All due respect to Tony Danza and Danny Glover, those Angels should’ve been in the front office. Aside from the happy accident of winning the Shohei sweepstakes and landing a generational player in Mike Trout, L.A. of A’s developmental system hasn’t generated much proof of life. Or happiness. Where’s young Joseph Gordon-Levitt and forever-old Christopher Lloyd when you need them?
By the way, quick trivia question: Which of these actors appears in the film Angels in the Outfield?
A) Matthew McConaughey
B) Adrian Brody
C) Dermot Mulroney
Cue the Jeopardy jam. (RIP Alex)
(Pause for effect.)
I hope you like trick questions because all three of these guys were in the movie! What a film! Can we get going on a sequel already?
Might as well take a look at the Angels in the farm system while we wait.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA
1. LHP Reid Detmers | 22 | MLB | 2021
The book on Detmers is out in paperback: he’s a plus command pitcher with a double-plus curveball whose fastball will cause him some home run problems anytime he’s not hitting his spots. I suspect his pro success will come down to his willingness to lean into his slider and/or find some kind of cut for his fastball. Even without any significant gains, he’s an excellent real-life prospect who should be almost as good in the fantasy game. Here’s a link to Grey’s redraft write-up: Reid Detmers, 2022 Fantasy Outlook.
2. 3B Brendon Davis | 24 | AAA | 2022
Davis is 6’4” 185 lb right-handed hitter with the defensive chops to stick on the left side of a big league infield. He was drafted by the Dodgers out of high school in 2015 (5th round) and traded (with others) to the Rangers for Yu Darvish, who lost him a couple years later in the minor league phase of 2020’s rule 5 draft. Probably understatement to say he’s fallen off the prospect map, given that he’s not even among the Angels’ top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, which just has to be a temporary oversight. No way you’d ignore a plus-pedigree bat slashing .333/409/.641 across 31 AAA games after playing his way up through A+ and AA in the same season. He turned 24 mid-season (July 28), so he wasn’t old for either upper level, and as I mentioned, he’s a solid defender with six-plus seasons of professional infield reps, eight if you want to count 2020 and his draft year. He’s blocked at 3B as long as Anthony Rendon can take the field, but he’s talented enough to bounce around a bit, and Joe Maddon’s never met a guy he won’t move all over the diamond. As a weird little bonus for draft-and-hold or deep dynasty formats, Davis enters the season with 2B, SS and 3B eligibility at Fantrax. I suspect I’ll have him rostered in every league except my ten-teamers at some point this year.
3. SS Kyren Paris | 20 | A+ | 2024
Season two of Emily in Paris dropped last week on Netflix, and Kyren (no relation) binged straight through and finished it before midnight on release day. That’s the kind of professionalism and dedication we’re getting here. That and plus defense in a young-for-level bat with good speed and big upside. These types can be slow burns as they grow into their strength and add power, but anticipation can make life worth living. At least that’s what Kyren told me a couple weeks ago as he awaited the new season.
4. RHP Sam Bachman | 22 | A+ | 2023
The club’s first-round pick in 2021 (9th overall), Bachman stands 6’1” 235 lbs and features two double-plus offerings in his fastball and slider. He was dominant during his junior year at Miami of Ohio, striking out 93 batters and allowing just 29 hits and 17 walks in 59.2 innings. He was good at High-A, too, where the club sent him for five abbreviated outings (14.1 innings) after the draft. Can’t take anything much away from that, but his 1.186 WHIP is impressive to me for a guy jumping the bottom rung of pro ball on the back of a college season. Full disclosure, I did not think a reliever-risky, short-ish, right handed college pitcher was a great use of a top ten pick on draft night, and I still don’t. The club should’ve just taken the windfall profit represented by Kahlil Watson and brought some juice into their system. I doubt they seriously considered it, as their approach to the draft seems a bit more NFL-esque than is typical. Can’t say for sure they’re motivated by the hope of plugging near-term gaps in the plan, but that makes a certain amount of sense given their current big league roster. Still odd to me that they passed on Watson given how well he fits in with their organizational preference for high-end athletes.
5. OF Izzy Wilson | 24 | AA | 2022
First thing’s first, Wilson wasn’t protected from the Rule 5 draft, so he could be on a different team with a big league chance a few months from now, or we could still be waiting for the lockout to end, or Wilson could slide through the Rule 5 so he can remain an Angel and hope to someday get his wings.
