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Los Angeles Angels Top-10 Fantasy Prospects

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Our Basis

With fantasy prospect rankings, the key to knowing the usefulness of a specific player is how large and deep of a league you would need to be in for them to end up as a fantasy starter. We will be ranking 10 prospects in each system, but that doesn't mean that every one of them is useful if you play in a 12-team mixed dynasty league. With that said, we're aiming to provide useful information whether you play in a 10-team mixed, a 15-team AL-only, or a 24-team mixed.

Prospect rankings also come with the same caveat that must be rehashed every year. They represent a snapshot of how we view the players at the time of publication. There will inherently be more information published throughout the off-season, and so how we view a player may evolve significantly over time. We're going to get some of these right, we're going to get some of these wrong, and in general my reminder is to find information you trust, and use it to your advantage. If that comes from us, that's great and we're happy you're here. If it doesn't, we'll continue to work and hope that you'll keep checking in to see how we're doing.

The Tiers

The tiers are here though to provide some clarity when comparing players between different teams. It's by no means a perfect system, but the goal is to give you a general idea of which players we think are in a similar range in terms of value and ranking. Since the tiers are also expected to be relatively consistent across teams, there may be tiers that do not have prospects for certain teams.

Tier 1 - The Elite Prospects

These prospects are expected to be in the top-50 prospects overall, and have the potential to be among the top options at their position regardless of format or league size.

The Angels don't have anyone in this tier.

Tier 2 - The Top 100 Candidates

These prospects are expected to be in the discussion for the top 100 prospects overall, and are expected to be starting options in all formats.

The Angels don't have anyone in this tier.

Tier 3 - The Next Group of Starters

These prospects would likely slot into the 100-200 range on an overall ranking list, and would be starters in mid-depth formats, like 12 and 14 team leagues.

#1 - Jahmai Jones (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 19
ETA: 2019

Jones was regarded as one of the finest athletes in the 2015 draft class, which shouldn't come as a shock - his father and a brother both played in the NFL, and another brother played football for Appalachian State. He channeled his athleticism into results in short order, showcasing an advanced approach for a teenager, both at the plate and in center field. Jones boasts plus to plus-plus speed, and is fringe-average to above-average the rest of the way across the board. He drives the ball to all fields, and that, taken in combination with his speed, should make him a high average hitter. He's several years away, and struggled in his brief taste of Low-A, but he could sneak his way onto top-hundred lists ... next year.

Tier 4 - Single League and Deep Format Plays

These prospects would likely slot into the 200-300 range on a ranking list, and would have the most value to mixed leagues with 16+ teams and single-league formats with 12+ teams.

#2 - Brandon Marsh (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 19
ETA: 2020

This may be an ambitious ranking, given that Marsh has yet to make his professional debut due to a nagging back injury. However, the Georgia high school product was widely considered one of the fifty best prospects in the 2016 draft, and has a profile not too dissimilar from Jahmai Jones (albeit with far more raw power). The 18-year-old has been compared to Colby Rasmus, but he lacks refinement (he split time between baseball and football). There is a great deal of risk here, but Marsh might just have the highest ceiling in the system.

#3 - Taylor Ward (C)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2018

2016 was a tale of two seasons for Ward, as the 22-year-old hit .239/.305/.283 with 2 HR in the first half (326 PA), and .266/.350/.428 with 8 HR in the second (203 PA). His walk and strikeout rates improved dramatically in this time, and he flashed a great deal more power, to boot. Ward is regarded as an above-average defender behind the plate, where his average to above-average hit tool and fringe average pop should make him a solid fantasy option. He could hit .270 with 10-plus home runs at his best.

#4 - Matt Thaiss (1B)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 21
ETA: 2019

Thaiss is undoubtedly the best hitting prospect in the Angels organization, with an above-average to plus hit tool and an incredibly advanced approach at the plate. There is a bit of a disconnect regarding his power potential, though, with some suggesting fringe-average pop, and others seeing his above-average to plus raw power actualizing due to his bat speed and approach. It is this disconnect and his limitations as a 1B-only prospect that push him behind some riskier prospects on this list, though it isn't difficult to see him flirting with a .300 average and hitting 15-plus home runs.

Tier 5 - We Ranked Ten Prospects, We Really Did

These prospects generally will be useful in the deepest of formats. Think 24+ teams for mixed leagues, and single-league formats with more teams than the league it uses. In many cases, these will be part-time players or utility-types when they get to the Majors..

#5 - Vicente Campos (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 24
ETA: 2017

Campos tossed 150.1 IP between four levels in 2016 (including the Majors), blowing past his previous career high of 111.2 set way back in 2011. The 24-year-old has struggled with elbow issues, including Tommy John Surgery in 2014 and an ulnar fracture this Fall that will see him miss the first-half of 2017, and that is never a good sign. However, this is not a very good system - and Campos has a plus fastball, two solid average offerings in his curve and change, and solid command. He has the stuff to pitch in the middle of the rotation or close ... now if he could just stay healthy.

#6 - Nonie Williams (SS)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 18
ETA: 2020

If Jones and Marsh aren't your choice for the highest ceiling in this system, then it falls to Williams. The home-schooled Kansan was rated as the fastest runner and best athlete among the Angels 2016 draft picks, and he has the frame and bat speed that portends future power. His approach is largely a work in progress, and he will probably shift away from SS in time (2B, 3B, and CF are all in play, though), but the tools are too appetizing to overlook. And this is the point in which we realize that this list is all about high-risk, high-reward prospects.

#7 - Alex Meyer (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 27
ETA: 2017

I felt somewhat crazy having Meyer ranked this high, given his age and well-known issues, but I feel a bit better now that Baseball America placed him third in the system. I sang his praises back in April, and I still see his destiny as a Dellin Betances type reliever. However, the Angels spent a great deal of time working on Meyer's mechanics after acquiring him from the Twins, and GM Billy Eppler envisions him as a starter. He has always had the stuff to pitch at the top of a rotation, and if you squint really hard, you might see him as a high strikeout, high WHIP type as a fourth starter.

#8 - Grayson Long (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2018

Long has the back of the rotation innings eater starter kit, as a big, burly righty with a sinking fastball and a splitter-esque change-up. His slider is a fringe average pitch, thought, and may well define him as a big leaguer - it doesn't have the makings of a true swing and miss pitch, which limits his overall ceiling. Long has good control, and pounds the bottom of the strike zone with gusto, so he should be able to limit walks and home runs. It's not an exciting profile, but he does have a relatively high floor.

#9 - Jaime Barria (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 20
ETA: 2019

Barria is similar to Long, in that it is easy to see him fitting comfortably into the back of a rotation. The 20-year-old Panamanian has excellent command of three average pitches, in his low-90s fastball, high-70s change-up, and high-70s curveball. He pitches with a bit of deception, as well, and hitters have had difficulty squaring him up as a result. Barria lacks a strikeout pitch, though, and is even more dependent on the defenders behind him than Long.

#10 - Keynan Middleton (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2017

One year ago, Middleton was a shockingly hittable starting pitcher, allowing 10.6 H/9 and striking out just 6.3 per nine at Single-A. I say 'shockingly,' because the 23-year-old possesses a high-90s fastball with a great deal of movement and a wipeout slider in the high-80s, low-90s. The Angels shifted him to the bullpen in 2016, where the stuff played-up even more, and Middleton struck out 88 in 66 IP, and allowed just 47 hits. He should make the team out of Spring Training this year, and has the makings of a closer.