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  • Los Angeles Angels 2023 Top-30 Prospects


    By the AngelsWin.com Prospect Posse

    Another year in the books, and more disappointment for Angels fans. But there’s always the farm system and the future it foretells, right? This year that glimmer of hope may be growing somewhat brighter.

    The top of this list has some legitimate talent, with two or three players appearing on top 100 lists, and several more contenders for the top 100 by the end of 2023. Furthermore, the top 30 is filled out with a nice group of upside prospects, as well as some interesting depth pieces that could help the Angels major league team as soon as 2023.

    One further note on the farm as a whole, and its overall trajectory over the last few years. In 2015, Billy Eppler inherited a farm system devoid of talent. Gradually he added talent, a lot of it high upside but volatile. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of that talent not pan out the way we hoped, yet there’s still been some positive developments, and with a continued, steady stream of incoming talent during the Perry Minasian years.

    To further this point, here’s a take from our own Scott Allen:

    Scott Allen's Take:

    The Angels have recently got a lot of help from what I like to call, "post-hype prospects." These are the players that were once viewed as darlings of a developing system, but for one reason or another, have not cracked the major league egg yet.

    Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Jaime Barria, Jared Walsh and Luis Rengifo all took an additional year or two to develop, beyond their time being featured on these lists. And they all have become quality major leaguers. 

    In 2023, we could be in store for more of these unexpected breakouts. Matt Thaiss may emerge as a key depth piece for the Angels. He could see considerable time playing 1B, backing up Jared Walsh who has some uncertainty of his own. Thaiss could also see time at 3B to spell Rendon and most notably, catcher, where as a backup he's got a pretty potent bat, comparatively.  

    Chris Rodriguez also falls into this category. If healthy, he can be a very good major league pitcher, regardless of role. I hope the organization gives him a chance to start because he might truly be something special there, the sort that starts playoff games. If not, he's already shown he can carve up major league hitters in relief.

    Mickey Moniak wasn't our prospect, but he too is a post-hype player that can find success with the Angels. Getting him out of Philly might have been the best thing for his career, as we saw flashes of potential after the deadline. Either he projects as a very skilled 4th outfielder, or maybe it all comes together in time.

    Jo Adell's own prospect status is a thing of the past. We don't know the Angels off-season plans, but it would not surprise many if he spent some more time in AAA before finally figuring it out at the big league level. He certainly has more than enough potential. 

    Griffin Canning is finally healthy, and while he's served a lot of time in the Angels rotation, his spot is no longer guaranteed. He's flashed his potential on several occasions, and comes with the pedigree of being a former early draft pick and top 100 prospect. 

    Lastly, I think we shouldn't forget about Jose Soriano. He's got an arsenal similar to Chris Rodriguez, and after multiple surgeries and a tour through Pittsburgh's system rehabbing after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, Soriano is finally back healthy. A move to the bullpen has already taken place, and given that the Angels bullpen could use all the help it can get, giving Jose Soriano a chance to make good on his potential seems like a good idea. He could be a game changer, if he performs up to his ability. 

    Without further ado, here are your AngelsWin.com Top 30 Prospects for 2023…

    Feature Article

  • Los Angeles Angels 2022 Top-30 Prospects

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    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…

    Feature Article

  • Los Angeles Angels (2021) Mid-Season Top-30 Prospects


    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:

    Feature Article

  • Los Angeles Angels (2021) Top-30 Prospects


    By the AngelsWin.com Prospect Posse

    (Angelsjunky, Chuck, Dave Saltzer, Dochalo, Ettin, Inside Pitch, Rafibomb, Second Base, and totdprods)

    One of the great, largely unspoken, tragedies of the 2020 baseball season was the lack of minor league games, which not only led to a lost year of development (for the most part), but the rushing of the Angels’ top prospect, Jo Adell, to the major leagues, where he looked raw and overmatched, to put it charitably. In terms of compiling a prospects list, it is hard to assess many of the Angels most talented prospects because a lot of them have had little to no professional experience. That said, most of them spent time at the Long Beach summer camp and were still able to work on their skills, so the year wasn’t totally a loss.

    Looking at the list, you’ll find that the farm includes a variety of dynamic players. It is strong in two areas: One, it has plenty of athletic, talented outfielders in Adell, Marsh, Adams, Calabrese, Ramirez, Knowles, and Deveaux, as well as the very young and unranked Jose Reyes. Two, it has plenty of high upside—but very young--middle infielders in Jackson, Paris, Vera, Blakely, Bonilla, and Placencia. We should also mention the recently signed 16-year-old Dominican infielder, Denzer Guzman.

    Sprinkled in between are a few exciting pitching prospects in Rodriguez, Detmers and Kochanowicz, and several more who plan to figure in the Angels pitching staff at some point in the not-too-distant future as either back-end starters or relievers: Yan, Rivera, Naughton, Ortega, Hernandez, Pina, Aquino, Seminaris, and Daniel. It even has one two-way player in Holmes, and a second just missing the cut in Erik Rivera. Finally, there are a few players whose most likely path to the majors is as a bench player in Jones, Martinez, and Soto. Oh yeah, Maitan’s still hanging around. There are no catchers on this list.

    For the most part, the top 15 or so was relatively consistent among voters. We all had our different ordering, but the same players were all mostly present. Some of us had a favorite or two that we ranked higher than everyone else, while others were more bullish on a player that was generally more highly regarded by the group. Once we get into late teens, the order is more dubious and could easily shift over the first months of the season, as we get a better sense of who these players are.

    Angels Farm in a Nutshell: In a nutshell, the Angels farm system is strong and on the upswing. The system has many talented, physical players, who have the chance of becoming top prospects as they reach the higher levels and demonstrate in-game performance. The Angels are back to fully utilizing their international money, which has led to many high risk/high reward players. There are some notable weaknesses, particularly in catching, but the overall state of the farm is much stronger than just a few years ago.

    A word about methodology and format: What follows is a combined ranking from nine members of this website, averaged out to create a composite ranking – as in years past. We have included a “Ranking Range” to get a sense of how opinions varied, as well as an “In A Nutshell” feature to give a brief description of the player. After that, you come to the heart of the list: different “takes” by members, that give a variety of impressions.

    Feature Article

  • Los Angeles Angels (2020) Top-30 Prospects

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    Welcome to this year’s version of the AngelsWin Top 30 Prospects. As with last year, it is a group effort: the following is a composite list of several AngelsWin.com members and writers, with eight participants this year. The method is simple: the list is an average of eight lists. The benefit of taking such an approach is that not only do we tend to even each other’s biases out a bit, but we also get a range of approaches: from relying mostly on stats, reading other scouting reports, and eye-witness scouting.

    Unlike last year, I’m going to include the age the player will be for the 2020 season, meaning how old they are on July 1, 2020.

    A note on Ranking Trends: it is simply the different rankings by the eight participants. Most such lists don’t include the “raw wiring,” but as with last year I thought it would be interesting for people see because the range of numbers say a lot about the prospect. Prospects with a relatively narrow range tend to be more predictable, while those with a wider range may also have a wider range of outcomes and greater volatility.

    Finally, a big thanks to Scotty Allen (aka "Second Base") for providing the insightful Best Known For quotes.

    Feature Article


    1. JO ADELL OF (age 21)


    Stats: .289/.359/.475, 10 HR in 76 games in A+/AA/AAA.

    Ranking Trends: Consensus #1.

    ETA: 2020.

    Comments: The second year in a row as the consensus #1 Angels prospect, Adell is now considered one of the top five prospects in all of baseball – despite missing the first couple months of the year with a rather freakish double whammy hamstring/ankle injury. MLB Pipeline currently has him at #5, while Baseball America has him at #2. Adell’s stat line above is somewhat diminished by a relatively poor showing in AAA at the end of the year (.264/.321/.355 in 27 games), but his performance in AA (.308/.390/.553, 8 HR and 173 wRC+ in 43 games) is more indicative of his talent level. Adell is a tremendous athlete with prodigious power and great make-up; if there’s one knock on his game its that he doesn’t make as much contact as you’d like, and has only average plate discipline; but both should improve as he matures. He’s the real deal, the best Angels prospect since Mike Trout, and will make his debut in Anaheim sometime in 2020.

    Best Known For: Blend of power, speed, and athleticism at such a young age.

    2. BRANDON MARSH OF (age 22)

    Brandon Marsh.jpg

    Stats: .286/.367/.407, 7 HR and 19 SB in 101 Rookie/AA games.

    Ranking Trends: Consensus #2.

    ETA: 2020.

    Comments: Somewhat overshadowed by his friend and team-mate Adell, Brandon Marsh is an excellent prospect in his own right. That stat line is marred by a 1-21 streak in Rookie ball rehabbing an injury; he hit .300/.383/.428 in AA. He has not yet hit for power, but he’ll hit his share of extra base hits and should at least develop average HR power in the majors, possibly more. Despite having less impressive raw tools, in some ways Marsh is a more well-rounded prospect than Adell, with better contact and plate discipline, and at this point is a superior defender. Like his soon-to-be AAA Salt Lake team-mate, he’ll probably make his major league debut sometime in 2020, if he gets the opportunity.

    Best Known For: Well-rounded game.  Beard, and tantalizing power-speed potential. 

    3. JORDYN ADAMS OF (age 20)

    Jordyn Adams List.jpg

    Stats: .257/.351/.369, 8 HR and 16 SB 109 R/A/A+ games.

    Ranking Trends: Seven #3s, one #4.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: Considering that Adams was a two-sport player and more committed to football than baseball a year and a half ago, the fact that he held his own in single A as a 19-year old is room for optimism. There’s a lot to like in his performance: not only is he flashing Adell-esque tools (and he’s even faster), but his 56 walks in 109 games is very heartening. Perhaps most importantly, Adams seemed to improve as the year went on: after a slow start, he hit .287/.369/.414 from May 10 on, and .325/.406/.504 from July 13 on. Expect for a breakthrough year in A+ Rancho Cucamonga this year. While Adams is still raw, he’s learning quickly and is on the fast track.

    Best Known For: One of the top prep football players in the nation coming out of high school.  Also, “The Dunk”. Also, the highest upside prospect in the system. 



    Stats: 0.00 ERA, 3 GS, 9.1 IP, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts.

    Ranking Trends: Four #4s, three #5s, one #9.

    ETA: 2021.

    Comments: Chris Rodriguez’s high ranking might come as a surprise due to the fact that he’s only pitched 9.1 innings in the last two years, all within 2019. But the stuff is real: Aside from possibly Jack Kochanowicz, he has the highest ceiling in the minor leagues. The question is whether he can stay healthy, and that is a big question. If he does, his ascendency to the majors will be fast and furious.

    Best Known For: Mid-90’s fastball, and mid/front of the rotation upside. 



    Stats: 5.03 ERA, 39.1 IP, 19 walks, 42 strikeouts in the majors.

    Ranking Trends: 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7.

    ETA: 2019.

    Comments: When Sandoval came over to the Angels in July of 2018, from the Astros for Martin Maldonado, the general view was that he was a classic high-floor but low-ceiling starter, the type of guy you don’t mind having as your 5th starter but not much more. In his nine starts in the majors, he showed flashes of something more, a bonafide mid-rotation starter, if everything comes together.

    Best Known For: His fastball climbing 4-5 mph in the last two years since the Astros traded him. 


    Jeremiah Jackson_1027.jpg

    Stats: .266/.333/.605, 23 HR in 65 games in Orem (high Rookie ball).

    Ranking Trends: 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: I think the key phrase would be “cautiously excited.” 23 HR in 65 games for a 19-year old is impressive, but its all accompanied by 96 strikeouts and a mediocre .266 BA. He walked 24 times, which is a decent rate; given his swing and miss, developing plate discipline may be the key to Jackson becoming a star.

    Best Known For: Breaking the Pioneer League HR record as a 19 year old. 

    7. JOSE SORIANO RHP (21)

    Jose Soriano List.jpg

    Stats: 2.51 ERA, 82.1 IP, 51 walks, 92 strikeouts in Rookie and A ball (Burlington).

    Ranking Trends: 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 23.

    ETA: 2021.

    Comments: Soriano and Rodriguez are often mentioned in the same breath. While on one level it is a ceiling/floor comparison, Soriano’s ceiling isn’t that much lower, and his floor seems quite a bit higher. If his control develops, he could be in Anaheim rather quickly.

    Best Known For: Mid to upper 90’s fastball and wipeout slider. 

    8. JAHMAI JONES 2B (22)

    Jahmai Jones List.jpg

    Stats: .234/.308/.324, 5 HR and 9 SB in 130 games in AAA Salt Lake.

    Ranking Trends: 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9

    ETA: 2021

    Comments: Jones not only had a very bad year statistically speaking, it was also his second year in a row of declining performance: his OPS slipped from .794 in 2017 (A/A+), .717 in 2018 (A+/AA) to .631 in 2019 (AA). That said, he did improve later in the year, both hitting well in the Arizona Fall League (.302/.377/.509 in 61 PA), but also towards the end of the regular year, hitting .306/.385/.414 from July 5th on, or 51 games. So while he didn’t make that jump into elite prospect status that we might have hoped for after 2017, he’s still a good prospect. Depending what the Angels do with Andrelton Simmons and Tommy La Stella after 2020, don’t be surprised if the 2021 infield includes Fletcher, Rengifo, and Jones.

    Best Known For: Power-speed potential as a middle infielder, and the younger brother of NFL Wide Receiver T.J. Jones. 

    9. KYREN PARIS SS (18)


    Stats: .300/.462/.400 in 13 PA in Rookie ball (AZL).

    Ranking Trends: 6, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 13, 14.

    ETA: 2024

    Comments: While it is rather early to be too excited about Paris, the upside is real: this is a talented young baseball player who just turned 18 a couple weeks ago from this writing, on November 11. He’s a toolsy shortstop, a good defender for his age, and really only lacks power – although that could develop. Before the draft last year, when he went 55th overall (2nd round), websites and analysts had him anywhere from #34 (Fangraphs), #48 (Keith Law), #70 (Baseball America), and #75 (MLB Pipeline). There’s a lot of volatility at this point; a couple years from now he could be another Livan Soto—a defense-first middle infielder who profiles as a major league bench player—or he could be an elite prospect, if the bat develops as hoped. Stay tuned.

    Best Known For: Delivering one of the better post-draft interviews with Victor and Gubi.  A very well spoken young man. 

    10. WILL WILSON 2B/SS (21)

    Will Wilson List.jpg

    Stats: .275/.329/.439 in 46 games in Rookie ball.

    Ranking Trends: 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 29.

    ETA: 2022

    Comments: At this point it is difficult to say whether the tepid view on Wilson is warranted in that, on one hand, he seems like another unexciting college draft pick with limited upside in the tradition of Matt Thaiss and CJ Cron; on the other, not only is he rather young for a college player, but the scouting reports on his bat are promising. At the least, he deserves a chance to prove himself before calling him an over-draft. Wilson could be better than expected, so let’s see how he hits with a full season of experience: he could move fast.

    Best Known For: The Angels first round draft pick from this last draft.  Bat first middle infielder. 


    Stats: Did not play professional baseball.

    Ranking Trends: 10, 10, 11, 11, 11, 12, 15, 17.

    ETA: 2024.

    Comments: Upside, upside, upside. At 6’6” and 220 lbs, Kochanowicz can bring the heat. In my mind, he is the pitching equivalent of Kyren Paris: a couple years from now he could be #1 on this list, or another cautionary tale about getting too excited too soon. But the stuff is real, and he’s very young. He’ll be one of the most exciting prospects to watch in 2020.

    Best Known For: Hitting upper-90’s at Fall Instructs.  One scout said that he believed Kochanowicz would go top five in the draft three years from now had he decided to go to college instead. 


    Stats: 4.46 ERA, 72.2 IP, 46 walks, 81 strikeouts in A+ ball (Inland Empire).

    Ranking Trends: 11, 11, 12, 13, 13, 15, 15, 20.

    ETA: 2021.

    Comments: Hernandez simply needs more minor league innings, and should be in Anaheim before you know it. He’s got the upside to be a mid-rotation starter, but may settle in a bit below that, or as a reliever. But he seems to have a rather high floor for a pitching prospect and, one way or another, should be part of the major league team within the next year or two.

    Best Known For: Other than sharing a name with an unfortunate soul mid-90’s fastball with movement and a strong finish to the 2019 season. 

    13. HECTOR YAN LHP (21)

    Stats: 3.72 ERA in 109 IP, 52 walks, and 148 strikeouts in A ball (Burlington).

    Ranking Trends: 11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 16, 16, 16.

    ETA: 2022.

    Comments: Take a look at those strikeouts and walks, and you see why Yan is ranked where he is. 12.2 Ks per 9 innings is no joke, but neither are 4.3 walks. We can hope that Yan can remain a starter, but his path to the majors may be as a relief pitcher. Either way, he’s one of a handful of pitching prospects in the organization with legitimate upside.

    Best Known For: Recently being added to the Angels 40 man roster from A Ball.  Sidearmer with mid-90’s fastball. 

    14. D’SHAWN KNOWLES OF (19)

    Stats: .241/.310/.387 in 64 games in Rookie ball (Orem).

    Ranking Trends: 12, 12, 13, 16, 16, 18, 21, 28.

    ETA: 2023

    Comments: Remember when D’Shawn was an after-thought to Trent Deveaux? He had a surprising 2018, but fell back to earth in 2019 – a rather disappointing follow-up. He doesn’t seem to have Deveaux’s elite athleticism, but may also have that “it factor” to become more than the sum of his parts. At 19 years old and with Adell, Marsh, and Hermosillo ahead of him, he’s got plenty of time.

    Best Known For: Being the “other” top international signing from the Bahamas two years ago. 


    Stats: .243/.330/.466 in 64 games in A+/AAA; .139/.304/.222 in 18 major league games.

    Ranking Trends: 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 22, 28.

    ETA: 2019.

    Comments: Hermosillo seems like the type of player that could become a fan favorite, the Brock Holt of the Angels. Or at least that’s his upside. He’s got the tools to be a terrific 4th outfielder, and could even be a starter on some teams. But he’s got to make more contact first, and may be destined for another organization to get regular playing time.

    Best Known For: Prep exploits on the gridiron and overall athleticism. 

    16. KEVIN MAITAN IF (20)

    Stats: .214/.278/.323 in 123 games in A Burlington.

    Ranking Trends: 11, 12, 18, 18, 20, 20, 20, 26.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: If you didn’t know about the hype from a few years ago, Maitan would be an intriguing prospect – and he is. But it is hard not to get around the ridiculous comparisons that were thrown around, like Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones. Imagine being a 16-year old and hearing that. The hitting tools are there to be a major leaguer, and it is important to remember that he’s still quite young for his level – according to Baseball-Reference the league differential last year was -2.2. So while he isn’t the Promised One that the Braves originally thought he was, he still has a lot of time to actualize the good potential he does possess.

    Best Known For: Being one of the more hyped international signings in recent memory.  Big time power.


    Stats: 6.87 ERA in 36.2 IP, 16 walks and 49 strikeouts in Rookie ball.

    Ranking Trends: 8, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25, 27.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: Another live arm with a wide range of possible outcomes, which is well-reflected in the ranking trends. Aquino’s numbers don’t look impressive, but he flashed good potential at times. His game log displays erratic performance, so hopefully with more innings he’ll settle down. Another pitcher whose future might be in the bullpen.

    Best Known For: A great name and a mid-90’s fastball. 


    Stats: .234/.328/.429 in 39 games in the Dominican League (Foreign Rookie).

    Ranking Trends: 15, 15, 15, 17, 17, 19, 28, NR.

    ETA: 2025.

