With the free agency frenzy that took place in the days leading up to MLB locking out its players, most of baseball’s energy was directed at the big money-makers at the height of their powers. The lockout is now giving everyone a chance to look at their Minor League depth.
The Los Angeles Angels — who famously had one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball for nearly a decade — have shown steady improvement in recent years. Now, there’s still plenty of work to do, as they ranked 24th in baseball as of the end of the 2021 regular season.
But this is already a step up from the 29th and 30th that they hovered at for almost the entirety of the 2010s. So let’s take a look at the top 10 prospects currently in the Angels organization.
No. 10: D’Shawn Knowles, OF, Single-A
Knowles is just 20 years old and is currently with the Inland Empire 66ers, the Angels Low-A affiliate. He’s known as a speed threat that provides defensive strength and versatility, as he can play all three outfield positions with ease.
He’s also a versatile bat as well, as he is a rare switch hitter. However, his 50 hit grade and 45 power grade show a glaring weakness in his game, and that’s his offense. Knowles slashed .227/.280/.355 in 2021. He signed with the Angels in 2017 during their international signing period, coming from the Bahamas.
No. 9: Denzer Guzman, SS, Rookie
Guzman is just 17 years old and was the highest paid player out of the 2020-21 international signing period. Prospect scouts predict that he’ll eventually move to third base due to his frame, but he figures to be one of the Angels’ more complete prospects with an MLB ETA of 2025.
In the Dominican Summer League in 2021, Guzman slashed .213/.311/.362 while having a nearly even strikeout to walk ratio.
No. 8: Alexander Ramirez, OF, Single-A
19 years old and in his second season within the Angels organization, Ramirez actually shared an outfield with Knowles for 19 games. However, to see how impressive Ramirez is as a prospect, his rookie-level stats tell most of the story.
Ramirez slashed .276/.396/.512 at that level, proving why his power was so sought after when he came in as an international free agent in 2018-19. With a 6’2, 180-pound frame, his speed is also well-regarded, and he has an MLB ETA of 2024.
No. 7: Ky Bush, LHP, High-A
Bush was the Angels’ second round draft pick in 2021 after initially being selected in the 40th round of the 2018 Draft. Bush is a towering left-handed pitcher — standing at 6’6, 240 pounds — with a powerful, 94 mph fastball.
He has logged just 12 pro innings, all with the High-A Dust Devils, where he struck out 20 batters but allowed a 4.50 ERA. As of now, Bush is believed to be a reliever among MLB scouts. However, if he can improve his command during his time in the Minors, he absolutely has starter upside.
No. 6: Arol Vera, SS, Single-A
Vera, a switch-hitting shortstop, was an Angels international signing in 2019. Scouts believe he is as close to a true shortstop that the Angels have in their farm system, despite below average speed. He has incredible baseball instincts and has a power-hitter profile.
During his time in rookie ball in 2021, he slashed .317/.384/.469. He is one of four shortstops currently in the Angels’ top 10.
No. 5: Jeremiah Jackson, SS, Single-A
Sporting a 33% strikeout rate in 2021, there are some who question his big league vision and contact. However, there is no denying the tools that Jackson brings to the game. He is a pure power-hitting middle infielder, which is a rarity in today’s game.
Jackson was the Angels second round draft pick in 2018 and could potentially start 2022 in High-A or even Double-A. He slashed .263/.352/.527 with Inland Empire.
No. 4: Kyren Paris, SS, High-A
Paris was one of the organization’s fastest risers in 2021. Unlike players like Reid Detmers, who moved quickly out of necessity, Paris was simply good enough to jump from rookie ball all the way to High-A in one season, the first full season of pro baseball he’s played.
While he’s shown flashes of power, Paris is the prototype of a speed and contact player with excellent fielding chops at either shortstop or second base. Scouts view him as the potential future shortstop of the Angels.
No. 3: Jordyn Adams, OF, High-A
Adams has perhaps the highest ceiling of any player in the Angels farm system currently. His speed is graded out at a perfect 80/80, as he’s one of the fastest players in all of the Minor Leagues. He’s also shown rapid improvements at the plate and in the outfield, proving a Major League work ethic.
Adams walks at a high rate, but strikes out at a significantly higher rate, which is likely his final area of improvement before he can make the next leap. Adams’ name could be one in trade talks if the Angels are looking to acquire an ace via trade when transactions resume.
No. 2: Sam Bachman, RHP, Double-A
Bachman was the Angels first round pick in 2021, and he immediately made the leap to the No. 3 spot in the team’s farm system. When Brandon Marsh was taken off the list, he became No. 2, where he’ll stay until Reid Detmers is no longer considered a prospect.
His fastball-slider combo is projected to be one of the best in the Minor Leagues, but he carries some reliever risk due to his frame and arm placement. But with a few tweaks and continued improvements to his command, he absolutely can be a Major League starter sooner rather than later.
No. 1: Reid Detmers, LHP, MLB
Detmers first go-around in the Majors was not pretty. However, he was brought up out of necessity, not because he was completely ready. There is still no doubt that Detmers can and will be a quality starter in the big leagues, with scouts projecting his ceiling as a mid-rotation career starter.
Depending on what the Angels do to fill out the roster after the lockout, Detmers could very well start 2022 in Triple-A, where he can continue to work on location and avoiding the middle of the strike zone.