With the 2015 season on its way, we’re proud to present our Top 30 prospect list. Like last year, this list will contain scouting reports for 30 players plus 3 honorable mentions (with scouting reports of their own as well). One thing to remember with these scouting reports, is that they’re a snapshot of what we know and I can just about guarantee you that our minds will change with more information about these prospects. The publication timeline will look like this:
Well, let’s get right to it then.
Honorable Mention #1 LHP Tyler DeLoach
Height/Weight: 6’6″ 240 lbs.
Draft Information: 26th round pick in 2012
2014 Stats: 27 G, 25 GS 147.1 IP, 2.99 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 15.3 K%-BB%, .270 BABIP, 77 LOB% (Inland Empire 66ers (A+)/Arkansas Travelers (AA))
What Happened In 2014: DeLoach had a marvelous year at High A and Double A en route to arguably the best pitching performance by any Angels pitcher in the minors. His 147.1 innings of sub 3 ERA baseball along with a 25.9 K% was awfully impressive for a 26th round pick. DeLoach built on his impressive 70 inning stint in 2013 and made a huge leap forward in 2014.
How They Improved From 2013: DeLoach more than doubled his innings total from the previous year and ran a sub 3 ERA. He kept his gaudy strikeout rate from the year before and ended up with 161 strikeouts on the season. DeLoach really made a name for himself in the 2014 season.
What We Like: DeLoach is a tall, big bodied left hander who hides the ball very well. DeLoach comes at hitters with a low ¾ arm slot and almost throws sidearm at times. His upper 80’s fastball features some sink and is clearly his favorite weapon. His curveball isn’t great but it features some decent depth and could potentially be an average pitch. DeLoach is a nightmare against left handed hitters due to his big stature and ability to hide the ball. At the very least, DeLoach should be a nice weapon out of the bullpen vs lefties in the future in the majors.
|Balance||40||FB||40||40||Upper 80’s, has some sink, Fringe pitch, works well vs lefties|
|Momentum||35||CV||35||40||Sweeping action, doesn’t have great bite, features some depth|
|Torque||50||CH||30||35||Well below average pitch, needs improvement|
What We Dislike: DeLoach’s ranking on this list is more based on his stats than his actual projection. DeLoach has shaky mechanics and struggles to repeat his delivery, which has led to his high walk totals in the minors. His fastball/curveball combination is good enough right now to get hitters out but he may struggle as he climbs into the upper minors. His changeup isn’t good and may lead to some ugly platoon splits vs righties. If the mechanics don’t clean up a bit and his offspeed stuff doesn’t develop, DeLoach will end up as a lefty specialist in the bullpen.
Ceiling: 6th Inning Reliever
Realistic Outcome: LOOGY/Long Reliever
Floor: AAA Up and Down Guy
Height/Weight: 6’3″ 200 lbs.
Draft Information: 5th round pick in 2014 Bonus: $250k
2014 Stats: 12 G, 9 GS, 42.2 IP, 3.59 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 10.3 K%-BB%, .342 BABIP, 76.2 LOB% (AZL Angels (R)/Orem Owlz (R))
What Happened In 2014: Jake Jewell performed pretty well given the circumstances he was under in his 1st taste of minor league ball. After being drafted as a reliever, the Angels gave Jewell 9 starts and he posted a nice 3.59 ERA and had respectable peripherals.
How They Improved From 2013: Jewell was in his 1st year in the minors in 2014 but the obvious improvement was Jewell him pitching a good amount of innings in only 13 games.