    Comments: There’s not a lot to go on at this point, but there’s a reason Billy Eppler gave the young Dominican a $1 million signing bonus upon turning 16 years old. He should be coming States-side in 2020, so look for him in the AZL. He is very young, just 17 in August, and has a ton of young outfielders ahead of him, but is at least worth having in the back of your mind as a high-ceiling prospect to look forward to.

    Best Known For: Angels top international signee from last year.  Power and speed are more advanced than originally anticipated. 

    19. KYLE BRADISH RHP (23)

    Stats: 4.28 ERA in 101 IP, 53 walks and 120 strikeouts in A+ Inland Empire.

    Ranking Trends: 12, 15, 21, 21, 21, 23, 24, 25.

    ETA: 2021.

    Comments: Bradish may forever be paired with Aaron Hernandez, as he was drafted right after him. Like Hernandez, he’s a college pitcher who projects as a major league starter, but is considered to have a lower ceiling. Clearly he has to work on his control, but after a solid first professional season, he’s establishing a solid floor to build from.

    Best Known For: Advanced college arm that will climb the minor league ladder quickly. 

    20. JARED WALSH OF/1B/RHP (26)

    Stats: .325/.423/.686, 36 HR in 98 AAA games (Salt Lake); .203/.276/.329 in 31 major league games. Pitching: 4.15 ERA, 13 IP, 5 walks and 9 strikeouts in AAA; 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts in the majors.

    Ranking Trends: 12, 18, 19, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27.

    ETA: 2019

    Comments: It is hard not to like Walsh. Not only did he absolutely kill AAA pitching, but he is also trying to make it as a two-way player in the majors. Unlike Taylor Ward, this gives him a flexibility that might give him a longer leash as a useful—even ideal-- “26th man” on the major league roster next year.

    Best Known For: Being the Angels “other” two-way player. 

    21. TRENT DEVEAUX OF (20)

    Stats: .238/.320/.422 in 60 games in Rookie ball (AZL, Orem).

    Ranking Trends: 13, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 29, NR.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: After a disappointing season in 2018 (.199/.309/.247 in 44 AZL games), Deveaux adjusted well to States-side professional baseball, showing flashes of the potential that led the Angels to sign him. There’s a lot to like here, but he simply needs time to develop. He’s probably got both a higher ceiling and lower floor than his fellow Bahamanian, D’Shawn Knowles. He’s a good candidate for a breakout season in 2020, which should be his first full season in A ball.

    Best Known For: Being the Angels top international signee from two years ago.  Bahamian with 80-grade speed. 

    22. OLIVER ORTEGA RHP (23)

    Stats: 4.14 ERA in 111 IP, 57 walks and 135 strikeouts in A+/AA ball.

    Ranking Trends: 14, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, NR.

    ETA: 2021.

    Comments: Ortega seemed to come out of nowhere and reminds us that players do indeed rise up from the Dominican League through the minor leagues. He’s on the verge of the major league radar.

    Best Known For: Bursting onto the scene at the end of last year and beginning of this year with mid-90’s fastball. 

    23. AROL VERA SS (17)

    Stats: Did not play.

    Ranking Trends: 14, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, NR, NR.

    ETA: 2025.

    Comments: A top international signing, the word on Vera is that he’s a tall (6’2”), lean, and promising switch-hitting shortstop with a strong hit-tool. He’s a long way away, but fits in a similar category with Alexander Ramirez.

    Best Known For: Angels most expensive international signee since Roberto Baldoquin (not counting Kevin Maitan).  Great power projection from both sides of the plate. 


    Stats: .326/.431/.488 in 11 Rookie games; 5.18 ERA, 24.1 IP, 20 walks, 38 strikeouts.

    Ranking Trends: 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 26, NR.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: The third two-player in the Angels system, along with Ohtani and Walsh. Holmes is the player formerly known as William English. There’s a lot to like here, with a nice showing with the bat and some promise on the mound.

    Best Known For: Being the rare draftee from Detroit, also happens to be a two-way player with scattered intriguing skills on both sides of the ball. 

    25. LUIZ GOHARA LHP (23)

    Stats: Did not play (injuries).

    Ranking Trends: 16, 17, 19, 22, 24, 28, 29 NR.

    ETA: 2018.

    Comments: Released by the Braves, the Angels signed the Brazilian Gohara as a free agent in August. He’s pretty much the definition of a potential “clean peanut,” which also makes him really difficult to assess. Before the 2018 season, Baseball America ranked as the #23 prospect in all of baseball—that was after dominating A+ and AA, and getting a solid taste of AAA, even five starts in the majors at the age of 20 years old. But then his troubles began, and he didn’t perform well in the minors and eventually missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. While it is easly to get excited about his upside, the Braves released him for a reason. We can hope that they made a terrible mistake, but don’t count on it. Gohara goes into the 2020 season as perhaps the biggest in-house wildcard that could make a surprise impact on the major league pitching staff.

    Best Known For: Being one of the top prospects in all of baseball only a little over a year ago.  Used to have upper-90’s heat before shoulder injury. Currently rehabbing from surgery.  One of the very rare Brazilian baseball players. 

    26. ROBINSON PINA RHP (21)

    Stats: 3.83 ERA, 108 IP, 61 walks, 146 strikeouts in A ball (Burlington).

    Ranking Trends: 13, 20, 20, 25, 27, 27, 30, NR.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: Given his performance in 2019, it is almost surprising that Pina isn’t ranked higher. But if he continues this level of play in A+ and above, he could leapfrog several pitching prospects by year’s end. Definitely one to watch, with major league potential.

    Best Known For: Tall and lanky.  Herky-jerky motion.  Misses lots of bats. Reports indicate low-90’s fastball .  

    27. LUIS MADERO RHP (23)

    Stats: 5.03 ERA, 105.2 IP, 31 walks, 98 strikeouts in A+/AA.

    Ranking Trends: 10, 20, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR.

    ETA: 2022

    Comments: Madero was a bit of a darling among Angelswin prospects hounds after his breakout 2018 campaign (3.49 ERA, 27 walks and 95 strikeouts in 105.2 IP in A/A+). While his ERA rose substantially, his peripherals held steady and perhaps we’re being a bit too bearish on him. He isn’t far from being on the major league depth chart.

    Best Known For: Mid-90’s fastball.  Added to the Angels 40-man ahead of last year’s Rule 5 Draft. 

    28. LIVAN SOTO SS/2B (20)

    Stats: .220/.304/.256 in 311 PA in A/Rookie ball.

    Ranking Trends: 14, 24, 30, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR.

    ETA: 2024.

    Comments: The second of the “stolen” Braves prospects, Soto had a disappointing follow-up to his promising first year in the Angels farm system. Right now he projects as a very weak-hitting but solid fielding middle infielder, but he’s also got some physical development ahead of him. 2020 should give us a better sense of his ultimate potential.

    Best Known For: Being the “other” prospect the Braves lost that the Angels signed.  Defensive wizard. Weighs about as much as a women’s olympic gymnast. 

    29. ADRIAN RONDON IF (21)

    Stats: .266/.317/.378 in 69 games in Rookie/A ball.

    Ranking Trends: 25, 25, 26, 27, 30, NR, NR, NR.

    ETA: 2023.

    Comments: We’ve got a Rondon! Eppler seems to like former highly regarded international prospects; while never quite as lauded as Maitan, Rondon’s story is similar: the Tampa Rays gave him a $3 million signing bonus in 2015, but he struggled in the minor leagues. He held his own last year, but nothing exciting – so far. There’ still untapped potential and relative youth on his side.

    Best Known For: One of the more hyped international signees in recent memory.  Angels traded practically nothing for him. Great bat speed, recently moved to 3B.


    Stats: Did not play.

    Ranking Trends: 22, 25, 29, 29, 29, NR, NR, NR.

    ETA: 2022.

    Comments: The Angels’ 5th round pick in 2019, Stallings is a bit of a sleeper pick who could reach the majors relatively quickly. He probably projects as a back-end starter, but is one to keep an eye on.

    Best Known For: Brilliant performance in the heavily scouted Cape Cod League.  Could climb the minor league ladder very quickly. 


    Other Ranked Players: Jeremy Beasley, Jose Bonilla, Denny Brady, Sadrac Franco, Jake Jewell, Orlando Martinez, Isaac Mattson, Leonardo Rivas, Jose Rojas, Andrew Wantz, Austin Warren.


