It has been quite a while since the Angels have been this deep in the farm system. In fact, you would have to go back to 2010 when someone named Mike Trout was the #1 prospect in the system, and in all of baseball. Trout was followed up by now Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, and Padres starter Garrett Richards. Others who weren’t considered “top prospects” at the time included Kole Calhoun, Andrew Romine, Alexi Amarista, Mark Trumbo, Cam Bedrosian, Hank Conger, Jordan Walden, and Tyler Chatwood.
Angels GM Billy Eppler has been put to the challenge of rebuilding the Halos’ farm system, while at the same time not tearing apart the major league roster so that they can win now if Mike Trout decides to test free agency.
Eppler has been able to build this farm system not just through the draft, but through international signings and small trades that have kept the Angels in contention for a Wild Card spot every year.
Here is a breakdown of how Eppler has done it.
International signings: 9
Trade Acquisition: 5
Now without further ado, here is Diamond Digest’s 2019 Angels Top 30 Prospects list.
1. Jo Adell
Acquired: Drafted 1(10) 2017
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The consensus #1 prospect in the Angels organization, Jo Adell had the “break out” season we were all hoping for. In his age 19 season, he showed impressive dominance with both the low-A Burlington Bee’s, and high-A Inland Empire 66er’s. Once he got to AA though that was not the case, putting up a slash line of just, .238/.324/.429, but still had a 115 wRC+ in 17 games. The strikeouts still seem to be a little bit of an issue, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to better pitching as he continues to develop.
Word around the Angels organization is that Adell will start the 2019 season in AA Mobile so that he can work through his growing pains.
2018 stats A/A+/AA: 440 PA, .290/.355/.543, 143 wRC+, 20 HR, 32 2B, 83 R, 77 RBI, 15 SB, 25.2 K%, 7.3 BB%
Acquired: Drafted 2(47) 2017
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Griffin Canning is coming off his first professional season, and is entering his first Major League Spring Training where he will be competing for a starting job with the big club. The 22 year old Canning was on the “Walker Buehler fast track” last year flying through high-A and AA posting a 1.66 ERA with 61 strike outs in 54.1 innings. The Halos fell out of contention soon after, and Canning was left in AAA to develop a little longer, putting up a 5.49 ERA in his final 13 starts.
Expect Canning to start the 2019 season in AAA, but if any injuries at the Major League level occur, he will be at the top of the list of pitchers to be brought up.
2018 Stats A+/AA/AAA: GS 25, 113.1 IP, 4-3, 3.63 FIP, 3.65 ERA, 125 SO, 44 BB, .233 BA/A 8 HR Allowed
Acquired: Drafted 2(60) 2016
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2018 was Brandon Marsh’s first full healthy professional season in the Angels’ organization after not playing at all in 2016, the year he was drafted, and only playing in 39 games in 2017. Last season, Marsh showed us that he could play all three outfield positions well, and the outfield arm is no joke either.
Expect Marsh to start in high-A Inland Empire in 2019, but don’t expect him to be there long.
2018 stats A/A+: 579 PA .266/.259/.408, 113 wRC+, 10 HR, 27 2B, 85 R, 75 RBI, 14 SB, 27.3 K%, 12.6 BB%
4. Jahmai Jones
Acquired: Drafted 2(70) 2016
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Jahmai Jones made the move to second base last season and fit right in. Jones is just one of many athletic prospects that the Halos have drafted over the last 3 years. His brother T.J. Jones is a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, and his father Andre Jones was a National Champion with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the late 80’s. Jones had some problems with his footwork during his transition to second base, but improvement will come over time with reps there. Offensively he has potential to be a 20/20 guy at the big league level, if the power comes around a little more.
Expect Jones to start in AA Mobile in 2019.
2018 Stats A+/AA: 123 G, 558 PA, .239/.337/.380, 101 wRC+, 10 HR, 20 2B, 9 3B, 80 R, 55 RBI, 12.0 BB%, 20.4 SO% 24 SB
5. Jordyn Adams
Height/Weight: 6’2” 180
Acquired: Drafted 1(17) 2018
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If we were to pick one position player in the Angels’ organization to have a big, breakout year, Jordyn Adams would be that guy. The most athletic player in the 2018 draft, Adams had to pick between playing football with the North Carolina Tarheels (where his dad coaches), or playing professional baseball. The 19 year old showed an impressive eye at the plate, and added some impressive defense in CF.
