The Los Angeles Angels farm system had a winning record during week two after struggling mightily in the first week of the season. More importantly, Angels top prospect Brandon Marsh returned to action. Marsh, the #42 prospect in all of baseball, came out swinging–homering in his first game back. After a dreadful 10-19 organizational start to the minor league campaign, the Angels went 10-7 over the previous week.
Triple-A: Salt Lake City Bees (4-7)
Salt Lake City had a winning week at 3-2, led by the return of Marsh and a couple of ex-Angels. Scott Schebler hit three home runs in a May 16th victory over Tacoma. He’s slashing .300/.462/.766/1.228 with ten RBI in his nine games in Salt Lake. Anthony Bemboom has also shown some thunder in his bat, hitting three home runs in his four games with the Bees. Marsh slashed .235/.458/.529/.988 during his inaugural week in Triple-A, bolstered by his seven walks. After watching superstar Mike Trout leave the game in the first inning last night, Marsh might very well be in line for his first trip to the majors. Or, the Angels could go with a more familiar name.
Former top prospect, Jo Adell, has struggled after a strong start. Adell had a difficult week at the plate as he slumped to a .191 average on the season. Just as importantly, he has had trouble making contact so far, as shown by the 21 strikeouts he has racked up in only 47 at-bats over his first 11 games. While this might appear to be a three-man race with Schebler’s blistering start in Triple-A, only Adell and Marsh are still on the 40-man roster after Schebler cleared waivers.
The Angels front office was hopeful that Trout’s injury was minor, and this decision won’t have to play out. Unfortunately, those hopes fell through–Trout was added to the IL Tuesday night with a calf strain, and he is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Both Adell and Marsh could use a little more work in the minors, but we will see what happens due to Trout’s injury. The Angels’ hand may be forced.
Double-A: Rocket City Trash Pandas (7-5)
The Trash Pandas went a perfect 4-0 since last week’s review. Starting pitching was the pleasant surprise of the week for Rocket City. Anchored by Jhonathan Diaz, Jake Lee, and Cooper Criswell, the Trash Pandas allowed only ten runs over the final four games of the week. Diaz led the way. Over 5 2/3 innings, the southpaw allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out 11. Lee nearly matched him, striking out eight over five innings with three hits allowed. Criswell broke the starting pitching shutout streak as he allowed one run over seven innings, striking out seven. Although the progression of the top prospects drives growth in a baseball organization, the Angels farm system is in need of a few longshots like these three to pay off. Even with the acquisition of Hunter Strickland, the Angels are in need of some internal relief options. Maybe they’ve found one here.
Angels #17 ranked prospect, Orlando Martinez, led the way offensively with three straight multi-hit games. His season line of .275/.321/.588/.910 has the Angels brass dreaming of another powerful bat in the outfield. Michael Stefanic has also produced for the Trash Pandas, with the undrafted free agent slashing .375/.444/.479/.924 in the early going. Oliver Ortega, the Angels #15 prospect, had two relief appearances totaling six innings. He struck out six while giving up three hits and walking none.
Tri-City Dust Devils (3-9)
The one downer in the sea of sunshine, the Dust Devils, went 0-4 last week. To add insult to injury, or in this case injury to insult, #3 prospect Jordyn Adams remained sidelined with a leg injury. Livan Soto (#13) came back to earth going 2 for 17, though he did have a couple of highlight-reel plays on the defensive side of the ball. All four of the Angels top-30 pitching prospects saw their ERA rise on the week. Robinson Pina’s control issues hit the stratosphere as he has hit three batters and walked 11 in only 3 2/3 innings. The only good news coming out of the Tri-City area is that the week is over. After a day off on Monday, the Dust Devils resume play at home against the Eugene Emeralds on Tuesday night.
Inland Empire 66ers (6-5)
Rounding out the minor league week, the 66ers went 3-1, outscoring Lake Elsinore 23-14 over their last four games. Pitching was the bedrock of the 66ers’ week as Brent Killam had another solid day on the mound. He struck out six over five innings while allowing one hit and issuing one free pass. On the season, Killam has thrown 8 2/3 innings with a 0.69 WHIP and 16 strikeouts. Julio Goff continues to impress after his electric opening week. He allowed one run over five innings in his third appearance of the season. Goff has a 1.46 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 17 punchouts over 12 1/3 innings.
Top-five prospect Jeremiah Jackson (#4) continues to improve after a disastrous start to 2021. He went 4 for 13 with two walks over his last three games, and all four hits were of the extra-base variety. While his season line still leaves much to be desired on the Angels farm, Jackson’s power remains impressive. Kyren Paris (#5) seems to be the perfect opposite to Jackson, as his power has yet to appear this season. The Angels shouldn’t mind at all. After walking six more times in his last four games, Paris remains an on-base king with his season OBP now at .444. Plus, he’s shown impressive skills on the basepaths as he is tied for the Low-A West lead in stolen bases with ten.
Angels Farm Going Forward
The Angels farm system will continue to improve this season as their top prospects enter Rookie-level baseball later this season. Currently, there are twelve of the Angels Top-30 prospects who have yet to play. Finally, injuries have held back a few players such as D’Shawn Knowles (#8) and Alexander Ramirez (#12). So don’t worry Angels fans, if things break right, there will be help on the way. After all, Shohei Ohtani can’t do it all. Can he?
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Brandon Marsh, Scott Schebler, Anthony Bemboom, Mike Trout, Jo Adell, Jhonathan Diaz, Jake Lee, Cooper Criswell, Hunter Strickland, Orlando Martinez, Michael Stefanic, Oliver Ortega, Jordyn Adams, Livan Soto, Robinson Pina, Brent Killam, Julio Goff, Jeremiah Jackson, Kyren Paris, Shohei Ohtani