This past week the Angels released 39 players to trim down organizational roster amidst a more than likely extended, suspended 2020 minor league season. Many of these cuts were players that may have been cut at the end of spring training before the opening of the minor league season but included some players expected to provide organizational depth for the club … plus a few of which will be seen again again pushing for MLB jobs shortly. Here’s my list of five cuts this week that I think will find their way back in the fold elsewhere soon.
The once-highly-touted Braves prospect has struggled with shoulder injuries the past two years since making his debut with Atlanta in 2018. Still only 23 years old, Gohara will need to mend and strengthen a shoulder that is often not as simple to rehabilitate as an injured elbow. Gohara has upside, has appeared in 14 MLB games, making six starts for the Braves, and is a safe bet to get another shot with a club looking to take a flier on his talents very soon. If healthy again, Gohara could provide a future MLB club a nice rebounding free agent pick-up.
Peterson was only signed by the Angels two weeks before the coronavirus shutting down the MLB preseason and now finds himself a free agent once again. Peterson was likely acquired by the Angels to provide depth at Triple-A Salt Lake this season but that is becoming less likely a need for the Halos with every week. The former second-round pick has had MLB stints with the Braves and Tigers and can provide clubs depth at the first base and corner outfield positions. The 25-year-old Peterson is a .262 hitter in his 687-game minor league career and is a great candidate for a career revival in Korea or Japan if an offer extends itself to the young right-handed slugger.
The 27-year-old Rhoades has pitched in 207 minor league games in the Angels system since the club drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Illinois State. Rhoades once appeared to be an arm that would get a shot at a spot in the Halos bullpen just a short time ago is now a free agent. After a great 2018 season between Double-A and Triple-A, Rhoades’s performance suffered in the juiced-ball PCL last year. Rhoades struggled in his two Cactus League outings for the Angels this spring, but he struck out 11 hitters across eight innings for the Halos in Arizona a year ago. A youngster no more, Rhoades could help a team looking for bullpen depth at Triple-A soon.
Pena’s mid-90’s fastball and upside slider are worthy of another club giving the 24-year-old right-handed reliever another shot at reaching the majors. Pena has logged 454 innings across six minor league seasons in the Angels organization. Converted to a starter in 2016, the Angels moved him back into the bullpen last season and Pena initially struggled when he began the year in the ridiculously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League forcing a demotion to Double-A Mobile. Pena would finish the season strong for Mobile in with a 1.42 ERA in the final month of the season. If Pena earns a call-up to an MLB roster in the future, it will almost definitely be as a reliever.
A 26-year-old righty, Hofacket has spent the past three seasons between the Angels’ Double-A and Triple-A clubs with up-and-down seasons. Hofacket possesses a low-to-mid-90’s fastball that he mixes in with his solid breaking ball and has shown Angels fans glimpses of his potential in the Cactus League in past years. Hofacket will hope to latch on with another organization, providing pitching depth with the hope of finding a way on to another club’s major league roster. If he gets that chance and finds success at the highest level, Hofacket could stick on the right club’s MLB roster.
Angels News This Week
In addition to the five players highlighted above, the Angels also released catcher David Clawson, two-way player Bo Way, infielders Jose Quezada, Luis Alives Jr., Ryne Birk, Joey Curletta, D.C. Arendas, Devin Davis, Morgan McCullough, Kendy Moya, Jean Puntiel, and Keaton Weisz, and outfielders Zane Gurwitz and Cristian Gomez.
Pitchers Yoel De Leon, Dazon Cole, Austin Krzeminski, Daniel Procopio, Mayky Perez, Max Hermann, Zack Kelly, Matthew Woods, Nate Bertness, Andrew Bash, Juan Contreras, Darrien Williams, Kelvin Moncion, Galvi Agramonte, Ryan McKay, Elian Pena, Matt Bower, James Verela, Yeyson Velez, and Yelmison Peralta round out the cuts the Angels made this week.
Encouraging signs from the Angels this past week was Instagram footage that Shohei Ohtani shared pitching simulated games against professional hitters including Tommy La Stella. Griffin Canning is also reportedly throwing again and there is hope that both could be making early-season starts assuming a season begins sometime in July. Ohtani and Canning would improve the Angels’ starting rotation and playoff chances in a shorter than normal MLB season.