Despite a huge investment in Anthony Rendon and a smart trade for Dylan Bundy, the Angels couldn’t overcome the Astros or A’s in the AL West. I think most baseball fans want to see them build a winning team around Mike Trout, and I think most baseball fans suspect they’ll fail to do so. I know I do. What they need more than anything is a breakout two-way season from Shohei Ohtani during which the lineup makes sense on a day-in, day-out basis. I’m not saying everyone has to be in the same spot everyday, but they need to hang some successful bats on either side of Rendon and Trout if they’re going to have any chance of contending. The top two guys on this list could certainly help their cause. 

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2021 | Highest level played | ETA

1. OF Jo Adell | 22 | MLB | 2020

 

With 124 MLB at bats on the ledger, Adell remains prospect eligible by the pre-2020 rule book, so I’m including him here. He’s been falling in perceived value for a while now, and I think it could be helpful to acknowledge that it’s a bit ridiculous. Rare is the rookie who could thrive in 2020, especially coming in cold with no Spring Training and almost zero time above AA. Joe Maddon’s comment that Adell wound open 2021 in AAA has cratered his redraft price and created a buying opportunity for all league formats. He’s an elite athlete even among the world’s best and will find his footing at the highest level before long. 

 

2. OF Brandon Marsh | 24 | AA | 2021

A pre-swing bat wrap saps a bit of Marsh’s reaction time and contact ability. Aside from that hitch—not a load in his case as his hands aren’t in the hitting position synced up with his hips when it ends—Marsh is a great baseball prospect. A potentially elite defender with plus power and speed, he’ll get every opportunity to learn on the job at the highest level. 

 

3. OF Jordyn Adams | 21 | A+ | 2023

Los Angeles lives to take premium athletes in the draft, and athletes don’t get much more talented than Adams. It’s kind of rare for a glider to look fast, but Adams does. He moves like wind. True 80 speed when legging out a triple or striding the outfield. A little less ludicrous-to-plaid when stealing a base but still plenty fast to make that a key feature of his game. 

The Angels have been pushing him aggressively, sending him to High A to reward him for a successful 2019 that saw him post a 110 wRC+ in his first full season. I think his hit tool might be a little underrated, which is often the case with hyper athletic players. If he can hit and access his considerable raw power in game, we’re looking at something special: a fantasy force who’s only downfall on the field is his throwing arm, which matters not to us. 

 

4. LHP Reid Detmers | 21 | NCAA | 2022

Let’s kick it to college ball ‘pert Prospect Hobbs for his take on Detmers in his Top 10 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues:

“Several players on this list would be ranked ahead of Detmers if this were solely about upside, but it’s not. I’d be hard-pressed to tell you to pick up and hold a prospect not destined to reach the pro circuit for several years. So although many feel Detmers projects as a middle-of-the-rotation guy who sits around 90-94 MPH with his fastball, he has elite command and pitchability and should move more quickly through the minors than many of the arms that are drafted before him this June (or July? Or August?).

Detmers is a southpaw with three pitches that all grade at 50-plus on the 20-80 scale. As mentioned previously, he sits low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, which is paired with a mid-70s curveball and sinking changeup. He’s a strike-thrower with a smooth, repeatable delivery, meaning he already possesses many of the attributes most other college pitchers will spend added time in the minors smoothing out.

Still, his readiness as a MLB-caliber starter alone isn’t quite enough to rank him here. So why then? Because Detmers struck out 167 batters in 113.1 innings in 2019 (13.29 K/9) en route to a 2.78 ERA and .177 BAA, while setting 48 batters down on strikes in just 22 innings (19.64 K/9) to begin the 2020 campaign. At the college level, we don’t always possess the advanced metrics to evaluate players to the same ability as we do at the professional level, but allow me to unpack this one for you: we’re being told Detmers projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter with comps to a Brendan McKay with less stuff, yet the guy is sporting a curveball that eclipses 2,700 RPMs and sports elite K/9 numbers while showing an increased ability to miss bats as he matures as a pitcher.

Remember when Yu Darvish was being scouted by MLB teams in 2011 and was projected as a No. 3-4 starter in the big leagues? Or when Aaron Nola was drafted seventh overall in 2014 despite being saddled with a No. 3 starter ceiling? Yeah. I see room for steady and rapid growth by Detmers here, and if he fails, he can always pair that wicked breaking ball with a couple ticks up on the heater and become an elite bullpen weapon.

Jump on Detmers if you’re looking for someone primed to move more quickly through the farm, but be warned that he isn’t ranked as highly in other draft pools as many of the players to follow.”

