Since Billy Eppler took over as Angels general manager in October 2015, it's been clear he will try to acquire talent in any way, shape or form. This year's Top 30 Prospects list is reflective of those efforts.While the Draft is still by far the organization's No. 1 avenue for
Since Billy Eppler took over as Angels general manager in October 2015, it's been clear he will try to acquire talent in any way, shape or form. This year's Top 30 Prospects list is reflective of those efforts.
While the Draft is still by far the organization's No. 1 avenue for talent acquisition, there are members of this year's Top 30 who came to the Angels via Minor League trades, waiver claims and even Minor League free agents. Most of those have been arms, with the Angels picking up pitchers with good, often raw, stuff, who could turn into intriguing pieces after some polish.
• 2017 Angels Top 30 Prospects list
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
The Angels have also made an effort to find athletes, guys who have the chance to stay up the middle (knowing full well center field is blocked for the foreseeable future in Anaheim). That starts at the top of the list with Jahmai Jones, the best bet from the Angels Top 30 to jump onto the Top 100 list this season. But it also includes No. 3, Brandon Marsh, and No. 13, Nonie Williams, both from the 2016 Draft.
Speaking of up the middle, catcher Taylor Ward, the team's top pick from the 2015 Draft, drops from No. 1 down to No. 7 after a bit of a tough first full pro season. But the organization still believes in him and hopes his strong second half in 2016 bodes well for his 2017 campaign.
No one in the system has made a larger leap forward than reliever Keynan Middleton. Middleton had been starting over the first few seasons of his career and wasn't progressing, to the point of not registering in the Top 30 of a relatively thin system. A move to the bullpen has truly paid off as his stuff jumped forward. He pitched at three levels in 2016 and is looking like he'll impact the big league bullpen this year.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.
Jump: Keynan Middleton, RHP (2016: NR | 2017: 5)
Fall: Chad Hinshaw, OF (2016: 9 | 2017: 30)
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
Hit: Matt Thaiss (55)
Power: Matt Thaiss (50)
Run: Nonie Williams (65)
Arm: Taylor Ward (65)
Defense: Jahmai Jones (60)
Fastball: Keynan Middleton (70)
Curveball: Abel De Los Santos (55)
Slider: Alex Meyer (60)
Changeup: Nate Smith (55)
Control: Jaime Barria (60)
How they were built
Free agent: 2
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Here's a look at the Angels' preseason Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.