Jordan Kipper, Right-Handed Pitcher
6'4, 185 lbs, R/R
October 6, 1992 (24); Phoenix, Arizona
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
Drafted in 9th Round (269th overall) of 2014 MLB Draft
High-A broadcast, Steve Wendt, noted in 2015, far more scouts were asking about Jordan Kipper than they were of former top prospect, Sean Newcomb. Though there isn't anything overwhelming about Kipper, he's done nothing but perform at the professional ranks and has carved a path for his way into the organization's depth chart, upwards of nearing a Major League role.
A consistent strike thrower, Kipper works off changing speeds on his four-pitch arsenal, utilizing his sinking fastball as his best weapon. He commands this pitch with ease going east-to-west in the bottom of the zone, changing speeds by grip, working in the high 80's to low 90's, and touching 93-94 when he reaches back. A magician of creating weak contact is his best asset, Kipper was able to maintain his high groundball rate at 58% last season. Many would like to see Kipper improve his off-speed offerings to attain higher strikeout rates. He possesses a slider with a late downer break, coming off of a fastball plane. He also has a pair of fringe offerings in his changeup and curveball, with the change showing signs of becoming an average pitch in time. A perfect project due to his size and frame, the Angels made minor mechanical adjustments to Kipper's clean and repeatable delivery once he hit pro ball, which has allowed him to gain better velocity and action on all of his pitches.
The highlight of the Angels farm system last year, Kipper tossed a no-hitter in mid-May, being the milestone of another solid season. In Double-A, Kipper held a 12-7 record, 3.35 ERA, and 1.229 WHIP. Between his development and performances, he's earned his shot at pitching in Triple-A come 2017, where his development will take a giant step. Pitching to contact, the Pacific Coast League may be a challenging place to adjust for Kipper due to it's offensive friendly elements and better and more experience hitters, but could be a key mark in the final step of Kipper's minor league career, helping him to become a potential swingman or back end starter.
Brennon Lund, Outfielder
5'10, 185 lbs, L/R
November 27, 1994 (22); Salt Lake City, Utah
Brigham Young University (Provo, UT)
Drafted in 11th Round (336th overall) of 2016 MLB Draft
In an attempt to make the system more athletic, Brennon Lund was considered a steal for Billy Eppler and staff in the 11th round, and he proved that by his early performance in professional baseball. Lund, of Mormon faith, may have been passed over by the fear he'd depart for missionary work, but instead, is one of the multitudes of toolsy outfield draft picks from the Angels' 2016 Draft.
More a slap hitter in college, Lund has cleaned up his swing to create more power from his stalky frame. Using his strong wrists and wide stance, the 22-year-old has raw power that has flashed to his pull side in games, but is more set to spray the ball to all parts of the field. The Angels would like to see him be more disciplined at the plate, but are happy with his ability to see the ball and place it upon contact. A true gamer, Lund has the ability to beat teams on the base paths and in the field with his above-average speed and baseball IQ. Lund will stick at center field with his quick actions and above-average defensive abilities, along with an average or better arm to keep the opposing running game honest. All-in-all, Lund is a "sure thing" with his toolset and talents, making him a potential fourth outfield option or better with proper development.
Taking the pro ranks by storm, Lund started his career with a 15-game on-base streak, hitting .475 with a 1.171 OPS, earning a quick promotion to full season ball. He never let off, hitting .315 with a .738 OPS in his first 30 games with Burlington, but then hit a rut reaching base in just seven of his final 14 games. Lund will get his first full season in 2017, either with Burlington or Inland Empire.
Sam Pastrone, Right-Handed Pitcher
6'0, 185 lbs, R/R
June 28, 1997 (19); Las Vegas, Nevada
Arbor View High School (Las Vegas, NV)
Drafted in 17th Round (525th overall) of 2015 MLB Draft
The Angels have hit the mark with 17th-round picks before, in the likes of Dante Bichette and Mike Napoli. A former second round pick was the comparison from then Scouting Director, Ric Wilson, as he saw loads of Tyler Chatwood in his newest teen from Vegas, Sam Pastrone. Going from the bright desert lights of Sin City to a professional pitcher and hero in Orem, Utah; Pastrone has plenty of tools to make him one of the most desired young talents in the Angels system.
The ball explodes out of the hand of Pastrone, who creates excellent momentum in his delivery to hurl the ball towards the ball. There are tendencies where the teen can over throw his fastball and lose his release point, but when it's on he works off of it to not expose his off-speed offerings early. Sitting 89-92 with regularity, Pastrone has some cut to his fastball that has reportedly hit 97 MPH before, which is where some believe his range could reach with physical maturity. Coming off his fastball, Pastrone works in a big sweeping curve that he's taken some speed off of to add more feel. Pastrone does throw a changeup with some arm-side run to it, but it's currently a third offering well behind his fastball and curve.
