Will the Angels Have a Rookie of the Year Candidate?

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Updated: February 16, 2017

The Angels currently have no rookies slated to make the Opening Day roster. In some ways, it’s really bad thing the Angels have no young studs knocking down the door. Teams like the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers have had prized prospects pushing their way onto the major league roster for years, and they have wins, playoff appearances, and championships to show for it.

The Angels have given away young players and draft picks for years, and have not drafted well with the limited resources they have had. It’s not the end of the world, however, as there are a lot of teams that don’t stand to have rookies make a large impact.

There are two players, however, that could make the big league roster sooner rather than later and make an impact; catcher Taylor Ward and first baseman/catcher/designated hitter Matt Thaiss. Both are non-roster invitees, and while neither player is expected to make the roster at the beginning of the season, they could easily end up being mid-season call ups capable of making an impact. The Angels have some other interesting prospects, like Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh, but neither is particularly close to the majors and are currently blocked in the outfield, anyway.

Ward and Thaiss are easier to envision in the majors this season; the catcher position is a potential mess offensively as it stands now, and C.J. Cron, Albert Pujols, and Luis Valbuena are all injury risks at that first base/designated hitter position. It’s not at all farfetched to see either of those positions breaking down a bit to open up a door for either player.

Ward is a strong defender with a strong arm, and is considered a good pitcher’s catcher. Not profiled to have a plus bat, he’s hit a lot better than expected in the minors, and has progress quickly up the ranks. Thaiss is very similar to Kyle Schwarber; the dude can flat out hit, but doesn’t necessarily have a natural position. For a guy who can hit like Thaiss has in his college career, and now in the minors, you find a place.

Thaiss has moved through a few positions, but he’s always been considered a guy who could progress quickly and end up in the majors after only a year or less in the minors, like Schwarber or Francisco Lindor. RoY candidates come from nowhere all time, i.e. Matt Shoemaker finishing second in voting a couple years ago, but if you’re looking for something more obvious, either of these two players could end up being called up, and they are the two best bets for the Halos to field a rookie of the year candidate.

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