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      Photo by: Cristina Byrne-Sternberg/Rocket City Trash Pandas
      By Chuck Richter, AngelsWin.com
      October 26th, 2022
      The Angels 2019 second round 2B/SS was coming off a promising 2021 season in Low-A ball where he hit .267/.388/.459, with 4 HR and swiped 22 bases across 47 games. The plate discipline which led to a .388 OBP combined with speed on the bases excited the Angels and their fans with the hope of solidifying a void at the leadoff spot with the big league club. The showing skyrocketed Paris to the Angels top-5 prospects range heading into the 2022 season. 
      While Paris figured things out and went on an incredible run to end the season demonstrating 5-tools over the final 8-weeks of the season, it didn't start off well for the talented middle infielder. Paris hit .182 in April, .175 in May and .193 in June. Something changed in July as Paris showed the same type of output he demonstrated in a shortened 2021 campaign and then went on fire in August, slashing .345/.472/.672 with 12 RBI in 16 games. 
      Kyren Paris finished off the season in fine fashion, slashing .354/.475/.677 with six homers and seven steals over the final 30 days of the season. 
      In our interview Paris (below) we talked about his season, the type of player he is, who he models his game after and what were some of his finest memories in his professional career... among many other questions, both baseball and non-baseball related.
      Before we get to the interview here's a look back at draft day and some of Paris' finest moments in his professional career. 
      The once all-star Angels broadcasting crew of @VictorRojas & Mark Gubicza had Kyren Paris in the booth following signing with the Angels in 2019. Here's that interaction! Have we mentioned we miss Victor Rojas yet? 
      As you can tell, Paris shows a ton of humility and reminds me a lot of a young Garret Anderson in how he carries himself. 
      When Paris was promoted to Double-A to be a part of the Trash Pandas playoff stretch he started off with a bang. In his first game he went 2-3 with a walk, three RBI and stolen base. He also made a nice play ranging to his right to steal a would be hit. Paris did it all with the Trash Pandas offensively and defensively. He slashed .359/.510/.641 with 3 HR and stole 5 bases over 14 games in Double-A.
      So with all of that out of the way, without further ado here is our interview with Kyren Paris. We believe he's going to force his way onto MLB's top 100 prospects list at some point in 2023. If the Angels let him cook in the minors until he's ready, he's going to have a bright future in the big leagues. 
      Interview Transcript
      AngelsWin.com: It’s Chuck Richter, with AngelsWin.com. I'm here with Kyren Paris. Kyren, how’re you doing?
      Kyren Paris: I’m doing great. How about yourself?
      AngelsWin.com: Good. Real quick. What’s it been like to get promoted late in the season to this Trash Panda team that’s now going to the playoffs?
      Kyren Paris: Oh, man. It was a true blessing just to be here around the guys. Like, the chemistry here and the coaches, to the fans, to the players, it’s been unreal.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome. Has anybody, kind of, taken you under their wing since you’re, kind of, the new guy on the team? Or…
      Kyren Paris: I’ve known a lot of the guys throughout the years. So, Jeremiah Jackson, Adams, Maitan, Soto, I've played with a lot of these guys, and then, yeah. So, just coming in; we already have that chemistry; I know a lot of the guys, and we just gel together really well.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. What will Angel fans come to know about you, the player and the person?
      Kyren Paris: Just a hard worker, humble, just love to have fun, lots of fun.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Hey, so, I noticed, like, the first three months of the season for you in Tri-Cities were a little rough. But something clicked in July, and you’ve just been on fire ever since. What changed, or what happened?
      Kyren Paris: Really just sticking to my process and sticking to my plan every day. I want to give a huge thanks to Jack Howell, our manager. He talked about just going out every day, and despite how well you do or how bad you do, just show up the next day and keep going. And really, that’s what I did, and eventually, started having success and never looked back.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s great. What do you take most pride in your game: hitting, defense, baserunning?
      Kyren Paris: I feel like to win, it takes all-around. So, if one aspect of your game is lacking—I mean, I try to work on it every day just to make sure everything’s up to par. Because, as a collective group, you’ve got to be there every day on both sides of the ball.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. Are you left to, like, your own devices in terms of workout, diet, things you need to work on offensively, defensively? Or does the organization, kind of, have a plan for you?
      Kyren Paris: The organization definitely has a plan. They focus a lot on the process, and they talk to us a lot. And wherever we go, we need to improve; we’re not here for ourself. And it helps a lot.
      AngelsWin.com: Who’s impressed the most so far, either a teammate here, in High-A, with Tri-Cities, just in your journey here this season?
      Kyren Paris: Man—
      AngelsWin.com: And it could be a teammate or an opposing player?
      Kyren Paris: That’s a tough question.
      AngelsWin.com: You got a loaded clubhouse—
      Kyren Paris: Yeah, we have a—
      AngelsWin.com: —so that’s a tough question. [laugh] 
      Kyren Paris: —we have loaded clubhouse, man. But, I mean, I just look around and see these guys, the way they go about it. I can’t specifically say one person; just the whole team. The way everyone is professional and goes about it is truly unbelievable.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. What do you think your best game was to date? And you can go back to high school, professional ball, to this point.
      Kyren Paris: I would probably say the one I had the most fun was my debut here. Being able to hit the three-run homerun and tie the game, and we came back and won. That was something special, and I’ll truly remember that for a long time.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s great. Who were some of your favorite players growing up, and what was your favorite team?
      Kyren Paris: I would say my favorite team was the Oakland A’s. I grew up in the Bay Area, upper Bay Area, so grew up watching the Oakland A’s. But my favorite players—I want to say—Rickey Henderson—definitely one of my favorites; I love stealing bases. Jeter, just all-around, just—he’s the captain. So, I would say those are my top two.
      AngelsWin.com: Speaking of stealing bases, you and Jordyn Adams—who I spoke with last time—you guys are tied for the most stolen bases [laugh] on the team—
      Kyren Paris: Yes, we are. We are.
      AngelsWin.com: —33. That’s awesome. You guys talking to each either, like, “Hey, I’m going to finish this season with more stolen bases than you.”? 
      Kyren Paris: Not really. We actually team up together—
      AngelsWin.com: [laugh] There you go.
      Kyren Paris: —We have a few double steals this season. So—
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome.
      Kyren Paris: —whenever we’re both on base, we’re looking at taking extra bases for sure.
      AngelsWin.com: There you go. Rickey Henderson was my favorite player growing up, too. Let me ask you this: when you make it to the big leagues, what’s going to be your walk-up music?
      Kyren Paris: I’ve been using Gunna, who’s a rapper that I like. I’ve been using him the whole season. So—
      AngelsWin.com: There you go; stick with it.
      Kyren Paris: —it’s been going well, so I’m going to stick with that.
      AngelsWin.com: There you go; there you go. Okay, I know you’ve got to get. Lighter side, favorite movie?
      Kyren Paris: Favorite movie. Rookie of the Year.
      AngelsWin.com: Rookie of the Year, awesome. Favorite song or artist?
      Kyren Paris: Favorite song or artist. I’ll say, Travis Scott.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Okay. Favorite video game?
      Kyren Paris: Video game, Fortnite, for sure.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. [laugh] What’s a perfect day look like for you away from baseball?
      Kyren Paris: I would say just relaxing; maybe, going to the beach. Being from California, I love the beach. So, a beach day, you can never go wrong with that.
      AngelsWin.com: You’re going to be in southern California; make the big leagues; that’s nice.
      Kyren Paris: That’ll be nice for sure.
      AngelsWin.com: I don’t know if you’ve thought this far ahead, but when you’re done playing baseball, what do you envision as your next career?
      Kyren Paris: Maybe being on MLB Network—
      AngelsWin.com: There you go.
      Kyren Paris: —I like looking at those guys and being an analyst, maybe. I like talking in front of the camera and just analyzing and learning more about the game. So, that might be a new adventure for me after baseball.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Kyren, thank you so much for your time today—
      Kyren Paris: No problem.
      AngelsWin.com: —Best of luck this year.
      (Capri Ortiz - Photo by Jerry Espinoza)
      By Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com Columnist
      Last year, I started this article with a caveat that is necessary when talking about the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Complex League (which will be referred to as DSL and ACL for simplicity throughout the article). The age variance between leagues can alter the performance of any given player significantly, as ages can vary from 16-years-old to 22-years-old in the DSL and 17-years-old to 24-years-old in the ACL. Comparing the performances from a player who may be the age of a high school sophomore or junior to that of one who would be the same age as someone with a four-year college degree and baseball pedigree at a top-notch program leaves plenty of room for error in the on-paper outlook. Most of these kids or young men have yet to grow into their bodies and power may be at minimal production. Some pitchers may have matured into low-to-mid 90's fastballs and explosive breaking balls while others hardly top out in the mid 80's with no current secondary offering to speak of. Control and command for pitchers is sparse and raw, so on-base percentages are inflated due to a high number of walks. It is always fun to look at on paper performance, but each player will come with his own variance where age and experience will play a vital part in how to look at each individual performance and must be taken with a grain of salt.
      If you're going to put emphasis on statistics and performance, there are some isolation performance points you'll need to focus on to see indicators for future success through development and advancement, with one consistent for both hitters and pitchers that tend to carry into development upwards of the mid-minors. For hitters, contact rate and strikeout percentages are large future indicators of ability to hit. While you never want to throw away walk rates, it's already been mentioned those will be inflated because of young pitchers inability to work around the strike zone with consistency. That is where you would want to key in on pitchers is ability to throw strikes as an isolation point of how they'll fare in the future. Strike-throwing ability (i.e., BB%, BB/9) does come as a raw base for being able to do the same at the next level without getting into athletic markers for future command. Control is a fine thing to see on paper and will come prior to command, which is needed for advancement through development into any future Major League role(s).
      Before diving in, there is one last note I want to make as we will touch on the record books. The Dominican Summer League (DSL) has been in existence since 1985, with the Angels having an affiliate since 1992 taking a year away in 1997 with a shared affiliate in 1993 (Dodgers), 1996 (Rays), and 1998 (White Sox). Public statistics and records only date back to 2006, which leaves us with only 17 years of basic statistical data, and 13 seasons without. Up until 2019, the DSL had a 72-game schedule, with 2021 being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a truncated season. In 2022, a scheduling change took place where the DSL season was shortened to 56 games with clubs getting every Wednesday and Sunday off. The reason I mention this is that within my own personal record book I file away in a tab in my notebook (statistics garnered from Baseball-Reference), you will see some players in this article mentioned as being noted within the single-season records but notably off the top. You can only project so much on performance, but with players in 2022 and 2023 getting 16 less games scheduled, it's noteworthy to say a player tapped into the top 10 single season records with an idea they would have reached further up the list with those extra 16 games. You don't run into the same problem with the Arizona Complex League as a 56-game schedule has been consistent throughout its' existence starting in 1988, with the Angels participating in the league from 1989-1996 and 2001 to present and public records held throughout all of league history.
      With all the caveats and notes out of the way, let's dive into some of the top performers and prospects from the Angels Rookie Ball affiliates, starting with those who spent their summer in Boca Chica with the DSL affiliate:
      After missing most of his pro debut in 2022 with a broken hamate, Kevyn Castillo had arguably the best offensive season in Angels DSL history. The Venezuelan outfielder's slash line of .371/.478/.548 has never been seen before at the affiliate, with his batting average and on-base percentage being the highest among players with over 100 plate appearances, and his slugging percentage trailing only Luis Torres in 2022 (.571) -- and of course, the highest OPS in affiliate history under the same measures. Excluding doubles and home runs, Castillo ranked in the top 10 of nearly every affiliate single-season record, with 44 runs scored (tied-10th), 69 hits (10th), seven triples (tied-fifth), 35 RBI (tied-10th), 23 stolen bases (tied-ninth), 40 walks (ninth), and 102 total bases (tied-sixth). Castillo collected a hit in 42 of the 55 games he played, while reaching base safely in 50, while his 171 wRC+ was fourth across the DSL among qualified hitters. Castillo, signed for $10,000 during the 2022 international signing period, flashes four tools with power being the lesser of the group. He's an above-average runner or better with the ability to handle all three outfield positions with a fine arm for the corners (he had four assists on the season).
      The Angels priority international signee for 2023 was Felix Morrobel, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic who signed for $900,000. In the 17-year-old's pro debut was solid with a .286/.322/.335 slash line with 11 stolen bases and 21 runs scored, which helped earn him a DSL All-Star nod. Despite a highly-aggressive approach, Morrobel limited his swing-and-miss at a near uncanny clip, with four of his 13 strikeouts on the season coming in his first 20 plate appearances and then just nine over his next 150 plate appearances, giving him the third lowest strikeout percentage (7.6%) of the 299 qualified hitters in the DSL in 2023. A switch-hitter, Morrobel's ability to manipulate the barrel was evident over the summer, while his power production (0 HR, .344 SLG, .050 ISO) was notably minimal (0 HR, .344 SLG, .050 ISO) and only seen to the gaps as the Angels await his physical maturation where his power projection remains below-average as a hit-over-power offensive type. Morrobel's primary carrying tool is his defense at shortstop where he is a highly athletic defender with quick feet and good internal clock to slow the pace of the game, with an above-average arm giving more confidence to his future outlook as an eventual Major Leaguer as the bat continues to progress.
      Though it didn't come with the external fanfare of the Morrobel signing, the Angels were internally very excited over the signing of Juan Flores. Signing for $280,000, Flores was renowned as one of the best amateur defensive catchers in Venezuela and in the 2023 international signing class. That defense was on full display during his pro debut this summer as a 17-year-old, both on paper and the eye test, as he threw out 26-of-49 would be base stealers (53%) with just four passed balls in over 300 innings of work behind the plate. Already advanced defensively, Flores showed all the traits of long-term catching prowess with quiet receiving and framing with lateral mobility and a plus (or plus-plus pending evaluator) arm. His hitting is less rudimentary than thought while going into pro ball as he had a fine approach at the plate with some upper body overswing tendencies leading to groundballs, but also some over-the-fence power where his six home runs were fifth all-time for a single-season at the affiliate. Though his on-base percentage was partially inflated by being hit-by-pitches 15 times which ranked second on affiliate history -- trailing only Leonardo Rivas in 2015 (17) -- everything else in his offensive performance stayed in check with a .236/.352/.388 slash line and 102 wRC+. There is no question about Flores' defense while the bat will dictate what his future role would/could be, whether a high-level filler, backup, or even everyday regular at the Major League level. Between Morrobel and Flores, mixed in with Nelson Rada and Capri Ortiz, the Angels have a solid defensive foundation up the middle in the low levels of the minors.
      Oswaldo Patino was a lesser-touted signing in the 2023 international class who put pen to paper for $65,000 as a smaller Venezuelan infielder, but his pro debut carried some excitement, particularly as one of the youngest in the league at 16-years-old. A contact-first hitter, Patino kept his swing-and-miss in check while his discipline and walk rates were off the charts at 25%. Among players in the DSL with 80-or-more plate appearances, his walk rates ranked 14th across the league among 1000+ players, while his on-base percentage (.513) ranked second (You can do the math if you want but it's the 99.9th percentile in both categories). Though I mentioned Kevyn Castillo as having the highest single-season OBP in affiliate history, that was among players with over 200, or 150, or 100 plate appearances -- or in simpler terms: qualified hitters -- but looking at Patino's on-base percentage in a smaller dosage of plate appearances (80 total PA), it is the highest OBP mark in affiliate history outside of two players who shared a combined 13 plate appearances, giving credence to the record books albeit in smaller sample than qualification. There isn't much ceiling to Patino who is a contact-first second base only infielder, but always worth monitoring when video game numbers are put up.
      Receiving the fourth largest bonus from the Angels in the 2023 international class, Edwardo Espinal has his season and pro debut delayed until mid-July after breaking his thumb during extended spring. The 17-year-old signed for around $250,000 out of the Dominican Republic as a toolsy outfielder with upside in the bat. With only 22 games played over the summer, it was his final 11 that were attentive and had the Angels happy about his future as he slashed .290/.372/.368 in the final half of his truncated season.
      One of the biggest risers in the Angels farm system is Adrian Acosta, a right-handed pitcher who signed late in the 2022 signing period for $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic and saw a velocity jump in 2023 that made his sophomore pro season one of the best in affiliate history. In his 10 starts over the summer, he never allowed more than two runs while striking out five-or-more in each outing excluding his first. Acosta was named a starter in the DSL All-Star game where he went two innings and earned the victory. His 1.17 ERA led the entire DSL and was second best for a single-season in affiliate history among those who through over 40 innings (46.1 IP), trailing only Emilker Guzman who had a 1.02 ERA in 2017 (44 IP), while his 64 strikeouts were 19th all-time in a single-season for the affiliate and comes with the caveat that all above him had a 72-game season to work with. The 18-year-old saw a velocity spike over the summer with improved command that raised his prospect status, parking his fastball 92-95 and touching 96 on occasion. He compliments the fastball with a low-to-mid 80's slider that has enough current shape and feel to receive average or better future grades. With the fastball command progressing well and his on-mound athleticism, the Angels will continue giving Acosta the chance to start through the early stages of his pro career, though his changeup is well below-average offering (very firm and rudimentary) and will be a focus of development to keep him from a relief outlook.
      Ubaldo Soto was the Angels top pitching signee from the recent international class, signing for $250,000 out of the Dominican Republic and spending most of the summer as a 16-year-old pitcher in pro ball. Up until the week he turned 17, Soto got four games of extended relief work, going three innings each time out, which included two saves before transitioning to a traditional rotation role in early July. Over the season, Soto performed remarkably well, posting a 1.64 ERA over 44 innings with a 4-1 record. On this next note, I must include that the nature of a complete game and/or shutout in the DSL has some caveats as pitching all innings (or outs) of a shorter scheduled or weather shortened game can be called a "complete game/shutout" in the statistics and does not need to be a complete seven-or-nine inning effort. On that note, Soto threw two (shortened) shutouts over the summer, making him the first to have multiple shutouts or complete games since Daniel Hurtado and Eswarlin Jimenez in 2011 and fifth in affiliate history to have multiple in a season. His two shutouts were the 12th and 13th in affiliate history since record-keeping became public in 2006. Soto, a tall and loose right-hander, has all the projection traits of a starter at the next level with three pitches he mixes well in an upper 80's-to-low 90's fastball that touches 92, and feel for a curveball and changeup with advanced feel for working near the zone.
      Though Soto was initially the top bonus pitcher for the Angels 2023 international class, Francis Texido was signed for the same dollar figure at $250,000 two months later after leaving Cuba in September. Texido -- the leader in ERA (0.69) for Cuba's U-18 club (source: Francys Romero, MLB) -- went from being one of the top amateur arms in Cuba to the workhorse of the Angels DSL affiliate, getting the opening day nod and never looked back posting a 2.31 ERA in 50.2 innings with 61 strikeouts, 12 walks, and 0.947 WHIP. The 18-year-old collected six wins on the season, which was tied for 10th most in a single-season for the affiliate, while his 61 strikeouts were 20th most (as noted with Acosta, all players above Texido had the luxury of a 72-game season). Tall and loose, the left-handed pitcher has a low 90's fastball with significant sink that creates weak groundball contact, while he also incorporates a curve, slider and changeup which show enough current merit and advanced command to believe in a four-pitch starter mix through development.
      Among the youngest pitchers in professional baseball over the season, Davidxon Lara went from a relatively unknown amateur who signed for $50,000 out of Venezuela, to a pitcher of note in the Angels low minors. The undersized right-hander is a good on-mound athlete with advanced command and feel for the zone. Through his first six games, Lara faced 118 batters and walked just one which included a stretch of 101 batters faced without permitting a walk. Though he would walk four of the final 43 batters he faced (*sarcastically gasps*), Lara showed an advanced ability to mix his pitches and work around the zone, spending all but his final three starts over the summer as a 16-year-old. Lara operates mostly in the upper 80's and low 90's and touched 93 over the summer, with decent feel for a mid-70's curveball and mid 80's changeup. His size (5'10/165) may limit his ceiling, but Lara has the current traits of a future starter with plenty of youth to bank on.
      Other DSL Notables:
      Signed on the older side of the international amateur market, right-handed pitcher Anel Cabrera signed with the Angels in April as a 20-year-old and spent the summer in the DSL where his 1.25 ERA was second lowest across the entire league (trailing only Adrian Acosta, 1.17; min. 40 IP). The low ERA mark was third best in affiliate history among those with 40-or-more innings pitched... After spending two seasons as the DSL Yankees closer, Ruben Castillo was released by the pinstripes in May and quickly signed with the Angels three weeks later as a 21-year-old minor league free agent. Castillo served as the DSL Angels closer with a 39.0 K% and nine saves, which is tied for the most in affiliate single-season history with Jorge Tavarez (2016)... The DSL Angels finished their season going 37-18, holding the sixth best record in the 50-team league and earning a wildcard spot in the DSL Playoffs. As a team, they had; the third most stolen bases (121), 10th highest batting average (.257), 2nd lowest ERA (3.25), 3rd lowest H/9 (6.9), 4th lowest WHIP (1.311), 10th highest K/9 (9.7), and 10th highest K/BB (2.00). (*NOTE*: At the release of this article the DSL Angels are in the middle of a best-of-three opening playoff series with the DSL Phillies, splitting the first two games. This note will be updated upon completion of the series and/or DSL playoffs.)
      After spending the first part of this article down in Boca Chica, let's head north for the rest of the article to Tempe and the Arizona Complex League where a pair of players jumped into prospect status while others have started to create a name for themselves in the low minors.
      Signed as a defense-first shortstop from the Dominican Republic for $150,000, Capri Ortiz changed the script this summer in Arizona and has become of the biggest risers in the Angels system. Splitting his pro debut in halves, Ortiz struggled to start in the DSL in 2022, having a .522 OPS in his first 26 games, but turned the corner and posted a .793 OPS in his final 26 games. He carried that late success into instructional league where he became a player of note for the organization and then had a loud presence based on his speed and defense this summer in the ACL. His on-paper performance leaves a bit to be desired in a .273/.374/.345 slash line with a near 30% strikeout rate but the Angels liked his aggression in the box and on the basepaths and ability to adjust to switch-hitting which he started near the midway point of the season, with some promising signs in his ability to hit from both sides. Listed at six-foot and 150-pounds, there is significant weight and strength that needs to be added to the frame to tap into any form of power as Ortiz's game is more suited for slapping the ball through the infield or flaring a ball to the outfield while maintaining his line drive swing. When he puts the ball in play though, he can cause havoc. Posting the occasional sub-4 home-to-first time, Ortiz is more in the 4.0 to 4.1 range which grades above plus but under plus-plus, but his ability to utilize that speed only enhances the tool. Ortiz stole 30 bases over the summer which set a new affiliate record surpassing Aneury Almonte's 28 in 2002, and ranked 16th all-time in league history for a single season while being the most in the league since Monte Harrison stole 32 bases in 2014. Of note, Ortiz's 39 runs scored were the most for a single season at the affiliate since Rolando Gomez (48) and Randal Grichuk (47) in 2009. Along with 18-year-old's speed is the ability to handle a premium defensive position with ease as his quick feet allow him to cover plenty of ground at shortstop, while his internal clock allows him to slow the pace of the game and let his quick release and average arm do the rest. Ortiz may never grow into offensive impact and be more suitable as a bench player by the time he nears the Majors, but his speed and defense give merit to his future role at the upper levels while the bat will dictate whether or not be becomes an everyday player.
      When doing my post-season rounds last October to accumulate information for prospect rankings, one name jumped out as one I had never heard previously mentioned as a "prospect" but a standout performance in the DSL (which was noted in this article last year) and during instructional league left me curious about someone who "could be the next Edgar Quero". Though the results of Quero haven't been matched quite yet, Dario Laverde has put his name on the map for Angels prospects and has put up similar performance markers with similar tools to a young Quero to make sense of the comparison. The left-handed hitting catcher who signed for $350,000 out of Venezuela had a .306/.419/.455 slash line with 28 walks and 31 strikeouts on the year as an 18-year-old, while his 123 wRC+ was in the 74th percentile across the league. Laverde started catching around a year prior to signing as a professional, converting from the outfield, and has plenty of raw traits behind the plate that have to be refined before trusting him as a long-term backstop. His arm can grade out as average or better, but his transfer and footwork may need an overhaul to allow his arm to play. An outstanding athlete, Laverde has solid lateral movement and blocking skills, so there is a foundation and building blocks to keep him behind the plate. For as raw as his defense is, his offensive skillset is far more polished than most in his age range. Laverde is a disciplined hitter with a focus on seeing pitches and driving pitches in his hot zone to the gaps. There isn't much power in his five-foot-10 frame, but enough to believe his contactability will translate into the occasional over-the-fence pop. Though it may be hard to project Laverde into what Quero became (Top-100 prospect who warranted a Lucas Giolito return), Laverde has the tools to dream on a platoon catcher with offensive upside and he will become the Angels top catching prospect upon Logan O'Hoppe's prospect graduation.

