2020 Prospect Opportunities — Angels

Today, we move on to the American League West teams in our 2020 Prospect Opportunities series by starting things off with the Angels. This is a pretty strong roster, with few clear opportunities for prospects, absent an injury to the incumbent. Because of the late season, if it happens, their injured starting pitchers are going to end up missing no time, giving them excellent depth and no real need to dip into their weak prospect pool (I am including Patrick Sandoval as part of their SP depth and not in their prospect pool).

At Risk: David Fletcher & Tommy La Stella
Replacement: Luis Rengifo & Jose Rojas

After Tommy La Stella’s surprise breakout half season (he actually topped his 2019 wOBA back in 2017, but that came in half the plate appearances), it should be assumed that La Stella platoons with David Fletcher at second, with the latter playing there against lefties, and then roaming around filling multiple positions against righties. La Stella looks like mostly a fluke, as his xHR/FB rate of 11.9% was significantly below his actual 18.4% mark. Fletcher has no power, so is heavily reliant on his elite contact skills to get on base enough to make up for the lack of punch.

Luis Rengifo debuted last year, just missing a .300 wOBA as he displayed limited power, with other skills bobbing around the league average. However, he has shown strong plate discipline and low SwStk% marks in the minors and has shown speed and power at times. He has swiped as many as 35 bases in the minors, while his power spiked at Triple-A in 2019, albeit over a tiny 110 at-bat sample.

Jose Rojas is the surprise sleeper name. With no articles mentioning his name and the fact he was unprotected during the most recent Rule 5 draft and not even selected, he’s seemingly a longshot. He’s also 27 years old now. But he has been fabulous at Double-A in 2018 and Triple-A in 2019, it makes you wonder what the problem is. With solid plate discipline, including double digit walk rates and low 20% strikeout rates, with reasonable SwStk% marks, getting on base hasn’t been an issue. He also also displayed excellent power with mid-to-high teen HR/FB rates and ISO marks of at least .250. That’s really good for a guy who has played multiple positions, including second base!

At Risk: Brian Goodwin
Replacement: Michael Hermosillo

Thought to only have a job for a short time until Justin Upton returned from injury, Brian Goodwin’s opportunity lasted much longer than expected. He made the most of it, posting a .332 wOBA. However, a high strikeout rate puts him at risk of an extended slump, while a high fly ball rate puts his inflated BABIP at risk.

Top prospect Jo Adell figured to be promoted at some point and take over right field, but that’s highly unlikely to happen in 2020 now. Instead, it could be Michael Hermosillo, who has already made his debut and recorded 108 plate appearances with the Angels over the last two seasons. Hermosillo has struck out often at Triple-A, but his SwStk% isn’t excessively high, so it doesn’t appear to be a big worry. He has shown excellent power in the minors, with ISO marks of at least .200 during every Triple-A stint.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Jack Cecil
Jack Cecil

Mike, I have been loving these. Is there any chance you could put a box up top that links to the other articles in the series. I know I can click your name and search your articles, but a set of quick links would be appreciated.