From Dust Devils to MLB Campers
Updated: Feb 28
Last year, I worked in my first partial season doing beat writing and covering the High-A affiliate of the LA Angels, The Tri-City Dust Devils; I loved every second of it. I made unforgettable memories for myself, met great people, and made lasting memories with my daughters. I can not wait to do it again. Regardless, High-A is only one of the first stepping stones toward the MLB, I saw some guys promoted as far as AAA last season, and I saw the debut of a top draft pick and the overall development of many players. Below are some of the guys I got an extended look at during the 2022 season who got an invite to MLB camp.
RHP Victor Mederos
Let's start with Mederos, Angel's 6th-round pick of the 2022 draft; Mederos had about a month-long stint with the Dust Devils last season before moving up to AA in September. However, he did not pitch for the Trash Pandas. During his first taste of MiLB action, the 21yo righty made six starts, accumulated 16IP, 15K, and a 5.63 ERA. I expect to see Mederos back in the Minors, most likely at the AA level.
RHP/1B/3B Kenyon Yovan
Now, I saw that Yovan was listed with the pitchers. However, he pitched in both the ACL and Inland Empire in 2022, but once he got to the Dust Devils, he did not throw another pitch. The numbers for Yovan on the mound in 2022, he had a 1-1 record in 17 relief appearances. He owned a 1.77ERA, 3 Holds, 4/5 saves, 20.1IP, 39K-6BB.
At the plate, he slashed a .194/.240/.323 with only 1HR, 10RBI, 38K-6BB. Field-wise, he did much better at 1B with a .977FLD% vs. a .867FLD% at the hot corner.
I am excited and hope he makes it back on the mound or can find his swing and stick around at 1B.
INF Zach Neto
With one of the most distinct swings in all of Minor League Baseball, the high leg kick, the surprising pop that comes along with it, and a great arm, Neto has all the tools, hence why he was a 1st round pick in the 2022 draft. Neto shot up to AA between being drafted and the end of the regular season. In only his first 146AB, he looks to be already /n the plans for Angel's short-term future, with 5HR, 27RBI, and a slash line of .299/.377/.476. With vital spring training and a good season at what I assume AA, Neto would be a September call-up and the opening day SS for the 2024 season.
INF Kyren Paris
Paris came into the season as a top 5 organization prospect; however, with some cold streaks, it took him most of the season to get the call up to AA, which I was expecting around mid-season. Paris spends two games in the ACL, 89 games with the Dust Devils, and only 14 to end the season in AA. Again, there were times when he struggled to find his footing at the plate and in the field. Interestingly, he played SS primarily with the Dust Devils, then after the promotion, he stayed at 2B, and now on the MiLB website, he is listed as a 3B, which makes plenty of sense since the Angels have the oft-injured Anthony Redon. Let's look at the numbers for Paris; he posted a .980FLD% with the Trash Pandas. In his last 14 games of the season with the Trash Pandas, he demolished the competition with 3HR, 8RBI, and a slash line of .359/.510/.641. I can't help but imagine Paris and Neto as a talent duo up the middle, or the left side of the INF come the 2024 season.
OF Jordyn Adams
Adams, the 2018 first-round pick by the Angels, is getting a shot from the Angels after a solid performance with the Trash Pandas during the 2nd half of the season. In 62G with the AA Trash Pandas, he posted 4HR, 20RBI, 15SB, and a slash line of .249/.326/.359. While I don't see Adams as a starter, he would be a great addition to the Angels OF mix in the future. With a strong spring and AA showing, a 4/5th OF role is possible for Adams with his speed. However, he does have to find his Plate Vision/Discipline to move up, as the strikeouts are an issue.
Not in spring training, but playing in the WBC:
Great Britain, OF D'Shawn Knowles
I am a big fan of Knowles; he has had a great story and ride to get to where he is now. Knowles has one glaring issue that developed during his time with the Dust Devils, the strikeouts. He had 101K-32BB in 84 games. He did post a .234/.307/.287. Knowles has impressive speed, and a great range in the OF, he can play SS, which is a plus, and he is a great guy overall. I am very excited about his future. However, another year at A+/AA would greatly benefit him.
Italy, RHP Glenn Albanese
The 15th-round pick in the 2021 draft, the 6'7" fireballer is a sight to see in person. When I first saw him pitch, I specifically watched the speedometer; I saw him hit up to 101, if I remember, and hitters had NO chance. Albanese made his AA debut during the 2022 season, with some resistance as he gave up 3HR, 5ER, 8H, 9K-6BB in 9.2IP in relief. I know the stuff is real; it'll play well in the pen for Angel's organization. The control will be an issue heading into the WBC and 2022 season; however, don't be shocked to see him gassing it out of the pen if it works out.
It's my pleasure to announce that I will be back in the stands during the 2023 season, start to finish, covering the Tri-City dust devils. Myself and the girls, we will also be taking on the NW league as we visit the Eugene Emeralds, Hillsboro Hops, Spokane Indians, and Everett Aquasox; we will also be seeing some more colligate wood bat ball, the Dubsea Fish Sticks, Walla Wall Sweet, Yakima Valley Pippens and who knows where else the season could take us. We look forward to the wild and crazy ride that will be the 2023 MiLB/MLB season.
Thanks for reading! Until next week when we talk about some players, I still believe in heading into 2023.