      (Dario Laverde - Photo by Jerry Espinoza)
      Signed for $235,000, Anthony Scull was part of a duo from Cuba who signed with the Angels on September 6, 2021, joining Jorge Marcheco. Both got a quick trip to Boca Chica where Scull was able to play 10 games with some lackluster performance and was initially assigned back to the DSL to start 2022, but after one plate appearance was sent back stateside to Arizona where he performed well in a limited 13-game sample. Scull repeated his offensive success in 2023, slashing .300/.377/.453 with seven doubles, five triples, and three home runs. Scull started the season with a 12-game hitting streak and collected a hit in 24 of his first 27 games while batting .363 and having an OPS that hovered around 1.000 throughout. His bat cooled off for the latter half of his season hitting .206 in his final 21 games with a 33.3 K% (13.7 K% in first 27 games). The 19-year-old outfielder is more a sum of all parts kind of player as opposed to having a real standout or carrying tool, not dissimilar to fellow Angels Cuban farmhand Orlando Martinez. The son of former Cuban baseball star and Olympian, Antonio, the younger Scull has a swing reminiscent to his father with a closed stance, short load, and present bat speed that make him a line-to-line hitter with focus on the bat being his ability to utilize the barrel and occasionally tap into some gap power, while his defense may be limited to a corner outfield position as he's only a fringe athlete. There's a lot to like about the overall package Scull provides and players of his caliber sometimes turn into platoon-type players at the upper levels and into the Majors, though his status as a prospect remains limited.
      After turning heads in his pro debut in the Dominican, Luis Torres carried his near unmatched DSL year into video game type numbers to start his sophomore pro season in Arizona, slashing .583/.659/.889 in his first 10 games which included four doubles, two triples, and a home run. He earned a quick promotion to Low-A Inland Empire where he had a three-hit game in his full season debut and three more hits in the two games following but quickly cooled off against elder and more polished talent collecting just five hits in his next 15 games and was sent back to Arizona. Some inconsistencies came in his second stint with the ACL affiliate as he hit .250 with a .719 OPS and 29.1 K% in his final 19 games with Tempe. For the bulk and completion of his season, his 150 wRC+ was seventh best across the league among hitters with 100+ plate appearances. The inconsistencies haven't deterred Torres' status as a low-level follow (as opposed to a solidified prospect), but the 19-year-old Dominican still may have finally seen his free and loose swing be exposed to some holes while he began to chase at more pitches out of the zone with both approach and swing refinements needed. Signed for $10,000 in February 2022, Torres has a large physique that allows him to tap into hard contact and over-the-fence power from the right side. Though he's limited to first base only defensively, Torres has enough feel for hitting and the power production to continue monitoring how he can cut down his chase rates and overswing tendencies to potentially grow into a prospect with a likely trip to full season ball next season.
      Cristian Garcia has spent the last three summers between the DSL and ACL with steady performance based mostly on plate discipline. Garcia, a 19-year-old corner infielder, has progressively walked his way through Rookie Ball (pun intended) with his 2023 campaign seeing 37 free passes, which rank fourth in Angels AZL/ACL affiliate history and the most since 1993. There isn't much in terms of prospect status when it comes to Garcia, as he's a fringy athlete with a below-average hit tool, but players of his caliber tend to make waves for their on-base percentage in the low minors and grow into monitoring status as they progress through development in hopes that more repetition can turn particular offensive tool into a fringe/average skill. On the season, Garcia slashed .266/.418/.413.
      Drafted by the Angels in the fourth-round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Erik Rivera is one of just seven remaining players drafted and signed by the Angels in that class. Rivera was drafted as a two-way player with upside as a power hitting outfielder from the left side and power southpaw on the mound. Following the draft, the Angels sent him out strictly as a designated hitter and it was evident his future would be on the mound which would wait until the following season which would not occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his first pro pitching outing, Rivera tossed over three scoreless with Low-A Inland Empire, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out six, but saw his velocity dip quickly in his final outing. It's been a long road for Rivera since that point as a tear in his UCL required Tommy John surgery followed by some unspecified complications which caused him to miss the rest of the 2021 season, all of the 2022 season, and most of the 2023 season. Rivera returned to the mound on the second day of August this summer for the first time in over two years but showed similar tools to what made him such an alluring pitching prospect prior to surgery. He came out sitting 92-93 while touching 96 over the summer, while still flashing a plus changeup and signs of a breaking ball. Control dogged Rivera through his five brief outings in Arizona, as he walked 13 of the 37 batters, he faced but when he was near the zone, he was unhittable allowing just three hits to those same 37, striking out 11. Though he's an elder statesman for a low-level arm at 22-years-old, Rivera being healthy and green on the mound is a boon for the Angels pitching depth, particularly with so few left-handed pitching prospects. He'll need to show more command and control to return to his prospect status from prior years, but the raw package remains near the same as when he was a highly touted youngster after the draft.
      A standout from extended spring, Keythel Key is a relatively unknown pitching project who has garnered some attention as a low-level arm with tools that could carry him into more than organization filler status. Most of Key's success comes in flashes as opposed to frequency, which was evident in his summer in the ACL where he had performed on par with most of the league average, posting a 4.53 ERA, while walking 32 and striking out 40 over 43.2 innings. Key is a tall and lean 19-year-old with good on-mound athleticism who operates mostly in the low 90's with some mids in the bag, with a slider that flashes average. There's a lot of raw tools -- particularly in fastball command and ability to consistently snap his breaking ball -- but enough to like about Key and his athletic markers and projection to continue monitoring him.
      Of the Angels 19 draft picks in 2023, 13 started their pro career in Tempe. Nolan Schanuel (1st round), Alberto Rios (3rd round), Joe Redfield (4th round), Cole Fontenelle (7th round), Caleb Ketchup (15th round), and Mac McCroskey (20th round) all got less than a handful of games each before shipping out to affiliates, with Schanuel being the clear standout not only as a first-rounder but as a Major Leaguer only 21 games into his pro career. Seven of the 13 found less temporary residence in Arizona and spent the full start of their pro careers in Tempe. John Wimmer (11th round), an athletic shortstop with spark plug offensive upside from Rock Hill High School (SC), struggled against elder pitching in nine games, striking out in half of his plate appearances with a .432 OPS. Rio Foster (16th round), an athletic and physical high-ceiling outfielder from Florence-Darlington Tech (SC), struggled in a brief eight games as his active swing brought swing-and-miss with it, striking out 10 times in 25 plate appearances with a .414 OPS. Opposite his draft mates, Raudi Rodriguez (19th round) hit pro ball in stride over a brief 12 games, slashing .368/.415/.447, despite being viewed as the rawer product and free swinger of the previously mentioned pair. In recent years under Perry Minasian's regime, the Angels have pivoted savings from the second day of the draft to go well over slot with an early teen pick, but altered that course this year (in a way) and had their big bonus player come in the eighth-round in Barrett Kent, a tall and projectable right-handed pitcher from Pottsboro High School (TX) with a low-to-mid 90's fastball and trio of off-speed offerings that could grade out as average. Kent pitched well in his brief pro debut, allowing six baserunners without permitting a run while recording 14 outs over two stints, striking out five. Chase Gockel (9th round), a right-handed pitching grad student from Quincy University with a mid-90's fastball, struggled to find the zone in four brief outings walking 12 of the 23 batters he faced. Riley Bauman (13th round), a right-handed pitcher from Abilene Christian who returned from Tommy John late this spring showing a mid-90's sinker, got a quick taste of post-surgery action in pro ball allowing five runs in four innings of work. 
      The Angels transitioned catcher Straton Podaras, infielder Christian Sepulveda, and outfielder Darwin Moreno to the mound progressively through the summer, with all sitting around 89-91 and topping around 93. This wasn't dissimilar to what they did with Logan Britt and Mario Zabala. Both Britt and Zabala were draft prospects as prep outfielders in 2020 but their star dwindled during their collegiate careers. Britt faced three batters in college (Abilene Christian) before the Angels took him as a pitcher in the 17th-round in 2023. Zabala was a two-year starter at Florida International but was limited to pinch-running duties his junior season with just 15 batters faced on the mound with minimal success, but the Angels consider both as pitchers at this point and will continue their development as such. I have no report on Britt or Zabala as pitchers currently.
      Other ACL Notables: 
      The Angels hit the NDFA/UDFA (whichever/whatever you want to call it) market quick and heavily after the draft signing some of the more notable non-drafted draft prospects with the headliners being catcher Caleb Bartolero (Troy), shortstop Andy Blake (Columbia), and outfielder Landon Wallace (West Virginia). Bartolero and Blake played well, albeit in six game stints each, in Arizona while Wallace went hitless in his first four games, he turned the corner quickly over his final six games going 8-for-14 (.571). Infielder Will McGillis (South Carolina) was not among the notable UDFA's but took advantage of his collegiate experience as a 24-year-old sporting a .378/.525/.644 slash line in 59 plate appearances, collecting hits in 12 of the 15 games he played and reaching base safely in 14. His 191 wRC+ was second highest across the league among hitters with 50-or-more plate appearances...
      For the third consecutive season, Alex Martinez has held court in the Angels ACL bullpen, as his 1.17 ERA in 2023 was third lowest across the league (min. 20 IP). The undersized right-hander who is fastball dominant has now spent the last three summers in Arizona with a combined 0.92 ERA, 14.1 K/9, and 37.2 K%...
      18-year-old outfielder Ramon Ramirez was an offensive staple to the DSL Angels in 2022 and garnered attention as more than just a low-level organization filler though not quite into prospect status. After collecting one hit in his first six games with sparse playing time, the left-handed hitter got back into a hitting groove over his last 12 games hitting .313 with five extra-base hits and a .965 OPS...
      Randy de Jesus was a touted amateur outfielder from the Dominican Republic when the Angels signed him for $1.2 million in 2022, but his first taste of stateside ball left some questions about the consistency his bat will offer. Scouts still like the foundation de Jesus provides but there is a lot of fine tuning before tapping into even part of the finished product which still may be a power-only offensive base with too much swing-and-miss to get to any ceiling. Splitting his seasons into quarters, his final three-quarters showed glimpses of success with a .282/.343/.366 slash line and much lower 23.0 K% compared to the 29.6 K% in his first 12 games... Three players who suffered season-ending leg or knee injuries in 2022 returned to action in 2023 in the likes of infielders Edgar Alfonso and Luis Rodriguez, and outfielder Natanael Santana. Alfonso, 19, is a light-hitting speedster from Cuba who didn't showcase his plus to plus-plus speed on the basepaths frequently during the season but walked a bit and hit .247 over 35 games. Rodriguez, 18, was a big-bonus baby out of Venezuela on the international market (though his actual bonus has differing reports and has not been confirmed to this writer) who showed impressive tools at instructional league in 2022 and got his first taste of pro ball in 2023 in Arizona performing around league average with a .791 OPS and two home runs. Santana, 22, became a name to follow in 2021 after showcasing impressive power and speed tools from an impressive physique but was sidelined in 2022 with a knee injury. The raw offensive product is still in play for Santana as he struck out in nearly 35% of his plate appearances but still showcased the same tools as before. It's unlikely he'll be able to hit enough to hit his immense ceiling, and may be forever stuck in the low minors, but remains an interesting follow.
         1 comment
      By Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com
      When taking a look at performances from the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Complex League, there is an obvious caveat about the variance in play. Pending the league, the ages can vary from 16-years-old to 21-year-olds in the Dominican and 18-years-olds fresh out of high school or out of country to 24-years-olds who have spent the last four or five years at some of the premier college programs in the nation. Most kids haven't grown into their bodies so power could be at a minimum. Some pitchers throw in the high 90's with explosive breaking pitches, while others hardly top the mid 80's with hardly any sign of a secondary offering. Hardly any pitcher has a strong feel for the strike zone, so on-base percentages are highly inflated due to the high number of walks. Performance numbers can be fun, but only when taken with a serious grain of salt.
      Quickly hitting on some performance indicators, we already talked about the inflation of walks and high on-base percentages. Offensively, you should be looking at contact rate and low strikeout-percentages for future indicators of offensive success from a solely performance-based merit. For pitchers, you're looking at strike-throwing ability (i.e., BB%, BB/9) as even with low walk numbers will come the raw package of hindered command. Control is a fine thing to see on paper and is usually something you will see prior to command in and out of the zone once coming stateside.
      With that out of the way, let's dive into some of the Angels minor leaguers who put together strong seasons in northeast Boca Chica or southwest Tempe, whether performance based or by scouting merit.
      Tapping into the record books, the Angels Dominican Summer League affiliate has been in existence since 1992, with three years as a shared affiliate and one year without play. Records only permit us to date statistics back to 2006, but five different players for the Angels this year broke into the top-10 of affiliate records with one appearing seven times while tying a record. Luis Torres saw one of the greatest seasons for the DSL Angels with his 156 wRC+ being only second to Alexi Amarista's 158 wRC+ in 2007. Among DSL Angels single-season records, Torres scored the ninth most runs (48), had the ninth most hits (68; most since Johan Sala hit 76 in 2016) had the fifth most runs batted in (40), had the fifth most total bases (113; the most since Eduardo Soto had 117 in 2008), hit the third most home runs (8; trailing only Luis Jimenez (11 - 2007) and Raddy Sierra (9 - 2007))
      Let's walk away from the statistical confusion and admire Torres the player who signed for $10,000 in February 2022. Already well developed physically at six-foot-three and 210 pounds with his arms filled out well, there is some present strength and power from the right side in Torres' offensive profile. He has a free and loose swing that will open up to allow him to get to his power on pitches away. He did a fine job of controlling the zone and sparsely chasing which led to low strikeout totals. There is the natural tendency of young players to over swing which leads to hitting the top of the ball and high groundball totals, which was a very natural defect to Torres' game and is one of the first focuses of development once stateside. There's feel for hitting and his ability to get to his power is a positive trait where he turned on the ball well and put together some regular triple-digit exit velocities. Defensively, there's a lot of unknown as Torres was an outfielder as an amateur but immediately moved to first base with very limited playing time in the corner outfield.
      The big international splash over the winter, Nelson Rada showed exactly why he signed for such a high dollar ($1.85 million) in January. Spending the entire season as a 16-year-old, Rada was one week shy of being the youngest player in professional baseball this year, with 10 others being born between August 24-31, 2005 (yikes, we are getting old). Going back to the record books, Rada posted a 148 wRC+, which was fourth best in DSL Angels history; he scored the sixth most runs (48) in a single-season (the most since Pedro Toribio scored 50 runs in 2011), and stole the third-most bases at 27, tied with Raul Linares and trailing only Ayendy Perez (41 - 2013) and Pedro Toribio (32 - 2011). Rada reached base in 44 of 50 games he played, all in center field. It's clear the Angels see Rada playing a premium position in center field where he is a plus defender who is quick and direct to the ball and comes equipped with an above-average arm and outstanding athleticism. More instinctual than an actual burner, Rada clearly knew what he was doing on the basepaths and has double-digit steal potential with only average to better speed. At the plate, Rada keeps things fairly simple from the left side looking for pitches in his zone to drive to the gaps. There is some over-the-fence power that could turn into average power when he fills into his compact frame. Despite his youth, Rada has already shown good control of the zone and has a strong idea of what he’s doing at the plate with a focus on getting on base with a balanced approach that leans more to aggression.
      The other big bonus baby over the spring came in Randy de Jesus, an outfielder who signed for $1.2 million. More physically driven than Rada, de Jesus put up his expected power numbers while lessening the concern of how much swing-and-miss would be included in his offensive profile. His 13 doubles were tied for the ninth most in a single-season for the affiliate, while his seven home runs were fourth most as well as his 43 runs batted in being fourth most in a single-season and the most since Samir Mendez hit 44 in 2011. More intangible based, de Jesus is a smart player who is a fair athlete and makes smart plays in the field and base paths. Not always getting to his separation and finding some grooves in his timing, de Jesus was still able to tap into his big-bodied natural strength and will have to work on getting to the ball quicker once coming stateside to tap into his above-average potential. Going 2-for-2 with a three-run home run, de Jesus was named the MVP of the Dominican Summer League All-Star game.
      On the pitching side, DSL Angels rotation was headlined by Sadiel Baro, a lean 17-year-old left-hander who signed for $125,000 out of Cuba. Baro worked his fastball up to 92 over the summer while flashing a swing-and-miss curve and changeup that allowed him to work against hitters on both sides of the plate. Baro was a workhorse, having the most innings pitched (53.0) since Jose Soriano (57.0) in 2016, with the third most strikeouts (60) since 2014. Manuel Cazorla, a 17-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, showed good feel for locating his fastball in the bottom part of the zone while flashing an average curveball and the ability to pitch inside. Nixon Encarnacion was the big-arm splash for the Angels over the winter due to his strong arm from the right side. Encarnacion works 91-95 with positive signs towards his secondary offerings, while his athleticism gives hope of above-average command down the road.
      Other notables: Outfielder Ramon Ramirez posted a 142 wRC+ while hitting the seventh most doubles (14) and eighth most runs batted in (37) in the affiliate’s history. Capri Ortiz is a 17-year-old defense-first shortstop who saw a tail of two seasons at the plate, having a .542 OPS with five extra-base hits in his first 26 games, while having a .793 OPS with nine extra-base hits in his final 26 games. Dario Laverde and Jonathan Linares, both 17-year-old catchers, matched each other in basic offensive and defensive statistics despite differing profiles, both posting a 124 wRC+ while throwing out 41% of runners. Laverde is an athletic backstop with a better chance at sticking behind the plate while Linares is a switch-hitter with more offensive upside to his game. Marco Vega is a soft-tossing right-hander from Panama who will work in the mid-to-high 80’s but has a great feel for the zone and a better feel for his changeup than most at his age.
      After focusing on much of Boca Chica, let’s take a trip north to Tempe where the Angels Arizona Complex League club fell two run short of a wildcard berth in their final game of the season with the tying run at the plate.
      Perhaps one of the biggest risers on prospect charts in the Angels system this year was Jorge Marcheco, a 20-year-old (turned 20 on August 6) Cuban right-hander who signed last September for $350,000. After throwing a statistical no-hitter and near perfect game in three games with the DSL affiliate in 2021 (retired 27 of 28 batters with 20 strikeouts, only one to reach base was via a hit by pitch), Marcheco didn’t see the same dominance in Arizona (though who would expect that?) but still put together a solid showing for the year while encroaching on some affiliate records. In his 50.2 innings, Marcheco struck out 76 batters, the sixth most in affiliate history and most since 2009. Marcheco works mostly 89-93 with his fastball while incorporating a swing-and-miss curve and changeup/splitter that he can manipulate. There’s a limited ceiling to his game but he has backend of the rotation kind of stuff with present command indicators he could reach that ceiling.
      No one made as loud a presence at the start of the Angels development season as Walbert Urena, an 18-year-old Dominican right-hander. Hitting 100 in his stateside debut, Urena was a surprising unknown in prospect circles who despite being a six-figure signing in March 2021 ($140K). The triple digits didn’t come as common over the full season but there was plenty of arm strength and velo to dream on as he worked mostly off of his fastball that ranged 95-97. His secondaries have some progressive signs though are identifiable out of the arm, with his changeup being the better of the pair and his slider being inconsistent and rarely flashing more than average. He struggled to find the strike zone and lagged in fastball command but a solid athlete there are hopes he can work around the zone with that heat. Undersized at six-foot, it’s likely he will be a premium velo reliever type.
      Caden Dana received the highest bonus ever among players taken after the 10th round in the bonus pool era at $1.4975M and the initial returns show that record bonus was well earned. Though he got limited time after the draft, the New Jersey prep arm had back-to-back scoreless outings – both two innings each – to kick off his pro career and ended his summer in a do-or-die game where he allowed one run over two and two/third innings. It’s too small a sample to really rely on any of his performance numbers, but the reports indicate he was able to hold what he showed during his prep season and showcase summer going into his senior year. Working mostly with a two-pitch mix, Dana will work in the low 90’s mostly but has been upwards of 95-96. The fastball is his primary weapon currently as he shows enough command of it to play with it around the zone and elevate in late counts, though it is hittable due to its minimal movement. Dana also has a high-spin curveball that he has struggled to locate but the pitch at raw is an above-average offering and will only improve with command. A project in every sense, Dana is a big-bodied kid at six-foot-four with athleticism and physicality whose strength and arm speed should be able to keep him as a starter through development. There’s a high ceiling to be tapped into but it won’t be an overnight miracle and he could be set for a lengthy development.
      It's rare for a 19-year-old rookie ball reliever to garner much attention, but Sandi Charle’s on mound improvement have made him an intriguing arm in the lower tiers of the Angels system. Tall and lean like an NBA shooting guard, Charle has long limbs and comes at you with size and aggression but has shown much better body control which aided to his strike-throwing improvements. His breaking ball has good velo and shape and can be a swing-and-miss pitch as it plays off of his low 90’s fastball with deception. He’s a relief only type but one to monitor.
      After three years at Texas-Rio Grande Valley and a brief stint in Indy Ball, Christian Sepulveda signed with the Angels in April. Splitting time between Arizona and High-A Tri-City, Sepulveda was an elder statesman who performed well in Arizona posting a 146 wRC+ with five home runs, among the most total over the last half decade. Spending most of his time at shortstop as an amateur, Sepulveda played the corner infield for the year. He’s organization depth but put together a notable performance in 2022.
      Signing the same day as his island counterpart Marcheco, Anthony Scull came to the Angels for $235,000 in September of 2021 and has turned a few heads in the process. The son of former Cuban baseball star and Olympian, Antonio, Scull has a swing reminiscent of his father with a closed stance, short load, and good bat speed. His season was limited to 13 games after initially starting the year in Boca Chica, and when in Arizona he displayed his offensive prowess hitting .306 with an .807 OPS. Focus will fall on the bat as he’s not as strong an athlete as other outfielders in the system, but a corner platoon bat could be in his ceiling. At just 18-years-old, the Angels have plenty of time with Scull.
      The top international signee from 2021 who came to the Angels for $2 million, Denzer Guzman kept his head above water through the course of the Arizona Complex season while his performance was moderately better than league average, but age relevancy and physical based numbers indicate it was better than the on-paper product. Guzman, 18, was able to hit for a 109 wRC+ with 11 doubles and three home runs in 192 plate appearances which is fine for a blossoming prospect younger than the core of the league. He’s still growing into his frame and more power can be expected though it is likely he’ll have below-average power. His feel for hitting and finding the barrel though will keep interest in seeing him as a potential everyday player, and in particular, his defensive traits. Playing at the premium position of shortstop where he played solely in the CPX, Guzman makes smart decisions in the field and had the quick feet to make regular and challenging plays at the position, supported by a strong arm. Prior to the Angels drafting Zach Neto, Guzman was the prospect seen as the most likely to stay at shortstop long term. Following the complex league season, he earned a promotion to Low-A Inland Empire where he’s expected to begin in 2023.
      After spending his debut pro season as a leadoff man in the Dominican, Jorge Ruiz picked up where he left off as the consistent leadoff man in Arizona where he outperformed himself upon coming stateside with a 122 wRC+ while making smarter decisions at the plate. A contact-focused hitter from the left-side, the 18-year-old outfielder was more aggressive at the plate which allowed him to stay in hitter’s counts and cut down his strikeout rate and SwSt% (14.1%) while adding some more intent to his swing despite still being an upper-body heavy and armsy swinger who has slap tendencies. There is limited to minimal over-the-fence power projection and he’s more set for the gaps and being a 20/30-grade power guy with instinctual baserunning due to his fringe-average speed. A solid athlete, Ruiz is a capable defender in center field and has some depth hopes.
      Other Notables: Originally assigned to Low-A Inland Empire, Jenrry Gonzalez was sent back to Arizona where he shined allowing two runs in 20.1 innings with five walks and 32 strikeouts. He’s a low velocity southpaw (87-89) with a decent breaking ball who is finesse-over-stuff. Not dissimilar to Gonzalez is Luis Viloria who is a strike-throwing machine but lacks a true secondary and operates in the mid 80’s. Similar to Gonzalez and Viloria but from the right side is Luis Nunez who has a high 80’s to low 90’s fastball with natural cutting action and a sweepy slider that allows him to work away from right-handers. Nunez allowed three runs in 27.1 innings. Though rehab is usually not notable, it is in the case of Jose Soriano who was once one of the Angels top prospects. Soriano, who was taken by Pittsburgh first overall in the Rule-5 Draft and returned over the winter, has struggled with health his entire career, but when healthy offers an explosive two-pitch mix from an athletic delivery. It was no different in his rehab appearances in Arizona where he sat 96-99 early in outings but fell to 93-96 after an inning. Soriano also has a 2700 RPM slider that has been a swing-and-miss weapon for him throughout his career. One last note on the pitching was Kenyon Yovan transitioning from the plate to the mound (again). A former draft prospect as a pitcher, the Angels signed Yovan (cousin of Keynan Middleton) as a first baseman who hadn’t pitched during his senior year at Oregon. Upon his return to the mound, Yovan has worked 93-96 with a workable breaking ball, and he has dominated since returning to the mound. Matt Coutney, the Angels 10th round selection in 2022, got his post-draft work done in Arizona where his pro debut which included a home run kept the intrigue while the following eight games were lackluster but too small a sample to lean on anything. Coutney is a power bat who is set for first base and maybe some short corner outfield time. Johan Macias had a loud offensive season, batting .322 with an .833 OPS that included 11 extra-base hits in 49 games. The top undrafted player for Arizona was Mason Holt from UL-Monroe who had just 16 games by the end of the season but justice in those games with a .296/.377/.389 slash and six stolen bases, while playing some solid defense in the outfield.
      By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Columnist

