The Los Angeles Angels have a lot of big hopes and plans for the 2022 season. With some big contracts off the books, the Angels may feel they can finally spend some serious money on pitching. In other good news, for the first time in a long while, it feels as though L.A. has an up-and-coming farm system.
Yes, their prospects rank 24th of 30 according to MLB Pipeline, but that’s the highest they’ve been in several years, and there’s plenty of room to grow after drafting 20 pitchers in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Now, as they enter 2022, they may look to the Minors to fill some roles on the big league team. We’ll look at all of the prospects and try to predict which three could make the biggest impact in Anaheim next season.
No. 3: Michael Stefanic, INF
Stefanic is not in the Angels’ top 30 at the moment, but he could find his way there after an incredible 2021 season at the Double-A and Triple-A level. Between Rocket City and Salt Lake, he played 125 games, slashing .336/.408/.493, hitting 26 doubles, 17 home runs, and 63 RBIs.
He also is a solid defender, with a 97.7 fielding percentage between second base, shortstop, and third base. With the team’s need for a shortstop, he could find himself as a temporary option or a full-time backup infielder if the Angels want to go the cheap route in the field.
No. 2: Janson Junk, RHP
Junk is currently the No. 22 prospect in the Angels system, but he’s already had a chance to impress at the Major League level. His 3.86 ERA over 16.1 innings was solid, but his 6.29 FIP means he may have had some fortunate bounces.
If he were to return to the team in 2022, it would not be a starter. But perhaps he could make a name for himself as a long reliever, depending on the moves the Angels make this offseason. Junk only has a handful of MLB innings under his belt, but he impressed as much as any other Minor League prospect that made their way up in 2021.
No. 1: Austin Warren, RHP
It would be nice to see Reid Detmers or Sam Bachman make the leap to the big leagues, but it’s okay to admit that those two may not be ready just yet, setting up for 2023 to be their year. For now, Austin Warren belongs in the Majors, and he proved it in 2021.
In 20.1 MLB innings, Warren had a 1.77 ERA, a 2.09 FIP, a 1.033 WHIP, and a 256 ERA+ to go along with 20 strikeouts out of the bullpen. He has not only earned a chance to be on the MLB roster in 2022, he should realistically be one of the team’s go-to relievers, hopefully as a setup man for Raisel Iglesias.