What We Like: Jewell has a big time fastball, one that reaches up to 97 mph and sits in the 93-95 mph range. His slider sits in the 83-85 mph range and has some nice bite. Jewell throws strikes, which is a nice bonus for a guy whose young and throws very hard. Jewell’s floor is pretty high given his big fastball and solid control. He should end up as a valuable reliever. He could fly through the system and reach the majors quickly.
|Balance||45||FB||60||60||93-95 mph range, some side arm run, tops out at 97|
|Momentum||40||SL||35||45||83-85 mph range, good bite, inconsistent with throwing it|
What We Dislike: Jewell struggles to throw his slider consistently. While he started in 2014 in the minors, he’s most likely going to end up in the bullpen. Jewell throws strikes but sometimes those strikes aren’t in a good spot. While his fastball is good right now, he may need an extra uptick to get to the 96-98 range to make up for the lack of a 3rd pitch. He struggles with his mechanics at times and tends to leave some pitches up in the zone.
Ceiling: 7th/8th Inning Reliever
Realistic Outcome: 6th/7th Inning Reliever
Floor: AAA Up and Down Guy
Height/Weight: 6’2″ 175 lbs.
Draft Information: 6th Round in 2013 Bonus: $223k
2014 Stats: 25 G, 22 GS, 129 IP, 2.65 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.4 K%-BB%, .268 BABIP, 73.6 LOB% (Burlington Bees (A))
What Happened In 2014: Cooney got his first chance to start in the minors with Burlington, starting 22 times and putting up 129 innings.
How They Improved in 2013: Cooney increased his strikeout rate (16.8% compared to 13.4%), decreased his WHIP (1.23 compared to 1.30) and increased his workload as well (129 innings compared to 30)
What We Like: Surprisingly great grades for an honorable mention, Cooney is one of my favorite pitchers in the organization, smooth mechanics and a nice arsenal of pitches. Cooney will have some trouble with Inland Empire as his command isn’t the best, however I can see Cooney breaking out very quickly and shooting up prospect lists. Cooney is a very interesting arm, keep an eye on him.
|Balance||55||FB||55||60||Sits 92-94 but can shove it when needed, can touch 96 with movement|
|Momentum||60||SL||40||50||Serious biting action, needs better control of it|
|Torque||55||CH||40||50||Looks exactly like fastball with arm-side run but needs more fine-tuning|
What We Dislike: While there is a lot to like as far as mechanics and arsenal, they haven’t exactly produced the best results. As far as Cooney’s mechanics, there are mixed reviews as using his entire body, the drop-and-go portion of his delivery also affects his balance grade a bit but that’s not too scary.
Realistic Outcome: Long Reliever
Floor: AAA Up and Down Guy
#30 2B Sherman Johnson
Height/Weight: 5’10” 180 lbs.
Draft Information: 14th Round in the 2012 Draft
2014 Stats: 136 G, 13 3B, 17 HR, 123 wRC+, 14% BB rate (Inland Empire 66ers (A+))
What Happened In 2014: Johnson had an excellent season at Inland Empire, posting a 123 wRC+, a 14% BB rate, and an impressive (although fluky) .189 ISO.
How They Improved From 2013: Johnson increased his walk rate(13.8% compared to 14%), lowered his strikeout rate (18.2% compared to 16.5%), and showed a bit more power (.111 ISO compared to .189), however we can pretty much chalk that up to being in Inland Empire in the CAL league. At Burlington, Johnson was featured at 3B, while at Inland Empire, Johnson mainly played 2B but also filled in at SS and 3B.
What We Like: Johnson is a utility-man, there’s a chance he could be a super-utility player. We like the defensive profile, decent range, smooth fielder, and a good arm as well. There’s also the speed factor, Johnson has always been fast but never really showed it too much through stolen bases until this year, putting up 26 in 136 games. However, he was caught 12 times, so that’s something he can improve. Johnson’s approach is also something to die for, a ton of walks and usually with those walks come strikeouts but the difference between K’s (104) to walks (88) isn’t alarming.