      In honor of the draft, the commencement of the Arizona League, and reaching the halfway point of the MLB season, we’re doubling up today – featuring ten hitters and ten pitchers who have performed well over the last two weeks. This is also in part to the hot hitting on the farm, as eight Angels farmhands posted an OPS over 1.000, with four prospects from the Arizona team opening their seasons with big production at the plate. 
      --Position Players—
      1) David MacKinnon – 1B, Rocket City, AA:
      It’s probably time to start taking David MacKinnon seriously as a legitimate prospect. The first baseman, 26 years old and a 32nd round pick, continued to dominate at the plate over the last two weeks, hitting .381, which is basically what he’s hit now over his last 100 plate appearances (.389 since June 11th) to go along with his typically advanced plate discipline (6 BB to 8 K in that time). This is nothing new for MacKinnon though. What’s more encouraging however is the uptick in power. After hitting 9 extra-base hits in his first 24 games, MacKinnon has added 15 more in the 24 games since, giving him a .541 SLG on the year, a significant increase over his prior career full-season best of .392, and one in line with what you’d want to see from a player who is exclusively playing a power-first position in 1B. It’s difficult to see how MacKinnon’s career can progress with the Angels as he has Matt Thaiss, Jose Rojas, and Jared Walsh (of course, another late-round 1B who slugged his way to the majors) ahead of him on the depth chart. Thaiss and Rojas’ positional versatility clears this path slightly, but it’s still hard to see MacKinnon getting a chance with the Angels. Bearing a remarkable offensive similarity to Tampa’s Yandy Diaz, MacKinnon seems the type of player a low-payroll team thin at organizational depth at 1B could take a chance on and could be one of the names we see moved in a deal for a rental or lesser name – or as depth allowing the Angels to move Rojas or Thaiss in similar fashion. Detroit, Colorado, Texas, Pittsburgh, and Tampa all seem like teams that could have interest in this type of player and could have pieces that match up with Halo needs.
      2021 (RCT AA): .335/.412/.541/.953 with 17 doubles, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 22 BB, 35 K in 48 G/211 PA
       2) Brendon Davis – 2B/3B/SS/LF, Tri-City, A+:
      Named the High-A West Player of the Week for the second time this season and leading the league in HRs, Davis is almost single-handedly holding up the offense for the Dust Devils, so you may need to excuse his subpar June, in which he posted a .698 OPS after opening the year with an .841 OPS in May. The former 5th round pick of the Dodgers in the 2015 draft returned to May form over the last two weeks – and then some – as he slashed .356/.404/.822/1.226 since June 28th, boosted by five doubles, two triples, four home runs, 16 hits, and two stolen bases in two attempts for good measure. Perhaps Davis’ struggles in June came because of his newfound versatility in the field. After playing the first 31 games of the season at the hot corner, Davis has started at SS eight times, 2B six times, LF twice, and 3B nine times. He’s still suffering from some swing and miss issues – 14 in his last 11 games – but the offensive potential the Dodgers once dreamed on, and that the Rangers dreamed on when they acquired him for Darvish, is showing itself now more than ever in Davis’ best pro season to date. 23 years old, Davis will likely finish the season at Rocket City and could be in the MLB bench mix as soon as 2022 if his performance continues to match his one-time prospect shine. Much like MacKinnon, Davis could be the type of lotto-ticket the Angels could use in deals for rentals.
      2021 (TRI A+): .256/.315/.507/.821 with 15 doubles, 3 triples, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 17 BB, 71 K, 6 for 8 SB in 57 G/251 PA
       3) Luis Aviles – 2B/3B/SS/LF, Rocket City, AA:
      Signed by Billy Eppler as a minor league free agent prior to the 2020 season, Aviles finally got onto the field for the Angels in late June after coronavirus eliminated the 2020 season and injuries robbed Aviles of playing time in almost all of May and June. Once a prospect in the Brewers system who drew occasional hype for strong defense and a minor league All-Star appearance in 2019, Aviles made this list mostly because of his play in one series against Tampa’s AA affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits. Aviles homered six times in four games, also clubbed two doubles, and drove in 11. It’s far too soon to tell if this was a precursor to any sort of offensive breakout for Aviles or just a ridiculous series as he only has 17 games on the season, but nonetheless, it’s production the Angels will welcome from the 26-year old. Aviles’ strong play earned him the AA-South Player of the Week honors.
      2021 (SLC AAA/RCT AA): .273/.358/.636/.995 with 2 doubles, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 6 BB, 17 K, 3 SB in 17 G/69 PA
       4) Edwin Yon – DH/RF, Inland Empire, A:
      One of the most interesting prospects in the Angels system is Edwin Yon, a towering outfielder (listed at 6’5”) plucked in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft from Cincinnati. Yon is about as raw as a prospect could be. Originally debuting with the Reds’ Dominican summer team at the age of 16, Yon owns 302 K in 800 career plate appearances – and despite his projectable power, only a career .363 SLG to show for it, never topping more than 4 HR in any short-season ball. That’s changed in the last two weeks though, as Yon homered four times in 10 games, hitting .303/.439/.788/1.227 in that time. Ten hits in ten games and seven walks against 14 strikeouts also provide some encouraging hints of improved contact and discipline. At 22 years old, Yon is at the age where raw, tenured power-first prospects can start to put things together, and if he does, look out. A Jabari Blash-like career as a free-swinging, HR mashing career minor leaguer/foreign league superstar is still probably the best case scenario for Yon, but nonetheless he’s another name worth watching as the summer continues on.
      2021 (IE A): .238/.342/.556/.898 with 3 doubles, one triple, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 9 BB, 36 K in 18 G/73 PA
       5) Arol Vera – SS/2B, Arizona, Rk.: 
      Arol Vera, signed in the 2019 international period, has finally made his pro debut, and it’s been as good as advertised for a talent often mentioned as one of the Angels Top 10 prospects. Splitting time up the middle at SS and 2B, the Venezuelan switch-hitter has hit in every single game so far, slashing .421/.477/.632/1.109 in his first 9 games and 44 plate appearances, with four doubles and two triples peppered in.
      2021 (ACL Rk.): .421/.477/.632/1.109 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 11 K in 9 G/44 PA
       6) Edgar Quero – C/DH, Arizona, Rk.: 
      One of the more exciting signings of recent international period is that of 18-year-old switch-hitting Cuban catcher Edgar Quero, whose Arizona debut will only inflate that excitement. While Quero has only seven pro games to his career so far, he’s made an impression in them, whacking two doubles, two homers, and hitting .364/.440/.727/1.167. Quero is arguably a bat-first catcher but has enough skill behind the plate to be the Angels’ most complete catching prospect since Bengie Molina. He nabbed two of seven baserunners in his three games behind the plate so far and could find himself on Angels Top 30 prospect lists as soon as midseason 2021.
      2021 (ACL Rk.): .364/.440/.727/1.167 with 2 doubles, 2 HR, 8 RBI, BB, 5 K, 1 SB in 7 G/25 PA
       7) Michael Stefanic – 2B/3B, Salt Lake City, AAA: 
      Much like David MacKinnon or perhaps a better comp, David Fletcher, Michael Stefanic just continues to hit. Settling in at Salt Lake between 2B and 3B over the last two weeks, Stefanic’s June was fairly under the radar but still productive, and July has yielded strong numbers at the plate once again, as he slashed .316/.395/.579/.974 in ten games, adding 12 hits, a double, and three HR to his 2021 campaign, giving him a career high mark of 7 HR. Also like MacKinnon, Stefanic finds himself somewhat buried on a depth chart that includes Jack Mayfield, Kean Wong, and Luis Rengifo all ahead of him, and could similarly find himself mentioned in trade talks for lower-impact names or rentals. However, should Mayfield and Wong wind up lost to waivers over the course of the 2021 season, Stefanic figures to be first-in-line for their MLB roles come 2022. 
      2021 (SLC AAA/RCT AA): .313/.396/.460/.856 with 10 doubles, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 24 BB, 44 K in 54 G/240 PA
      😎 Braxton Martinez – 3B/1B, Inland Empire, A: 
      The numbers that Braxton Martinez, as a 27-year-old in Low-A, are starting to become comical. Over the last two weeks, Martinez has hit .447 (17 hits in 38 AB) with an OBP of .560 (11 walks to 4 strikeouts), which is almost becoming typical production now, as he owns a batting average of .370 and an OBP of .496 over his last month. Martinez also touts power, with 22 doubles and 8 HR on the season already, with 7 of those doubles coming in the last two weeks. After playing 1B/DH exclusively in his first 37 games, Martinez is now playing primarily 3B. What comes next is anyone’s guess.
      2021 (IE A): .344/.460/.611/1.071 with 22 doubles, one triple, 8 HR, 35 RBI, 38 BB, 29 K in 51 G/224 PA
       9) Adrian Placencia – 2B/SS, Arizona, Rk.: 
      One of three mid-infielders with Top 30 talent at Arizona, Adrian Placencia made his pro debut for the Angels in the last two weeks, and like Vera, has done nothing but impress in his first look. Often mirroring Vera in the field – playing primarily 2B to Vera’s SS and vice versa – Placencia has also produced at the plate. In 8 games Placencia has peppered a double, a triple, two homers, and four singles across 40 PA, but more importantly, drawn nine walks against five strikeouts. Should it continue, this advanced plate recognition could set Placencia apart from Vera and Blakely as the trio progress in their careers and give the Angels a trio of dynamic infielders with differing skill sets to work with.
      2021 (ACL Rk.): .258/.425/.548/.973 with one double, one triple, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 9 BB, 5 K in 8 G/40 PA
       10) Werner Blakely – 3B/2B/SS, Arizona, Rk.: 
      The 4th round selection of the 2020 draft made his pro debut in Arizona, and much like with Vera and Placencia, saw immediate success. While Blakely, who might have the most power out of the three, produced only a double and a HR in his first two weeks, he also drew 8 BB (though against 13 K) and roped 8 singles in 9 games, while stealing three bases in three attempts. Blakely has the most star potential of the trio, having a shot at being a real four-or-five tool player, especially if his defense manifests, while the power, speed, discipline, and contact skills are already on display in Arizona so far.
      2021 (ACL Rk.): .303/.439/.424/.863 with one double, one HR, 8 BB, 13 K, 3 SB in 3 attempts in 9 G/41 PA 
      Honorable mentions, position players:
      Alexander Ramirez (CF/DH, ACL Rk.): .256/.356/.462/.817 with 2B, 2 3B, HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 18 K in 9 G/45 PA – mixed start to the season for one of the Angels’ most interesting prospects
      Francisco Del Valle (RF/LF, Tri A+): .318/.412/.477/.889 with 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 HBP in 12 G/51 PA – still has a shot at being a solid 4th/5th OF type
      Elijah Greene (LF/CF, IE A/RCT AA): .571/.679/.762/1.440 with 4 2B, 7 BB, 2 K in 8 G/28 PA – unreal discipline earns a promotion past A+ straight to AA
      Brandon Marsh (CF/DH, ACL Rk./SLC AAA): .429/.515/.857/1.372 with 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 5 BB, 8 K, 1 SB in 7 G/33 PA – small sample kept him from placing, but strong production in return from injury
      Matt Thaiss (C/DH/1B, SLC AAA): .341/.473/.477/.950 with 3 2B, HR, 9 RBI, 8 BB, 9 K, 3 HBP in 12 G/55 PA – will he see the MLB again soon? Deadline could make it so.
      Izzy Wilson (RF/LF, RCT AA): .243/.349/.541/.889 with 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 BB, 19 K, 4 SB in 11 G/43 PA – since June 1st, an OPS of exactly 1.000 over 121 PA
      Carlos Herrera (3B/2B, TRI A+): .478/.520/.870/.1390 with 3 2B, 2 HR in 6 G/25 PA –BA of .324/OPS of .819 in last 109 PA
      Spencer Griffin (OF, TRI A+): .391/.440/.522/.962 with HR, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 SB in 8 G/25 PA – athletic depth OF with a shot at 4thOF 
      Jose Reyes (LF/RF, IE A): .297/.350/.486/.836 with 2 2B, 3B, HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 11 K 
      Gavin Cecchini (SS/2B, RCT AA/SLC AAA): .324/.385/.441/.826 with 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K – former 1st rounder promoted to AAA
      D’Shawn Knowles (CF, IE A): .239/.321/.478/.799 with 4 2B, 2 3B, HR, 11 RBI, 6 BB, 12 K, 3 SB – now 16 for 16 in SB attempts
      Interview conducted by Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com
      The Angels switch-hitting catching prospect from Cuba had a breakout season in Low-A hitting .312/.435/.530 with 17 home runs and 73 walks in 111 games. His advanced approach at the plate is what the Angels are most excited about, as he rarely swings at pitches out of the zone and barrels up mistake pitches. There's not much to dislike in Quero's game at the plate as he showed a good contact rate, power and an excellent eye which ascended him to the top in the California League in OPS at .965. 
      Here's a side shot of Edgar Quero taking BP before last night's contest. 

      Quero also has good speed for a catcher as he stole 14 stolen bases in 20 attempts this season for the IE 66ers. 
      On the defensive side of things Quero possesses a strong arm, he threw out 25% of would be base-stealers (116) this season. From the Angels folks I've talked to he's received praise on handling the pitching staff, giving him a shot at becoming a solid all-around player on both sides of the ball. 
      Look at Quero's emotions after the 66ers got a crucial strikeout in last night's game one of the Cal League Playoffs. 
      You can expect Edgar Quero to shoot up into the 3-5 range in most Los Angeles Angels prospects publications this fall/winter. Baseball America has already recognized the Cuban catcher as the Angels 2022 Minor League Player of the Year. 
      Here's Quero's 17th home run of the 2022 minor league season.
      Without further ado, check out our interview with Baseball America's Angels Minor League Player of the Year, Edgar Quero, conducted by Taylor Blake Ward.

      Here is the full interview transcript below. 
      AngelsWin.com: Edgar Quero, Angels prospect. Thanks to Jeremy Arocho for translating for us. Edgar, just looking at this year, did you expect to do what you did performance-wise this season?
      Jeremy Arocho: [Translating English to Spanish for Edgar Quero] -- Edgar Quero: [Answers interview question in Spanish]
      Jeremy Arocho: [Speaking English for Edgar Quero] His mentality was always working hard in the offseason. He worked hard, and he was just expecting a year like that. And he got it. Pretty good; worked hard.
      AngelsWin.com: And looking at you as a catcher developmental-wise, how do you feel this season went defensively?
      Jeremy Arocho: [Speaking English for Edgar Quero] He’s said that he’s a good catcher. But this year he thinks that he could’ve done a little better behind the plate, and he’s going to work hard for the next season in the offseason, to get ready for the next season.
      AngelsWin.com: Are there any specific changes you made offensively at the plate in your swing?
      Jeremy Arocho: [Speaking English for Edgar Quero] He got the chance to play here last year, like, tight games. And he knew it was a little different, yet I was throwing out the swing a little bit. He was too big, So, this year, he got a chance to come here again, and he’s shoring up his swing. And that’s the big thing that he did hitting-wise.
      AngelsWin.com: Being a part of a winning culture here, you guys being in the playoffs and everything, it’s been a big change for the Angel’s organization to have affiliates winning. What do you think it’s done for you as a player and also for the team, and the guys that are in this organization?
      Jeremy Arocho: [Speaking English for Edgar Quero] He said as a player, to have two teams in the organization be in the playoffs—and everybody’s been working hard on this team since Day One. So, that’s what got us to the playoffs, pitch-by-pitch, and everybody’s just working hard.
      AngelsWin.com: But I know that, you know, when this video comes out, you guys would’ve already known whether you’re still in the playoffs, won a championship, anything like this, but plans for the winter for you?
      Jeremy Arocho: In the offseason in the winter, he’s just going to, after this season, he’s got to go in Instructional League and start getting ready for next year. And after that, he’s flying to Miami, and he’s going to keep working hard there, just working on his game.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Graciąs, muchos graciąs.
      Edgar Quero: Thank you.
      Editors note:  It didn't make it through the translation, but both times he was asked about his off-season and future plans he basically said "after we get our rings this season"...  Basically he was speaking very positively about the 66ers postseason hopes.  Its pretty cool to see a guy speak with that sort of confidence.  He was also very clear that while he considers himself a good catcher, he's no where near satisfied with where he is defensively and stated he knows the areas he needs to work on.  
      Kid comes across like a hard worker/straight shooter.... There wasn't any real effort to say the right things, he was very straightforward, very concise. 
      From zero catching prospects to two .... Not too bad.
      By the AngelsWin.com Prospect Posse
      Another year in the books, and more disappointment for Angels fans. But there’s always the farm system and the future it foretells, right? This year that glimmer of hope may be growing somewhat brighter.
      The top of this list has some legitimate talent, with two or three players appearing on top 100 lists, and several more contenders for the top 100 by the end of 2023. Furthermore, the top 30 is filled out with a nice group of upside prospects, as well as some interesting depth pieces that could help the Angels major league team as soon as 2023.
      One further note on the farm as a whole, and its overall trajectory over the last few years. In 2015, Billy Eppler inherited a farm system devoid of talent. Gradually he added talent, a lot of it high upside but volatile. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of that talent not pan out the way we hoped, yet there’s still been some positive developments, and with a continued, steady stream of incoming talent during the Perry Minasian years.
      To further this point, here’s a take from our own Scott Allen:
      Scott Allen's Take:
      The Angels have recently got a lot of help from what I like to call, "post-hype prospects." These are the players that were once viewed as darlings of a developing system, but for one reason or another, have not cracked the major league egg yet.
      Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Jaime Barria, Jared Walsh and Luis Rengifo all took an additional year or two to develop, beyond their time being featured on these lists. And they all have become quality major leaguers. 
      In 2023, we could be in store for more of these unexpected breakouts. Matt Thaiss may emerge as a key depth piece for the Angels. He could see considerable time playing 1B, backing up Jared Walsh who has some uncertainty of his own. Thaiss could also see time at 3B to spell Rendon and most notably, catcher, where as a backup he's got a pretty potent bat, comparatively.  
      Chris Rodriguez also falls into this category. If healthy, he can be a very good major league pitcher, regardless of role. I hope the organization gives him a chance to start because he might truly be something special there, the sort that starts playoff games. If not, he's already shown he can carve up major league hitters in relief.
      Mickey Moniak wasn't our prospect, but he too is a post-hype player that can find success with the Angels. Getting him out of Philly might have been the best thing for his career, as we saw flashes of potential after the deadline. Either he projects as a very skilled 4th outfielder, or maybe it all comes together in time.
      Jo Adell's own prospect status is a thing of the past. We don't know the Angels off-season plans, but it would not surprise many if he spent some more time in AAA before finally figuring it out at the big league level. He certainly has more than enough potential. 
      Griffin Canning is finally healthy, and while he's served a lot of time in the Angels rotation, his spot is no longer guaranteed. He's flashed his potential on several occasions, and comes with the pedigree of being a former early draft pick and top 100 prospect. 
      Lastly, I think we shouldn't forget about Jose Soriano. He's got an arsenal similar to Chris Rodriguez, and after multiple surgeries and a tour through Pittsburgh's system rehabbing after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, Soriano is finally back healthy. A move to the bullpen has already taken place, and given that the Angels bullpen could use all the help it can get, giving Jose Soriano a chance to make good on his potential seems like a good idea. He could be a game changer, if he performs up to his ability. 
      Format: In parentheses, I’ve included the player’s position, 2023 season age, and likely destination to start the year. The ranking range is the range in which our Prospect Posse ranked the player.
      Without further ado, here are your AngelsWin.com Top 30 Prospects for 2023…
      1. LOGAN O’HOPPE (C, 23, MLB)

