In a mixture of highly drafted prep players, to college seniors to foreign players taking their first steps in the United States, Elio Sarmiento and the Arizona Summer League Angels found their way to a quarterfinals berth, and season of breakout prospects emerging from Rookie Ball.
After a quick start that led to a first half clinching playoff spot (16-12), the AZL Angels held the worst record (7-18) in the second half of the season. Their season came to an end in the quarterfinals of the Arizona Summer League Playoffs in a 10-2 loss to the AZL Mariners.
Speed and patience were the key virute to the team's offense - as expected from the Angels system - as they finished the season in the top five in stolen bases (90), walks (195), on-base percentage (.328), hit by pitch (54) and runs per game (4.70). Hitting coaches Paul MacAnulty and Brian Betancourt helped build each approach but some players developed ten-fold at an immediate rate.
Jared Walsh was sent to Tempe after being drafted in the 39th round, coming off a back injury the previous season at the University of Georgia. In a healthy season where his only focus was at the plate and not on the mound, Walsh proved he was more than just a late round pick. Walsh finished the team leader in nearly every offensive statistic, and finished in the league's top 10 in doubles (12), triples (4), RBI (28), slugging percentage (.578) and OPS (.978).
There may have been no bigger surprise than Ryan Sebra. The son of former Major League, Bob Sebra, did not hear his name called in the 40-round MLB Draft, but signed just a few weeks following and proved it was a mistake he was passed on. Sebra finished with a .346/.436/.432 slash line, with his batting average going for eighth best in the AZL and on-base percentage go for seventh best.
The AZL affiliate did see one of the Angels high ceiling prospects in Jahmai Jones. The 2015 second-round pick flashed his tools, which allowed him to post strong numbers, such as a .244/.330/.344 slash, with 16 stolen bases and 10 extra-base hits.
The pitching staff, coached by Jairo Cuevas and Ryan O'Malley, fell near the bottom of the league, as the mixture of low ceiling prospects and young foreign pitchers took it's toll. However, the development of throwing strikes was evident as the AZL Angels walked the second least per nine. Also, the bullpen arms proved their mental side of the game could hold through a hard workload, and the team lost only two leads after the seventh inning.
The Angels signed multiple undrafted free agents arms and they were able to hold tough against the opposing talent. Zach Hartman was the standout striking out 14 in 9.1 innings pitched, and allowed just eight base runners and no runs. The other Brandon Glazer, Alex Henson, and Brandon Snyder combined for a 3.17 ERA, all undrafted free agents.
The Angels took a big risk in taking Sam Pastrone in the 17th round of the draft, with prep players mostly not signing in the mid to late rounds. However, Pastrone did sign and went to Tempe where he was fantastic. He allowed just four runs in his first eight professional starts, and zero runs in his first three. Pastrone finished the season with a 3.26 ERA and 1.253 WHIP.
Leading the bullpen was southpaw, Winston Lavendier, who took the system by storm, posting a 1.65 ERA and 0.841 WHIP. Despite being slightly above the average age of the league, Lavendier has created a name for himself moving forward in the Angels system.
G : Gabriel Santana, 42
R : Jahmai Jones, 28
H : Franklin Torres, 41
2B : Jared Walsh, 12
3B : Jared Walsh, 4
HR : Jared Walsh / Jahmai Jones, 2
RBI : Jared Walsh, 28
SB : Jahmai Jones, 16
BB : Jahmai Jones, 17
SO : Gabriel Santana, 34
BA : Ryan Sebra, .346
OBP : Josh Delph, .441
SLG : Jared Walsh, .578
OPS : Jared Walsh, .978
TB : Jared Walsh, 63
HBP : Jordan Serena, 8
G : Winston Lavendier, 17
W : Jacob McDavid / Crusito Mieses / Jaime Barria, 3
L : Crusito Mieses / Brandon Glazer, 4
ERA : Winston Lavendier, 1.65
SV : Winston Lavendier / Luis Pena / Brandon Snyder, 2
IP : Brandon Glazer, 44.2
BB : Jose Mendoza / Adam McCreery, 14
SO : Crusito Mieses, 36
WHIP : Winston Lavendier, 0.841
H/9 : Adam McCreery, 4.8
BB/9 : Brandon Glazer, 0.6
K/9 : Adam McCreery, 13.5
K/BB : Jaime Barria, 10.33
InsideTheHalos Players of the Year for Arizona Summer League Angels:
Most Valuable Player : Jared Walsh
Batter of the Year : Ryan Sebra
Clutch Batter of the Year : Jared Walsh
Pitcher of the Year : Winston Lavendier
Starter of the Year : Jaime Barria
Reliever of the Year : Winston Lavendier
Surprise of the Year : Zach Hartman
Most Valuable Player : Jared Walsh