|Hit||35||40||Without the plate discipline, the hit tool is a 25-30 at best|
|Power||30||35||Will run into some at times, the pop shown at IE is most likely a fluke|
|Glove||50||55||Solid glove, decent range, and fluid movements at each infield position|
|Arm||50||50||Strong arm just not accurate enough to be a regular at 3B but can easily be a fill-in|
|Run||50||55||Will turn many doubles into triples, good stolen base threat but needs to work on reading pitchers|
What we Dislike: The batting profile is not the best, although Johnson has performed very well in the minors, the bat doesn’t project well against major league arms. Johnson’s approach at the plate is great, but how he does it, isn’t the best. The swing, stance, essentially Johnson’s mechanics at the plate do not look like a major leaguer’s mechanics. They will most likely be changed when Johnson gets to the upper levels of the minors. In order for Johnson to become a super utility, he needs to play or at least show he can play a fringe to league average outfield position. It’s not his fault he hasn’t gotten the game reps but with the speed and arm, there’s a decent chance Johnson can prove to be capable of that.
Ceiling: Super Utility (Rotational Player)
Realistic Outcome: Super Utility (Strict Bench)
Floor: Utility (Strict Bench)
#29 LHP Greg Mahle
Height/Weight: 6’2″ 230 lbs.
Draft Information: 15th round pick in 2014
2014 Stats: 23 G, 37.1 IP, 2.65 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 22 K%-BB%, .274 BABIP, 59.3 LOB% (Orem Owlz (R)/Burlington Bees (A))
What Happened In 2014: Mahle was an absolute stud after being drafted in the 15th round of last year’s draft. Mahle struck out an impressive 49 batters in 37.1 innings. As a lefty who possesses pretty good stuff, we could see Mahle rise very quickly through the system.
How They Improved From 2013: Mahle was a 2014 draftee but he showed some very good stuff that maybe the Angels didn’t even expect. His 3 pitch mix with good command projects well for the future.
What We Like: Mahle throws a 88-92 mph fastball that features some very nice sink. This is easily his best and favorite pitch at the time being. His slider has a 35 grade at present but it features enough bite to potentially be a 40 pitch in the future. Mahle is very deceptive, coming from a very low arm slot and sometimes even throws from a sideward angle. Mahle has a quick and easy delivery that helps him keep opposing hitters off balance. He is death on left handed hitting right now due to his arm slot and hard sinking fastball. Many people believe that this may be the quickest Angels 2014 draftee to reach the majors, which only enhances his value.
|Balance||40||FB||45||50||Hard sinking fastball, sits in the 88-92 mph range|
|Momentum||40||SL||35||40||Hard breaker, not a ton of depth|
|Torque||40||CH||30||40||Doesn’t hide changeup well, slows arm down, still a decent pitch at present|
What We Dislike: Mahle is most likely destined for a bullpen role. His slider and changeup weren’t all that good in his 2014 stint. The development of his slider will go a long way in determining his future value. Mahle’s mechanics are very shaky right now due to him rushing his mechanics and the fact that his arm slot varies like fellow Angel C.J. Wilson. If he slows things down, it could lead to some better repetition of his pitches. Mahle needs an outpitch vs right handed hitters or he’ll end up in a LOOGY role.
Ceiling: 7th/8th Inning Reliever
Realistic Outcome: LOOGY/7th Inning Reliever
28. RHP Yency Almonte
Height/Weight: 6’3″ 185 lbs.
Draft Information: 17th round pick in 2012
2014 Stats: 11G, 11 GS, 45.2 IP, 5.91 ERA, 1.35 WHIP,10.1 K%-BB%, .280 BABIP, 67.4 LOB% (AZL Angels (R)/Burlington Bees (A))
What Happened In 2014: Almonte pitched decently well in his 1st taste of A-Ball in 2014 as he had a 4.93 ERA and 4.65 FIP in 42 innings. His 3.2 inning stint in rookie ball produced a 2.94 FIP but the sample was obviously too small. Almonte continued to flash his solid fastball/curveball combination but he still needs to improve his control and command going forward.
How They Improved from 2013: Almonte ran a higher strikeout rate and lower walk rate while dropping his ERA and FIP substantially. For a guy who made the jump from Rookie Ball to A-Ball, this was a huge step forward for the young 20-year-old.