Expect Adams to start the season in short season Orem. He’ll probably stay there for a while before moving up.
2018 Stats AZL/R: 29 G, 122 PA, .267/.361/.381, 108 wRC+, 0 HR, 6 2B, 3 3B, 13 R, 13 RBI, 11.5 BB%, 24.6 SO% 5 SB
6. Jose Suarez
Height/Weight: 5’10” 180
Acquired: International Signing 2014
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The 5’10” lefty found something last year, his fastball. His newfound heater helped him propel from high-A all the way to AAA by the end of the season. Suarez went from 90-92 mph to 92-94, touching 95-96 at times. Add the increase in velocity with 2 solid out pitches and you have the makings of a solid 3/4 starting at the major league level.
Expect Suarez to start in AAA Salt Lake, but, like Griffin Canning, if any injuries happen at the big league level, he will be at the top of the list to be called up.
2018 Stats A+/AA/AAA: 26 GS, 117 IP, 3-6, 3.09 FIP, 3.92 ERA, 142 SO, 44 BB, .265 BA/A, 5 HR Allowed
Height/Weight: 6’2” 185
Acquired Drafted 4(126) 2016
Unfortunately, there isn’t too much to say here about Chris Rodriguez’ 2018 season, as he missed all of it with a stress reaction in his back. You might be wondering why he is so high if he didn’t even play last season, and that would be because Rodriguez’ fastball sits 93-96 mph and touches 97-98 mph at times. The stellar fastball is also accompanied by 3 plus out pitches (slider, curveball, and change-up). With all that said, Chris Rodriguez has the making to be a solid 2/3 starter at the major league level, if he stays healthy.
Expect Rodriguez to start in low-A Burlington, and if he stays healthy he will quickly find his was moving up the system.
2018 Stats: DNP(Back)
8. Matt Thaiss
Acquired:Drafted 1(16) 2015
Thaiss has gone through many swing changes over the past few years in the minors, and it seems like he has finally found one that has worked, as he put up career highs in doubles and home runs in 2018. The spike in doubles and home runs in 2018 was in part due to his launch angle adjustment. In 2017, he hit 129 fly balls, and in 2018 he hit 172 fly balls, which led to more extra base hits. The size at 1B scares me a little bit though, being that he is only 6’0”. I think he would find even more success at a corner outfield position, and his value would increase as well. Thaiss needs a little help to make it to the major league level this year, as he has future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols and former All-Star Justin Bour holding down the fort for the Halos.
Expect Thaiss to start the season in AAA, but with an injury at 1B or DH he could find himself getting some significant time at the major league level.
2018 Stats AA/AAA: 125 G, 576 PA, .280/.335/.467, 113 wRC+, 34 2B, 8 3B, 16 HR, 78 R, 76 RBI, 7.6 BB%, 17.9 K%, 8 SB
9. Luis Rengifo
Acquired: Traded from the Rays for CJ Cron
The Angels acquired Rengifo from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for C.J. Cron last offseason. Since then Cron hit 30 home runs, then was DFA’d and traded to the Minnesota Twins. On the other hand, Luis Rengifo wasn’t just the breakout player of the year in the Angels’ system, he was the breakout player on the year in all of the MiLB, as he started off his 2018 campaign as hot as anyone. Rengifo spent most of his 2018 season as a middle infielder, but can also play the outfield if called upon. He also demonstrated a tremendous eye at all three levels he played at, but some worry that his lack of power might hurt him at the major league level.
Expect Rengifo to start the season in AAA, but with his versatility he will likely be one of the first guys called upon if any injury happens.
2018 Stats: A+/AA/AAA: 127 G, 502 PA, .299/.399/.452, 134 wRC+, 30 2B, 13 3B, 7 HR, 109 R, 64 RBI, 12.7 BB%, 12.7 SO%, 41 SB
10. Jose Soriano
Acquired: International Signing 2015
The smooth delivery and easy 94-97 mph from the lanky 20-year-old makes him one of the most interesting young players in the Angels system. Soriano lacked command of the strike zone last season in low-A Burlington, walking 35 batters in just 46.1 innings of work. His mid 90’s fastball is accompanied by an above average curveball, but his change-up needs a little work. If Soriano continues to develop, it’s easy to see him as a solid 3rd/4th starter at the major league level.
