Jordon Adell heads list of Angels’ top prospects
The Angels, from a developmental standpoint, have been stuck in a murky middle ground for almost a decade, neither good enough to be perennial contenders — they haven’t won a playoff game since 2009 — nor bad enough to pick higher than 10th in the last 10 drafts — though they did nab Mike Trout with the 25th pick in 2009.
But some promising picks and international signings have boosted a farm system that moved from 30th to 14th in Baseball America’s 2018 rankings and from 27th to 19th as rated by ESPN. Though the system is very thin in pitching that can impact the big-league team soon, it is deep in outfield prospects, led by 2017 first-round pick Jordon Adell. Here is a look at five of the organization’s best prospects.
1. Jordon Adell, 18, outfielder
The Angels believe Adell, the 10th overall pick last June, has the best combination of raw power, speed and arm strength of any player in the draft. The muscular 18-year-old, who signed for $4.377 million, flashed his potential in 49 games for rookie-league Arizona and Orem last summer, hitting .325 with a .908 OPS, five homers, 11 doubles, eight triples, 30 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 49 strikeouts and 14 walks. He runs a 6.4-second 60-yard dash, and his arm strength is such that his fastball was clocked at 92-94 mph in high school.
2. Jahmai Jones, 20, outfielder
Jones, a second-round pick who signed for $1.1 million in 2015, is a dynamic athlete with NFL bloodlines — his father and two brothers played in the league. Somewhat short, but thick and strong (6-0, 215), Jones makes consistent contact with gap-to-gap power. His defense is improving, and he has enough speed to project as a leadoff man in the big leagues. The stiffer the competition, the better Jones performed last season — he hit .272 with a .763 OPS in 86 games for low-A Burlington and .302 with an .856 OPS in 41 games at high-A Inland Empire.
Maitan, a top international prospect in 2016, signed with Atlanta for $4.25 million but was declared a free agent as part of the Braves’ international signing violations penalties. The Angels signed Maitan for $2.2 million in December and will probably have to move him to third base because of the weight he has gained in his lower half. Maitan hit .241 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 42 rookie-league games last summer. He has plus power potential, a strong arm and soft hands, but his range is limited by a lack of speed and first-step quickness.
4. Brandon Marsh, 20, outfielder
Marsh, a second-round pick who signed for $1.073 million in 2016, spent his first year in the organization rehabilitating from a stress reaction in his lower back. He returned to action in 2017 and flashed his five-tool potential as one of the best players in the Pioneer League, hitting .350 with a .944 OPS, 22 extra-base hits and 44 RBIs in 39 games for Orem. Marsh, 20, is an elite athlete with a strong frame and above-average speed and arm strength. He has good plate discipline and should add more power as he matures physically.
5. Chris Rodriguez, 19, right-handed pitcher
Rodriguez, a fourth-round pick in 2016, is not the most polished pitcher in the system, and his high-effort delivery can affect his command. His 2017 results at Orem and Burlington, where he had a 6.16 ERA in 14 starts, didn’t match his potential. The 19-year-old has the best pure stuff in the system, a lively four-seam fastball that sits in the 95-mph range, a sinking two-seamer that runs in on right-handed hitters, an 84-mph slider with a hard, late break and some depth, and a changeup that sinks and fades so much it resembles a screwball.
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