Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2022 Organization All-Stars series are the Los Angeles Angels.
2022 Organization Summary
Triple-A Salt Lake: 70-80
Double-A Rocket City: 81-57 (North division, first-half champions)
High-A Tri-City: 58-71
Single-A Inland Empire: 70-62 (South division, second-half champions)
ACL Angels: 33-21
DSL Angels: 35-25
Overall record: 347-316 (.523 winning percentage, eighth among MLB organizations)
Angels Organization All-Stars
Catcher: Edgar Quero
The Angels got a midseason boost to their catcher depth with the Logan O’Hoppe deal at the Trade Deadline. Meanwhile, the switch-hitting Quero mashed California League pitching in his first full season, showing that the Angels have one of the league’s best catching prospect duos.
“He has an ability to impact the game from both sides [of the plate]. Obviously, just the approach overall and his consistency,” said Joey Prebynski, the Angels' director of player development. “We believe in building teams and strength through the middle [of the field]. We feel really good about the depth in the system.”
Among players with at least 300 plate appearances, Quero led the organization with 35 doubles, 86 runs scored, a .435 on-base percentage, .530 slugging percentage and .965 OPS. The 19-year-old finished second in that group with a .312 batting average, 129 total hits, 17 homers and 75 RBIs.
His incredible season was aided by an advanced approach at the plate as he accumulated nearly as many walks (73) as strikeouts (91). Quero didn’t fare as well against southpaws but had more than three times as many chances against right-handers. Defensively, the club’s No. 3 prospect caught 29 runners trying to steal and figures to stick behind the plate as he moves up the ladder.
First baseman: Luis Torres
The 18-year-old proved to be advanced for his age, tearing up Dominican Summer League pitching mere months after signing his first professional contract. Torres was hardly the headliner in the Angels’ 2021-2022 international class, signing for just $10,000 in February. But the 6-foot-3, 210-pound slugger batted .345 with a .977 OPS in 59 DSL games. Torres had the lowest strikeout rate (15.3 percent) among Angels first basemen with at least 200 plate appearances. He also racked up more total hits, 70, than games played and had 29 knocks that went for extra bases. Torres, a Santo Domingo native, earned a spot on the DSL All-Star team for his efforts.
Second baseman: Michael Stefanic
The 26-year-old followed up his breakout 2021 season with another stellar performance that resulted in his first big-league promotion. Stefanic was one of only two players in the Minors to have twice as many walks (49) as strikeouts (23) in at least 150 plate appearances. He spent most of June on the injured list and most of July on the Major League roster. But when he was healthy in Salt Lake, he continued to be a productive hitter.
“Obviously, there's the bat-to-ball ability,” Prebynski said. “It's high contact, certainly. ... Michael continued to be who he was offensively while getting better defensively.”
Stefanic hit .310 with an .834 OPS in the Minors this season. His .417 on-base percentage was third among Angels prospects with at least 300 plate appearances. Stefanic didn’t handle Major League pitching quite as well as he mastered the PCL, where he has a .326 average in the past two seasons. But he finished the season with the big-league club and earned a spot on the 40-man roster ahead of next week’s Rule 5 Draft.
Third baseman: Werner Blakely
The 2020 fourth-rounder was limited to 55 games due to an extended stay on the injured list. But when he was healthy, Blakely was a consistent presence in the Inland Empire lineup. He finished with a .295 average and .917 OPS in his first stay in the Cal League, clubbing five homers while driving in 40 runs and swiping 24 bases. Blakely made up for some lost time in the Arizona Fall League but looked overmatched, batting .206 with a .617 OPS. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound infielder from Detroit signed for nearly two times his slot value after being selected with the No. 111 overall pick in 2020.
Shortstop: Adrian Placencia
The 19-year-old took a step forward after a difficult professional debut in the ACL last year. He improved his slash line to .254/.387/.427 while bashing 13 homers and driving in 64 runs for Inland Empire.
“It's a combination of plate discipline and exit velocity,” Prebynski said, “which are all really encouraging signs as they move up the system.”
Placencia was the eighth-youngest player in the Cal League on Opening Day, and his swing-and-miss issues from 2021 followed him into this season. But good things happened when he put the ball in play, as evidenced by his .367 BABIP. Placencia, the Angels’ No. 8 prospect, also made better use of his speed and athleticism, swiping 21 bases while finishing second in the organization with 83 runs scored. His $1.1 million bonus, alongside Arol Vera’s $2 million deal in 2019, signaled the Angels' aggressive return to the international free agent market, which has clearly provided a boost to the club’s farm system.