I’m slightly less bullish than Hobbs but not much less. Command can be the great separator at the top level. Detmers can be a special pitcher. Couldn’t agree more with Hobbs on the No. 3 starter stuff. That’s just content. Short-hand jargon that represents the safest stance to take on just about any pitcher. But it’s notable that people don’t say back-end starter. No. 3 kind of means No. 2 but it’s tough to put that on most prospects so I’ll say he’s a number three. 

 

5. SS Kyren Paris | 19 | R | 2024

Kyren in Paris just looks good on a ballfield. Part of that is being a shortstop and learning how to make everything the position demands look natural. Paris makes it look easy to be mechanically sound in everything he does, and I think that’ll translate well when he finally gets to put a full season on his baseball card. He’s a smart prospect to target this off-season as he’s yet to really generate much hype but will be in the running for top spot on this list very soon. Oh and the non-fantasy lists will love and boost him for the plus defense. 

 

6. OF Alexander Ramirez | 18 | R | 2024

Ramirez is an interesting case as one of the teenagers to have signed for a million dollars, and by that I mean the reported figure is exactly one million dollars. I tend to wonder if he was expecting more than that but had to settle after the Angels landed Ohtani that year. I only ask because it’s easy to see he’s an elite talent, and that’s not common at that age, and these deals are locked in for a long time. Ohtani was a unique scenario that demanded an all-in approach. I’m straight up speculating on nothing here, for what it’s worth. Just that if Ramirez had to pivot and look for a team late, MLB rules would’ve meant most teams had little money available for him. Anywho, Ramirez the Angel (there’s a big money Mets outfielder of the same name in the same class) features smooth actions in the outfield, plus power in a swing built for the loft-centric game, and enticing physical projection on his 6’2” 180 lb frame. He’s one of those guys you can tell just looking at him is going to be big and strong forever, and he carries the weight well. 

 

7. SS Arol Vera | 18 | NA | 2024

Last year I made an Aloe Vera joke in this space, and we don’t really have anything more actionable now than we did then. Vera’s a big money, large-framed international signing with infield actions, promising physicality, and present loft from both sides of the plate. The deciding factor for profiles like his comes down to spin recognition, and we just don’t have anything to go on in deciphering that yet. 

 

8. SS Jeremiah Jackson | 21 | R | 2023

The age-to-level match has caught up to Jackson in a hurry. A power-over-hit righty, Jackson’s profile is volatile enough that he might be a free agent in your league despite hitting 23 bombs in 65 games in the rookie Pioneer League. While I wouldn’t be trading for a guy who struck out 33 percent of the time in rookie ball, I’d put him on a watch list and track his K rates closely. If he’s making more consistent contact at any point, he’s got the potential to jump some lists. 

 

9. OF D’Shawn Knowles | 20 | R | 2023

A switch hitter who looks good from both sides, Knowles is a great athlete who should do well on non-fantasy lists thanks to his dynamic throwing arm and plus defense in center field. He was cruising right along until Los Angeles sent him back to Orem in the Pioneer league after he’d slashed .321/.398/.550 in 28 games there the year before. He struggled mightily repeating the level and wound up with a 82 wRC+ after tallying a 139 wRC+ there in 2018. Seems like maybe he didn’t get that promotion he thought he’d earned and got pissed or disheartened in an unproductive way. I mean he was an 18-year-old. Who knows though. Maybe he just lost his swings or his focus or played hurt or something. I’m buying on the cheap and hoping for a correction. 

 

10. OF Trent Deveaux | 20 | R | 2023

If you feel like you’ve been reading maybes about Deveaux forever, you’re not wrong. It’s been about a half decade, and one of the years in that decade was 2020. A plus athlete out of the Bahamas, Deveaux has been a work in progress, tweaking his swing constantly to try and access his immense athleticism in games. It hasn’t often gone well, but he’s still young, strong and incredibly fast. His leg kick got out of control, and I think he probably just needs to find something comfortable and give it a few months. Easier said than done, but I’m just trying to explain why I don’t really ding Deveaux much for scuffling so far. 

 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. Ante GALIC says:
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    The ITCH!!!

