Triple-A Salt Lake Bees: LHP Manny Banuelos
The former top southpaw prospect in all of baseball in now lurking in the Angels farm system, awaiting his chance to be back at the Major League level - and it may be sooner than expected. By the initial numbers, his April may not be as impressive as others in the system, but dig deeper and you can see the value. Banuelos, 26, ended the month with a 2-2 record, 4.78 ERA and 1.405 WHIP.
Pitching in Salt Lake is a struggle in itself, so keeping an ERA below five is considered fairly successful. In road games, he held a 5.23 ERA primarily due to five earned runs in 4.1 innings in his final start of April. However, opposing bats were held to an .086 average and .375 OPS on the road in 41 plate appearances. Overall, Banuelos had 22 of his 26.1 innings go scoreless, allowing all 14 runs to be scored in that 4.1 inning span. If he can avoid the big innings, he should be in the Major League rotation soon.
Others Considered: Troy Scribner, Brooks Pounders, Keynan Middleton
Double-A Mobile BayBears: RHP Luis Diaz
After years of success in the minors with the Red Sox and Padres organizations, the Angels took their chance at Luis Diaz, signing him as a minor-league free agent over the off-season. The initial rewards have shown plenty of promise, as the 25-year-old started the year with 14 scoreless innings of work, with 18 going without an earned run.
In his three starts with Mobile, he retired 50 of 63 batters faced, allowing just nine to reach scoring position. Over that same span, bats were held to a .143/.226/.214 slash, while right-handed hitters went just 3-for-30. Diaz earned a quick promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake, where he allowed three runs in five innings in his debut. Diaz is now in a long line of pitchers set to be possibly make their Major League debuts in 2017.
Others Considered: Eduardo Paredes, Eric Karch, Jordan Kipper
High-A Inland Empire 66ers: RHP Jaime Barria
Starting the year at the fifth youngest pitcher in the California League, 20-year-old Jaime Barria couldn't have began his 2017 campaign with a bigger bang than going 16.2 innings without a run allowed. The streak ended with an inside-the-park home run, but his overall performance has not been dampened because of the runs allowed.
Despite one poor start, where the Panama-born prospect allowed six runs in four innings, Barria has been lights out on the mound. Aside from the poor start just mentioned, Barria has allowed just four runs in four other outings, over the span of 20 innings combined. Though the strikeout totals aren't high (20.4%), he's forcing swing-and-misses left-and-right, with 23% of strikes coming in that form, or 3.15 per inning.
Others Considered: Sam Holland, Jake Jewell, Jose Rodriguez
Low-A Burlington Bees: RHP Jesus Castillo
With Joe Smith's contract coming to a close at the end of the 2016 season, the Angels sent him off to Chicago in exchange for a project prospect. That prospect turned into the loose-armed, strike-throwing Jesus Castillo. He was given time in the organization near the tail end of 2016, but his 2017 performance thus far is worth merits.
In his four starts in April with Burlington, the 21-year-old held a 2.37 ERA while keeping bats to .191/.225/.265 slash. The most astonishing mark is his strikeout-to-walk rate, giving just two opposing hitters a free pass to first, while retiring 21 at the plate in 18 innings. Castillo was given a promotion to High-A, where he allowed one run - a home run - in five innings.
Others Considered: Jonah Wesely, Nathan Bates, Samil De Los Santos