As analyst across baseball reconfigure their system top prospects, InsideTheHalos.com joins in on the fun. In a follow up article to the Mid-Season Top 10 Angels Prospects, we give you the following 10 in grouping.
Here are the top 11-20 Angels' mid-season prospects, from Scout.com Prospect Analyst, Taylor Blake Ward.
11. Kyle McGowin, Right-Handed Pitcher; Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Easily the most undersold prospect in the system, McGowin was on the fast track to the Majors before an elbow injury what would have been his first full season in 2014, just two months into the season. Luckily for himself and the Halos, there was no tear in the elbow and Tommy John wasn't required. This year, he's a younger talent and seeing his second full year, on pace for a career high in innings pitched. This could be the longevity that allows him to break into the Angels' rotation by mid-2017.
Though he registers as a back end starter, McGowin has an arsenal that would recommend a career of missing bats and creating weak contact. His fastball ranges in at 90-93 regularly, touching the mid 90's at times. When commanded, there's enough sink on his fastball to run it away from left-handed hitters, but also work in his changeup to setup his slider. His slider has a very good shape, and has a wipeout notion to it. He prefers to work away, but will need to come inside a little more to become a more well-rounded pitcher. He has a high competitive edge to him, and a nice knowledge of how to setup hitters, which will carry him to the Majors, at minimum.
There was a turning of the page for McGowin near the mid part of last season, but the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League has taken it's toll on him this year. Outside of one start before mid-June where he allowed eight runs, he would have held a 3.01 ERA, between Double-A and Triple-A. The past three starts have really plagued him, seeing 20 runs in 12 innings, but the numbers don't express how well he's actually pitched away from that.
12. Alex Meyer, Right-Handed Pitcher; Triple-A Salt Lake Bees (Disabled List)
The moment he was shipped to Anaheim from Minnesota, there was a bad rep on Meyer, for unfair reasoning. Hector Santiago, beloved by Angels' fans, was the parting piece, and people couldn't accept a high-risk, high-reward prospect the system direly needed. Meyer, a former top prospect in the league, will be 27 by the start of the 2017 season, much older than the average prospect, but could be exactly what the Angels need in their non-rebuilding process.
Meyer possesses a wicked arsenal, all beginning with a mid to high 90's fastball, that has been upwards of 98 at times. He has taken it back a notch to gain some control and command, and this will be the defining mark of where his career will take him. Everything he throws comes from a six-foot-nine height, and has plenty of downhill and sinking action. His changeup has enough difference in velocity to create separation, but needs more consistency to become an above-average pitch. His slider comes in at a premium, holding enough velocity and break to register as a plus off-speed offering. All success in the future will stem from improved command, but if this improves, the Angels could have gotten a large steal in the process.
The Twins development program hasn't ever received large praise, and it may have taken it's toll on Meyer, as he's currently missing two-to-three months with a shoulder injury. Prior to this, he was putting up strong numbers in Triple-A, allowing two runs and walking jsut four in three starts. He has yet to have any success in a very limited Major League career, but his minor league numbers in total are a promising sign. Over 447 innings in the minors, Meyer has a 3.40 ERA, while striking out over 10-per-nine.
13. Victor Alcantara, Right-Handed Pitcher; Double-A Arkansas Travelers
There was a stretch of time where Alcantara was a teenager who threw the ball as hard as he could in the general direction of the plate, and missed bats against inexperience hitters. Now, the hitters are much more talented, but so is Alcantara. That teenager mentioned above had what you could call a slider, but he didn't remember how to throw it, so the Angels taught him, and also had him learn how to throw with three fingers on the ball instead of two, and called it a changeup. Great makeup has helped Alcantara go from a "thrower" to a "pitcher," but there's a lot of work to be done.
Easily the best pure two-pitch mix in the system, Alcantara has an explosive fastball and nearly as explosive slider. Reports suggest that his fastball has lessened in velocity at the expense of trying to figure a way to command it, but his off-putting mechanics suggest he'll always struggle with commanding anything. When he lets it rip, you will see his fastball reach speeds of 98-100 miles per hour with high loads of sink - it currently sits 92-96 with regularity, still with sink. His slider darts away from right-handed hitters, and also registers in at over 90 miles per hour on the norm. That two-pitch arsenal alone should carry him into a late relief role, once he can harness it a tad more. He has a changeup, but it's not really worth mentioning at this point in his career. Command, command, command; development, development, development - that is the key.
The Angels put an extensive leash on Alcantara, when it came to being a starter in the future. Today, the Angels decided to pull the leash, and put him in a relief role, which should be his true calling card. The signs of success as a starter came in small samples over the last two years, as he's staring at a 5.24 ERA over the past two seasons between High-A and Double-A. The walk totals have decreased, which would express signs of improvement in overall command, but the strikeout totals have also decreased, which points to the decrease in velocity. It could play out as a blessing if it means he can command the ball in the mid 90's, and stick as a starter in the future.