    Very nice Anaheim Angels pros report!!!

    a. I say only very nice ’cause that is one depleted farm. So I should say excellent report ’cause you had little to work with, sorry. Excellent report!

    b. Seeing Adell not being drafted in many early mock drafts on CBS and fantasypro wizard. We need to make a list of players that no one will want in ’21 who will be more than rosterable for whatever reason but make it sexy like referring to the corona virus.

    c. MLB quote of the day for January 13, 2021

    1. Kevin Mitchell, born January 13, 1962

    ‘He was an MVP. He has also been shot three times. He once showed up to spring training 30 pounds heavier – not from working out or using steroids, but from eating too much that off-season. Some say he once killed a cat on purpose; others say he punched a minor-league owner in the mouth during a brawl. He played in Japan, he’s a former gang member, he’s got a World Series ring, and he even managed a team after his playing days were over. It’s been said about a select few that they ‘did it all,’ but when you look at this guy’s resume, it might be the truth. Who is he? Kevin Mitchell.’

    Author Steve “Psycho” Lyons in The Psycho 100: Baseball’s Most Outrageous Moments (Triumph Books, “No Use For This Glove,” April 1, 2009)

    2. Oliver Drake, born January 13, 1987

    ‘(Oliver) Drake said he hopes to stick with the Twins, but given the way this season has gone, he’s trying to take it day by day. For now, he’s keeping his sense of humor about this season and said he’ll have some souvenirs from his record-setting journey. ‘I do have jerseys from all of them,’ Drake said. ‘So the man cave will have a lot of jerseys. It’ll be a heck of a story.’

    MLB Staff Writer Rhett Bollinger (08/14/2018, Drake makes MLB history with debut for Twins, Source)

    3. Bob Forsch, born January 13, 1950

    ‘I like (Bob) Forsch’s work habits… Bobby’s the only truly sane pitcher I ever managed…’

    Whitey Herzog in You’re Missin’ a Great Game: From Casey to Ozzie, the Magic of Baseball and How to Get It Back (Whitey Herzog and Jonathan Pitts, 03/18/1999, Simon & Schuster)

    4. Johnny Podres, died January 13, 2008

    ‘He was one in a million. I have said this many times: I’ve had many good pitchers on my teams during my career, including the best in the business in Sandy Koufax, and I am sure that all these pitchers will agree that if a club had to win one game, it would be (Johnny) Podres that would get the call.’

    Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Buzzie Bavasi (Ken Gurnick, 01/14/2008, ‘Dodgers greats mourn Podres’ passing’, Source)

    5. Enzo Hernandez, died January 13, 2013

    ‘If he (Enzo Hernandez) could get on base often enough, I think he could break Maury Wills’ record (104 SB in 1962).’

    San Diego Padres Hitting Coach Bob Skinner in The Sporting News (June 2, 1973)

    6. Luis Arroyo, died January 13, 2016

    ‘Naturally the hitter is expecting the screwball. They know that’s my bread-and-butter pitch. He knows what’s coming and I have to stop him, even so. But I have two speeds on the screwball – and once in a while I can throw a fastball past a hitter.’

    Luis Arroyo in “Late in Close: A History of Relief Pitching (Paul Votano, 2002)

    7. Mel Stottlemyre, died January 13, 2019

    ‘I think Mel’s been very underrated. He was really a dominant pitcher for the Yankees until he got hurt. He broke more bats than anybody. He had that great sinker ball, a good slider and good control. He was a big-game pitcher. He was a lot like Catfish Hunter, personality wise, in that he was always the same. After a game, you couldn’t tell whether he won or lost. He was one of those guys who wouldn’t go into a shell after he lost a game, get mad, and not talk to the press, or anything like that. he was the same guy all the time. But when you talk about great Yankee pitchers, he’s usually never mentioned. People have kind of forgotten about him, but this guy was really tough.’

    New York Yankees outfielder Roy White in The 50 Greatest pLayers in New York Yankees History (Robert W. Cohen, Scarecrow Press, ‘#29. Mel Stottlemyre’, 06/16/2013, Page 152)

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Ante!!

      b. I love the idea of making this list almost as much as I love videos of Kevin Mitchell making barehanded catches. Outstanding quote there.

      • Ante Galic says:
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        The Itch!!

        Love your stuff and always enjoy reading your comments elsewhere. Yeah the list for this year, you could make a hyperlinked doc and then update it 1/month.

        Mitchell bare hand grabs are so gangster.

        Cheers,
        Ante

  2. Hernan says:
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    to me is baffling that the Angels haven’t signed Trevor Bauer already…, him being from LA area, going to College there, wanting to “stick it to the astros”, etc , are all factors for Angels to seal the deal, even if they have to go 6 years (will take him into his mid 30s). Obviously Bauer coming off a Cy Young Year is a big factor on his price, still, what else in a form of a staff leader / Ace is out there???, It’s just money Moreno…, or Moroneo????, why keep wasting the best/prime years of the Best Player in Baseball , when it’s clear pitching is what mostly determines who wins at the end….

