It hasn’t been an easy run of late for Angels fans as the Los Angeles Angels finished the 2022 MLB season with their seventh consecutive losing season and missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year despite having names like Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Shohei Ohtani.
Despite the recent tough luck, there might be some help on the way and soon. Who knows, maybe in the form of one of the 20 (!) pitchers the Angels selected in the 2021 MLB Draft. I’m sure you will see a couple of them in the list below.
Los Angeles Angels Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects
1. Logan O’Hoppe, C
(AA) 360 AB,.283 /.416 /.544, 26 HR, 7 SB, 72 R, 78 RBI
(MLB) 14 AB, .286 /.375 /.286 , 0 HR, 0 SB, 1 R, 2 RBI
It will be easy to brand Logan O’Hoppe as a part of the Angels future and rightfully so. We know that 14 at-bats is not a large sample size, but it can at least advertise that O’Hoppe might have what it takes to succeed at the plate at the next level. Catchers with offensive talent are still hard to come by these days and O’Hoppe’s .276 batting average and 50 home runs across four minor league seasons might show that he will be next up. In just 14 at-bats, O’Hoppe was able to produce a wOBA of .418 on fastballs with a whiff rate of only 11.1%. Predictably, his discipline against breaking balls will need some work as he did not register a hit against 29 breaking balls seen and his whiff rate was 52.9%.
2.Zach Neto, SS
(A+/AA) 147 AB, .299 /.377 /.476, 5 HR, 5 SB, 44 R, 27 RBI
The Angels selected Zach Neto with their first-round pick in the 2022 draft and it paid off immediately. After putting up numbers of .403/.500/.751 in his three collegiate seasons at Campbell University, Neto made an impact quickly by producing a successful debut season that will already have him starting the 2023 MILB season in AA ball. In fact, Neto was his most successful during his time in AA, slashing .320/.382/.492 across 122 at-bats in 30 games with the Rocket City Trash Pandas. While Neto has shown his flashes with the bat, his defense may need some more improvement as he finished with a fielding percentage of .920 with 11 errors in 137 total chances.
3. Ky Bush, LHP
(AA) 103.0 IP/3.67 ERA/1.18 WHIP/101 K
Ky Bush will certainly be an intimidating presence on the mound when he eventually makes his debut. At 6’6″ with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s, Bush separates himself from the typical left-hander that uses mostly finesse to get guys out. Where Bush can make his mark is by improving his changeup and curveball to make him a more well-rounded pitcher. Look for Bush to make his breaking pitches an area of focus this season, while his fastball and slider will keep him on the radar to make his debut in the near future.
4. Edgar Quero, C
(A) 413 AB, .312/.435/ .530, 17 HR, 12 SB, 86 R, 75 RBI
One of the youngest members on this list, Edgar Quero is also one of the best well-rounded offensive players. Quero dramatically improved his game since his professional debut in 2021, increasing his batting average by 72 points while having nearly 20 home runs and 80 RBI. Despite his run grade (40) being the lowest in his scouting report, Quero still managed to score 86 runs while stealing 12 bases. Defensively, his play is not up to Logan O’Hoppe’s level, making this and his framing his biggest weakness to date. Quero will have plenty of time to develop his defensive skills before he is expected to make his debut in 3-4 years.
5. Denzer Guzman, SS
(Rookie/A) 209 AB, .278 /.346 /.402, 3 HR, 4 SB, 40 R, 35 RBI
The first thing that jumps off the page when looking at Denzer Guzman is his ability to get on base. In a game that is now mostly about the home run, Guzman managed an OBP of .311 during the 2021 season in which he struggled offensively to the tune of a .213 batting average. Fast forward to 2022 and Guzman and his OBP jump to .346 with an OPS of .748 which leaves a good impression despite the lack of production at the plate.
6. Chase Silseth, RHP
(AA) 83.0 IP/2.28 ERA/0.95 WHIP/110 K
(MLB) 28.2 IP/6.59 ERA/1.57 WHIP/24 K
If nothing else, Chase Silseth can hang his hat on an impressive bounce-back season in 2022. Making two starts in AA during which he only got through 3.1 total innings, Silseth faltered to an ERA of 13.50. However, in 15 starts sprinkled between his first seven career big league starts, Silseth turned himself around to produce the numbers you see above. Possessing a fastball that tops out at 96 mph and an above-average slider, curveball, and changeup, Silseth has the four-pitch mix to be a starter but needs the consistency to be one long-term. During his big league outings, Silseth was not afraid of mixing his pitches, using his fastball a majority of the time (46%), but using a good mix of his changeup (27%) and slider (21%) as well. Yes, he struggled as a young pitcher in his first career big league stint, but his production in AA should keep eyes on him as he continues to get better.
7. Sam Bachman, RHP
(AA) 43.2 IP/3.92 ERA/1.51 WHIP/30 K
Through his first two professional seasons, Sam Bachman has mostly been a model of consistency. Taking a deeper look, Bachman (6.18 K/9 in 2022) maintained a sub-4.00 ERA through 12 starts but saw a slight downturn in efficiency while facing slightly tougher competition.
