clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Top Angels Prospect Performances, V2

New, 10 comments

Taking a look at the best performances on the Halos' farm in 2017 and putting them into context. Remember, this is not a traditional prospect ranking!

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Glendale Desert Dogs at Scottsdale Scorpions
David Fletcher, just promoted to Triple A
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Houchins. 24, 3B, AA. 1.5 WAR.

2017 Stats: .260/.320/.411 with 7 HR’s and 6 SB’s (6 CS)

Key Number: .310/.383/.476 line against lefties

Acquired: 2014 draft, round 13, under Jerry Dipoto.

Houchins led the Halos’ Farm with 18 long balls last year, but he couldn’t get on base against right handers so managed just a flaccid 96 RC+. He’s showing improvement in 2017 with a 111 RC+ due to a few more line drives, a few more walks, and a few fewer popups. The glove remains good--he’s split time between the hot corner and first this season, but he’s a true third baseman--and Baseball Prospectus calculates the ‘D’ to be worth +6 runs. Together, that makes him an above average Double A player.

However, he still struggles against righties (.242/.301/.381), and despite flashing plenty of doubles pop, he’s not putting the ball in seats regularly. Houchins still has a ways to go before earning a shot on the big league club.

Keith Grieshaber. 22, 2B/SS/3B A & A+. 1.5 WAR

2017 Stats: .280/.372/.433 with 3 HR’s & 13 SB’s

Key Number: .326/.439/.484 through June

Acquired: drafted in the 16th round of 2016 under Eppler

Since coming off of the restricted list a month ago, the lanky middle infielder coupled the lowest swinging strike rate in the Midwest League with .141 iso, good for a 133 RC+ and a promotion to High A. The Halos snagged him out of community college in last year’s draft, so he’s a youngish member of his cohort, and has a chance to develop into an interesting player.

That said, lots of guys hit .333 over a month. What he’s got going for him is the aforementioned contact rate, some speed, and a chance to remain an up-the-middle defender. He’s on the watch list.

Troy Scribner. RHP, 25, A+. 1.5 WAR

2017 Stats: 10 Wins, 3 Losses with a 4.39 ERA through 92.1 IP. 96 K to 35 BB.

Key Number: 10% swinging strike rate in 2017 v 7% swinging strike rate in 2016

Acquired: In an effort to shore up minor league pitching depth, Eppler acquired Scribner for cash back in April of 2016.

Scribner responded by posting the top prospect performance of 2016 in the Halos system by finessing low BABIP’s and a lot of weak contact as he cruised through Double A and Triple A. None of his 2016 stats showed much in the way of dominance: he posted merely decent K, BB, and popup rates. There were no standout strengths against either lefties or righties. All of those 2016 peripherals could have easily belonged to someone with twice the ERA. He was enigma. A lucky enigma.

This season, the ERA doesn’t look quite so shiny, and his home run rate has crept up, but the other 2017 peripherals are legit. He’s boosted his swinging strike rate, resulting in more strikes in general, and decreased his walk rate. He’s particularly good at missing lefty bats, posting a 27% k-rate against opposite handers. On the surface, the ERA doesn’t scream success, but this is the PCL, where teams are averaging 5.1 runs a game, so Scribner is having a strong season. There’s no question that he’s earning his success.

I’ve only watched one of his starts so far, and it was early in the season, but my impression was that he went full Rich Hill on the opposition by leaning heavily on his curveball to coax more swinging strikes. A lot has likely happened since, so he’s worth another look. The Halos likely think so too.

Jahmai Jones. Cf, 19, A-ball. 1.5 WAR

2017 Stats: .269/.334/.415 with 8 HR’s and 18 SB’s

Key Number: 4 AB’s against younger pitchers all year. Just 4!

Acquired: 2nd round of the 2015 draft under Eppler.

Jones hasn’t lit the Midwest League on fire yet, but he hasn’t been bad either. He’s putting up a slightly-better-than-average 109 RC+ as one of the ten youngest hitters in the league. Spring in the Midwest League is generally hard on teenagers.

He may not have the same upside as other players now asserting themselves in the system, but the combination of solid contact rate, plate discipline and real (but inconsistent) power and speed tools that are showing up this early all points to a high floor. Baseball America quoted an Angels’ employee last winter, who said the Jones was the likeliest of Halos’ farmhands to eventually contribute. The numbers agree.

David Fletcher. SS/2B, 23, AA & AAA. 1.5 WAR

2017 Stats: .276/.341/.354 with 1 HR & 12 SB

Key Number: .297/.363/.385 against righties

Acquired: 6th round of the 2015 draft under Dipoto

Fletcher hit .319/.387/.394 in June, which propped his overall slashline into something useful looking and earned him a promotion to Triple A. The strengths are obvious: some speed, defensive versatility, and a knack for contact.