    • c says:
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      If Pujols had retired to chose to return the & he is set to earn this year, I could see the Angels making a serious run at Bauer. I’m not sure they can at this point, due to financial pressures. However, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible.

      That offense with Bauer heading the rotation should be scary.

      • c says:
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        should? A slip there?

      • Coolwhip says:
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        Good news is Pujols comes off the books after this year so the only year that money is an “issue” is this year, and Moreno is good for it, haha.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          They need to re-sign Pujols now for another 7 years

          • Coolwhip says:
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            stop it.

            • Dave D says:
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              Bronson is that you? Or is it Jack McDowell’s guitar player?

              • Coolwhip says:
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                lol. was updating my avatar and it was pulling from the wrong place. we good now!

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          I wonder if they could get him to retire and coach.

          Same money just off the active roster.

          I’m sure it won’t happen, but would really help

          • Coolwhip says:
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            Well, fun fact about his contract… the reason he signed with Angels is there is a special rider that kicks in once he retires. He shifts to a roll as “senior advisor” and many believe this will function as a front office and possibly instructional roll with the organization. Don’t remember the years on it, but I think its at least 5.

            • Coolwhip says:
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              wow i looked it up… its for 10 years.

              • The Itch

                The Itch says:
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                perhaps he’ll be great in that role . . . just would’ve helped the org a lot if he’d started it a couple years ago . . .

    • Dave D says:
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      I agree, Hernan, Arte should feel a moral obligation to sign Bauer. Wasting Trout is ridiculous. He really only has 3-4 years of prime left barring injury. The window is closing and TB is a UCLA/SoCal guy. Slam dunk. Moreno needs to do what he has never done before: sign a legit #1 starter. No more #6’s.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Agreed: I think Bauer’s worth it, and he might help their other arms as well.

        • Coolwhip says:
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          Absoultely, I think Bauer’s value lies more in his ability to cultivate other arms as he’s been a trailblazer in pitch design and mechanics. That is valuable to have, especially in an org that needs better pitching. Plus he’d help market Trout and Ohtani more.

          • The Itch

            The Itch says:
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            I think that’s part of the reason his process is so different . . . looking for a partnership. It goes beyond just his own practices. He’s eager to share.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Or anyone really.

      I mean James Paxton is a big question mark, but they should use some resources, tho I’m a bit worried they’ll do nothing.

  3. WRDSMTH says:
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    Jack Kochanowicz?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Just missed.

      Would help a bit if he’d thrown a few pro pitches in game.

  4. c says:
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    should? A slip there?

    • c says:
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      sorry. double post craziness. my bad.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        No worries I do it all the time

  5. Dave D says:
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    Good take on Detmers. I am more bullish than many. He looks fantastic on film. His best comp to me seems Zito, and I could see him being up in June for good and thriving. He is that polished. I’d put money on it. This is especially true in the absence of any SP signing, but also consider the injury history of Canning, Heaney, Ohtani. Not a durable bunch. I’m certain he gets a look. The only question is when. If he gets called up I’m adding him everywhere.

    • Coolwhip says:
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      Detmers has indeed lookded great on film. Very smooth.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      He does seem like the type dude who hits the ground running.

  6. Coolwhip says:
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    Great stuff as all ways Itch. It’s crazy how far Adell has dropped. Like you said, he was thrown into a crucible last year so its not unheard of that he needs a bit more seasoning. Dude has talent and proven to have great work ethic, so I think we see him make good progress this year.

    Def looking forward to Marsh, he’s been very impressive with the advancements he’s made at the plate.

    I know Walsh doesn’t qualify anymore, but what he did in September was phenomenal. He certainly seems to heir apparent at 1B after converting from P.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Coolwhip!

      I made a move for Walsh in my 30-teamer. Tough to fake that big a jump in contact rate, even in a small sample, and like you say, he’s had to do mound work for years and might take off now he’s focused on hitting.

  7. goodfold2 says:
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    ok, paris vs p-mart (ex CUBS) vs s.polanco (from the slums of shaolin, almost) vs j.encarnacion,

    paris i’m surprised isn’t owned, he was barely lower than hat PL rank i had last time in here at 298th out of their 500. also their 1st year list is up finally, it’s quite long of course. c.mayo i went at 4.6 (CI bats left are rare, l.toribio went more than a round ago), ranked high by them in that (and earlier 326 overall out of 500)

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’ll take Paris in that crowd.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Someone else snag Nwogu?