Second thing’s second even though this should be first: Wilson hit 21 HR and stole 25 bases in 83 games at an age-appropriate level, so I’m a little surprised he doesn’t get just a sliver more shine from the prospect solar system. I realize he struck out 30.4 percent of the time, but one thing you find watching a lot of minor league baseball is that most lineups don’t have a guy like Wilson, and if they do, it’s one, and I’m not even thinking of the speed aspect. The 35-ish homer pace thing alone makes him unique among baseball players, let alone among solid defensive outfielders with plus speed. Maybe he’s not an everyday player, but this team has had success with left handed power hitters, and I’m buying Wilson in deep leagues at his current price of free, but it’s safe to monitor from a distance in 15-team set-ups. Maybe even twenties. He’s one of the weaker #5 prospects around the org reports this year. Can probably flip him all the way down below tenth if ranking based solely on perceived value around the dynasty game.
6. SS Denzer Guzman | 18 | DSL | 2026
Cool name, intriguing profile. Guzman is a 6’1” 180 lb righty who signed for $2 million during the most recent international signing period. He features solid contact skills and an advanced approach for his age. In 44 games in the DSL, his BB/K rate was 12.2%/14.6%. His slash line wasn’t good (.213/.311/.362), but the plate skills matter more at this age. His next two years will tell us a whole lot more than those first couple months in the DSL.
7. OF Jordyn Adams | 22 | A+ | 2023
A physical freak worthy of his surname, Adams is a 6’2” 180 lb righty who could’ve played football or basketball at a D1 school if that had been his preference. He might someday wish he had. All the non-hitting parts come easily to Adams, but he struck out 37.8 percent of the time and produced a .217/.290/.310 slash line across 71 games. Did he get any better throughout the year? No, Internal Optimist. He got worse. Have you learned nothing? (PS I’m glad you haven’t; please continue cracking open little windows of false hope.)
8. SS Arol Vera | 19 | A | 2025
My dad recently retired and moved out of a for-work condo and back into his weekend/long-term/paid-off house. He had accumulated approximately 17,000 aloe vera plants over the 15-ish years he worked out of that condo/office. My wife and I now have about half of these plants strewn throughout the house. It’s an almost-cactus jungle. Or a jungle of almost plants. No offense to the aloe vera but it’s weird, man. You don’t think about it until it surrounds you, perhaps, but what’s going on here? We haven’t watered these things in months. They don’t seem to care at all. I know they do. They have to care, in their own plant way. They’re suffocating. Or being dry-boarded. Or maybe not. What the hell do I know about a plant’s life. Can’t believe there’s not a Pixar movie to walk me through it.
Anywho, Vera’s going to have to be tough to thrive in this system. Borderline regenerative. Can’t even count on getting the basics like occasional water. I’m kidding. My wife is probably watering them. And they get plenty of sun because the solar system and windows are doing all the work there. Can the Angels find an angel to maybe occasionally water their minor league system? Survey says don’t hold your breath. Sorry, I’m just sidetracked as a state of being over here. Vera looks fine so far. Medicine for a scorched system. He slashed .317/.384/.469 with 0 HR in 38 games in the complex league then .280/.344/.280 in 19 games in Low-A. Easy to see he needs some power, which time itself will add before we even factor in the full-time focus of a professional athlete with professional coaching and training. Interesting guy here. Good time to buy in late/cheap in deep leagues where time isn’t your primary opponent.
9. OF Alexander Ramirez | 19 | A | 2025
2021 was a tale of two seasons for Alexander Ramirez. Well, two months really. For 35 games in the complex site, Ramirez looked like a future fixture in an outfield corner, slashing, .276/.396/.512 with 5 HR and 3 SB but 50 strikeouts (32.5 percent). As you might imagine, the swing-and-miss caught up with him in real games at Low-A, where he struck out 42 percent of the time and slashed .083/.185/.111 across 19 games. Yipes. I think that’s the worst line I’ve seen this year. Also meh. He was 18 years old playing three weeks against college graduates. At 6’2” 180 lbs with plus athleticism and double-plus raw power, Ramirez has enough topside that he’d remain on this list through at least one more poor season. I mean look at Jordyn Adams. He’s still here, and people still trade for him in dynasty leagues. Ramirez doesn’t have the first-round-pick cushion that Adams does, but he was a big-money international signing, and anyway why are we talking about how long he’ll stay here even if he can’t hit spin or velocity? Let’s go back to that hope thing and just see how it plays out.
10. RHP Davis Daniel | 24 | AAA | 2022
Daniel popped as I crawled through the process, watching a few games at every level the week I’m working a particular system. Daniel doesn’t ace the eye test–won’t grab you by the sockets–but he looks more like a big leaguer than just about any non-Detmers in the system, and I think we’ll see the 6’1” 190 lb command and control guy pitching meaningful innings in LA of A at some point this year. His mix of three above average pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup) was way too much for High-A and Double-A hitters (0.99 WHIP and 1.00 WHIP at those levels), so Daniel didn’t face much resistance until AAA, where his 10.29 ERA in 21 innings might keep him well under most radars.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @thepropsectitch on Twitter.