LOD’s 2019 Offseason Top Prospects: Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Angels Top Prospects
Here at Legends on Deck our passion is prospects and the offseason presents an outstanding opportunity for us to showcase some of baseball’s top up and comers. Throughout the offseason, we will be bringing you the top ten prospects from all 30 organizations. We will start with the Arizona Diamondbacks and work our way alphabetically all the way through the Washington Nationals. This series is the opinion of Jake Berry, Senior Editor at Legends on Deck and does not reflect any official MLB rankings.
#10 – SS Kevin Maitan
2019 Opening Day Age: 19 ETA: 2022 Top Future Tool: Power
2018 Stats (Rookie): .248/.306/.397, 8 HR, 1 SB, 23.2 K%, 6.7 BB%
Surprised? Look, I know you won’t see Maitan cracking a lot of Angels top 10’s, but there is no reason for him to have dropped down lists the way he has. There is still prolific power in the switch hitter’s swing and the body weight change doesn’t concern me like it does most others. I’m not ruling out a talent like this because a kid gained some weight when he was 18 years old. Plus, check out his social media. I don’t think he will be coming into camp too heavy. There is obviously some work to be done in the swing and miss category, but the raw skill set is there, the plate mechanics just need some work, like most 19 year olds. The double plus arm doesn’t hurt his case either.
#9 – OF D’Shawn Knowles
2019 Opening Day Age: 18 ETA: 2023 Top Future Tool: Run
2018 Stats (Rookie): .311/.391/.464, 5 HR, 9 SB, 25.7 K%, 11.1 BB%
Knowles is one of those players I typically hold off on putting into this list for a year simply because of how raw he is. While I do like to wait and see some of the potential translate to on field production at a higher level, Knowles’ skill set has me excited for his future. A native of The Bahamas, the J2 signee just turned 18 in January and is already turning heads in the prospect world. I believe he has a classic lead off hitter type of profile as the bat will produce a lot of line drives and the speed will turn a lot of hits into extra bases. He profiles well to stay in center and should add some more pop as he matures physically.
#8 – RHP Chris Rodriguez
2019 Opening Day Age: 20 ETA: 2022 Top Future Pitch: FB
2018 Stats: DNP
There are a lot of things I like about Chris Rodriguez. The developed repertoire, the deceptive delivery, and the athletic build are just a start. While the righty did miss all of 2018 due to injury, I believe he is a major bounce back candidate in 2019. The high 90’s fastball is complimented by a plus slider and an above average changeup. This guy is fun to watch pitch and while he may not have the most conventional delivery, he repeats it well. Rodriguez can absolutely pound the strike zone with the heater and make hitters look silly with the secondary stuff. I believe once we get a bigger sample, his K/9 will continue to rise.
#7 – LHP Jose Suarez
2019 Opening Day Age: 21 ETA: 2020 Top Future Pitch: CH
2018 Stats (High-A/Double-A/Triple-A): 117 IP, 3.92 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 142 SO, 44 BB
Suarez vs Rodriguez was a tough call for me and I could make a case for either of them to be at seven. Ultimately, proximity was the deciding factor for me. Suarez absolutely carved hitters up at both his High-A and Double-A stops in 2018, but struggled to find the strike zone after getting the call to Triple-A. Still, at just 20 years old, the 5’10 lefty did a good job of holding his own against some tough competition. He has an advanced changeup and is getting a feel for his breaking pitch as well. I think another run at Triple-A is likely during the Venezuelan’s age 21 season before a 2020 call up.
#6 – 2B/SS Luis Rengifo
2019 Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2020 Top Future Tool: Run
2018 Stats (High-A/Double-A/Triple-A): .299/.399/.452, 7 HR, 41 SB, 12.7 K%, 12.7 BB%
It was a breakout season at the plate for Rengifo. Already viewed as a good defensive middle infielder, the switch hitter owned pitchers at each of the minor leagues top three levels over the 2018 campaign. Rengifo has always had wheels so the 41 stolen bases, while impressive, weren’t the most noteworthy aspect of his season. In my opinion, that would be the 75 strikeouts to 75 walks. The plate approach was on another level this year and that also led to a great all around slash line. He matched an impressive 2015 season, but the level of competition that this performance came against in 2018 makes it hands down his best season yet.