What We Like: Almonte features a low 90’s fastball that should see an uptick once his body fills out. His big curveball features 11-5 type action and is pretty clearly his best off speed pitch. Almonte comes at batters from a ¾ arm slot and can really fool some right handed batters with the fastball-curve combination. As a strike thrower with 2 average/above average pitches, Almonte has a solid floor and should reach the majors in some role in the future.
|Balance||50||FB||45||50||Low 90’s, should gain velocity, ability to locate it|
|Momentum||45||CV||45||50||11-5 action, locates it well vs RHB|
|Torque||45||CH||30||35||Well below average pitch, needs improvement|
What We Dislike: Almonte has struggled to miss bats so far in the lower minors. While his stature, strike throwing abilities and good fastball-curve ball combination are nice, he hasn’t shown the swing and miss abilities thus far. His poor change up has much to with that because he lacks a weapon against left handed hitting. While the whole package looks like it could potentially translate to a strike throwing #4/5 starter, we think he ends up in the bullpen or as a swingman.
Realistic Outcome: 6th/7th inning reliever
Height/Weight: 6’5″ 190 lbs.
Draft Information: Signed as an International Free Agent in 2013 Bonus: $180k
2014 Stats: 13 G, 12 GS, 64 IP, 1.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 12.4 K%-BB%, .269 BABIP, 72.4 LOB% (DSL Angels)
What Happened In 2014: Mieses had a very impressive 2014, putting up pretty gaudy numbers for an 18 year old, would not be surprised to see Mieses on the AZL team come 2015.
How They Improved From 2013: Mieses was able to show what he’s made of, being the best starter on the team, right next to Manual Rondon. Showed a lot of growth on the mound as far as pitchability and mixing in all of his pitches.
What We Like: Like the previous section suggests, Mieses showed a great skill in pitchability and sequencing all of his pitches. With this and being pretty young, command issues were a bit of a problem, which is to be expected but the control wasn’t half-bad. The frame is something to really look at, if Mieses can fill out his 6’5″ frame, you’re looking at a MOR (middle-of-the-rotation) horse.
|Balance||45||FB||50||60||Sits in the high 80s/low 90s but can touch 95|
|Momentum||50||CV||30||45||Still pretty raw, flashes of an average pitch every once in a while|
|Torque||55||CH||35||50||2nd best pitch, arm-side run with nice fade, extremely exciting to see this pitch at this age|
What We Dislike: Checkout the difference between the ceiling and realistic outcome, a lot of it has to do with Mieses’ frame and how it projects. Another issue is the curve, right now it’s extremely raw (which is to be expected) as with the change. A lot about Mieses’ future depends on the coaching and his ability to learn and his mechanics will need a lot of fine-tuning throughout the process, especially if he fills out the rest of his frame.
Realistic Outcome: 8th/9th Inning Reliever
Floor: 6th/7th Inning Reliever
26. LHP Jose Suarez
Height/Weight: 5’10” 170 lbs
Draft Information: Signed as International Free Agent in 2014 Bonus: $300k
2014 Stats: DNP
What Happened In 2014: Signed with the Angels and threw some simulated games down in the DR.
How They Improved From 2013: Is now $300k richer
What We Like: The frame is nice for a 16 year old, lots of projection left in that body. Throws in the upper 80s, shows a big, looping curve and a change that projects to be fringe-average.
|Balance||40||FB||45||60||Sits high 80s but touched 93|
|Momentum||50||CV||30||50||Looping curve, inconsistent with release point, either a 12-6 or 11-5|
|Torque||55||CH||35||45||Sits in mid 70s, can dart away from batter, but is also inconsistent|
What We Dislike: Limited exposure. Should pitch in 2015 for the DSL Angels.
Realistic Outcome: 6th/7th Inning Reliever
Floor: AAA Up And Down Guy