Abandon hope all ye who enter here. The day finally came when I had to write about the Los Angeles Angels’ farm system. It is a dire system to say the least. Just as a quick reference point, so you know where this system is really valued, the Angels have one prospect on RotoBaller’s top 200 dynasty prospect list... at No. 197.
The farm system is so bad, that it will probably cost the Angels Mike Trout at some point down the road. Why you may ask? Because Trout will certainly want to win a World Series at some point, he grew up in New Jersey as a Yankee fan (you see where this is going already) and the Angels might at some point need to restock their system with talent. Especially if they already know Trout will leave for New York (and $500 million) after his current contract is up.
By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.
Los Angeles Angels Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Today I am continuing my list of prospect systems in the AL West. I have already covered the Houston Astros farm system. Later this week, I will delve into the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.
Top Overall Talent: Jahmai Jones
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Jahmai Jones
If there is one prospect in this system scouts look at as a “bright spot” it’s Jones. He is a quick outfielder with a solid bat who could potentially be a future leadoff hitter. He hit very well at Rookie league in 2016 before being promoted to Class-A and struggling a bit to put it together. The raw tools are there for him to be a solid player, but I would not want to count on him being anything more than a .260 hitter with 10 homers and 20 steals in a season.
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Alex Meyer
Biggest Boom or Bust: Alex Meyer
At 27 years old, Meyer is only a prospect by literal definition. He is old as far as most prospects are concerned, though he has started to things around. At 6-foot-9, he is a tall, intimidating right-hander with an upper-90s fastball and a hard-breaking, mid-80s power curveball. But while he certainly has plenty of promise (and one of the only prospects in this system to have 2017 value), he comes with plenty of risk. His command has been atrocious throughout his professional career and it is really unknown if he will ever be able to reign it in. If he can’t, his high-octane stuff plays very well at the backend of the bullpen. But if he does ever manage to lower the walks even below 11%, he could be a solid No. 3 starter with plenty of strikeouts.
Biggest Sleeper: Troy Montgomery
Montgomery was one of the best hitters at the Burlington Bees when he was promoted and was outstanding at the Angels’ Rookie League affiliate. In the 64 games he spent between the two levels, he slashed .291/.384/.461 with seven home runs and 13 steals with only 50 strikeouts and a solid 31 walks. Montgomery looks like a promising leadoff hitter with some pull-side power and plus speed. At 5-foot-10, he is a bit on the smaller side, but he makes up for it with a quick bat. He figures to begin 2017 at either Class-A Burlington or High-A where he can start to prove whether or not he is for real. He could be a potential 10/15 leadoff or No. 9 hitter if things work out perfectly for him.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Matt Thaiss
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Matt Thaiss
In terms of pure hitting ability, there is no doubt Thaiss is the top of this list. The catcher-turned-first baseman was a phenomenal hitter at the University of Virginia behind-the-dish, but his defense always left a lot to be desired and so the Angels took him out from the catcher position. Thaiss possesses a great understanding of the strike zone, helping him have one of the highest floors in this desolate system. His power is mostly raw right now, but some scouts believe he will eventually develop enough to hit 20 home runs in the big leagues. He will need to find a way to develop that raw power into game power, however, because first base is always loaded with hitters and power is a must-have at the position.
Best Burner on the Bases: Nonie Williams
Taken out of high school in the third round of the 2016 draft, Williams quickly put his speed to good use at the Rookie league, swiping eight bags in only 38 games. The 18-year-old has very promising speed and seems poised to steal 30+ if he ever reaches the big leagues. Unfortunately, that is a big if. He is a long ways away from the majors and the switch-hitter has not impressed scouts to this point with his bat. He will need to try and reach base more consistently if he hopes to reach the majors.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Alex Meyer
As discussed earlier, Meyer has the high-octane stuff that leads to a ton of strikeouts. With his fastball/curveball (and budding changeup) combination, it is no wonder he always strikes out 25% or more of opposing hitters. But until he manages to get that control in check, his upside will be limited as a reliever or desperation starter.
Best Command: Vicente Campos
Unlike Meyer, Campos has no issue preventing batters from reaching base via the free pass. Campos has never walked more than 9.3% of opposing batters at any level all the while, consistently managing to strike out a fair amount of batters (typically 18-22%). Campos’ command and stuff gives him a floor of a No. 4 starter, but injuries could limit that upside.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Los Angeles Angels
1. Jahmai Jones (OF, A)
Jones has the best overall set of skills in this system as he has the potential to hit for a decent average and swipe a couple bags. Even still, he is not an intriguing own in dynasty leagues.
2. Matt Thaiss (1B, A)
Thaiss is a better hitter than Jones, but he plays at a more demanding offensive position. If he doesn’t develop power, he won’t be worth owning.
3. Taylor Ward (C, A+)
A catcher who can hit? Sounds good to me. But for right now, he is really just a power bat. But with few strikeouts, he could develop into a better hitter. For a comp, think former Angels’ catcher Jett Bandy.
4. Alex Meyer (SP, MLB)
Meyer has the potential to be a solid starting pitcher, but at 27 years old, he is running out of time. His command still has miles to go before he is a decent starter.
5. Vicente Campos (SP, MLB)
2016 was the first year in the career of Campos he successfully put up over 100 innings. If health permits, he could be the top pitching prospect in this system, but who knows if he can stay healthy for too long.
6. Nate Smith (SP, AAA)
Smith appears to be destined for a big league rotation, but he lacks swing-and-miss stuff which limits his upside. But if he can improve on keeping the ball on the ground and out of the air, he will make it as a No. 5 starter.
7. Brandon Marsh (OF, ROK)
Marsh has plenty of upside as an athletic, sweet-swinging left-handed centerfielder. He just needs to clean up the holes in his swing to make consistent-enough contact to succeed.
8. Nonie Williams (SS, ROK)
Speed kills and Williams has plenty of that. But he needs to cut down on the swings-and-misses to put his speed to use before he has much dynasty value.
9. Grayson Long (SP, A+)
Long has the size to potentially build up strength on his repertoire and he certainly has an aggressive demeanor out on the mound, but his stuff does not quite meet the standard for a regular starting pitcher.
10. Troy Montgomery (OF, A)
An undersize outfielder with a decent power/speed combination could be one of the biggest sleepers in this system. He will need to start spraying the ball to all fields and stop pulling the ball so much if he wants to make it to the big leagues though.
To be blunt, this is the worst farm system in baseball. At best, if you are in love with Matt Thaiss and some of the pitchers, maybe it’s only the second-worst. There is a serious dearth of talent and it has really put the Angels in a tough position. Without even one clear impact prospect in the system, it is unclear how they expect to be competitive during the rest of Mike Trout’s time with them unless they go on a serious spending spree on free agents.
Jones and Thaiss are the clear top two prospects here, and there is really no one else particularly of note except for in some seriously deep dynasty leagues. I would not spend much time looking into their system for dynasty value.