      2022 Rank: In Phillies organization
      Ranking Range: Unanimous #1
      2022 Stats: 104 games, .283/.416/.544, 26 HR (AA - Phillies/Angels); 5 games, .286/.375/.286 (MLB)
      It was painful to see Brandon Marsh go (and then improve somewhat with the Phillies and make it to the World Series), but O’Hoppe’s AA performance softened the blow; aside from his excellent overall numbers, he hit .306/.473/.674 in 29 games as a Trash Panda. Our consensus #1 pick, O’Hoppe has a good chance of not only starting the year in a platoon with Max Stassi but winning the starting job outright by season’s end. He’s really the full package: plate discipline, power, and solid to plus catching skills. Even better, coaches rave about his mental make-up and pitchers love him. One thing to note about O'Hoppe: If you count him as homegrown, he's probably the best catching prospect in Angels history.
      Full interview with Logan O'Hoppe
      2. ZACH NETO (SS, 22, AA)
      2022 Rank: Amateur/Prep
      Ranking Range: 2-3
      2022 Stats: 37 games, .299/.377/.476, 5 HR  (A+/AA)
      The Angels’ 2022 1st round pick (13th overall) didn’t miss a beat in 37 minor league games, most (30) in AA Rocket City. Neto projects to hit for average, steal bases, maybe walk a bit, and with a bit of pop – plus solid or better defense at SS.  As Neto says, he plays with “swag” and brings it on both sides of his game.There is some concern that his unconventional approach at the plate will yield little power, but some scouts remark on his surprising pop. That did not appear to be the case last year, as he hit 4 HRs in 30 AA games last season. With less than 2 strikes, Neto uses a high leg kick to help whip up power. But, with 2 strikes, he takes a smaller stride and a faster approach to the ball. Defensively, Neto is a true SS, but could end up on 2B depending on what the Angels do this offseason. Either way, he should at least become a quality regular major leaguer,  and maybe even more than that!
      Full Interview with Zach Neto
      3. CHASE SILSETH (SP, 23, AAA/MLB)

      2022 Rank: 22 (+19)
      Ranking Range: 2-4
      2022 Stats: 15 GS, 83 IP, 2.28 ERA, 27 BB, 110 SO (AA); 28.2 IP 6.59 ERA, 12 BB, 24 SO (MLB)
      Silseth started the year as the 11th round pick from the 2021 all-pitcher draft, and thus the 11th pitcher chosen by the Angels in that draft, and ended it as the top ranked pitching prospect in the organization, at least according to us. Silseth utterly dominated AA hitters, earning him multiple  call-ups throughout the year. His first start on May 13th was extremely impressive, and we all had a collective "Where did this guy come from?" moment: He gave up only 1 hit in 6 IP, and flashed potent stuff, including a fastball that hit 97-98. But things got rockier from there, and then he was up and down for the rest of the year, only down from August onward, where he continued to dominate AA. He throws very hard, but also very straight, and his secondary pitches still need work. Silseth is likely to start the year in the minors, but will definitely see major league starts in 2023, and may end up in the rotation by the second half. Silseth has the stuff to be a #1 or #2, and with more movement on his pitches, will be one.
      Full Interview with Chase Silseth
      4. EDGAR QUERO (C, 20, A+)

      2022 Rank: 10 (+6)
      Ranking Range: 2-5
      Stats: 111 games, .312/.435/.530, 17 HR, 12 SB, 73 BB, 91 SO (A)
      Look at those numbers and remember that this is a 19-year old kid in A ball. He posted those numbers while 2 years younger than the rest of the league! Quero got us noticing him last year, when he showed pop and a great plate approach in Rookie ball, though merely held his own in a short 10-game A level call-up. Not only did Quero improve, he exploded and dominated A level pitching. The Angels played it safe and kept him there all year; with O’Hoppe in the mix, they won’t be rushing Quero, who should replace Max Stassi as O’Hoppe’s backup in 2025 or so. After so many years of not having any catching prospects, the Angels are now in the enviable position of having 2 top tiered catching prospects, who can dominate on both sides of the ball. It is very easy to see Quero as a top 100 prospect, especially if he continues to build on his 2022 season.
      Full Interview with Edgar Quero
      5. KY BUSH (SP, 23, AAA)

      2022 Rank: 6 (+1)
      Ranking Range: 4-7
      Stats: 21 GS, 103 IP, 29 BB, 101 Ks, 3.67 ERA (AA)
      An impressive first full season, Bush has earned a place on the 2023 major league depth chart. Scouting reports vary on Bush, but most agree that he could be a solid mid-rotation starter if not better.  Bush has a four-pitch mix with an over-the-top delivery. His fastball sits at 94 mph and touches 96 mph with late riding action. Bush's secondary pitches are an above-average slider, a slow curveball and changeup that's a work in progress. The changeup development and fastball command will really determine whether Bush is a solid middle of the rotation starter that you can count on or backend guy. Ky Bush tired a bit in the second half, but finished strong. With improved development and workload, the dominance he showed in the first half should continue.
      Full Interview with Ky Bush
      6. KYREN PARIS (SS, 21, AA)

      2022 Rank: 3 (-3)
      Ranking Range: 4-6
      Stats: 105 games, .241/.363/.417, 12 HR, 33 SB (Rk/A+/AA)
      If there’s one prospect for whom the national and AngelsWin perception differs the most, it is Kyren Paris. As you can see, none of our eight authors ranked him lower than #6, while most publications don’t even have him in the top 10. Paris started very slowly in A+ ball, before eventually heating up, earning a late season call-up to AA Rocket City, where he crushed the ball, hitting .359/.510/.641 in 14 games. Paris has game changing speed, a good approach at the plate and some pop in his bat. He’ll start 2023 back in Rocket City and is one to keep an eye on. Defensively, Paris could stick at SS, as he has good range, a decent arm, and sets himself up well to be in position to make the plays. However, many of the people we talk to feel like he could be a starting 2B with good range, again, depending on whatever moves the Angels make.
      Full Interview with Kyren Paris
      7. WERNER BLAKELY (3B, 21, A+)

      2022 Rank: 23 (+16)
      Ranking Range: 6-11
      Stats: 55 games, .295/.447/.470, 5 HR, 24 SB (A)
      Blakely was considered very raw, young, and toolsy when the Angels drafted him in the 4th round of 2020, a notion that his first professional season in Rookie ball illustrated quite well, as he hit .192/.339/.284 in 44 games. But he exploded in 2022; most impressively, he walked 45 times in 55 games, displaying impressive speed and a bit of pop. After splitting 2021 between 2B, SS, and 3B, the Angels moved him to 3B this year, which is likely his future position. Blakely has the potential to add more power as he fills out. Settling into one defensive position, along with getting more regular reps, should help. Blakely has been limited in previous seasons by some freak injuries (broken hamate bone, broken arm). As he gets more experience, he will move up on prospect lists.
      Full Interview with Werner Blakely
      8. DENZER GUZMAN (SS, 19, A)

      2022 Rank: 7 (-1)
      Ranking Range: 7-11
      Stats: .278/.346/.402 in 234 PA (Rookie/A).
      The Angels’ top international signing from 2021, with a $2 million dollar signing bonus,  came stateside this year, and held his own in Rookie ball (.287/.341/.422). His numbers were relatively modest, but for his age are quite good, and he has a plethora of skills and a lot of development potential as a future big leaguer. Still very much a work-in-progress, with a wide range of possible outcomes. However, in his limited time, Guzman has done enough to leapfrog over several other shortstop prospects, and he should stick at that position for now. With the ability to hit the ball to all fields, Guzman should develop more power as he matures.
      Update: After a brief stint with Inland Empire and solid play at instructional league in 2022, Guzman returns to Inland Empire for his first full season where his arm and glove have already impressed, and his bat is beginning to turn heads as well. - @taylorblakeward
      Full Interview with Denzer Guzman
      9. SAM BACHMAN (SP, 23, AA)

      2022 Rank: 2 (-7)
      Ranking Range: 7-16
      Stats: 12 GS, 43.2 IP, 3.92 ERA, 25 BB, 30 SO (AA)
      It was a disappointing year for 2021’s first round pick, and more than a little concerning: Bachman continued to struggle with injuries, and when healthy looked very different from the flamethrower the Angels had drafted a year before; his fastball had trouble leaving the low 90s. For context, consider that the major league average is now close to 94 mph. Meaning, Bachman—who was clocked at over 100 mph in college—didn’t even pitch at average velocity in 2022. His future is contingent on whether that velocity returns, and even if it does we should probably accept that he’s almost certainly destined for the bullpen. If he can stay healthy and his velocity comes back, he could be an elite closer; if not, he might not have much of a major league career. There is still a shot that he sticks in the rotation, and for now, the Angels are planning to stick with him there. But, his fastest path to the majors, and possibly his best outcome, could be in the pen.
      Full Interview Sam Bachman
      10. NELSON RADA (CF, 17, Rookie)

      2022 Rank: 18 (+8)
      Ranking Range: 8-13
      Stats: 50 games, .311/.446/.439, 27 SB (DOSL Rookie).
      We’re told to take low minor league numbers with a grain of salt, the more so with those from the Dominican league. But it is hard not to be impressed with that line from Rada, especially considering that he was 16-years old. And, it’s hard not to notice all the praise that Rada is getting from the people we talk to, both inside and outside of the organization. The most impressive element is not even mentioned above: He walked and struck out 26 times in 50 games, implying, at least, the potential for a strong plate approach which, coupled with impressive athletic tools, particularly his power,  gives Rada a very high ceiling. Hopefully we’ll see him state-side in 2023, but it is still way too early to know just how good this kid can become. If we do see him stateside, he will be one of the youngest players in whatever league he’s in, so, that will have to factor into whatever production he makes in 2023.
      Update: Nelson Rada was the Angels top international signing in 2022, signing for $1.8 million, and immediately showcased his skillset in the Dominican Summer League hitting .311 with an .885 OPS. The Angels are now challenging the young outfielder with an aggressive assignment to Low-A for his first full season where he looks to be a consistent hitter despite being one of the youngest players in professional baseball. - @taylorblakeward
      Full Interview with Nelson Rada
      11. ADRIAN PLACENCIA (IF, 20, A+)

      2022 Rank: 12 (+1)
      Ranking Range: 8-14
      Stats: 104 games, .254/.387/.427, 13 HR, 21 SB (A)
      Prospects junkies will remember the ACL Rookie team at the beginning of last year, with a talented group of position players all starting strongly. Most tailed off, including Placencia, but he’s also one of the few who had a noticeably better 2022 season. Placencia is a bit of an anomaly, because on one hand he’s supposed to be a spray hitter who will hit for average, on the other evidently he struggles with heat, and has somehow managed to walk a fair amount. But improvement over last year is always a good sign.
      12. BEN JOYCE (RP, 22, AA)

      2022 Rank: Amateur/Prep
      Ranking Range: 10-14
      Stats: 13 IP, 2.08 ERA, 4 BB, 20 SO (AA).
      After watching Joyce’s debut in 2022, who looked more polished than advertised, it is hard imagining how he slipped to the 3rd round. The guy has one of the fastest pitches in professional baseball having been clocked at 105 and, if he can maintain the surprising control he displayed, is going to be in Anaheim sometime in 2023 and an elite reliever within a couple years.
      Full Interview with Ben Joyce
      13. JAKE MADDEN (SP, 21, A+/AA)

      2022 Rank: Amateur/Prep
      Ranking Range: 8 – Not Ranked
      Stats: NA
      The Angels’ 3rd pick and 4th rounder last year didn’t play a professional game, so there’s not a lot to go on. Scouting reports speak of high upside, though, with a three-pitch arsenal and plenty of velocity, though he’ll need work on his location. Lots of upside, and already has Tommy John surgery on his resume.
      14. JEREMIAH JACKSON (IF, 23, AA)

      2022 Rank: 5 (-9)
      Ranking Range: 13-19
      Stats: 87 games, .215/.308/.404, 14 HR (AA)
      When you look at Jackson’s trajectory over the last few years, there’s glimmers of Brandon Wood: A surprising breakout season in the low minors, followed by declined performance at higher levels, with a big drop off last year. He also seems somewhat injury prone, playing only 138 games over the last two seasons. His prospect status is falling, though he still has upside to dream on, but he needs to both stay healthy and make better contact.
      15. CADEN DANA (SP, 19, A)

      2022 Rank: Amateur/Prep
      Ranking Range: 12 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 6.48 ERA, 8.1 IP, 1 BB, 8 SO (Rookie/A)
      A rare pitcher drafted by the Angels out of high school, Dana was picked on Day 3 of the draft along with his brother, Casey. Where Casey is a college outfielder likely to max out as minor league depth, Caden shows a lot of promise. He’s pretty much the classic pitching prospect, with a strong frame, a good curveball, projectable fastball hitting 95, and a work-in-progress changeup. His size allows him to throw downhill and induce a lot of ground-balls. Lots of upside here who, especially if he adds a notch and a bit of movement to that fastball and works on his changeup, could jump to the top of the Angels pitching prospects.
      Update: (April 12th, 2023) "The projectable right-hander with a power breaking ball and mid 90's fastball returns to Inland Empire for his first full season where he looks to stay consistent following his first start where he missed bats at a premium with eight strikeouts over five innings, which included a look at his new changeup." - @taylorblakeward
      Full Interview with Caden Dana
      16. COLEMAN CROW (SP, 22, AAA)

      2022 Rank: 17 (+1)
      Ranking Range: 15 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 23 GS, 128 IP, 4.85 ERA, 35 BB and 128 SO (AA)
      Crow put up solid numbers in his first full season in AA. Right now he projects as a #5 starter or long reliever, unless he can add a bit more velocity. He gives the Angels another solid depth option, at the least. One of our writers compared him to Scot Shields - similar smaller body, similar fastball velocity that can play up into the mid-90s if needed. With an elite slider, he has a solid floor of at least a plus middle reliever.
      17. JORDYN ADAMS (CF, 23, AA)

      2022 Rank: 9 (-8)
      Ranking Range: 15 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 120 games, .238/.317/.332, 4 HR, 33 SB (A+/AA)
      Oh, how the mighty have fallen. A few years ago, first-round pick Jordyn Adams was mentioned in the same breath as top prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, with some even liking his upside more. With his blazing speed (he earns a rare true 80 grade) and defense, he has a major league future, although whether his hitting develops enough to be more than a Jarrod Dyson remains to be seen. While his statistics have stagnated, the word in the organization is that he’s coming along, though it is hard not to have an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude. Adams is a good example of how we should temper our expectations with prospects, but also not take a “star or bust” perspective. Regardless of whether he learns to hit, he’s going to provide major league value at some point.
      Full Interview with Jordyn Adams
      18. LANDON MARCEAUX (SP, 23, AA)

      2022 Rank: 21 (+3)
      Ranking Range: 14 – 25
      Stats: 18 GS, 90.2 IP, 2.98 ERA, 16 BB, 73 SO (A+/AA)
      Like Crow a couple ranks higher, Marceaux isn’t a “sexy” pitching prospect, but one who projects as either a back-end starter or middle reliever. Note his control: he gave up only 16 walks in 90 innings. With above average breaking pitches but a below average fastball, Marceaux’s upside is limited, but his floor is high enough to foretell a major league career. Rare for a pitchability type, Marceaux has shown an ability to keep the ball in the park and, coupled with a great ability hit his spots, he's another guy with a very good chance at a solid major league career.
      19. RANDY DEJESUS (OF, 18, Rookie)

      2022 Rank: Unranked (+12)
      Ranking Range: 16-27
      Stats: 210 PA, .272/.362/.467, 7 HR (DOSL)
      DeJesus was the second of two international outfield prospects signed by the Angels last year, along with Rada. He’s a bit like Alexander Ramirez was a few years ago: a high upside bat to dream on, but lots of volatility. One to watch.
      20. DAVID CALABRESE (OF, 20, A+)

      2022 Rank: Unranked (+11)
      Ranking Range: 17-26
      Stats: 112 games, .250/.326/.387, 7 HR, 26 SB (A)
      Bear with me on this comp: Chad Curtis. After a disappointing debut in 2021 in which he hit .201/.303/.306 in Rookie ball, Calabrese had a solid season for the Inland Empire, showing a bit of everything. He probably projects as a fourth outfielder, but Calabrese has some sneaky skills, including above average plate discipline and excellent speed. Perhaps most importantly, he improved throughout year: His OPS improved each month, from .579 in May to 1.045 in September. With no power but plenty of speed, and a knack for taking a few few walks, hints of Brett Butler?
      21. LIVAN SOTO (SS, 23, AAA/MLB)

      2022 Rank: Unranked (+10)
      Ranking Range: 15-26
      Stats: 119 games, .281/.379/.362, 6 HR, 18 SB (AA); 18 games, .400/.414/.582 (MLB)
      Soto’s solid performance in AA earned a late season call-up to the Angels, which he took advantage of, hitting the over the off the ball. While clearly it is a small sample size, there’s enough here to project a solid career as a utility player or fringe starter, albeit one with excellent defense. His upside is that of a Maicer Izturis, which means he could be a very important part of improving the Angels' bench depth--strong defensive shortstops with above average plate discipline have value.
      22. AROL VERA (IF, 20, A)

      2022 Rank: 4 (-18)
      Ranking Range: 19-27
      Stats: 120 games, 4 HR, 19 SB, .207/.291/.281 (A)
      Vera was one of the more disappointing prospects this year, his ranking dropping from #4 last year to #22. Clearly he was over-matched in full season A ball, and is likely to repeat it. With excellent bat speed and tons of tools, Vera is a good candidate for a rebound, but as with a lot of Angels hitting prospects, he'll need to make better contact.
      23. WALBERT URENA (SP, 19, A)

      2022 Rank: Not in organization - International Signing
      Ranking Range: 16 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 10 GS, 37.1 IP, 32 BB, 45 SO (Rookie)
      A brief glance at his stats shows a complete lack of control (almost 1 walk per inning pitched), but also a fair number of strikeouts. Urena is very raw, but an 18-year old who can reach triple digits is one to dream on.
      24. JOSE SORIANO (SP, 24, A+)

      2022 Rank: In the Pirates Organization
      Ranking Range: 17-29th
      Stats: 7 GS, 13 IP, 2.08 ERA, 4 BB, 17 (Rookie/A)
      Remember this guy? Soriano was in the Angels organization as far back as 2016, when he was an international signing. He was lost in the Rule V draft to the Pirates but then went down with injury. The Angels reclaimed him, and he’s back. Sort of a sleeper pick at this point, but has a solid chance of a major league career, probably in the bullpen. The operative phrase is, "If healthy." The good news is, his fastball still touches upper 90's to go along with a good slider and workable changeup. 
      25. MASON ERLA (SP, 25, AAA)

      2022 Rank: 29 (+4)
      Ranking Range: 10 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 16 GS, 4.28 ERA, 82 IP, 19 BB, 64 SO (AA)
      Erla is in a similar category with Crow and Marceaux: Limited upside, but high floor and probably a major league career of some kind. Erla’s career was delayed by a fifth year in college and the lost 2020 season, so he’s a bit older for a prospect, but he might have a bit more upside than those other two, with a mid-90s fastball and a plus changeup.
      26. ALEXANDER RAMIREZ (OF, 20, A)

      2022 Rank: 8 (-18)
      Ranking Range: 18 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 118 games, .230/.290/.352, 8 HR, 21 SB (A)
      While not quite as bad as Vera in his first full professional season, Ramirez was similarly disappointing. It is hard not to dream on the offensive upside, but a good reminder that high volatility prospects don’t work out more often than they do. Like Vera, Ramirez is young enough not to give up on, but also like Vera, we were probably too bullish on him last year.
      27. ERIC TORRES (RP, 23, AAA)

      2022 Rank: Amateur/Prep
      Ranking Range: 23 – Not Ranked
      Stats: 51 IP, 1.59 ERA, 23 BB, 81 SO (AA)
      Torres had a breakout season in 2022, and has a chance of reaching the major league bullpen in 2023. As a lefty who can generate outs, Torres likely has a major league career ahead of him. Torres fastball works in the low 90's but can touch 95 mph. Hitters have a tough time picking up his heater which generates whiffs up in the zone. The southpaw reliever has a good slider to go along with his heater.
      Full Interview with Eric Torres
      28. DAVIS DANIEL (SP, 26, AAA/MLB)

      2022 Rank: 11 (-17)
      Ranking Range: 22 - Not Ranked
      Stats: 102.1 IP, 4.49 ERA, 32 BB, 83 SO (AAA)
      After being drafted by the Angels in the 7th round of the 2019 draft, Daniel missed the rest of the year with injury, then lost 2020 to the lack of a minor league season. He was considered a bit of a sleeper prospect in 2021 - not unlike Erla now - and didn't disappoint, rising quickly from A+ to AAA. But his performance this past year was rather lackluster, although certainly impacted by pitching in Salt Lake. He enters 2023 as AAA rotation depth, and should get his chance at some point this year. Could be a useful long reliever.
      29. VICTOR MEDEROS (SP, 22, A+)

      2022 Rank: Amateur/Prep
      Ranking Range: 25 - Not Ranked
      Stats: 16 IP, 5.63 ERA, 9 BB, 15 SO (A+)
      We didn't get a good look at Mederos, but a fastball that touches 99 and projectible secondary pitches shows upside, but he'll never get there if he doesn't improve his control. If he does, he'll rise quickly.