Expect Soriano to start the season in low-A Burlington again.
2018 Stats A: 14 G, 46.1 IP, 1-6, 4.47 FIP, 4.47 ERA, 42 SO, 35 BB, .214 BA/A, 1 HR Allowed
11. Jeremiah Jackson
Acquired: Drafted 2(57) 2018
The 2018 second round pick by the Halos took everybody by storm when he slashed .317/.374/.598 with 5 big flys and a 164 wRC+ in just 21 games in the AZL before promptly being promoted to Orem(R). While Jackson played the majority of his games last season at shortstop, some scouts believe he may not be quick enough to play that position, and may end up at third base or even a corner outfield position. Jeremiah Jackson might be one of the closest things in the Angels organization to a five tool player, hitting for power, average, and playing above average defense.
Expect Jackson to start the season in Orem, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he finds his way to low-A Burlington or even high-A Inland Empire this season as Eppler has been aggressive to promote his young talent.
2018 Stats AZL/R: 43 G, 191 PA,.254/.314/.491, 110 wRC+, 10 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR,26 R, 23 RBI, 7.9 BB%, 30.9 SO% 10 SB
12. Trent Deveaux
Acquired: International Sign 2017
Don’t let his 2018 numbers fool you, Trent Deveaux has all the makings of a top 100 prospect in all of baseball. Arguably the fastest player in the Angels farm system featuring a 70 FV in the running department and above average in all other facets of his game, Deveaux could easily end the 2019 season as a top five prospect in the Angels system, if the hit tool comes along.
Expect Deveaux to start the season in the AZL, and might be there all season.
2018 Stats AZL: 44G, 194 PA, .199/.309/.247, 72 wRC+, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 20 R, 11 RBI, 12.4 BB%, 35.1 SO%, 7 SB
13. Patrick Sandoval
Acquired: Traded from the Astros for Martin Maldonado
A Mission Viejo native, Sandoval was acquired midseason from the Houston Astros in exchange for Gold Glove catcher Martin Maldonado. While the superb defense of Maldonado was sorely missed, the upside of Sandoval was greatly welcomed as he was sent straight to high-A Inland Empire. During his short stint in the Cal League, Sandoval gave up no runs in 14.2 innings pitched, while walking just 6 and striking out 21 batters. His brilliance didn’t stop with his promotion to AA Mobile either, as in 4 starts he gave up just three runs while walking 8, and striking out 27 batters. The lefty features a fastball anywhere from 88-92 mph, with a slider, change-up, and plus 12-6 curveball. With that arsenal of pitches, he has the makings of a 4th/5th starter, or very nice bullpen piece.
2018 Stats A (Astros)/A+/AA: 20 G, 122.1 IP, 11-1, 2.39 FIP, 2.06 ERA, 145 SO, 29 BB, .199 BA/A, 5 HR Allowed
14. Kevin Maitan
Acquired: Sign 2018 from Braves
The highly sought after Kevin Maitan came over from the Atlanta Braves following their international signing scandal. Though he has had some weight and defensive issues, the upside of the 19-year-old switch hitter is still there. The 2019 season is somewhat of a make or break year for Maitan, and if the Halos don’t see any improvement in his game he may fall out of everybody’s prospect lists all together. Maitan has also been unable to find a correct spot on the diamond. While he is playing bulk of his games at shortstop or third base, some scouts see him as a first baseman or DH in the future.
Expect Maitan to start the season in Orem (R).
2018 Stats R: 63 G, 84 PA, .248/.306/.397, 80 wRC+, 13 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 42 R,28 RBI, 6.7 BB%, 23.2 SO%, 1 SB
Acquired: Drafted 28(847) 2013
It took the late blooming Michael Hermosillo nearly 6 years in the minors to find his way on a major league roster, but last year he finally made it. Hermosillo appeared in 31 games playing in all three outfield positions. His athleticism, combined with a good spring, could net him a spot on the Opening Day roster as a fourth outfielder, but he will have to compete against veterans such as Peter Bourjos and Jarrett Parker.
