Angels 2021 Minors report: Who stood out?

October 18th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- After the 2020 Minor League season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Angels had a chance to better evaluate their prospects with the return of Minor League Baseball in 2021.

Their system remains heavy on athletic position players, but there’s been a recent infusion of pitching, led by selecting lefty Reid Detmers with the No. 10 overall selection in the 2020 Draft and right-hander Sam Bachman with the No. 9 overall pick in ’21. And, of course, the Angels made headlines by going 20-for-20 in selecting pitchers in this year’s Draft.

But here’s a deeper look at who emerged for the Angels in the Minor Leagues this year and what to look for going forward:

Three players who forced their way onto the radar

Warren wasn’t considered a top prospect until 2019, when he had a strong showing and posted a 1.54 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. The 25-year-old reliever further put himself on the map this season, striking out 45 hitters in 36 1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake and enjoying immediate success in the Majors after being called up in late July. Warren posted a 1.77 ERA with 20 strikeouts, five walks and no homers allowed in 20 1/3 innings with the Angels. Manager Joe Maddon said late in the season that he expects Warren to be one of the club's top setup relievers next year.

RHP Davis Daniel
Daniel was selected by the Angels in the seventh round of the 2019 Draft despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in his final year at Auburn, so he didn't make his professional debut until this season. But Daniel, 24, dominated at both High-A Tri-City and Double-A Rocket City, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake in his first year in the Minors. It was a rapid ascent for Daniel, who posted a combined 3.92 ERA with 154 strikeouts in 114 2/3 innings. He's ranked as the club's No. 21 prospect by MLB Pipeline and could reach the Majors as early as next season. His fastball touches the mid-90s and he pairs it with an above-average curveball, but he'll need to work on his changeup going forward.

2B Michael Stefanic
Like Warren, Stefanic didn't enter the year as a top prospect, but all he did was hit in the Minor Leagues and nearly earned himself a September callup. After batting .345 in 21 games at Double-A Rocket City, he slashed .334/.408/.505 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs in 104 games at Triple-A Salt Lake. Stefanic saw most of his time at second base and third base this year, but he will need to continue improving his defense. Still, the 25-year-old could certainly hit his way onto the Major League roster next year.

Two possible breakout players to watch in 2022

RHP Sam Bachman
Bachman, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, impressed in his professional debut after being selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 Draft. The 22-year-old posted a 3.77 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings with High-A Tri-City and was slated to make his debut with Double-A Rocket City before the end of their season was cut short due to a COVID-19 outbreak. He's got the stuff to be a frontline starter and is likely to start next year at Double-A with a chance at reaching the Majors in ’22.

SS Kyren Paris
Paris, 19, was the club’s second-round pick in 2019 and was impressive when healthy in 2021, slashing .267/.388/.459 with four homers, seven triples and 22 stolen bases in 47 games across Rookie-level, Low-A Inland Empire and High-A Tri-City. Paris missed two months with a fractured fibula, but if he can stay healthy, he has the tools to be an elite leadoff hitter and pair a high on-base percentage with speed. He’s not likely to reach the Majors until 2023, but Paris has the potential to shoot up the prospect rankings with a big year in ‘22.

One big question for next season

Who will emerge after the Angels went 20-for-20 in selecting pitchers in the 2021 Draft?
The Halos went all-in on pitching in the 2021 Draft and signed 19 of the 20 pitchers they selected. It’s a much-needed infusion of pitching into their farm system, and it’ll be interesting to see which of those pitchers establish themselves next year and in the coming years. Bachman headlines the group, and other names to watch include right-hander Landon Marceaux and lefties Ky Bush and Mason Albright.