      • goodfold2 says:
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        no, forgot about him. let me check last post where we were talking about him. man it’s hard to find pitchers here. j.jones went lately and i was going him

        • goodfold2 says:
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          crap can’t find where we were talking about nwogu. but i can’t remember seeing the name anywhere else either, i’m in the cave on him for now. where’s nwogu getting stuck with these others. the HOU pitching guys from last time, paris, carreras (another 3B/SS with speed/power, but i nabbed the SUPER power possibly on c.mayo first, albeit i’ve ran real bad on CI prospects in this league for pretty much the entire time i’m here), n.loftin (KC, prospects 1500 and PL like him, as a whit type floor guy). 2 other pitchers ranked highest left at PL’s top 500, 2 TB guys, t.bradley/seymour (odd they are still not owned people go nuts for TB pitchers here). wow that’s a mess, throw zamora in there (MIL). PL’s MIL list just came out they stuck him quite high. stuck a 50/40/50 on him (clearly they’re ranking for defense in that).

          sorry if that’s a mess, i’ve been having to do this stuff while hockey drafts all in session. and FAR more so than baseball/football hockey fantasy is being affected by corona times + NHL waiting till like 3 weeks before their season starts (tonight, now) to even say when they’d start. it’s been harder both in that more guys quit or don’t show up at all, MIXED with it being harder than past years to get new people too (makes sense, hockey’s got a smaller fantasy owner pool even in optimal times).

          so it’s paris, p-mart, zamora, carreras (COL), for the MI’s, HOU guys or somebody (maybe those TB guys) if pitchers, and lots of OF out there like always (encarnacion, nwogu, fletcher (STL), rojas (PHI), and probably others.

          – found it, nwogu, at 29th at PL’s 1st year ranks.

          – PL’s hard to merge. their team pages are ranked for real life (at least they tell you this), their top 500 and 1st year list are for fantasy, e.garcia in top 500 is 305th, zamora 322nd. but at the team list it’s zamora (5th), e.garcia (9th). and holy crap, i wish they had that tool ranking on hedbert perez last year 50/55/55. wish this was made clear last year when i thought from stuff i read all over that t.ornelas vs hedbert was close. it ain’t now.

          • The Itch

            The Itch says:
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            Some of that is just them doing a lot of work at PL to provide multiple lenses through which to view the game, but yeah I know what you mean. Fantasy baseball is just so different from real baseball in terms of what helps you win, and it seems to me few prospect writers are adept at navigating that difference.

            I’d want Paris, Encarnacion, Nwogu and Rojas from that crowd.

            Hedbert was one of those things where we had to believe what the video showed with little help from the typical hype sources, like a lot of the middle tier J2 guys who bounce. A BP swing or a trip around the bases for a triple doesn’t might not tell us much, but it’s sometimes all we have. With a guy like Hedbert, you really only to clap eyes on him once, in my opinion. Same w Tirso. His swing is a little like Marsh’s in that it starts, stops, resets and starts again, all while the pitch is coming. Marsh is a bit smoother today, I think. Long way to go for Tirso.

            • goodfold2 says:
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              ok, so s.polanco (from the slums of shaolin) lower than those. zamora just went anyway.

              – yeah there are few. that’s why some names aren’t listed at all in some people’s fantasy lists (even if say 30 deep, or more) while on another one a guy is top 6. i’m not shitting on PL as they are awesome, their new format is VERY good. each tool has it’s own section on each player. even just the team lists show those shorthand (same way i make my overall lists, then highlight parts that are just higher than people in that range (like c.mayo’s power, there aren’t many in this PL’s top 500 range left with 60 on power, he was at 326/500). those TB pitchers are the highest pitchers left if using their top 500 (but then we already went over how they didn’t put almost all of the available HOU guys in their top 500 at all)

              • goodfold2 says:
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                and the name i was trying not to put here l.garcia just went. literally as i was typing the above.

                • goodfold2 says:
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                  13 more picks to me, probably not now but later should nab at least 2 pitchers out of 6 this draft (so far only bowlan). where you at on these relative to each other:
                  t.bradley (TB), seymour (TB), swiney (SF), holloway (MIA), henriquez (TEX), roa (CIN), palmer (TOR), ashby (MIL), roby (TEX).

                  • The Itch

                    The Itch says:
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                    I like Swiney and Bradley there

                    • goodfold2 says:
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                      where’s s.brown going these days, somehow still out there. wasn’t drafted last year, was obtained by somebody in 1st waivers of year over me, but in season pickups do not get the rookie contract unless tagged on the yearly tags. would get the many years at league min rookie contract (and could even sit in minors slot and 1st year of that contract wouldn’t start till he hits the 150 at bats)

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