Outfield: Dillon Thomas
The 29-year-old has bounced around since being selected in the fourth round by the Rockies in 2011. The Angels were Thomas’ fifth organization since being drafted, and he moved to a sixth club, the Astros, for a brief stretch during the season. But the Houston native spent most of his time in Salt Lake this season, batting .271 with a career-best .843 OPS. Thomas also played five games for Sugar Land in the Astros system, and finished with a personal-best 18 homers and 78 RBIs. The journeyman played all three positions on the grass and appeared in the Majors for the second consecutive season. Thomas was not added to the Angels’ 40-man roster and is currently a free agent.
The 24-year-old Cuban benefitted from taking a step back to the Southern League after opening the season with Salt Lake. Martinez was batting .237 with a .551 OPS through his first 17 games before being assigned to Rocket City. After 39 games with the Trash Pandas and a month-long stay on the injured list, Martinez returned to the PCL to finish the season, batting .254 with a .743 OPS and 31 RBIs over 50 games. Martinez ended with a .275 average and .759 OPS overall in his fourth professional season. He earned Player of the Week honors twice, once in the Southern League and the other during an August stretch in Salt Lake as he collected nine hits in 17 at-bats.
Rada was the headliner in an Angels’ latest international class that saw eight players earn bonuses of at least six figures. The Venezuela native inked the largest deal of the group at $1.85 million in February and hit the ground running in the DSL. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound lefty batted .311/.446/.439 with 16 extra-base hits and 27 stolen bases in 50 games. Rada had 51 total hits and 50 runs while tallying 26 strikeouts, walks and RBIs. Rada’s current power grades are below average as he hit just one homer with 12 doubles. But his bat-to-ball skills proved to be as good as anyone in the organization. Defensively, he stayed in center field the entire season and registered three assists.
Right-handed starting pitcher: Chase Silseth
The 22-year-old anchored an impressive rotation in Rocket City and finished with a 7-0 record. Silseth made 15 starts in Double-A and seven in the Majors. He struggled to a 6.59 ERA in three stints with Los Angeles, returning to the Trash Pandas each time he was optioned.
“As much as it was the on-field performance, it was the competitiveness and the way he leads a staff off the field,” Prebynski said. “It's a four-pitch mix: fastball, curveball, slider and change, and the way he's able to utilize that [changeup] off the fastball. ... The overall consistency of that [changeup] improved throughout the year.”
Silseth, the club’s No. 7 prospect, recorded a 2.28 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 83 innings for Rocket City, holding batters to a .182 average. His ERA was best among pitchers in the system to complete at least 80 innings, while his 11.93 strikeouts per nine innings ranked second among that group. Silseth’s early call to the Majors came after he took home Southern League Pitcher of the Month honors in April, where he pitched to a 1.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings. He was also part of the first no-hitter in Rocket City history, completing the first seven innings of the Sept. 3 milestone against Biloxi.
Left-handed starting pitcher: Ky Bush
The 23-year-old was another mainstay in the Rocket City rotation during his first full season, finishing with a 3.67 ERA and 101 strikeouts over 103 innings.
“Similar to Chase, as much as it was the on-field performance, it's the off the field and how he competes and how he goes about it on a day to day basis,” Prebynski said. “He navigated through his first year, but we're certainly encouraged with the season Ky had and what he's gonna do going forward. … The ball carries well with the fastball … the slider creates some velo separation off the secondary stuff and some east-west movement. So those pitches all continue to get better.”
Bush made 14 starts in which he allowed fewer than three runs. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound southpaw didn’t follow Silseth to the big leagues, but he did represent the Angels in the Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. The club’s No. 4 prospect can use his size to get great extension on his 60-grade fastball but will need to continue to improve his secondary pitches, particularly his curveball and changeup.
Reliever: Eric Torres
The club’s No. 26 prospect was one of the more reliable relievers in the Minors this season. His 1.59 ERA ranked fourth among the 307 pitchers to make at least 40 appearances. The 23-year-old lefty also converted 22 of 23 saves, which was third-most in the Minors. Torres, a 14th-round pick out of Kansas State in last year’s Draft, recorded 81 strikeouts in 51 innings while holding opposing batters to a .143 average. Torres provides a different look for hitters, coming from a near sidearm arm slot. While he was effective against both lefties and righties, the Milwaukee native was especially tough on southpaws, who hit just .121 with a .365 OPS against him.
Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for MiLB.com.