2021 Los Angeles Angels Top 5 Prospectsby B.J. Martin March 4, 2021 1 comment
After a renewed focus on the international market and a series of strong drafts, the Los Angeles Angels’ farm system is getting stronger. David Fletcher, Jared Walsh, and Jo Adell have all recently graduated from prospect status. While they are expected to make an impact in Anaheim in 2021 others are soon to follow. While Adell is likely to see more at-bats at Triple-A, he’s on track to be the everyday right fielder this summer. Jared Walsh surprised many with his power surge last season. As Albert Pujols enters the final season of his 10-year contract, Walsh looks to replace him at the position.
The Angels’ farm system is currently very deep in strong outfield and middle infield prospects. Most of these prospects are at the lower levels in the farm system, likely two to three years away from making an impact at the major league level. Pitching is not an overall organizational strength. Still, a handful of high upside prospects are expected to make an impact as soon as 2022. The catching position is the weakest area within the system. An area they have focused on with recent international free agent signings. Several players signed or drafted since 2019 will be playing their first minor league games this season. Giving the Angels’ front office and fans a better glimpse of what some of these prospects have to offer.
1. Brandon Marsh – Outfield
Scouting grades (20-80 scale)
The Angels second-round selection, 60th overall, in the 2016 draft has been “the other guy” rising through the farm system along with former top prospect Adell. The left-handed hitting outfielder provides above-average defense at all three positions with the ability to hit the ball to all fields. The 23-year-old Georgian has provided consistent offense at every level, spending the 2019 season at Double-A Mobile. He’s produced a .799 OPS across 267 games in minor leagues before spending 2020 at the Angels alternative training facility in Long Beach.
The left-handed swing and build of Marsh reminds me of a cross between Bryce Harper and Paul O’Neill. Along with Jo Adell, the duo are expected to flank Mike Trout in the Angels’ outfield for the majority of games this decade. While Adell has early track on right field position, it remains to be seen which young outfielder will ultimately hold that starting job or assume the left field position when Justin Upton’s contract concludes following the 2022 season.
Angels manager Joe Maddon on Marsh: “He and Detmers closest to helping in Anaheim.”
Another angle of Brandon Marsh HR today https://t.co/bYmg4769Vu
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) October 14, 2019
2. Reid Detmers – LHP
The Angels drafted the Louisville starting pitcher with the 10th overall selection in last year’s June draft. After signing, the southpaw reported to the Angels alternative training site last season. He will see his first playing time as a professional in MLB Spring Training camp in 2021. During his two-plus seasons at Louisville, the 21-year-old hurler logged a 20-6 record. He also compiled a 3.20 ERA and struck out 284 hitters across 191 innings pitched.
Detmer’s build is comparable to fellow former Louisville Cardinal Brendon McKay. The left-handed throwing Detmers has a fastball that reaches the mid-90’s. He complements his heater with a plus curveball and change. As with any young pitcher, harnessing the control of these pitchers will be the key to development and advancement. Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning are the only current starters under team control beyond this season. Providing Detmers an opportunity to crack the 2022 starting rotation with a strong pro debut.
Maddon on Detmers: “He’s really mature, very much under control.”
Impressive MLB spring training debut for Detmers. https://t.co/xF10HPIn09
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) March 3, 2021
3. Jordyn Adams – OF
Despite drafting Marsh and Adell in the 2016 and 2017 drafts, the Angels selected Adams with the 17th overall pick in 2018. The 21-year-old’s athleticism was just too difficult to pass up. He was staring at both college baseball and football scholarship’s prior to the draft. Adams is a fringe five-tool athlete that projects to be an everyday outfielder at the MLB level.
As a 19-year-old, Adams hit .250 with 7 home runs and 12 stolen bases in his first full-season at Burlington in 2019. He’d get called to finish that season at High-A Inland Empire before minor leagues suspended play. Adams’ speed, power, and defensive prowess are the recipe for quick ascent beginning at High-A Tri-City in 2021. The aforementioned Adell, Marsh, and Trout stand before him in the Angels outfield. A good problem for the Angels to sort out in the coming years.
Maddon on Adams: “He has gotten so much bigger and stronger.”
Well this is a fun swing by #Angels prospect Jordyn Adams.
We could be in store for a fun 2021 from this guy. pic.twitter.com/HS6VuQktFM
— Jared Tims (@Jared_Tims) January 13, 2021
4. Jeremiah Jackson – SS
Jackson was drafted in the second round with the 57th overall selection behind Adams in the 2018 MLB draft. This high school shortstop’s power potential was on display during his first full pro season. The Mobile, Alabama product would make his hometown’s favorite son Henry Aaron proud. Slugging a Pioneer League record 23 home runs during the 2019 short-season campaign.
The 20-year-old right-handed hitting infielder has yet to play above Rookie League level. Jackson was taking reps more advanced prospects at the alternative site last summer. It remains to be seen whether he’ll begin 2021 at Low-A or High-A. The recent trade of infield prospect Jahmai Jones and the departure of Andrelton Simmons this winter provide an opportunity. The shortstop could advance quickly but more likely to be delivered to Anaheim in late 2022.
Maddon on Jackson’s hitting: “The ball comes off hot.”
Does Jeremiah Jackson know how to keep the ball in the yard? The 19-year-old went deep in his first at-bat tonight and has now homered ….
4 times in his past 2 games
7 times this month
21 times this year
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 18, 2019
5. Chris Rodriguez – RHP
Injuries have prevented the 22-year-old right-hander from pitching ten innings since 2017. Still, Rodriguez features a high-90’s fastball as is poised to make an impact as he returns healthy this season. In 77 2/3 innings of professional ball, he’s struck out 86 batters and walked 21. Having missed three seasons and never pitching above High-A, Rodriguez will be tested early in Cactus League games in March.
Assuming Rodriguez is successful at Rocket City or in the hitter-friendly PCL, Rodriguez can make a push for the 2022 rotation. With the majority of the Angels’ rotation entering free agency, Rodriguez has a great opportunity. Like Detmers, he could advance to Anaheim quickly when starting pitching is needed. If healthy, expect to see Rodriguez progress to MLB level as soon as late 2021.
Maddon on Rodriguez: “He’s got a really big arm.”
Chris Rodriguez spring debut was impressive Tuesday evening. Striking out both batters faced including Joey Votto.https://t.co/V3Wmcdm3yZ
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) March 3, 2021
What Does the Future Hold?
Other pitchers to watch closely in 2021 are Hector Yan, Aaron Hernandez, Jack Kochanowicz, and Davis Daniel. The latter pair will be making their pro debuts this coming minor league season. Outfield prospects D’Shawn Knowles, Trent Deveaux, Alexander Ramirez, David Calabrese, and Orlando Martinez give the farm system extraordinary depth at the position. Just missing this list are shortstops Kyren Paris and Arol Vera. Both, along with Jose Bonilla and Livan Soto provide high-upside middle infield depth at lower levels.
The quantity and quality of infielders and outfielders provide the Angels with enticing trade chips as they enter the season. The Angels will pick 10th in this summer’s MLB draft.