14. Jared Foster, Outfielder; Class-A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers
Sophomore quarterback, Brandon Harris, led LSU to a 9-3 record and Texas Bowl victory last season. Harris, a four-star recruit from Louisiana, might not have been leading the Tigers' offense last year if the Angels hadn't offered Jared Foster $100,000 to play professional baseball. The two-sport stud from LSU opted for a career in baseball, and everything is starting to come together for the gifted athlete.
It goes without saying (even though we're saying it), Foster is an incredibly talented athlete. All the tools range out as under the radar gifts. He has college ball experience under his belt, but is focusing primarily on baseball for the first time in his life. You can never put it against a quarterback to be able to read defense, or in this case, pitchers, and as he learns how they attack, he's learning how to attack. He has under the radar speed that carries on the paths and in the field, backed with plenty of arm (quarterback, remember?) to play the corners and center. His power stems from explosive bat speed, and the numbers are starting to support the case. As he gains experience, and sees how pitchers are working against him, you could be looking at a fierce competitor manning the corner outfield for the Angels in years soon to come.
This year has been a steady climb month-to-month, and the production is showing. Foster found a consistent approach just prior to the mid-season point, and began to hit, and hit, and hit. It earned him a promotion to High-A, where he's hitting .363 with a .918 OPS in 19 games. Add along 23 doubles, three triples, and eight home runs to what could still be looked at as a "raw" player.
15. Joe Gatto, Right-Handed Pitcher; Class-A Burlington Bees (Temporarily Inactive)
In 2009, the Angels took a prep talent out of New Jersey, and he turned out to become the best player in baseball currently. The next New Jersey prep player they nabbed came five years later in the form of Joe Gatto. It's been a bumpy ride for Gatto over his first three years in pro ball, but the pieces are starting to mold.
Gatto ranges his fastball in-and-out of the low 90's, seeing it plateau right around 94. It seems he's tampering with multiple grips on the fastball because sometimes it cuts, sometimes it sinks, and sometimes it's flat. He's been able to take a big sweeping curve and tighten it into a more 12-6 break, making a potential swing-and-miss pitch at the higher levels and it drops out of the zone. There's telling signs to his changeup, but it's still a work in progress.
Pro ball has not been friendly to Gatto's stat line, as he has a 5.70 ERA in his 145.1 innings pitched in the minors. This year, the games where he had it all together came in smaller instances than the games where things fell apart. Recently, Gatto was shut down, and is doing a weighted ball program in Arizona. Though no injury has been noted, it seems the Angels are working with him to get a feel for everything in a small restart mode for the year.
16. Caleb Adams, Outfielder; Double-A Arkansas Travelers
The Angels saw a trend in outfield draftees under the Ric Wilson era, in which the majority had praise for their athleticism and showed a bulldog personality on the field. That trend was in the hopes of getting a stand out from outside the top three rounds, and Caleb Adams has become that standout. The organization is very high on him, and are set to make plans for the future with him in the plans.
Adams a high-energy player, who has taken a lot of working parts in his game and simplified them while maintaining a bulldog attitude. The mentality transitions into the field where he has little fear in using his decent speed and athleticism to go after balls most can't go for. He has enough arm to keep runners honest, and should be a nice fit at any outfield position with improved routes. His swing had quite a few moving pieces in his swing, primarily his body, and has since turned it into a more swift stroke. He has some uppercut notions to his swing in general, and flashes power to right-center. He has grown into a more disciplined hitter, but is at his best with an aggressive approach, feeding on fastballs.
Adams couldn't have kicked off his season at a hotter pace, hitting .360 with a .500 BAbip in his first 30 games, and then was told to begin working on items that would help him at the upper level. He's now looking at a .683 OPS over the course of the year between High-A and Double-A. Some in the industry suggest he's comparable to former Angels' bench outfielder, Collin Cowgill - an above-average fourth outfield option with some speed and power in a small frame.
17. Keynan Middleton, Right-Handed Pitcher; Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Recently, scouts have been raving about an Angels prospect, and it all came from one change to his game. Middleton was a gifted basketball player when drafted, acting as a JUCO shooting guard, who could also throw a baseball well. It took time, but the patience paid off for the Angels, when they decided to put Middleton in the bullpen and have him go out and sling it.
Everything was very raw with Middleton, who was more of a "thrower" with velocity to his fastball. The first few years of development turned into a good thing, as he worked to become more polished, but the results didn't show. Since the move to the bullpen, Middleton's fastball went from the low to mid 90's with sink to a power fastball, ranging 96-98 MPH on average and has been upwards of 100 as of recent, all with even more sink. He's flashed plus with his slider, and it could be a lethal weapon once he gains a stronger feel for it. Command was a constant concern for Middleton, but that's improved this season as well as he simplified his free-and-loose delivery.
