Los Angeles Angels 2018 minor league awards

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 08: Shohei Ohtani
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 08: Shohei Ohtani /
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Los Angeles Angels Minor League Hitter of the Year: Jared Walsh

Level(s): high-A Inland Empire, AA Mobile, AAA Salt Lake
Stats: .277/.359/.536, 128 G, 549 PA, 34 2B, 29 HR, 99 RBI, 61/154 BB/K

Jared Walsh is an easy guy to cheer for. In a major league draft that only goes 40 rounds, Walsh was the 39th round selection of the Los Angeles Angels in the 2015 draft out of the University of Georgia. He’s done nothing but hit for average ever since, but he put up much more than average in 2018.

Adjusting his swing to maximize for launch angle, Walsh ended up dropping some batting average and striking out mover, but his overall slash line was still elite, and he jumped up three levels in 2018 He didn’t just do all of his work in hitter-friendly Cal League and PCL. He hit .289/.382/.537 in AA with Mobile in 41 games, knocking out 8 home runs.

Walsh is not an instinctual outfielder, but he has a plus arm, and he’s been called upon frequently to pitch by his various assignments. In 2018, he made 8 appearances on the mound overall, tossing 5 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. If he can’t hit, he could end up a relief pitcher down the line.

Runners-up

Drafted for his bat in the first round in 2016 out of Virginia, Matt Thaiss has simply not been able to show any legit pop, but that changed in 2018. He combined across AA and AAA for a .280/.335/.467 line with 34 doubles and 16 home runs, posting a 44/103 BB/K ratio.

Luis Rengifo was a revelation for the Angels in 2018. Acquired from the Angels before the season, he jumped up three levels, finishing the year with AAA Salt Lake, putting together a .299/.399/.452 line with 30 doubles, 13 triples, 7 home runs, and 41 steals, all while posting a 75/75 BB/K ratio and playing a very competent second base and shortstop both.

The #10 overall selection in the 2017 draft, there was never a doubt that Jo Adell was talented, but no one could have projected how he exploded up the system, finishing in AA on the year, hitting a combined .290/.355/.543 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs, and 15 stolen bases.

Jabari Blash did what Jabari Blash – crush minor league pitching. The 28-year-old spent his first season with the Los Angeles Angels, posting 21 doubles, 29 home runs, and a .317/.431/.700 slash line.

Switching to third base from catcher to allow his bat to play, Taylor Ward did exactly that between AA and AAA, hitting .349/.446/.531 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, and 18 stolen bases before being called up for 40 games at the big league level, where he struggled to a .178 average.