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!
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