Pastrone has clean mechanics, but he does struggle to repeat at times. His release point can become erratic, leaving pitches higher in the zone. A student of the game, Pastrone has shown strides forward in correcting these mistakes, working with each pitching coach to correct any excess movement in his upper half. The upper half has plenty of torque, stemming from a raised glove to stab near release. Coming from a small frame, Pastrone has not reached the physical projection some thought he would, which should make him a relief prospect over time.
After a solid pro debut, learning the ropes of professional ball in 2015, Pastrone met the struggles of the offensive friendly Pioneer League last season. Pitching to contact didn't play well, as Pastrone allowed a .322 opposing average, leading to a 1.719 WHIP and 6.00 ERA in 57 innings. However, Pastrone became a legend in Orem, retiring 18 of 18 batters in the first game of the Pioneer League Championship, helping the Owlz to the league's title. He is a candidate to repeat the Pioneer League due to his age and development stage, but don't be surprised if Pastrone earns a trip to full season ball in Burlington at some point during 2017.
Hutton Moyer, Infielder
6'1, 185 lbs, S/R
April 30, 1993 (23); Rochester, New York
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Drafted in 7th Round (225th overall) of 2015 MLB Draft
Being the son of a 25-year Major Leaguer can force unfair expectations, but Hutton Moyer is beginning to show no fear of reaching those expectations. With a violent swing and steady glove, the future is looking bright for one of eight children from Jamie. A strong junior campaign at Pepperdine lifted Hutton to the seventh round and a future offensive friendly utility player in the Angels' system.
Becoming a switch-hitter in the late stages of his high school years, Moyer has two different swings from each side of the plate. Shorter to the ball from the left-side, Moyer has a swing more tuned for line drives, but is still refining a little to simplify a lot of moving parts. From the right-side, Moyer has a strong grip-it and rip-it swing, with loads of violence, leading to a high amount of swings and misses. Working with coaches to shorten his swing, and improve his approach to become a more patient hitter, there's a lot of improvement left for Moyer to see a high amount of contact in the future.
In the field, Moyer is a sure thing. He's best suited for second base, because he lacks the premier arm strength you'd expect from a shortstop, but he is not a liability at any infield position. Moyer has quick instincts and uses short strides to get to the ball quick and fires with accuracy, making him a versatile asset. Though he's "quick" and not "fast," the infielder has been able to show off his baseball smarts on the base paths, continuing his ability to remain a threat on the paths.
Mixing time between Burlington and Inland Empire, Moyer was productive at both Single-A levels, giving the impression he'll rise to Double-A quickly. Getting off to a blistering start, Moyer hit .354 with an OPS above one in his first month of play, and earned a quick promotion to High-A. Struggling through the dog days of summer, Moyer hit .267 with an .882 OPS at Inland Empire, which included 14 home runs, 10 of which came in his final 53 games. Of note, 16 of Moyer's 17 home runs over the year came from the left-side of the plate.
Jeremy Rhoades, Right-Handed Pitcher
6'4, 225 lbs, R/R
February 12, 1993 (23); Wheaton, Illinois
Illinois State University (Normal, IL)
Drafted in 4th Round (119th overall) of 2014 MLB Draft
One of the biggest question marks in the Angels organization is what they will do with Jeremy Rhoades. Starting his pro career where his college career ended, Rhoades has struggled to find consistency at the High-A level, but still has premier stuff, making him one of the more intriguing pitching prospects in the system. If it all comes together, he could be a high riser and great back of the rotation arm for the future.
Mixing a quartet of pitches in the strike zone, Rhoades lost some velocity this past season, but never registered that he had arm fatigue. The tendency of velocity for Rhoades is 90-92 with his four-seam and two-seam fastball, with the two-seam showing plenty of arm-side run, working right-handed hitters on the inner half. Considered one of the better sliders in the system, Rhoades utilizes his slider that comes on a fastball line and very late break well against right-handed hitters, but will need to lessen the usage of it. Rhoades also mixes in a changeup that has shown promise, but still needs development.
After a stellar start in Low-A in 2015, Rhoades was a repeat artists in High-A after posting an 8.35 ERA in 10 starts in 2015. Surprisingly, Rhoades was at his best in the minors' best hitter parks, allowing eight runs in 27 innings (2.67 ERA). Rhoades found his stride late, posting a 2.87 ERA in his final eight games, keeping bats to a .214 average. Over the year, Rhoades held a 5.72 ERA and 1.412 WHIP, which was on par with the 66ers rotation, showing signs he may be in Mobile in 2017.