young, but he dominated the DSL last year, walking only 1 batter while striking out 49 in 46 IP – definitely keep your eye(s) on him.
For position players, the Angels hope that David MacKinnon could be a solid OBP bench piece – he’s another older minor league hand who has transformed from non-prospect to fringy. Some like Orlando Martinez’s bat; he’s a high floor, low ceiling bench type, but good defensively in the outfield who could play all three spots. Livan Soto has settled in as a bench prospect but could be useful on a major league bench for his defensive skills.The speedy David Calabrese disappointed in his first taste of professional ball, so his prospect stock dropped, but he’s still worth keeping an eye on. Natanael Santana, another toolsy outfielder, is raw but very athletic and just missed the cut. Randy DeJesus is the Knowles to Rada’s Deveaux in terms of being major international outfield signees this past offseason; the 17-year old is a big guy with a potentially big bat.
Last but not least, we’ll have an especially honorable mention for Kevin Maitan, if only for Scotty’s sake; we haven’t forgotten you, Kevin, for better or worse.