#5 – OF Brandon Marsh
2019 Opening Day Age: 21 ETA: 2021 Top Future Tool: Run
2018 Stats (Single-A/High-A): .266/.359/.408, 10 HR, 14 SB, 27.3 K%, 12.6 BB%
Another highly-touted athlete in this system, Marsh has only been 100% dedicated to baseball for a couple of years. He possesses great foot speed and arm strength and the 6’4 frame leads you to believe he will tap into some more power, especially as he refines the bat to ball skills. The left handed hitter has a narrow stance with a lot of body and hand movement in the box. One thing I love about Marsh is his swing plane that is tailor-made for loft. He has battled some injury concern through his career, but had a solid showing in 93 High-A games in 2018.
#4 – 2B Jahmai Jones
2019 Opening Day Age: 21 ETA: 2020 Top Future Tool: Power
2018 Stats (High-A/Double-A): .239/.337/.380, 10 HR, 24 SB, 20.4 K%, 12 BB%
Guess what, he’s a great athlete! If you’re tired of reading that in this piece, just stop reading now because I promise this isn’t the last time you will see it. It was a tough year at the plate for one of the games most promising up and coming second basemen. He did have some adjustments to make defensively after playing exclusively in the outfield during the first three pro seasons and that probably bled over to the plate. When we compare 2017 to 2018 because of the similar sample size, we see the OPS drop by .077, the average drop by .043, and the homers fall by four. A full run at Double-A in 2019 will be a milestone in Jones’ development. The raw tools are there for a good speed/power combination at a position that can lack that kind of skill set from time to time. The upside is high and I’d love to see the Georgia native bounce back in 2019.
#3 – OF Jordyn Adams
2019 Opening Day Age: 19 ETA: 2023 Top Future Tool: Run
2018 Stats (Rookie): .267/.361/.381, 0 HR, 5 SB, 24.6 K%, 11.5 BB%
No, my keyboard isn’t stuck, the 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft is…. you guessed it, and extraordinary athlete. In fact, I’d say he is the second best athlete in the system as he was also a highly touted football recruit that probably could have made a living as a wide receiver one day. In terms of raw talent, there aren’t many prospects that can top Adams in a lot of categories. With that being said, there is a lot of work to do with the mechanics. Everything the North Carolina native does is fast. He has quick hands, quick feet, he’s fast out of the box and has exceptional bat speed which leads to some raw power. The development for Adams will take longer than the other outfielders on this list, especially as he is returning from a broken jaw that ended his 2018 campaign, but this may be one talent that is well worth the wait.
#2 – RHP Griffin Canning
2019 Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2019 Top Future Pitch: CH
2018 Stats (High-A/Double-A/Triple-A): 113.1 IP, 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 125 SO, 44 BB
The top pitcher in the Angels system commands each pitch in his repertoire extremely well and that should prove to be his greatest strength. The low 90’s heater won’t blow anyone away, but when you can place it like this guy does, it becomes an above average pitch. His secondary stuff plays up the primary pitch even more as the advanced changeup comes from the exact same arm speed and slot to give hitters fits when they are trying to pick up on it. Two breaking balls that are at least average round out the repertoire. Canning dominated in Double-A in 2018, but struggled at Triple-A. Most of that can be attributed to the tough pitching environment in Salt Lake and those numbers should be read with a grain of salt, if not disregarded completely. The righty will more than likely start the season in Triple-A with a great shot at a September call up.
#1 – OF Jo Adell
2019 Opening Day Age: 19 ETA: 2020 Top Future Tool: Power
2018 Stats (Single-A/High-A/Double-A): .290/.355/.543, 20 HR, 15 SB, 25.2 K%, 7.3 BB%
The good news, you don’t have to have hear me use the word athlete anymore. The bad news, this great list comes to an end, but we saved the best for last. Adell is a top 10 prospect in both the real world and in fantasy. The former 10th overall pick in 2017 was seen in the same light that a lot of the other position players on this list were seen in, just a raw, toolsy, athletic ballplayer. He has since shown there is much more to his game than that. The Kentucky native has raked through his first two pro seasons and made the jump all the way to Double-A in 2018 where he was five years younger than the average player in the Southern League. Adell is an exceptional defender with a plus arm that can cover ground in center and while there is no risk in the field, the real carrying tool is the offensive profile. Between the power and the speed on the bases, Adell is one of the more likely 25/25 candidates we have in the minors right now.
Featured Image: D’Shawn Knowles (Courtesy of Mathew Carper/Legends On Deck)