The Los Angeles Angels‘ future was on full display with a flurry of moves this past week. Draft picks and undrafted free agents made debuts across the lower levels of the Angels system. 2021 1st round draft pick Sam Bachman made his debut for the Tri-City Dust Devils. The full season teams combined for a 12-16 record but that could be expected given the number of releases, promotions, and additions found throughout the Angels farm system this past week. The influx of pitchers is especially exciting given that the Angels used all 20 draft picks on pitchers in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Triple-A: Salt Lake City Bees (38-46)
Last week: 2-5
Lineup stalwarts Matt Thaiss and Luis Rengifo continue to prove that they have little left to accomplish in the minor leagues. Both players are Top-20 in Triple-A West in OPS. The biggest surprise on the Bees is Michael Stefanic. An undrafted free agent who the organization signed in 2018, Stefanic has steadily climbed the minor league ladder on the strength of his bat. The 25-year-old infielder is also ranked in the Top-20 in OPS at .924. Stefanic is on an eight-game hitting streak that includes four home runs.
Cooper Criswell was promoted to Triple-A at the beginning of August and he has shown that he belongs there. His command wasn’t great in his first start but he bounced back in a big way. Over six innings, Criswell struck out seven and allowed just one run. He has a 3.24 ERA over his two starts after posting a 3.71 ERA over 12 Double-A starts. Andrew Wantz has pitched brilliantly for Salt Lake City as he waits patiently for his next call to the big leagues. Despite working in a hitter’s paradise, Wantz has a 1.84 ERA over 29 1/3 innings. These two Angels minor leaguers should see Anaheim when rosters expand in September.
Double-A: Rocket City Trash Pandas (41-41)
Last week: 4-3
The Trash Pandas started the week unable to put up runs but ended it by scoring 40 over their final two games. Luis Aviles Jr. hit two home runs and two doubles in the Trash Pandas 26-3 victory on Sunday. Aviles Jr. has ripped the cover off the ball to start August, slashing .342/.366/.789/1.155 to move his season OPS up more than a hundred points to .939. Brendon Davis is another player who has played his way into the Angels’ future plans. Davis hit his twentieth home run this week, which is nine more than his previous career-high of 11 back in 2017. He’s already walked nine times in August, which is his highest monthly total of the year.
Davis Daniel didn’t pitch the summer after the Angels drafted him in the seventh round of the 2019 draft. He was still recovering from an elbow injury he sustained while pitching at Auburn. Then, he didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the minor league season being canceled. It hasn’t mattered. Davis posted a 2.31 ERA over nine High-A starts and after a few bumps early on, has done the same at Double-A. In his last start, Davis threw eight shutout innings and struck out 11 while allowing three hits and zero walks. His ERA dropped to 2.73 with the Trash Pandas. Like last week, Jhonathan Diaz excelled once again. Diaz gave up one run over seven innings to lower his ERA to 2.22 on the season. His move to Triple-A should come any day now. Cristofer Molina pitched 5 1/3 of scoreless relief. His Double-A ERA is 2.92 over three appearances.
High-A: Tri-City Dust Devils (33-52)
Last week: 2-5
The big news in Tri-City was the debut of Sam Bachman, the #9 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. There’s been a lot written about Bachman possibly being fast-tracked to the majors this season to help the Angels struggling bullpen. If so, the Angels definitely liked what they saw in his first appearance. Bachman went two innings, allowed one hit, and struck out two. Bachman then gave way to sixth-round pick, Jake Smith, who also posted two scoreless innings, striking out two. Eric Torres, the team’s 14th round pick, also pitched a scoreless inning in his debut. Robinson Pina keeps on getting better. Pina’s early-season struggles led to a demotion that seemed to be just what he needed. In his last three starts, Pina has struck out 28 over 17 1/3 innings with a 2.08 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. Francisco Del Valle is slashing .333/.448/.542/.990 over eight August games.
Low-A: Inland Empire 66ers (43-41)
Last week: 4-3
Kyren Paris returned to Inland Empire in style by homering in his first at-bat. With the promotions of Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Reid Detmers, and Chris Rodriguez, Paris could very well be the Angels’ new #1 prospect next season. Paris has played better than other Angels prospects who might be in the running, such as Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson. If he stays healthy for the remainder of the season then the top spot should be him or Sam Bachman. Either way, he’s a huge part of the Angels’ future. Undrafted free agent Gabe Matthews pounded the ball again this week. The University of Oregon graduate has slashed .355/.524/.806/1.330 over his first nine games. The Angels should look to move him up to the Dust Devils to help their anemic offense.
Adam Seminaris was the Angels’ fifth-round pick in 2020. Unlike many of the prospects who were invited to the Angels alternate site, Seminaris struggled at the beginning of 2021. Yet, every month has seen him improve. His May ERA of 8.10 was followed by 6.23 in June, 4.97 in July, and 3.27 in August so far. Over his last seven starts, Seminaris has posted a 14.6 K/9 rate, 1.27 WHIP, and 3.36 FIP.
Angels Future: Rookie Ball
Arizona Complex League (17-13)
Dominican Summer League (12-9)
Edgar Quero remains the star for the ACL Angels, slashing .300/.500/.650/1.150 over 21 games. His OBP is tops in the league and his OPS is third. The 18-year-old Cuban has been on base every game he’s played. He isn’t the only one. Angels prospects in Arizona are being selective at the plate as the team has four of the top nine league leaders in walks. Arol Vera and Adrian Placencia continue to prove they will be a big part of the Angels’ future. Both players have produced at the plate while earning rave reviews for their defense in the middle infield.
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Sam Bachman, Matt Thaiss, Luis Rengifo, Michael Stefanic, Cooper Criswell, Andrew Wantz, Luis Aviles, Brendon Davis, Davis Daniel, Jhonathan Diaz, Jake Smith, Eric Torres, Robinson Pina, Francisco Del Valle, Kyren Paris, Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Reid Detmers, Chris Rodriguez, Jordyn Adams, Jeremiah Jackson, Gabe Matthews, Adam Seminaris, Edgar Quero, Arol Vera, Adrian Placencia