In the three-year development in the low minors for Middleton, he saw his ERA stand at 5.97. Though the results were very poor, the development was valuable and created Middleton into what he is now. He's currently looking at a 2.98 ERA with 13 strikeouts-per-nine between High-A and Double-A this season, while allowing just two runs in 15 innings of work in Double-A. He's recently been removed from the closing role to begin adapting to real scenarios he'll see at the Major League level.
18. Eduardo Paredes, Right-Handed Pitcher; Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Straight out of Venezuela, all Paredes did was impress against inexperienced hitters. As of recent, he's faced talent two-to-three years older than he is, and is still showing he can hold his own. The 21-year-old prospect is a reliever all the way, and is beginning to mature into roles, seeing scenarios similar to Middleton (above), working to a Major League bullpen.
Paredes attacks at a rapid pace, which is beginning to see him rush a bit against hitters who are ready for it. As he finds a more consistent pace, he'll be able to use his fastball pairing and off-speed pitch to miss bats at the rate he was able to do in the low minors. Paredes throws both a four-seam with cut and two-seam fastball with sink and run in the mid 90's. He has seen his four-seam run in the high 90's, touching 98 at moments. As for his off-speed pitch, it registers as a slider that gets a little slurve-like with downer action. He throws from a low 3/4 angle, which allows him to be deceptive and give hitters fits. He's never had trouble throwing strikes, but sometimes falls in love with trying to over power with fastball, and better hitters are picking up on it. As he gains experience, he'll be able to set up his off-speed, and be a future late-inning reliever.
It would have been crazy to expect Paredes to post results through his career like he did in the lower minors, where he saw a 1.81 ERA and 11.34 K/9 rating. As a 20-year-old in High-A, the results began to falter, which turned into a learning experience for Paredes. This year, he's shown the adjustments, and the results express it in a 3.55 ERA and 1.234 WHIP between High-A and Double-A, all as a 21-year-old, three years younger than the average talent.
19. Chris Rodriguez, Right-Handed Pitcher; Rookie AZL Angels
In the Ric Wilson draft era, only three prep pitchers have had their names called by the Angels in the first five rounds, with Chris Rodriguez being the third in this year's fourth round. The team has high faith in what he brings to the table, signing him for nearly $400,000 over slot value. The overall package is slightly more polished than the average prep arm, with an arsenal that could carry him into a future rotation role.
The Angels have plenty of time to develop Rodriguez, as he's only two weeks past his 18th birthday. He is an advanced prep arm, and has a nice understanding of how to attack hitters with his four-pitch arsenal. His fastball ranges from 91-95 and gets on hitters quickly, with some cut, along with an actual cutter that sits in the high 80's to low 90's. Rodriguez backs up his cutter with a tight slider that has plenty of spin to it. There have been signs of a changeup, but it's not much to note currently. Rodriguez has an aggressive attack plan, and throws strikes with all four pitches. There are a lot of moving parts to Rodriguez's delivery which the Angels will attempt to simplify over the rest of summer and into instructs.
Rodriguez spent his senior year taking Monsignor Pace High School to a Florida State Championship, helped with a 0.65 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 86 innings. In his brief pro career, Rodriguez has allowed two runs in just over nine innings and struck out six of the 13 left-handed hitters he's faced.
20. Michael Hermosillo, Outfielder; Class-A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers
When drafted, Hermosillo had many distractions prevalent. He was a highly touted football recruit as a defensive back and halfback, was a prep star in track, and had many friends as any high schooler would. Suddenly, he had to change all his focus to the diamond, and there was patience required from the Angels for him to create a legacy of his own. With very high marks on his makeup, Hermosillo has turned into an advanced, high-rising prospect, in the Halos system, and many are taking notice within, and outside of the organization.
One of the better overall athletes in the system, Hermosillo had plenty of raw tools going into pro ball. Now, he's polished out, and cleaned up his game to become a well-touted prospect. His swing went from a variable of moving parts to a short compact stroke from the right-side. He has some pure natural strength, which has showed up in game as of recent pull power. He has an advanced approach at the plate, and takes most counts deep and into his favor. He's cut his strikeout rates every year, and is beginning to show he's a more complete hitter. He has plenty of speed, which carries in the field, but has been held to a minimum as of recent on the paths. All-in-all, he has the makings of a fourth outfielder, with a much higher-ceiling.
There were positives signs of growth in "Herm's" first three years of development, as his on-base percentage was over 100 points higher than his batting average. The advanced approach was always there, and now, the contact and power numbers are coming as well. Between both A-Ball affiliates this season, Hermosillo has seen his average jump to .313 and his OPS land at .861. His power has come as well, seeing career highs in triples and home runs.
This article was written and published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher and Prospect Analyst for Scout.com. For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels and prospects across the minor leagues, follow Taylor on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.