The Los Angeles Angels minor league system excelled over the last couple of weeks. Every club in the system played .500 ball or better, led by Inland Empire’s 8-3 record during that time. Overall, the organization went 30-21 across all five levels. The biggest highlight came yesterday as the Angels called up top prospect Brandon Marsh for his major league debut. Marsh went hitless in four at-bats in the Angels 7-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Also, the Angels minor league system will soon have an influx of young pitchers as the team selected pitchers with all 20 of their draft picks in the 2021 MLB Draft. Currently, none of them have been signed. Yet, the team has been busy on the undrafted free agent market, signing 19 players, which is the most in baseball.
Triple-A: Salt Lake City Bees (32-32)
Last week: 6-5
Brandon Marsh has had trouble with injuries since he was drafted, sitting out his first summer with a back injury. Yet, when he’s been on the field he has been amazing. After a quick rehab stint in complex ball, Marsh played eight games for Triple-A before being called up. All he did was slash .382/.417/.735/1.152 to prove to the Angels that he was ready for the next step. With Mike Trout and Justin Upton still out, the Angels can use all the outfield help they can get.
Jo Adell, the player Marsh was called up ahead of, continued to improve as his July numbers show. Adell has slashed .359/.417/.594/1.011 over 12 July games. More importantly, his 22.2 K% for the month got his season number below 30% for the first time. If Adell continues to show improved patience at the plate, he will certainly hear his name called soon. And, let’s not forget Matt Thaiss. Although he has only hit one home run over his last 21 games, Thaiss has posted a .453 OBP in July. Scouts are mixed on whether he can actually be a serviceable catcher in the big leagues, yet Thaiss continues to rake at the plate.
When talking about Salt Lake City pitchers it is important to know that a 5.62 ERA is the league average in Triple-A West. Jose Quijada needs no preface. The southpaw continues to dominate with a 1.29 ERA over seven July innings. Quijada has thrown 25 1/3 innings on the season, with a sterling 1.78 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and .165 batting average against. Dillon Peters was exceptional once again in his last start. The left-hander allowed one run over six innings, with three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts. Peters doesn’t figure into the team’s starting pitching plans but he can be a useful multi-inning reliever. Brian Johnson pitched eight shutout innings to lower his season ERA to 3.00 after being signed by the team on June 22.
Double-A: Rocket City Trash Pandas (31-33)
Last week: 5-5
The Trash Pandas offense continues to be powered by two 26-year olds: Luis Aviles Jr. and David MacKinnon. Aviles has been the heavy lifter in July, slashing .298/.373/.789/1.162 with eight home runs in 15 contests this month. His 23 RBI in July would put him in the top-40 on the season. Aviles Jr. gets the most out of each swing with a league-leading .354 ISO showing pop that should help move him up the ladder soon. MacKinnon continues to terrorize Double-A pitchers. His season line of .329/.407/.522/.929 leaves little doubt that he’s ready for Triple-A.
Angels #2 prospect Reid Detmers had another short but impressive start for the Trash Pandas this week. The #57 prospect in baseball struck out six over four innings, with four hits and one earned run. Detmers has a 2.08 ERA in July, with 21 strikeouts over 13 innings, a 0.92 WHIP, and a .174 average against. Salt Lake City or even Anaheim should be in his immediate future. Jhonathan Diaz threw four excellent innings in relief last week, where he didn’t allow a run and struck out nine batters. Diaz’s season ERA of 2.28, 12.4 K/9, and 1.01 WHIP show why he was added to Venezuela’s national team in their attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
High-A: Tri-City Dust Devils (25-40)
Last week: 6-5
The Angels minor league improvement has led to winning at each level. Angels #12 prospect Livan Soto is the best example in the organization. Soto slashed .183/.264/.305/.569 as late as July 3. Since then, the defensive wizard has done nothing but hit. A 12-game sample size doesn’t necessarily indicate permanent changes, yet Soto has mashed during that time. Soto slashed .375/.466/.646/1.110, with eight extra-base hits. His season OPS jumped 108 points during his hitting tear. Brendon Davis keeps doing what he does best–hitting home runs. Davis leads High-A West in long balls with 14. His 1.180 July OPS also tops High-A West. Jordyn Adams bottomed out five days with a .521 OPS. The Angels #3 prospect bounced back over the next four games, going 6 for 17, including home runs in his last two games. He raised his OPS up nearly a hundred points to .615 on the season.
The Dust Devils winning weeks were on the strength of timely hitting as the pitching staff struggled overall. Angels #9 prospect Hector Yan gave up three earned runs over eight innings in two appearances. The lefty struck out nine but once again walked too many batters, with six total. Cole Duensing has steadily improved as he’s learned to pitch out of the bullpen this season. Duensing has allowed just one run in his last five appearances, which total seven innings. The tall right-hander struck out eight and most impressively only allowed four hits and one walk.
Low-A: Inland Empire 66ers (34-31)
Last week: 8-3
The Inland Empire 66ers put on a hitting clinic over the last few weeks. So much so that it would be difficult to pick out just one or two elite performers. Instead, we’ll show you the July numbers for 66ers hitters and let you decide who did best.
Edwin Yon: 13 games, 50 at-bats, .360/.448/.860/1.308 with seven home runs, 22 RBI, and 15 runs scored. Yon is a heavy favorite for Low-A West player of the month.
Braxton Martinez: 13 games, 47 at-bats, .362/.483/.596/1.079 with nine extra-base hits, 11 RBI, and 12 runs scored.
Jeremy Arocho: 10 games, 41 at-bats, .366/.426/.439/.865 with six stolen bases, and 15 runs scored.
Jose Reyes: 13 games, 49 at-bats, .342/.418/.612/1.030 with seven extra-base hits, 19 RBI, and 11 runs scored.
Inland Empire’s bullpen did the heavy lifting the last few weeks with a trio of impressive performers. Emilker Guzman has been on fire since early June, going ten straight appearances without allowing an earned run. Guzman threw 15 1/3 innings with a 0.65 WHIP during that time and struck out 18 batters. His season ERA dropped down from 3.72 to 2.08 in that stretch. Dakota Donovan keeps punching the clock, with a 1.80 ERA in July over ten innings pitched. Lastly, Jhosua Alcantara has a 1.08 ERA in July and 0.84 WHIP to go along with it.
Rookie: Arizona Complex League (ACL) Angels (9-6)
Last week: 5-3
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Brandon Marsh, Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Jo Adell, Matt Thaiss, Jose Quijada, Dillon Peters, Brian Johnson, Luis Aviles, David MacKinnon, Reid Detmers, Jhonathan Diaz, Livan Soto, Brendon Davis, Jordyn Adams, Hector Yan, Cole Duensing, Edwin Yon, Braxton Martinez, Jeremy Arocho, Jose Reyes, Emilker Guzman, Dakota Donovan, Jhosua Alcantara, Arol Vera, Adrian Placencia, Edgar Quero, Alejandro Hidalgo, Alex Martinez