Although the Los Angeles Angels farm system suffered through a 9-15 overall record last week, there were some excellent performances to soften the blow. In Low-A, Ryan Smith put on a performance that earned him Pitcher of the Week honors. Plus, Kyren Paris had a run of extra-base hits for the Inland Empire 66ers. In Double-A, Reid Detmers had the most promising start of his young career. Most impressive of all, however, was Jo Adell’s homerun barrage during Salt Lake City’s visit to Las Vegas Ballpark. While the Angels farm system still lacks depth, the top prospects are beginning to shine.
Triple-A: Salt Lake City Bees (8-9)
Last week: 4-2
Bolstered by Jo Adell’s six home runs over the last five games, the Salt Lake City Bees ended the week with the farm system’s only winning record. Adell struggled out of the gate but has seen his batting average increase 79 points over the last week. Although Las Vegas Ballpark is infamous for scoring, six home runs in five games should never be discounted. The final note in Adell’s home run binge is that he leads all of minor league baseball with ten home runs. No one else has hit even eight. Talk of Adell being recalled to the Angels is muted, however, as his strikeout rate of 33.3% and walk rate of 7.4% both remain concerns. Scott Schebler also remained hot, hitting two more home runs after his three-home-run game last week. Both players are in the Top-20 in minor league baseball for RBI.
For proof that good pitching can occur in Las Vegas, look no further than Packy Naughton’s excellent start on May 23. Over 7 2/3 innings, the southpaw allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out eight. With the Angels currently sitting dead-last in MLB with a 5.25 ERA, Naughton might have his name called with another start or two of this caliber.
Double-A: Rocket City Trash Pandas (8-10)
Last week: 1-5
Angels #2 prospect Reid Detmers squared off last week against fellow Top-10 pick in the 2020 Draft, Max Meyer. After allowing a first-inning solo home run, Detmers shut down Pensacola for the next four innings. Unfortunately, Meyer was even better, not allowing a run over five innings. Despite the loss, it was Detmers best performance to date as he struck out six over five innings. The home run was once again the problem for Detmers, who has allowed four in 11 1/3 innings. Detmers didn’t walk a batter, once again, and has now struck out 17 against zero walks on the season. Kyle Tyler followed up the next day by throwing seven shutout innings for the Trash Pandas. His ERA dropped to 3.52 on the season as he allowed three hits and three walks while striking out five. Keith Rogalla and Jhonathan Diaz also pitched well this week. Rogalla’s 1.93 ERA is due to having not yet walked a batter. Diaz once again excelled as a starter, going five and giving up just one run. His 2.30 ERA ranks just behind Rogalla for second on the team.
Michael Stefanic and David MacKinnon remain the only consistent producers on the offensive side of the ball for the Trash Pandas. Stefanic’s season line of .357/.430/.457 could be too much to repeat, however, as his BABIP is incredibly high at .414. MacKinnon has a career .426 OBP so his .405 this year comes as no surprise. At 26, he’s too old to be considered a prospect but he could find his way in Triple-A before too long if he can add even the slightest bit of power to his game. Remember, Jared Walsh was just depth in the Angels farm system–until he wasn’t.
High-A: Tri-City Dust Devils (5-13)
Last week: 2-4
The biggest news out of Tri-City is the continued absence of Jordyn Adams. After leaving a game on May 6, with a leg injury, Adams has not returned to the field. He is currently listed on the Dust Devils active roster. As for the other Top-30 prospect on the team, Livan Soto has hit a slump that caused his batting average to dip below the Mendoza line. Yet, Soto’s newfound power and improving eye are still keeping his slash line above his career average. His eight extra-base hits over 18 games this season tie the amount he had over 71 games in 2019.
Zach Linginfelter and Cristopher Molina have both pitched well for the Dust Devils through three weeks. Linginfelter has three, four-inning starts, and has allowed a total of one earned run for a sparkling 0.75 ERA. He’s struck out 18 over 12 innings. Molina pitched twice last week, going a total of six innings. He gave up one unearned run, allowed four hits, two walks, and struck out four. Top-30 prospect Robinson Pina went five innings and allowed only one run in his best start of the season. Yet, he walked three more batters putting him at 14 over 8 2/3 on the season.
Low-A: Inland Empire 66ers (8-9)
Last week: 2-4
It was the Kyren Paris Show last week for the Inland Empire 66ers. While fellow top prospect Jeremiah Jackson continues to struggle at the plate, Paris put on a hitting display that culminated in three straight games with at least one triple and one double. His .297/.423/.516 line is impressive, especially when you consider that Paris only played three games in his debut season of 2019. Plus, he’s only 19 years old. While his defense is struggling to catch up, having ten errors, Paris is a highlight reel. His excellent strike-zone judgment and incredible speed will see him move quickly once he settles into his new position of second base.
On the rubber, Ryan Smith continues to impress. The Low-A West Pitcher of the Week, Smith struck out 13 over six scoreless innings. The 23-year old should be on the move to High-A with 29 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings, a 1.76 ERA, and a .132 average against being all the proof you need. Brent Killam, another 23-year old who is proving too difficult for Low-A hitters, struck out 11 over 4 1/3 innings, though he did surrender two earned runs. His ERA climbed up to 2.08 on the season. Hopefully, the Angels farm system will reassess in the next few weeks as short-season leagues begin.
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Brent Killam, Ryan Smith, Kyren Paris, Jeremiah Jackson, Robinson Pina, Cristopher Molina, Zach Linginfelter, Livan Soto, Jordyn Adams, Jared Walsh, David MacKinnon, Michael Stefanic, Jhonathan Diaz, Keith Rogalla, Kyle Tyler, Max Meyer, Packy Naughton, Scott Schebler, Jo Adell, Reid Detmers,