      2022 Rank: 15
      Ranking Range: 25 - Not Ranked
      Stats: .197/.279/.230 in 69 PA (MLB); .310/.417/.417 in 360 PA (AAA)
      Stefanic was a bit of a "forum darling" for a bit there, but after not doing anything with his cup o' coffee, and showing very limited defensive skills, has dimmed a bit in the collective Angelswin mind. That said, he continued to hit in AAA and shows impressive contact ability and plate discipline (49 walks and 23 Ks in AAA last year), and could be a useful bench player at some point. I see a bit of Orlando Palmeiro with the bat.
      SOME ODDS & ENDS….
      Biggest risers: Silseth (+19), Blakely (+16), DeJesus (+12), Calabrese (+11), Soto (+10), Rada (+8), Quero (+6). Biggest fallers: Daniel (-17), Vera (-18), Ramirez (-18), Kochanowicz (-17), Stefanic (-16), Junk (-15), Albright (-12), Jackson (-9), Adams (-8), Bachman (-7).
      What Happened To…William Holmes, Erik Rivera?
      Also Receiving Votes (31-45ish range): Ryan Costeiu, Luke Murphy, Janson Junk, Sonny DiChiara, Jack Kochanowicz, Robinson Pina, Mason Albright, Kolten Ingram, Dario Laverde, Orlando Martinez, Kevin Maitan
      Traded: Alejandro Hidalgo, Adam Seminaris
      Dominican League and Arizona Complex League prospect guide
      Checking in on Jo Adell, Mickey Moniak, Zach Neto, Jordyn Adams, Ben Joyce, Chase Silseth, Sam Bachman & others after their 2023 Spring Camp. 
      Additional Prospect Interviews
      Below are some interviews of guys who are just outside of our top-30 prospects list
      Kolton Ingram, LHP 
      Sonny DiChiara, 1B
      Ryan Aguilar, 1B/OF
      Preston Palmeiro, INF/OF
      Luke Murphy, RHP
      Jack Kochanowicz, RHP
      Mason Albright, RHP
      Matt Coutney, 1B
      Thank you for reading. Special thanks to the AngelsWin.com posse who contributed to this piece, which includes: @Chuckster70, @Angelsjunky, @Docwaukee, @Inside Pitch, @Second Base, @Dave Saltzer, @rafibomb and @taylorblakeward for his guidance. 
         1 comment
      Interview conducted by Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com
      Werner Blakely grew up in Detroit and was Michigan's top high school player in the 2020 draft class. Due to the coronavirus pandemic he did not get a chance to play his senior season, but the Angels still drafted him in the fifth round and gave him an above-slot bonus ($900,000) to pass up an Auburn commitment. Blakely has what scouts drool over with a long, lean, projectable frame with above average athleticism. He has a good eye and patient approach and has really improved his contact at the plate from his rookie season after the Angels tweaked his uppercut swing. Blakely should add some home run power as he packs more muscle onto his frame and with his athletic body and above average speed he should be able to continue be a threat on the bases as he continues to fill out. While he played shortstop in High School, the Angels want to see him continue to grow at the hot corner where he made strides defensively as the season progressed. He's got a great arm, range and quick actions on the infield. 
      Blakely across 55 games this season in Low-A slashed .295/.447/.470 with five home runs and 40 RBI in 2022. He also drew 45 walks in 235 plate appearances which is above average, as was his speed on the bases. The 20-year old stole 24 bases in 26 attempts this season. The Angels sent Blakley to the Arizona Fall League where he went on to slash .271/.397/.396 with no home runs and eight RBI across 13 games. He's also swiped three bases in four attempts.
      Here's a couple highlights of his play in the AFL this past fall.
      Blakely's play this past fall was good enough to be named to the Arizona Fall League All-Star Roster.
      Taylor Blake Ward gives us his quick scouting report and update on Werner Blakely.
      Check out our own Taylor Blake Ward's interview with Werner Blakely ahead of the Inland Empire 66er's playoff series this past September.
      Here is the complete interview transcript for the deaf, hard of hearing and quotes.
      AngelsWin.com: All right. Werner Blakely, Angels prospect. So, Werner, looking at the season as a whole, maybe not exactly what you wanted on the health perspective, but performance wise, how do you feel it went this year?
      Werner Blakely: I felt really good. You know, I’m a very hard worker, and I’m going to continue to work hard. And this year was just like a little taste of what I believe I can do. I have so much more potential, and I’m just going to keep working and keep working hard; I’m trying to reach that potential but, you know, it hurts. You know, getting hurt, it’s the stuff you can’t control, so that you don’t want. But coming out with these guys and this coaching staff and every day I’m making sure I’m getting my hands useful; I’m making sure I know what I’m doing. And the big shots and the coaching staff are just getting me engaged, and I’m, obviously, stay focused. So, it was a good time.
      AngelsWin.com: Kind of fluky injuries, too. I know the one was a hit by a pitch that, kind of, busted you up.
      Werner Blakely: Yeah, I got hit by a pitch, and then running to first base—the bases are bigger now—so the bottom of my feet skimmed the top of the bag. So, just injuries you can’t really control. But, you know, just got to continue to, you know, play the game, and in the game it happens. So, you just got to be able to bounce back from that.
      AngelsWin.com: What was the biggest developmental focus for you this year?
      Werner Blakely: Probably just getting reps, man. Like, you know, coming from the city, be trade, not playing much baseball, the biggest thing for me was just getting reps. And, unfortunately, the health reasons prevented that. But I do believe, like, when I got in there, I was able to showcase, like, what I was able to do. And, you know, I still got so much more work to go.
      AngelsWin.com: I want to come back to the Detroit thing, but defensively, do you feel that you have a home at third base?
      Werner Blakely: Yeah. I, kind of, feel like I probably should be there. And, you know, I’m bought in at third, and I’m going to try to be something special there. So, I’m bought in.
      AngelsWin.com: Now, being a part of this winning culture, a lot of you guys haven’t really had any postseason experience. And even though it’s limited this year with two sets of three games each, what do you think that having the winning culture here with the 66ers and the Angels organization, kind of, done for you as a player?
      Werner Blakely: You know what? I think, since our new GM came in here, a lot of guys bought in, like me—including me—but we all bought in to a process, man. We come here every day, and we bust our butt. And we don’t like that old stigma of the Angels not being able to win. And Perry coming in and changing that culture, that winning culture, everybody wants it. Everybody wants to win it. And I’m enforcing it here in Inland and everywhere. So, we’re trying to win here, man, and we’re trying to turn the system around. So, we’re just excited to get after it.
      AngelsWin.com: So, I want to know, how are you enforcing it?
      Werner Blakely: Ah, I just make—nobody’s bs’ing; nobody’s going to be lagging; nobody’s going to be taking days off; everybody’s getting their work in. And even when I was injured, I was still making sure I’m running sprints; I’m making sure I’m getting everything in to, you know, when I come back, to be able to help my team. And now, I’m back, and now, I’m able to help my team. So, all that work that I did when I was hurt, now it’s time to pay it off.
      AngelsWin.com: Looking at your swing from when you were in Detroit to, kind of, where it is now, not a ton of differences to the eye, to the appearance. But what do you think the biggest changes have been, kind of, overall, when you think about your swing?
      Werner Blakely: Yeah. I just—I’m really way more body aware. Like, I’m still growing into my frame right now, but I know the positions I have to get my body into to pertain that to the ball, or to field a ground ball. And, honestly, like I said, just getting reps and getting consistent, and getting those reps and staying consistent as possible. So…
      AngelsWin.com: I want to go back to Detroit. You and Cameron Maybin—now, I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it’s charity work in the inner city. Are you still doing that with Cameron?
      Werner Blakely: I am. So, that was a part of Players Alliance. And we did a fund raiser in Detroit, and a lot of people came out—or not fundraiser, but a giveaway—and we gave out a lot of bats, gloves, computers, back-to-school programs. And I’m actually starting my own nonprofit back at home in Detroit. And I’m going to start a camp when I get back in the offseason to give back to Detroit. And a lot of those guys just don’t have the opportunity, you know, to get where I’m at, to get seen, because we’re from up north. But being able to, like, get up there and get those guys exposure, that’s what we need to do.
      AngelsWin.com: You’re really proud of your city, yeah. But thanks, man.
      Photo by: Cristina Byrne-Sternberg/Rocket City Trash Pandas
      By Chuck Richter, AngelsWin.com
      September 20th, 2022
      It didn't take Logan O'Hoppe long to make an impression with his teammates and the entire Southern league after the trade that sent Brandon Marsh to the Phillies in exchange for the Angels newly ranked top prospect. Since joining the Trash Pandas on August 4th Logan O'Hoppe ranked first on the team in Home Runs - (11), Runs Batted In - (33), On-Base Percentage - (.484) Slugging Percentage - (.707) and OPS - (1.191). He didn't stop there as in September O'Hoppe was named the player of the month as he led the way offensively for the Trash Pandas hitting .395 with 4 HR, 15 RBI, and a 1.294 OPS.
      O'Hoppe finished the 2022 season with an impressive .283/.416/.544 (.960 OPS) slash line, a 159 wRC+, 26 HR, 78 RBI, 70 walks in 104 games between the Phillies & Angels minor league affiliates in Double-A.
      After meeting with O'Hoppe in person and seeing him on the field doing pre-game drills; he reminded me a lot of a young Mike Trout. Great kid that puts in the work, that's also an incredible athlete, chiseled with lean muscle throughout. The 22-year old just looks like an MLB star in the making.
      Here's O'Hoppe clubbing his 11th home run in 27 games for the Trash Pandas. 
      When I asked which what part of the game O'Hoppe took the most pride in, it wasn't his power or overall offense output, but being behind the plate and game management. O'Hoppe has managed an incredibly dominant Trash Pandas pitching staff since his first game with the Trash Pandas on August 4th. In the 27 games O'Hoppe has started at catcher, the Angels Double-A affiliate has won 22 games.
      Before our interview with O'Hoppe, Rocket City Trash Pandas manager Andy Schatzley was doing some catch & throw drills with the Angels top prospect. 
      Check out O'Hoppe's in-game pop time earlier this season. 👀
      I asked O'Hoppe which player he modeled himself after growing up and which team he was a fan of. Find out if he's still a fan of that same team and well, here's a hint on which team that was that when as a fan in left field, he caught a home run ball off the bat of Manny Machado and threw it back onto the field.
      In our interview O'Hoppe talked about the responsibility of being ranked as the Los Angeles Angels top prospect and how he's ready for it. He reflects on when he was that skinny kid drafted in the 23rd round by the Phillies out of high school, and how that will always be in his head.
      On the topic of rankings, as of today on Sept 20th, 2022 take a look at MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects. Logan O’Hoppe has the highest OPS (.960) & wRC+ (159) of all the MLB top 100 prospect catchers based on 80 games or more played at the catching position in the 2022 season.
      Rank 1st - Francisco Alvarez: (20 years old) .250/.360/.504 (.863 OPS) 26 HR, 75 RBI, 62 walks, 105 games, 75 at catcher.
      Rank 7th - Gabriel Moreno: (22 years old) .315/.386/.420 (.806 OPS) 3 HR, 39  RBI, 24 walks, 62 games
      Rank 9th - Diego Cartaya: (21 years old) .254/.389/.503 (.892 OPS) 22 HR, 72 RBI, 63 walks, 95 games, 64 behind the plate.
      Rank 20th - Henry Davis: (22 years old) .265/.380/.472 (.852 OPS) 10 HR, 42 RBI, 21 walks, 59 games, 38 games behind the plate.
      Rank 36th - Shea Langeliers (24 years old) .283/.366/.510 (.876 OPS) 19 HR, 56 RBI, 43 walks, 92 games, 79 behind the plate.
      Rank 40th - Kevin Parada (21 years old) .275/.455/.425 (.880 OPS) 1 HR, 8 RBI, 12 walks, 13 games
      Rank 50th - Tyler Soderstrom (20 years old) .265/ .324/.509 (.833 OPS), 28 HR, 99 RBI, 125 games, 47 games at C, 56 games at 1B.
      Rank 66th - Drew Romo (21 years old) .254/.321/.372 (.693 OPS), 5 HR, 58 RBI, 35 walks, 101 games, 57 behind the plate.
      Rank 67th - Logan O’Hoppe: (22 years old) .283/.416/.544 (.960 OPS) 159 wRC+, 26 HR, 78 RBI, 70 walks, 104 games *Second most games played at catcher with 85 from the top catching prospects.
      Rank 68th - Harry Ford (19 years old) .274/.425/.438 (.863 OPS) 11 HR, 65 RBI, 88 walks, 104 games, 54 behind the plate.
      Rank 78th - Bo Naylor (22 years old) .256/.388/.482 (.870 OPS), 19 HR, 61 RBI, 79 walks, 114 games, 95 games behind the plate
      Rank 86th - Austin Wells (23 years old) .277/.385/.512 (.897 OPS) 20 HR, 65 RBI, 56 walks, 92 games, 65 behind the plate.
      *Unranked - Edgar Quero (19 years old) .312/.435/.530 (.965 OPS) 17 HR, 75 RBI, 73 walks, 111 games, 80 games behind the plate
      *Unranked - Endy Rodriguez (22 years old) .317/.406/.580 (.986 OPS) 24 HR, 87 RBI, 60 walks, 119 games, 72 games behind the plate, 17 at 2B, 13 in LF and 3 games at 1B.
      An impressive list of talented catchers on MLB's top 100 prospects list. You could argue that O'Hoppe should be ranked somewhere between Cartaya & Davis and definitely ahead of Gabriel Moreno in their current rankings. It's also worth noting that Angels prospect catcher Edgar Quero who is not currently ranked as a top 100 prospect by MLB boasts the highest OPS (.965) based on the same games played at catcher criteria. Endy Rodriguez is most likely moving to another position.
      I digress...
      Enough of stats and rankings, check out our interview below with the Los Angeles Angels top prospect Logan O'Hoppe, conducted by AngelsWin.com's own Chuck Richter. 
      Here's the full interview transcript for the hard of hearing. 
      AngelsWin.com: Chuck Richter, AngelsWin.com., here with Logan O’Hoppe. How’re you doing, Logan?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Doing well. How are you?
      AngelsWin.com: Good. First off, how awesome is it to be a part of this culture here, this winning culture here in this playoff run that you guys are on?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Yeah, it’s been great. It’s something that I’ve wanted to be a part of for a while. So, I’m grateful I got signed here and grateful that we’ve got this group of guys here.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. What will Angel fans come to learn about you, the player and the person?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Yeah, as far as a player goes, I’m going to give everything I have and take pride in doing the little things the right way and giving everything I got every day. You know, I think it’s stuff I can control, and things I’ll continue to take pride in and work on.
      And, as a person, I mean, it’s really baseball—I don’t know why I work so hard. But, you know, I’m just kidding—but, yeah, I feel like I just, again I want to do things that right way and be the best version of myself I can be. So, that’s what I’m going to continue to focus on.
      AngelsWin.com: What part of the game do you take most pride in?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Definitely, behind the plate and game management. It’s a part of my game I feel like that always needs the most work, and that hasn’t changed in my four-year, three-year career—however long it’s been. But yeah, that’s the part I enjoy the most, and the part that I feel like is the most important.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. Are you left to your own devices as far as, like, workout, diet, anything baseball related? Or do the Angels have a plan in place for you?
      Logan O’Hoppe: The Angels have a plan. And, obviously, we have our staff here to walk us through it. In the winter, I’ll do the stuff with my trainer back home; his name is Adam Belding [unintelligible 00:01:29]. Shoot, it’s going to be four years now, I think. So, Adam’s great, and he’s been a game changer in my career so far. So, I’m going to continue to work with him in the offseason, and then, hopefully, keep getting a lot out of it.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Do you see a difference in philosophy from the Phillies and Angels?
      Logan O’Hoppe: I do; I do. Yeah, it’s stuff I had to get used to, and it was a—I don’t want to say culture shock; it wasn’t, because it’s still baseball. But it was definitely different, and yeah, I loved it here so far.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Who’s impressed you the most here on the club?
      Logan O’Hoppe: I mean, we got such a mixed bag of guys. You know, everybody is—we cover every box that you could imagine. You know, we got different guys with different stories. So, I’ve been impressed just hearing everybody’s story. I don’t want to say one guy in particular. As far as stuff goes on the mound, Chase Silseth’s been pretty eye-opening. He’s probably impressed me the most. And all these go about their work at a pretty professional way. So, I’ve been impressed with the consistency from everybody.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. Who do you, kind of, model your game after, big leaguer?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Yeah. I always liked Derek Jeter growing up. So, I still watch him and was all over his documentary when it came out. So, I try to pay attention to things he does. And then—I don’t want to say, ”Be like him.” I want to take things from him that I like to do and, kind of, make it my own. And then take it with me going forward. So, that’s it.
      AngelsWin.com: Do you have a favorite team growing up?
      Logan O’Hoppe: I rooted for the Yankees. But I played against them too much and got beat them too much in the past four years. So, I’m not a fan of them anymore.
      AngelsWin.com: [laugh] Good. So, you mentioned Jeter. Who was your favorite team growing up?
      Logan O’Hoppe: It was the Yankees growing up—
      AngelsWin.com: Was the Yankees.
      Logan O’Hoppe: —yeah, that was it. So, yeah. Then a huge Ranger fan—
      AngelsWin.com: Ranger, okay.
      Logan O’Hoppe: —hockey guy, too. So, those are—I mean, those were my two teams. Still a Ranger fan now, though.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Tell us a little bit about your charity work with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
      Logan O’Hoppe: Yeah, it started in the beginning of the year. I talked with people in my agency over at Aces, and they were a game changer with helping me get that going. And yeah, today’s the last day. So, I wanted to make a difference as far as cancer as a whole, but specifically, childhood cancer; it’s super close to home. And I’m happy that we got a good thing going, and, I guess, today’s the last day. It’s, kind of, crazy and overwhelming to see the support, and yeah, the support from a bunch of people. I mean, we raised over 25 thousand dollars, so I know that’s not a small number. So, I’m super proud of that, and then just so grateful to have that many people helping and rally around it.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s great. What do you feel like you need to work on to make it to the big leagues?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Again, my game management, like I said before and all aspects behind the plate. I feel like I’ve got to really fine tune those. And at the plate, really, I’m not going to sit here and say, like, I got anything in the game figured out. I know I’ll never have it figured out. But just continue to work, overall, and try to fine tune and polish some things. And I feel like, I guess, I’ll never figure it out, so I’ll just keep working with that. And it will always be a work in progress.
      AngelsWin.com: What’s been your most memorable game to date in your professional career?
      Logan O’Hoppe: That is a tough one. Honestly, it was probably the other night when we clinched, because I know that felt like a playoff game the other night. So, I’m probably a little biased, because it’s so new in my head. And then I love this team here. But yeah, that’s probably the most memorable of the top of my head.
      AngelsWin.com: Great. Okay, quick. Lightning round. Favorite movie?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Bull Durham.
      AngelsWin.com: Bull Durham, good. Favorite song or artist?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Favorite song, I got so many, man. I don’t even have a set answer. I’d say Morgan Wallen, I love—
      AngelsWin.com: I hear that a lot.
      Logan O’Hoppe: —and [crosstalk 00:04:50] is another one. Yeah, Morgan [unintelligible 00:04:52].
      AngelsWin.com: Favorite video game?
      Logan O’Hoppe: I don’t play video games. Everyone’s an X-Box’er, PlayStation in my life.
      AngelsWin.com: [laugh] I don’t either. What’s a perfect day look like for you away from baseball?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Good question. I wake up; I try to get up pretty early. Then I go get breakfast with the family or girlfriend and hang out with them and sit by the pool. I did that on off-days a lot when I was in Pennsylvania. So, hung out by the pool with them and go get a nice dinner. I like to eat a lot, and I like to eat well. So, I’d say that and get to bed at a pretty early hour. I feel like I’m getting old quick. So, yeah, a lot of rest and a lot of food is my ideal day.
      AngelsWin.com: [laugh] Okay, great. When you’re done playing baseball, have you thought about what your next career would look like?
      Logan O’Hoppe: You know what? I haven’t. And I’m a little embarrassed to say I haven’t yet; I need to start thinking about that. I’ve been putting all my eggs in one basket here with this. So, hopefully, it works out because I haven’t thought about anything else, yet. But It’ll come; I’ll find something for sure.
      AngelsWin.com: Just a last question. Circling back to baseball, what does it mean to you to be ranked as the number-one-rated prospect for the Angels?
      Logan O’Hoppe: Yeah, I still don’t believe it, to be honest with you, because, like, like I said before, I think I got drafted in the 23rd round out of high school. And that will always be in my head, and I’ll always feel like that skinny kid coming in to the locker room, you know? So, it really hasn’t hit me yet; I haven’t felt much about it. But I do know that it comes with a lot of responsibility, and I’m ready for it and excited to deal with that. So, yeah, to answer your question, it really hasn’t really hit me yet, but I’m super honored.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Thank you for your time today, Logan. 
      Photo by: Cristina Byrne-Sternberg/Rocket City Trash Pandas
      By Chuck Richter, AngelsWin.com
      August 21st, 2022
      MADISON, Alabama – Coming off an electric walk-off win the previous night after an hour long rain delay in the 9th inning, all of the players were loose and in good spirits on Sunday. Zach Neto the Angels first round pick in the 2022 amateur draft talked with us for nearly 10 minutes and described the clubhouse's positive atmosphere, the talent on the ball club and his journey from a young man playing baseball to draft day, as well as his short time in professional ball. 
      The Angels #2 ranked prospect according to many publications had his first day off with the Rocket City Trash Pandas on Sunday, but Zach got to cheerlead from the dugout and watch his teammates come back again after a 3-0 deficit to win late, 6-5. 
      In our interview, Zach Neto also defined what playing with 'swag' means to him, how he enjoys interacting with the fans at the ballpark and much much more. 
      Check out our AngelsWin.com exclusive interview with the Angels 2022 first round pick Zach Neto below.
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      Here is the complete interview transcript for the hard of hearing and for quotes. 
      AngelsWin.com: All right. Chuck Richter here as AngelsWin.com, here today with Zach Neto. Zach, how’re you doing?
      Zach Neto: I’m doing good; how about you?
      AngelsWin.com: Good, good. Hey, real quick, the Trash Pandas, the run they’re on; it’s got to be exciting to be a part of that.
      Zach Neto: For sure. Yeah, it’s awesome. You know, I just able to be a part of this team, and I’ll be a part of a winning team, good coaching, the locker room, on the field; great atmosphere here in Rocket City. It’s just awesome to be a part of; being able to put on the uniform every day and feel proud about it. It’s, honestly, a dream come true, and just being able to go out there with the guys in the locker room, and the coaching staff that we have, it’s just stress free, you know? Just being able to go out there; play your game, and whatever happens, happens. But be able to know that no matter what happens, the team got your back and the coaches as well.
      AngelsWin.com: Right. Yeah. What was Draft Day like for you? It must’ve been exciting.
      Zach Neto: Oh, yeah. Draft Day was awesome. Actually, being able to be there, get my name called; being there with my family. It was just a dream come true; you know? First all-star game, first home-run derby, it could’ve happened the year I got drafted. So, it was awesome.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome. When did you know when the Angels were interested in you?
      Zach Neto: The Angels, I found out about a couple days before they were on the clock. They didn’t really know if I was go Angels or not, but they took the front step forward, and they’re on the clock, and it was there, and I’m glad to be an Angel; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Yeah. What will Angel fans come to learn of you the player, your style of play, and you the person?
      Zach Neto: Yeah. So, style of play. It’s just somebody who’s going to have a lot of fun on the field, very energetic; he likes to be the crowd attention, somebody behind the scenes. I’m just working on my craft every day, you know, trying to get perfect at one thing at a time, and just being able to go out there on the field, have a smile on my face no matter how good or bad the day is going for me; just being able to go out there, have fun, be electric, and just be me.
      And then it’s just something that I like to do before the game, I just like to go out there. The game’s already mental itself, so just trying to go out there, kind of, get some stress out of my head, and just have some fun with the kids, you know? The kids don’t come all the games, so just being able to make that day memorable for them to be able to meet a professional athlete. It’s just something that I’ve always wished I did, and I’m just giving it back. I’m playing a lot of pressure for a game, for a baseball. It’s just awesome and being able to have that winning mentality and making that competition for them as well.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome. What do you take most pride in in your game: hitting, baserunning, defense?
      Zach Neto: Yeah, I take pride in a lot of things, you know? The biggest thing I take pride in is just making the least amount of mistakes, you know? Hitting, defense, baserunning, it all comes together, but just being able to make the least amount of mistakes is going to win ballgames. You could be batting a thousand, but if you’re making mistakes on the field, you might not win that day.
      So, to be able to make the little mistakes, be able to correct those, and be able to have a good game on and off the field, it’s just a day of success, you know? Even if the day doesn’t go your way, it’s just something that you’ll feel proud about going into the next day and just keep going from there and not stopping what you’ve been practicing and just keep going.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. So, what do you think you need to work on to reach your full potential and make it to the big leagues?
      Zach Neto: Yeah. I think the biggest thing for me is just being able to, like, take the pressure off of myself. Draft Day is already over. I have a lot of expectations coming into this year, next year, the years after that. It’s just being able to take that pressure off my shoulders just going back to being the player that I was. Just going out there; I’m having fun and producing on the field.
      I could see myself having—I see myself sped up a little bit right now, you know, making a couple of mistakes I shouldn’t be making and being hard on myself a little bit right now. But the coaching staff is doing a really good job of, kind of, like, taking it off of me and just telling me to, like, just to shake it off and go on to the next day. And I think that’s going to be the biggest thing for me, just being able to take all that pressure off my shoulders, and know that if I have a bad day, that tomorrow’s a new day, and I could be the best player I can tomorrow.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Are you, kind of, left to your own devices in terms of, you know, like, your workout, your goals, diet, anything like that? Or does the organization, kind of, instruct you on what you should do?
      Zach Neto: Yeah. So, they’re, kind of, letting me do my own thing. They’re there just there for support. Of course they’re there to help me through it and stuff like that, but they’re, pretty much, there to just—whatever I need, they’re going to be there for me; whatever I want, they’re going to try to get for me. But they’re, pretty much, lenient about that, letting me, kind of, see the player that I want to be and just not do too much with it. Just, kind of, let it be and just let me go out there and have success.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Who has impressed you the most, teammate or opposing player, so far in the minors here?
      Zach Neto: Hmm, that’s a good question. I would have to say the whole, like I say, locker room, you know—
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. Talented.
      Zach Neto: —bunch of guys I’ve never met before, only the draft guys when we’re at mini-camp. But pretty much everybody in there you know Just being able to see people play for the first time, it’s always an impression, and being able to go to Biloxi, not play that first game, and I was there. And just being able to see how everything gelled with team. It was just awesome.
      You know, I mean, I’m not a big fan of watching baseball, but, I mean—I tell you what—I love watching that game of baseball, because it was just awesome; awesome game to watch. The guys were awesome. And even the coaches as well, they were very electric, very energetic, into the game, and it was just something fun to watch, for sure.
      AngelsWin.com: Cool. What was your best game to date: high school, college or even professional?
      Zach Neto: I would probably have to say—I would probably have to say in college. You know, we played a series at Liberty. And we didn’t start off the way we started—started off hot. And we went to Liberty—they hadn’t lost a game yet—and able to go over there, hit my first home run of the season start. And then my next at bat, being able to hit one over the batter’s eye, that was probably my farthest home run in my life—
      AngelsWin.com: Wow.
      Zach Neto: —able to go out there and do that and then being able to win, I just had that positivity going into the weekend; that was probably the best game of my life.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome; that’s great. When did you really first commit to playing baseball?
      Zach Neto: I would say, probably, around, like, three or four. I have an older brother who’s nine years older. So, just being able to grow up watching him, kind of, see the love for the game that he had, and it just carried over to me, you know, being able to see him in high school. And then me growing up in Little League and stuff like that, I’ve always wanted to be just like him, because he was having a lot of success. And just going to the games, major league games like this, and just being able to see other guys play, kind of, pinpoint things and stuff, it was awesome to see. And it just gave me the love for the game even more.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Who were your favorite baseball players growing up?
      Zach Neto: My parents are big Yankee’s fans growing up, so I ‘ve always grown-up watching Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter’s always been my favorite player. Today, I would probably say Kiki Hernández is my favorite player just because of his versatility; just reminds me of myself; being able to play anywhere, anywhere, anytime; being that coach’s best friend; being able to put him anywhere in the lineup; being able to put him anywhere on the field and know that you’re going to get the best version of himself. And, yeah, but those two are my favorite position players.
      AngelsWin.com: So, who do you model your play after?
      Zach Neto: I try to model myself over Derek Jeter—
      AngelsWin.com: Derek Jeter, yeah.
      Zach Neto: —yeah.
      AngelsWin.com: If you’re to make it to the big leagues, what would your walk-up music be? [laugh]
      Zach Neto: I couldn’t tell you right not, but it would probably be something that gets the crowd going just to, kind of, get that feeling. I like to play with a lot of pressure. I feel like I do good under pressure. So, just to be able to get the crowd going nice and quickly while I’m making my major league debut, it’s probably going to be something electric, for sure.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s cool. You did mention that you do play with a lot of swagger. Define what is ‘swagger’ mean to you?
      Zach Neto: Yeah. So, ‘swag’ to me is just something that I just try to go out there, not to be too flashy, but something that I’m flashy, but being able to make the plays look easy. Being able to make plays that guys really won’t be able to make. And just being able to go out there with a lot of energy, you know? I think swag—I think the definition of ‘swag’ is just being able to play with a lot of energy. Like, really, not caring about what the outcome is, and just be able to go out there and be the best version of yourself.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay, Lightning Round real quick. Favorite movie?
      Zach Neto: Favorite movie? Top Gun.
      AngelsWin.com: Top Gun, awesome. Yeah. The original, or the new one?
      Zach Neto: The original.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Favorite song?
      Zach Neto: Favorite song? “Dead or Alive,” Jazz Cartier.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Favorite video game to play against?
      Zach Neto: Call of Duty.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. What would be a perfect day away from the ballpark for you? What does that look like?
      Zach Neto: Beach— anytime at the beach.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. When you’re done playing baseball, what’s your next career?
      Zach Neto: Just being able to continue going with the development, you know, and just being able to show little kids the game of baseball; giving them my sense, and just being able to show them how to be successful and just have fun on the field.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Well, thank you for meeting with us today.
      Zach Neto: Yes, sir.
      Photo by: Cristina Byrne-Sternberg/Rocket City Trash Pandas
      By Chuck Richter, AngelsWin.com
      105.5. That’s a number. But it’s not just any number. That’s the speed of a fastball thrown by Ben Joyce—the fastest pitch ever thrown in college baseball and the third fastest pitch ever sitting just behind two pitches thrown by Aroldis Chapman. Joyce didn’t just do it once—he consistently threw above 103.5 mph, or faster than every pitch thrown in the Major Leagues last year.
      Joyce recently hit 102 MPH in what was a key 9th inning to hold score before the Rocket City Trash Pandas came back in the bottom of the inning on a walk-off Preston Palmeiro.
      Drafted by the Angels in the 3rd round this year, 89th overall, Ben Joyce is a tall (6’ 5”) right hander with a solid build (225 lbs) who has become part of the exciting AA Rocket City Trash Pandas. For Ben, coming from the University of Tennessee which was ranked #1 going into the College World Series, joining the Trash Pandas on their playoff run is an exciting cap to a great year. The thrill of going from one winning program to another inspires his confidence and motivates him to do better.
      Chuck Richter, our Founder and Executive Director, recently caught up with Ben Joyce to find out more about what it was like to be drafted by the Angels, his style of play, what he’s working on, and about him as a person. It’s a great interview with one of the Angels rising prospects—one that we hope will be in Anaheim for many years and pitching meaningful innings for the team.
      Speaking of his style of play, here's a snapshot of the type of fire (105.5 MPH) he brings from his fastball velocity, and the fiery passion he brings to the mound. 
      Click below to watch our interview with Angels pitcher Ben Joyce.

