(Tyler Carpenter, SP for the Inland Empire 66ers)
By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer -
Even casual Angels fans have heard the story: The Angels farm system is the worst in the Major Leagues. While that is a hard point to argue, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any prospects in the system worth following or are doing well. On any given night, about 150 Angels players are out, working hard, developing their skills, and trying to climb their way up to the Major Leagues.
At AngelsWin.com, we believe that all Angels players deserve our attention and accolades when doing well. Already we have seen some of our top prospects, such as Greg Mahle, come up to the Majors and do well. With an injury to Huston Street likely resulting in a DL stint, another replacement will need to come up from the Minor Leagues.
Twice a month, AngelsWin.com will highlight and promote the success of players across all the Angels organization. We encourage everyone to follow all the Minor League affiliate’s successes and to go out to see them play. The local club, the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers, are easily reached by all in Southern California, and provide great entertainment at a very affordable price. The same is true for all of the other affiliates, starting with the Arizona Angels and Orem Owls (for short-season), the Burlington Bees (Single-A), The Arkansas Travelers (Double-A), and the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A).
Hutton Moyer, 2B, Burlington Bees (Low-A)
.353/.421/.588 with 2 HRs and 1 SB
Hutton is off to a hot start for the Bees, showing more power at the plate than he has in the past. The son of former Major Leaguer Jamie Moyer and brother of Dillon Moyer, Hutton was a 7th round pick by the Angels in 2015 out of Pepperdine. The switch hitting infielder has been moving all around the diamond, getting starts at 2B, SS, and 3B, all while mostly hitting 3rd in the order.
Grayson Long, SP, Burlington Bees (Low-A)
1-1, 1.80 ERA, 20.0 IP, 14 H, 8 BBs, 21 Ks, 1.10 WHIP with 0 Saves
Drafted in the 3rd round last year, Grayson has gotten off to a good start in the Bees rotation. Grayson is a big-bodied workhorse (6’5”, 230) who projects as a middle of the order starter. His fastball sits mostly in the low 90s, and has a good changeup and developing slider. At just 21, there’s no need to rush Grayson, but a continued strong start could result in a midseason promotion.
Caleb Adams, RF, Inland Empire 66ers (High-A)
.346/.407/.487 with 1 HR and 3 SBs
Drafted in the 10th round of the 2014 draft, Caleb is a hard working player with an all-around good skill set. He’s capable of playing all three outfield spots, but most likely will end up one of the corners. He’s got a strong arm, has more pop than his career numbers suggest, and decent speed. So far, he’s been an under-the-radar type player, who has been working on cutting down his strikeouts. As he improves his ability to control the zone, he should become a solid OFer.
Tyler Carpenter, SP, Inland Empire 66ers (High-A)
2-0, 0.69 ERA, 26.0 IP, 15 H, 3 BBs, 22 Ks, 0.69 WHIP with 0 Saves
This year will be a year of transition for Tyler Carpenter. Having always been a reliever, since being drafted by the Angels in the 25th round of the 2014 draft, this year, the Angels have him in the rotation. Last year, Carpenter earned a midseason promotion to the 66ers, so he’s familiar with league. And, with his strong control (23 BBs in 108.1 career IP along with 93 Ks), he could make for a middle of the order pitcher. With his fast start, Carpenter may earn a mid-season promotion to the Travelers once his strength is developed to be a regular starter.
Bo Way, CF, Arkansas Travelers (AA)
.319/.365/.362 with 0 HRs and 5 SBs
No way, it’s Bo Way (again!). Yes, Bo Way has graced the AngelsWin.com’s Hot Prospect List many times. He’s a fleet-footed centerfielder who can leadoff and hit from the left side. He’s working his way up the system. He still needs to pick his spots better for stealing (he’s been caught 3 times this year), but if he gets that down, he could put himself more in the mix for the Angels future outfield spots.
Alex Blackford, SP, Arkansas Travelers (AA)
2-1, 1.27 ERA, 21.1 IP, 10 H, 7 BBs, 27 Ks, 0.80 WHIP with 0 Saves
Taken by the Angels in the 37th round of the 2013 draft out of Arizona State, Alex Blackford has mostly been a reliever as a pro. But, the Angels have tinkered with him as a starter (7 career starts going into 2016), and that appears to be the strategy going forward. His fastball appears to have gained a little zip to sit low 90s, and he matches that with a slider, curve, and occasional changeup. He has swing and miss stuff, with a career 219:59 K:BB ratio.
Nick Buss, OF, Salt Lake Bees (AAA)
.342/.400/.592 with 3 HRs and 2 SBs
Last year, left field was a disaster for the Angels. So, Eppler went out to provide lots of options and depth for the position in case it became a problem in 2016. One of those pieces was Nick Buss, a player from the Dodgers organization who brings a good mix of speed (136 career SBs) and power (career .431 SLG with 66 HRs). While mostly a great insurance option for the Angels, there’s a chance that we will see Nick Buss in Anaheim at some point this season.
A.J. Achter, RP, Salt Lake Bees (AAA)
1-0, 3.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 2 BBs, 4 Ks, 0.89 WHIP with 0 Saves
Angels fans should recognize A. J. Achter after his brief callup to the Majors earlier in April where he pitched a scoreless inning in the bullpen. But, if he’s unfamiliar to most fans, that’s because the Angels acquired him from the Phillies when they designated him for assignment. Prior to that, Achter had spent his entire career with the Twins who signed him in the 46th round of the 2010 draft. Achter throws a low-90s fastball with a good changeup. He has good command, and with the injury to Huston Street, is likely to get the call back up to the Angels in the near future.