8. Landon Marceaux, RHP
(A+/AA) 90.2 IP/2.98 ERA/0.95 WHIP/73 K
Landon Marceaux is yet another pitcher the Angels drafted in 2021 that has taken positive strides since his professional debut. Not as hard of a thrower as Bush or Bachman, Marceaux still generates a fastball that tops out around 94 mph and has shown good control of it within the strike zone. Through 18 starts in 2022, Marceaux was able to maintain a sub-1.00 WHIP and a BAA of .209. Competition in AA gave Marceaux a little bit of a challenge given an increased ERA of 7.94 and a BABIP of .294 so look for a reset as he gets up to speed against better hitters.
9. Jake Madden, RHP
2022 Stats: N/A
Jake Madden did not see any playing time after being drafted last summer with the Angels’ 118th overall pick in the fourth round. The 6’6″ right-hander, who had Tommy John surgery during his senior year of high school in 2020, sports a three pitch mix of a fastball, slider, and a changeup that is rated as a plus pitch. Madden has readily available talent, but it will be an uphill climb from here to show what he is capable of post-surgery.
10. Adrian Placencia, SS
(A) 382 AB, .254 /.387 /.427 , 13 HR, 21 SB, 83 R, 64 RBI
Adrian Placencia is a switch-hitting middle infielder that has shown patience from both sides of the plate. Other than the occasional streak of youthful pitch-chasing, Placencia has shown a knack for getting on base and putting the bat to the ball (.367 BABIP in 2022). Placencia’s speed on the bases leaves a little to be desired, but he still racked up 21 stolen bases and scored 83 runs to boot with a wRC+ of 116. His downfall is currently his inconsistent defense which could be caused by splitting his time between shortstop and second base.
11. Ben Joyce, RHP
(AA) 13.0 IP/2.08 ERA/1.15 WHIP/20 K
Ben Joyce did not get much playing time in 2022, only 13 one-inning appearances, but when he did take the mound, he made the most of it. Joyce held his opposition to a .220 BAA and stranded 77.8% of baserunners on base. Joyce underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season, but that did not stop him from touching 105 mph with his fastball last spring. He also features an effective mid-80s slider, although lacking command at times, and a changeup that can reach the low-90s. Throw in a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.0 with a save and four holds to boot and Joyce could find himself as an all-around reliever in the future.
12. Jeremiah Jackson, SS
(AA) 307 AB, .215 /.308 /.404 , 14 HR, 7 SB, 44 R, 44 RBI
Jeremiah Jackson’s 2022 season was not indicative of the talent he has had so far in his career, as his numbers dipped nearly across the board by the season’s end. Slashing .266/.335/.548 through the end of 2021, it’s clear Jackson has regressed just a bit. A shortstop by trade, Jackson, like many other Angels infield prospects, has dabbled at multiple positions so far in his career, but he has not shown that his defense is on par with his offense as his fielding percentage currently sits at .947 and his RF/9 at SS is 4.07.
13. Randy De Jesus, OF
(Rookie) 184 AB, .272 /.362 /.467, 7 HR, 5 SB, 33 R, 43 RBI
Randy De Jesus had an impressive 2022 season and displayed a little bit of everything with his play on the diamond. He showed decent power, hitting a home run roughly every 26 at-bats as a teenager, and displayed a BABIP of .326 and a wOBA of .397. Even De Jesus’ defense was a strength of his play as he committed only one error in 66 total chances across 353.2 innings.
14. Nelson Rada, OF
(Rookie) 164 AB, .311 /.446 /.439, 1 HR, 27 SB, 50 R, 26 RBI
Still only a teenager, Nelson Rada made an impact during his professional debut as a rookie. Though you may like to see a bit more power out of Rada, with only one home run on the season, the power will come as he continues to develop. Rada could fare well sitting atop the batting order with a wOBA of .440 and wRC+ of 147. As long as Rada continues to put the bat to the ball, he will see the big leagues in no time.
15. Werner Blakely, SS
(A) 183 AB, .295 /.447 /.470, 5 HR, 24 SB, 36 R, 40 RBI
Rounding out the top prospects is another young shortstop in Werner Blakely. 2021 was a rough start to Blakely’s career but made a leap with his game by improving across the board. He improved his batting average by 113 points, cut his strikeout percentage by 7.3%, and hit .450 on all balls put in play. As with most young players, Blakely’s 12 errors on defense are a concern, but nothing that cannot be addressed before he’s ready to make the jump to higher levels of play. Blakely also showed patience at the plate as nearly 30% of his hit were up the middle, a considerable jump from 22.7% in 2021.
Angels Stadium: Flickr / Wikimedia CC Brandon Fick
Zach Neto: Flickr / Wikimedia CC Ian D’Andrea
Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@kurt_player02 on Instagram / @KUwasemiller on Twitter)