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Jahmai Jones tops the latest Baseball America list of Angels best prospects

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Baseball America refreshed their top 10 list in November

Photo by Bill Mitchell

You can find the entire listing here, but aside from reading about Jahmai Jones, the rest of the article requires a premium subscription so I won’t include all the details here. There is probably some rule against that or something anyway :)

TOP 10 PROSPECTS

1. Jahmai Jones, of (more here)
2. Matt Thaiss, 1b
3. Alex Meyer, rhp
4. Brandon Marsh, of
5. Nate Smith, lhp
6. Taylor Ward, c
7. Grayson Long, rhp
8. Chris Rodriguez, rhp
9. Keynan Middleton, rhp
10. Jaime Barria, rhp

Jones is athletic and fast. He grades 50 (MLB average) or higher in all his tools and he just turned 19 in August. Last year he ranked #2 behind Taylor Ward but easily passed him up with his raw talent. This kid has just plain tons of potential. He should start next year back at the A Level, but it won’t be long before we’ll be able to see him playing in-person for the Inland Empire 66ers and I definitely plan to catch him in action once he plays closer to home.

Matt Thaiss is from the 2016 draft class and has impressed so far, despite the initial freak out reactions here at HH since he was yet another 1st round catcher pick. I think one of his standout abilities is to walk about as much as he strikes out. Thais is still learning how to play first base and he could start 2017 in High A ball. Games in the Inland Empire are starting to look a lot more exciting with guys like Thaiss and Jones and others who will be playing there soon.

Alex Meyer wasn’t even in the organization this time last year, having come over in the trade that send Hector Santiago to the Twins and brought the Angels Ricky Nolasco as well. The fact that Meyer is #3 on this list is more a testament to how good of a move it was by Billy Eppler. There are some very talented players on the list below him so it’s not just a factor of a bad farm system. The Angels helped Meyer make some adjustments in 2016 and a good spring could land him a spot on the starting rotation next year. It’s probably not if, but when he ends up in the starting rotation in 2017.

Brandon Marsh is #4 and he hasn’t even played a game since college. Marsh is known for his speed and his plus arm. Unfortunately he has some work to do offensively and missing 2016 sure didn’t help. Will be interesting to see what he can do next year and if the time off affected him at all.

Nate Smith is another guy that may end up in the Angels rotation at some point in 2017. He’s probably long shot for an opening day spot, but he’ll likely get there since he probably would have pitched for the Angels in late 2016 if he didn’t develop some elbow problems. Baseball American seems to think he has a shot at the opening day roster as long reliever and I think that would be a good option since he’s a #5 rotation guy on a good day.

Taylor Ward sure started to impress the second half of 2016. He had been a dud up to that point but started to find his groove and he hit 9 of his 10 home runs in the second half of 2016. The big thing to watch for Ward in 2017 is if he will get any Salt Lake playing time before the season is over as he is slated to start the year in AA Mobile with the new affiliate the Bay Bears.

Grayson Long had a great start to 2016 before general fatigue and soreness shut him down for a bit. He’ll start 2017 back in High A and may end up with Ward in Mobile at some point. Long is a big dude at 6’5” and 230#. His fastball is his best pitch with his secondary pitches being fairly average right now.

Chris Rodriguez is another pick from the 2016 class (4th round). He didn’t pitch much in 2016 and was shut down for some reason. He said to have one of the best arm’s in the Angels system but needs some more polish.

I’m pretty excited to see Keynan Middleton pitch. He has some good secondary pitches (12-6 curve and a slider), and he can bring the heat. His scouting report a year ago had his fastball in the 93-95 range but he was hitting the upper 90s in Salt Lake this past season. He turned 23 in September is a likely candidate for a big league roster spot at some point in 2017. At 3 different levels in 2016, his combined ERA was 3.41 with a 1.136 WHIP. He also had 12K/9 which is pretty damn impressive. His walks are still a bit high with a 3.8/9 last year but he only walked 4 in 14.2 innings at Salt Lake which is an improvement in that small sample size.

Jaime Barria had his first 100+ inning season in 2016 with 117 innings pitched. He is only 20 years old and has adjusted well moving from the Dominican league at age 16-17 and the Arizona and Pioneer rookie leagues at age 18-19 until he landed in Burlington for a full season in 2016. He put up a 3.85 ERA there with a 1.316 WHIP, but even more impressive is a career BB/9 rate of only 1.5. Barria doesn’t give up a lot of homeruns either and has 0.4/9 career rate so far. You want another impressive Barria stat? In A ball where pitchers go 5 innings max in their starts, Barria went 5 innings in 22 of his 25 starts. He may start in High A next year, so yet another guy we can watch closer to home.

Jaime Barria pitching for Burlington: