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Notes From the Arizona Rookie League; Early August Edition

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The Los Angeles Angels may not have a great system, but they have some real talent down in the AZL.

Jo Adell
Shaun P Kernahan

This weekend in the Arizona League I got the chance to see some very talented prospects, none a bigger name than the Los Angeles Angels first round pick out of the Kentucky High School ranks, Jo Adell. Now, he was DHing on the night I saw him, but his athleticism still shined through.

He went 2/4 on the night I saw him with a triple (forgive the shakiness of the video of the triple below), a single, a walk, two RBIs, two runs, a stolen base, and two strikeouts.

That is a line you can expect to see a lot from Adell, as he explodes through the ball at the plate leading to an all-or-nothing approach and his 18 strikeouts in 22 games, but with four home runs and an average of .345. He needs to approve his approach at the plate as his OBP is only 44 points higher than his batting average.

While I did not see him in the field, his athleticism was clear. He has good instincts on the bases, has speed, and his first step on his steal was incredibly quick. He has not yet played a single inning in the field this summer, but I look forward to catching his athleticism at work in center in the future.

Nonie Williams was the Angels third round selection in 2016 and is in his second stint in the AZL. The shortstop hit .244 last year, and that has dropped this year to .233 and he went 0/5 with three Ks on the night I saw him.

His hips are stiff at the plate, his bat is slow, and he has trouble recognizing off-speed are just a few of the struggles at the plate he will have to overcome, and wearing number 27 on an Angels jersey carries some expectation too. While his bat has not been impressive, his defense is. He showed great range at short and flashed quick hips and feet starting a pair of double plays on the night.

On the mound for the Angels was Jose Suarez, and he looked good. He put in five innings with five hits, one walk, just one run, and struck out six, bringing his ERA on the season to 1.93.

Suarez is about as far from a prototypical pitcher as you are gonna find. He is listed at 5’10” and 170 lbs. and his fastball tops out around 91. He sat 89-91 on the night and showed a curveball at 78 that had sharp late break. The most impressive pitch he has that will be the one that carries him is his changeup.

He keeps the same arm speed in his 3/4 to low-3/4 slot and the pitch has late dip to it. I did not get a gun on his change, but it often had hitters out in front making soft contact.

Donnie Walton was in the lineup for the AZL Mariners on a rehab assignment from the Modesto Nuts. He continued to swing a hot bat, going 2/3 with a walk and line drive home run to right.

Last year’s fifth round pick out of Oklahoma State hit purely left handed on the night despite being a switch hitter and facing a lefty on the hill for a couple at bats. He has a good bat plane and gets it through the zone quickly, the home run unlikely to be something that ever really develops as part of his game, but he could certainly hit for average.

In the field he is very smooth including turning an incredible double play that saw Osmy Gregorio going way up the middle to the grass to get a chopper, flipping it backwards to Walton, who caught the flip behind him some, but still managed to turn his hips quickly and finish the incredible 6-4-3 double play. He showed solid range at second, but the arm was fringy at best, leaving his future purely as a second baseman.

I got my first look at the Giants this summer, but Heliot Ramos was unfortunately not in the lineup. He did come in as a pinch hitter late in the game and struck out, but I will hopefully get another look at him in the next week or two. Jacob Gonzalez did play and went 1/4, but I have seen him a number of times before the draft and now once in a Giants uniform, so I will be putting together a full report on him in the coming days.