His batted ball distribution is a bit weird--he’s predictably a groundball hitter, but he pulls the ball an awful lot for a right-handed speed guy. Maybe that has something to do with seeing breaking balls from right handers so well.

He doesn’t pack much punch, which makes him dependent on BABIP and likely limits his ceiling. Seven of his June knocks were infield hits--those vary a lot month to month--which obviously helped the above slashline. So far in July, only one dribbler has gone for a hit, contributing to a .226/.226/.340 slash. His floor is high-ish, but he doesn’t yet project as a regular.

Jesus Castillo. RHP, 21, A & High A. 1.5 WAR

2017 Stats: 6 wins and 3 losses with a 3.10 ERA through 78.1 IP. 74 K v 14 BB.

Key Number: 21% K-rate, 3% BB-rate and a 2.97 ERA since the beginning of June.

Acquired: Traded for by Billy Eppler, in exchange for Joe Smith.

The Halos have an important decision to make about Castillo in the coming year. He’s about to complete his sixth full season as a professional, so must join the forty-man roster this offseason to stay with the Halos. Beginning your pro career at sixteen leads to a sense of urgency in your early 20’s.

I’d love for the club to do what it takes to keep him. He has one of the better change-ups in the system, leads all California League starters in groundball rate, and has the sixth lowest walk rate of all starters in the California League (of guys who’ve pitched more than 50 innings). He doesn’t get much press, but he’s younger and gets better results than many of the guys ranked ahead of him in other sources.

I confess I can’t think of any comparables for this situation. In the past, the Halos have usually made clear their intent to cut ties with a player over whom they’re about to lose control, or rushed him to the upper levels. I have no clue what they’re going to do with Castillo in the coming six months.

Sean Isaac. RHP, 24, A, A+, AAA. 1.5 WAR

2017 Stats: 0 W, 0 L with a 1.53 ERA through 47 IP. 32% k-rate, 14% bb-rate.

Key Number: 19% swinging strike rate, 2nd in the system among pitchers with at least 30 IP.

Acquired: Undrafted free agent, signed in 2016 by Eppler.

Isaac is currently a multi-inning reliever with the 66’ers. His outings range from 1+ innings (he takes the mound multiple times) to 3+ innings. Days of rest between outings measure from three days to up to a week, so it doesn’t look like they’re trying stretch him out as a starter on a regular schedule. The undrafted free agent made a splash this year by obliterating right-handed batters in particular (37% k-rate) at three different levels, so it will be interesting to see how the org shapes his role over the next 12 months.

Brendon Sanger. Of, 23, A+ & AA. 1.7 WAR

2017 Stats: .272/.360/.479 with 10 HR’s and 1 SB

Key Number: .207 iso

Acquired: 4th round of the 2015 draft under Dipoto

Sanger hit out of his mind in June, slashing .424/.477/.814 with 5 dingers. Those weren’t cheap, windblown, desert shots either: only one longball came in Lancaster. He smashed the rest in neutral or tough parks (including seven at home).

So the 2017 power is legit.

Which is weird, because this is a guy who couldn’t crack .100 iso department last year, managing just four dingers in 2016. His batted ball profile has shifted a little: his pull percentage has bumped from 39% to 43%, and his up-the-middle percentage from 25% to 28%. But overall, he’s hitting a few more groundballs and just as many pop-ups as last year. It’s just that his HR/FB percentage exploded from 3% to 19%.

When will the minors get statcast data?

He’s currently adjusting to a promotion to AA, but didn’t look entirely overmatched before suddenly going on the disabled list yesterday. He’s struck out a ton, but the walks compensate somewhat. The peripherals of a decent hitter are there: he’s hitting linedrives at an above-average rate, and lefties don’t give him much trouble at all. The glove is still a mess, despite being back in the outfield. His edges are rough, no doubt, but the booming bat has at least created the outlines of potential late-blooming regular.

Troy Montgomery. Of, 22, A, A+ & AA. 1.8 WAR

2017 Stats: .276/.356/.442 with 8 HR’s and 11 SB (6 CS)

Key Number: .340/.402/.519 since June 1st

Acquired: 8th round of the 2016 draft under Eppler

After some initial struggles in the California League, Montgomery began to demonstrate mastery. He’s pulling the ball in the air more often, and with distance. Injuries in Double A have opened up a spot with the BayBears, so we’ll see if he can carry his hot streak over.