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Angels minor league pitchers to watch in 2020

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Austin Warren

A couple months ago, Jeff had a chat with Austin Warren, the 6th round pick from 2018. Warren signed for only $7500 with a slot value of 250K. I remember thinking at the time that Warren got robbed - and perhaps he did - but apparently that is a common tactic teams use then they use that money to pay over slot on guys higher up the ladder.

When Jeff spoke with Austin, he knew he was heading to the Arizona Fall League, but that had not yet started. Along with outfielder Brandon Marsh (who led the team in AVG), Warren was among the top performers on the Mesa Solar Sox. He racked up 15 Ks in 11.2 innings with a 1.54 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.

Warren isn’t your typical high heat throwing bullpen arm, but he gets the job done with a low 90s fastball, hard breaking slider, occasional changeup, and solid command. Including the AFL, Warren has now struck out 130 batter over 96.2 innings = pretty solid number number for a guy not throwing in the upper 90s.

Isaac Mattson

Mattson came to the Angels in the 19th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Pittsburgh. He just competed in the AFL where he was named a fall star thanks to his 1.69 ERA and 12Ks over 10.2 innings. Over his 3 season in the minors, he sports a 2.89 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, and 242 Ks over 199 IP. After spending 2017 entirely at the rookie level, he has been a fast riser and tossed 9.1 innings in AAA in 2019.

Like Warren, heat isn’t his speciality as he also throws a low 90s fastball but also a plus curve. It’s highly likely he’ll land on the Angels roster at some point in 2020.

Joe Gatto

Once upon a time (in 2016), Gatto peaked at #12 on the Angels top prospects list. Don’t both looking at the current version because you won’t find him. Part testament to an improving farm, and part testament to a pretty terrible 2018 season. The once highly touted Gatto was the Angels #2 pick back in 2014. Was he a Jerry Dipoto whiff or a late bloomer?

Gatto is still only 24 years old and still seems poised to hit the big leagues some day. In 2019 he was moved to the bullpen and some modest signs of hope. Still - he put up a 4.80 ERA and a 1.675 WHIP. The later seems bad for AA, but Gatto was also adjusting to his new role in the bullpen and he walked a career high number of batters.

2020 is the year to watch if Gatto falls off the radar completely or he makes a successful jump to AAA. Gatto is another low 90s fastball guy but he has a big curve.

Jesus Castillo (gone to the Brewers)

Like Gatto, Castillo was once a top prospect for the Angels. He landed at #15 in 2018 and #12 in 2018. Castillo came over from the Cubs in the Joe Smith trade. Castillo took a nose dive off the top prospect list thanks largely to a dismal 2018 when he put up a 4.94 ERA in the regular season and was north of a 5 ERA in the AFL.

Something changed for Castillo last year, however, and he finished with a 2.71 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Castillo is not a power pitcher with his career but he does have a good fastball, plus curveball, and plus command. Castillo should find himself in Salt Lake - possibly even to start the season.