The Arizona Fall League’s East/West game, a contest that showcases the some of the best prospects across the MLB, took place last week igniting a conversation around which major league team has the most workable prospects going into the offseason. The Angels have just three prospects in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, but there are a few more names that Angels fans should know, as we may see them in action this coming season.
1. Jo Adell, OF
MLB Ranking: 15th Overall Prospect
Angels Ranking: 1st Overall Prospect
The 2017 draft pick rose from Single-A to Double-A during the 2018 season, and put up really exciting numbers across all of his stops. He blazed through Single-A, slashing .326/.398/.611 in a brief 25 games. Adell spend most of this season with the 66ers in High-A, and his stats reflected that longer stint. While in the Inland Empire, he slashed .290/.345/.546, still impressive for his debut season. He only played in 17 games for the Mobile Bay Bears in Double-A, and slashed a humble .238/.324/.429. Adell did give a little credence to the main criticism of him coming into this year, striking out 28% of the time he was at the plate. I expect Adell to spend most of this season with the Bay Bears, but don’t be surprised if he makes a move to Salt Lake about halfway through the season.
2. Matt Thaiss, 1B
MLB Ranking: Unranked
Angels Ranking: 5th Overall Prospect
Thaiss is one of my favorite prospects in the Angels farm system. One of his biggest strengths is the way he seems to have a very natural patient disposition at the plate. His discipline there is far more advanced than other prospects at his level. He played most of this season in AAA Salt Lake, slashing .277/.328/.457 in 85 games. As a first baseman, Thaiss does have potential to play with the Angels this season, considering that the aging Albert Pujols will not be able to play a full slate at that position this year. I predict we see Thaiss make his major league debut somewhere between mid-July and late-August.
3. Griffin Canning, RHP
MLB Ranking: 72nd Overall Prospect
Angels Ranking: 2nd Overall Prospect
The former UCLA standout made a big-time name for himself with AAA Salt Lake after pitching his way through the minors, starting 2018 in High-A. Canning posted a 3.65 ERA across 25 starts this year with 125 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. His velocity would be about average, sitting in the low-to-mid 90’s, but it’s his command over that pitch that has turned heads. He also has a good changeup and curveball, and all that combined is what makes him so hard to hit. I definitely see the Angels testing Canning at the major league level this year, and if they don’t add a quality starter in free agency, which is something I fully expect them to do, I could see Canning making his debut as early as June if the rotation, already down Shohei Ohtani, goes the way it has gone in the past as it pertains to injuries.
4. Jake Jewell, RHP
MLB Ranking: Unranked
Angels Ranking: 27th Overall Prospect
The longest career on this list belongs to Jewell, who has actually seen a few games of big league action since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, most recently in the Angels first series against the eventual World Champion Boston Red Sox early in the 2018 season. He suffered a gruesome leg injury in that game, and came back to pitch 25 innings as a reliever at AAA Salt Lake. The best thing about Jewell’s game is he can hit 97 mph on fastballs, and then turn around and toss a nice plus slider. He pitched 38 innings total in the minors in 2018 and struck out 35 batters while putting up a 3.08 ERA. The Angels have been mentioned in free agency conversations around Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly, but if they can’t land a big name reliever, look for Jewell to come back to the Big A at some point this year.
5. Jahmai Jones, 2B
MLB Ranking: Unranked
Angels Ranking: 4th Overall Prospect
You’d be hard-pressed to find a prospect the Angels are more excited about than Jones. He’s not yet seen Triple-A action, but did well in High-A and Double-A in 2018, slashing .239/.337/.380 across 123 games. He plays a diverse game, speedy on the basepaths (24 stolen bases in 2018), but can also pack a consistent swing, shown during his 2017 season in the California League, where he racked up a 25-game hitting streak. Jones could fit into the Angels plan at second base, as that spot is mostly a question mark going into the offseason. The role was filled by Ian Kinsler before he was traded to the Red Sox midseason, and with the early-season injury to Zack Cozart, the Angels mostly used David Fletcher and Kaleb Cowart to fill the spot. If no free agent pickup is made, and Ausmus and Eppler get impatient with David Fletcher or Taylor Ward at some point in the season, look for them to try out Jones in place of one of those guys.
In his introductory press conference, new manager Brad Ausmus, who spent a lot of time during his year as special assistant to Billy Eppler visiting with the Halos’ minor league teams, said that he is excited about the talent the Angels are home-growing these days. Which of those guys we will see in action this year, if any, is yet to be seen, but if Ausmus is serious about seeing what he has at his disposal for the next few years, he has plenty of players who are ready for their shot in The Show.