The Los Angeles Angels minor leagues played better than .500 baseball over the last week. Yet, that wasn’t the biggest news of the week. The Angels promoted Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez to Triple-A. The Angels win over the Minnesota Twins last night moved their record to 49-49. Things are starting to look up in Anaheim. The Angels are only 5 1/2 games out of the Wild Card and superstars Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon should return in the next week or two. Yet, the excitement in the Angels minor leagues is just as palpable. Detmers Triple-A debut has Angels fans dreaming big about the possibility of their next ace.
Triple-A: Salt Lake City Bees (34-36)
Last week: 2-4
Reid Detmers was brilliant in his Triple-A debut. He was excellent in three Double-A starts at the beginning of July. Detmers was the Angels 2020 1st round pick out of Louisville because he was spectacular during his NCAA career. Now, Angels fans are just waiting for that brilliance to find its way to Anaheim. Detmers tossed six shutout innings, allowed three hits, no walks, and struck out nine batters. The Angels’ #2 prospect has more than lived up to the hype in his debut season. Chris Rodriguez graduated from the prospect list earlier this season but the 23-year-old is someone Angels fans should keep an eye on. Rodriguez returns to Triple-A tonight as the team continues to stretch him out after he started the year in the big league bullpen.
Jo Adell remains the player to watch for the Bees. The Angels called up #1 prospect Brandon Marsh over Adell a couple of weeks ago, although he is still a very important person in the Angels’ plans. Yet, that doesn’t mean his name isn’t being talked about as we approach the trading deadline. Every baseball writer has mentioned the possibility of Adell headlining a package for the Angels to acquire a starter. Still, Adell remains a possibility for the Angels as well. The team signed Adam Eaton after a series of injuries to their outfield but Eaton seems to have little left to offer in his bat. If Adell can improve his OBP even to .350, he could be on his way to Anaheim.
It wouldn’t be right to not mention the continued excellence of Jose Quijada and Michael Stefanic. Quijada seems ready to move up to the Angels for good as he has dominated Triple-A. With the team designating Alex Claudio for assignment, it would seem like the left-handed Quijada would be on the next plane to California. His last appearance for the Angels was a bad one, but Quijada has excelled since allowing only one run in his last nine appearances. Stefanic is an undrafted free agent who has moved up the ladder on the strength of his solid defense and excellent eye at the plate. The 25-year-old continues to rake in his first taste of Triple-A, slashing .324/.406/.491/.897 in 46 games. His July has been even better: .370/.420/.531/.951.
Double-A: Rocket City Trash Pandas (34-35)
Last week: 2-3
Brendon Davis spent his first series in Double-A proving to the Angels that he belongs there. The 23-year-old infielder was promoted on July 20 and proceeded to hit a home run in his second at-bat that night. Davis slashed .333/.333/.889/1.222 with three home runs and a double in four games. Izzy Wilson hit .375 over the last week with a couple of home runs. Wilson and Davis are tied for third in the Angels minor leagues with 17 home runs. He has spent all of 2021 in Double-A with the Trash Pandas.
Jhonathan Diaz returned from his stint on the Venezuelan national team on June 20. Since then, he has looked electric. In two appearances, Diaz has allowed two runs over nine innings while striking out 20. Diaz can expect to follow Detmers and Rodriguez to Salt Lake City with a couple more games like that. The Angels promoted Cristopher Molina to Double-A on July 22. And, he looked the part in his debut. Molina had some command issues but allowed only two runs over five innings to get the win for Rocket City. Angels’ #18 prospect Davis Daniel received a rude welcome to Double-A in his first two starts. Yet, he bounced back in his third. Davis allowed one run over five innings and struck out six.
High-A: Tri-City Dust Devils (28-43)
Last week: 3-3
The Dust Devils offense is anemic. The Angels have two top prospects in Tri-City yet neither one has excelled at the plate this season. Angels’ #3 prospect Jordyn Adams has struggled while dealing with injuries. Adams is a top-of-the-charts athlete. Yet, in 34 games he has had difficulty putting that to good use. Adams is slashing .214/.293/.366/.659 for the Dust Devils. Livan Soto has improved tremendously since the start of July. The Angels’ #12 prospect is an elite glove at shortstop. And, he was elite at the plate as well due to his recent surge. Soto is slashing .288/.366/.513/.879 with six stolen bases this month.
The Angels minor leagues have a prospect-heavy pitching staff at High-A. The Angels’ #9 prospect Hector Yan threw a complete game his last time out. Yan allowed one run on three hits while walking two and striking out seven. The undersized lefty has looked energized since his return from the Futures Game. Robinson Pina continues to be a batter or two away from excellent each start. The Angels’ #15 prospect was dominant in Low-A after his demotion. Yet, upon his return to High-A, he began to walk too many batters. Robinson has issued 11 free passes in 20 innings over his last four starts. Angels’ #30 prospect Zach Linginfelter has looked sharp on his move to the bullpen.
Low-A: Inland Empire 66ers (38-33)
Last week: 4-2
Edwin Yon, Edwin Yon, Edwin Yon. Yon has celebrated his birthday month of July by destroying Low-A pitching. Yon is slashing an absurd .377/.457/.870/1.327 as he cements his player of the month award. Despite the high strikeout rate, the 23-year-old outfielder has nothing left to prove at this level. Jose Guzman raised his batting average 38 points over the last 11 games. His 17 hits in 44 at-bats moved him up to a .268 average on the season.
Angels’ #6 prospect Jack Kochanowicz has struggled during his time in Low-A. Yet, Kochanowicz had one of his better performances of the season last week, giving up only two earned runs over six innings. John Swanda had the best performance of the week. The 2017 4th rounder threw seven shutout innings for the 66ers, allowing five hits while striking out six. Coleman Crow had a quality start though he remains too hittable given the quality of his stuff. Lastly, Dakota Donovan and his 1.74 ERA continue to prove too good for the hitters in Low-A.
Rookie: Arizona Complex League (ACL) Angels (9-6)
Last week: 1-1
The Arizona Complex League Angels lost to mother nature last week. Angels’ #8 prospect Arol Vera continues to excel and should be moved up to Inland Empire in the immediate future. The ACL Angels could be seeing an influx of players as the organization signs draft picks. The Angels have signed their top five picks, including first-rounder Sam Bachman. Bachman was signed below slot for $3,847,500. There are also a decent number of undrafted free agents that will be incorporated into the Angels minor leagues over the next few weeks.
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Reid Detmers, Chris Rodriguez, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Adam Eaton, Jose Quijada, Michael Stefanic, Alex Claudio, Brendon Davis, Izzy Wilson, Jhonathan Diaz, Cristopher Molina, Davis Daniel, Jordyn Adams, Livan Soto, Hector Yan, Robinson Pina, Zach Linginfelter, Edwin Yon, Jose Guzman, Jack Kochanowicz, John Swanda, Coleman Crow, Dakota Donovan, Arol Vera, Sam Bachman