      Here's the complete interview transcript for the hard of hearing. 
      AngelsWin.com: This is Chuck Richter from AngelsWin.com. I’m here today with Ben Joyce. Ben, how’re you doing?
      Ben Joyce: Doing great.
      AngelsWin.com: Hey, real quick. I know you just got here, but how exciting is it to be a part of this Trash Panda team that’s in a playoff run?
      Ben Joyce: Yeah. Yeah, it’s been awesome. I mean, coming from Tennessee, we had a really competitive team and jumping right into another one, it’s been a lot of fun. And they welcomed me right away, and the atmosphere here is amazing. So, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
      AngelsWin.com: You’re not too far away, either. That’s great.
      Ben Joyce: No, not at all. A couple hours from home and a lot of Tennessee fans. So, it’s pretty cool.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. What was Draft Day like for you?
      Ben Joyce: It was a crazy day. I mean, it was something that I dreamed of my whole life. And then leading up to the call, I was pretty nervous and finally got the call and got a little emotional, honestly. It was a crazy day. It was awesome to have my family there and my brother and my girlfriend. So, it was a cool experience.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome. When did you know the Angels were interested in you?
      Ben Joyce: I really didn’t. I talked with them at the combine, and then, honestly, I didn’t know, really, where I was going to end up. It was, kind of, up in the air. And then, almost three picks before, I got calls when I got called by them. So, it was pretty crazy to hear that call, and now I was going to be an Angel. It was exciting.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s awesome. What will Angel fans come to learn about you, the player, your style, and you, the person?
      Ben Joyce: Yeah. I mean, I’m very competitive. I’m going to go out there every day and give it all I got. Maybe try to light up the radar gun a little bit, but at the same time, I’m trying to be a complete pitcher. So, it’s—I’m going to go out there and give it everything I got every time. And that’s what you’re going to get from me.
      AngelsWin.com: On that note of being a complete pitcher, we know that your fastball, you’ve hit 105; you bring it. But what are your secondary pitches that you throw?
      Ben Joyce: Yeah. I’m doing a slider and a splitter. The slider is something I’ve been working on a lot with Wuertz and the all the Angels guys ever since I got drafted. So, it’s been continuing to get better, and it’s something that I’m going to continue to throw regularly in the future.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. What do you think you need to work on to reach your full potential and make it to the big leagues?
      Ben Joyce: Yeah, I think for me, just continuing to get in-game repetitions. And I was out the year before last with Tommy John’s; I just continue to get out there and get game experience and throw those secondary pitches more consistently. I think that’s the next step for me.
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Are you left to your own devices in terms of, like, workout, diet, anything baseball related? Or does the organization—the Angels organization—kind of, steer you in a direction or oversee that?
      Ben Joyce: No, it’s been great, because, I mean, they know that you got what it takes to get here, and you got a good routine if you’re here. So, they, kind of, let you do your own thing, and they’re there for guidance and helping you if you need things. And it’s been awesome to have those resources available, but also be able to, kind of, do your own thing and do what got you here and continue to stay healthy and continue to get better as a baseball player.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. I know you just got here, but who has impressed you the most that you’ve seen so far—
      Ben Joyce: Yeah, I mean, honestly, the whole bullpen has impressed me a lot. Just how they go out there and continually get outs and get out of big situations. And, honestly, just their mentality; they’re all really level-headed, and they don’t ever get too high or too low. So, it’s been cool to, kind of, be in with that group and see how they work.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Best game to date: high school, college, or pro?
      Ben Joyce: Yeah. I’ll probably have to say, when I threw against Auburn this year against Sunny D. That’s probably one of my better games this year and one that I’ll probably won’t forget. That was the game I hit 105. So, I probably won’t ever forget that one; that was a good one.
      AngelsWin.com: That’s cool. When did you really first commit to playing baseball?
      Ben Joyce: I was three years old, and I was playing baseball then. I have a twin brother, and we’ve always just, kind of, gravitated towards baseball ever since then. So…
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Who are your favorite players or teams, growing up?
      Ben Joyce: Yeah, my parents are from Pittsburgh, so I’ve been a big Pittsburgh Pirates fan, but I, kind of, just am a fan of baseball. So, growing up, my favorite pitcher’s Max Scherzer. Jacob deGrom. All those guys—
      AngelsWin.com: Good guys.
      Ben Joyce: —very fun to watch. And I’m a big, big Mike Trout fan, and watching him play is pretty special.
      AngelsWin.com: Have you got to meet him, yet?
      Ben Joyce: I have not, no. That’ll be [crosstalk 00:04:03].
      AngelsWin.com: That’ll be awesome. Who do you model your play after?
      Ben Joyce: Honestly, I wouldn’t say my mechanics after anyone. Mentality-wise, I’ve always looked up to Max Scherzer. Just his competitiveness, and the way he approaches pitching and all his routines. So…
      AngelsWin.com: I love the fire he brings on the mound—
      Ben Joyce: It’s awesome.
      AngelsWin.com: Who is one major leaguer you want to face the most when you make it to the big leagues?
      Ben Joyce: I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t have one in mind. It’s just, kind of, I’m excited to, hopefully, get up there and face all of them. So…
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. Real quick, Lightning Round. Favorite movie?
      Ben Joyce: The Dark Knight.
      AngelsWin.com: Awesome. Favorite song or artist?
      Ben Joyce: I’m a big Morgan Wallen fan.
      AngelsWin.com: Yeah. We got that [unintelligible 00:04:39] earlier. Favorite video game?
      Ben Joyce: I don’t play it anymore, but I was a big Fortnite guy. [crosstalk 00:04:45].
      AngelsWin.com: Okay. [laugh] What would be a perfect day for you away from the ballpark?
      Ben Joyce: I’m big into hiking; going out on the lake. It’s anything outdoors for me. Playing with my dogs is pretty good, too.
      AngelsWin.com: When you’re done playing baseball, have you thought about what your next career will look like?
      Ben Joyce: I’d really like to be a strength coach after baseball. That’s, kind of, be something I like to get into.
      AngelsWin.com: Oh, you’re fit, man—
      Ben Joyce: Thank you.
      AngelsWin.com: —Thank you so much for your time today, Ben.
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