Expect Hermosillo to start the season in AAA, but an injury or slump out of any of the Angels outfielders could get him to the majors.
2018 Stats MLB: 31 G, 62 PA, .211/.274/.333, 70 wRC+, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 R, 1 RBI, 4.8 BB%, 27.4 SO%, 0 SB
16. D’Shawn Knowles
Acquired: International Sign 2017
D’Shawn Knowles played his entire 2018 season as a 17-year-old, but you would have never known that as he finished the season with one of the best slash lines, and highest wRC+, in the Angels organization. Knowles, who signed as an international free-agent out of the Bahamas as a 16-year-old, is one of the fastest prospects in the angels organization, and showed some raw ability at the plate, while playing above average defense.
Expect Knowles to start the season at low-A Burlington, but if he continues to hit like he did last season, it wouldn’t surprise me if he found his way to high-A Inland Empire really quick.
2018 Stats AZL/R: 58 G, 253 PA, .311/.391/.464, 130 wRC+, 13 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 46 R, 29 RBI, 11.1 BB%, 25.7 SO%, 9 SB
17. Luis Madero
Acquired: Trade from the DBacks for David Hernandez
The Angels took a chance on acquiring the lanky right hander from Arizona for David Hernandez, and it seems to have worked out. Madero’s fastball has increased in velocity over the last year, now sitting 92-94 mph and topping off at 96 mph. With a plus curveball, good cutter, and above average command. I’m not sure he has the stuff to be a starter at the big league level, but will fit nicely in the bullpen. If his change-up comes along, he may find himself as a fifth starter down the road.
Expect Madero to start the season in AA mobile.
2018 Stats A/A+: 23 G, 105.2 IP, 4-8, 3.66 FIP, 3.49 ERA, 95 SO, 27 BB, .264 BA/A, 8 HR Allowed
18. Ty Buttrey
Acquired: Trade from the Red Sox for Ian Kinsler
The Angels acquired Ty Buttrey (and Williams Jerez) from the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline last season in exchange for Ian Kinsler. The hard throwing right hander sits anywhere from 95 to 98 mph, and tops off around 101 mph. That heater combined with an above average curveball and change-up will make him a mainstay at the back of the Angels bullpen for years to come.
Expect Buttrey to start the season with the Angels, and never look back as he may find himself in the closer role sooner rather than later.
2018 Stats MLB: 16 G, 16.1 IP, 0-1, 1.63 FIP, 3.31 ERA, 20 SO, 5 BB, .231 BA/A, 0 HR Allowed
19. Jake Jewell
Acquired: Drafted 5(149) 2014
Jake Jewell found himself rising up the ranks last season as he started in AA Mobile and abruptly finished his season after fracturing his right fibula during a play at the plate while playing with the big club. Jewell bounced around from being a starter and reliever until 2018 when the Angels decided to make him a fixture in the bullpen, and Jewell never looked back. His arsenal includes a fastball that sits anywhere from 94-97 mph and tops off at 99 mph. An above average slider and average power change-up are included in the mix, and will play well in the Angels bullpen.
Expect Jewell to start the season in AAA, but could be added to the high-octane bullpen at the big level very quickly.
2018 Stats AA/AAA/MLB: 3 G, 2.0 IP, 0-1, 6.66 FIP, 9.00 ERA, 1 SO, 1 BB, .250 BA/A, 0 HR Allowed
Stats from MLB
20. Livan Soto
Acquired: Sign from Braves ETA 2023
Livan Soto was another player that the Angels were able to swipe up from the Atlanta Braves after their international signing scandal last off-season. While the 18-year-old won’t hit for much power, the hit tool is there, as well as the defense. Some scouts believe that he could possibly be an every day shortstop at the big league level, but most believe that he will end up as a utility guy.
Expect Soto to start the season in low-A Burlington.
2018 Stats R: 44 G, 200 PA, .291/.385/.349, 101 wRC+, 10 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 31 R, 11 RBI, 12.0 BB%, 12.0 SO%, 9 SB
21. Leo Rivas
Acquired: International Sign 2014
There are a lot of similarities between Leo Rivas and Livan Soto, as they are both undersized middle infielders with not much power and above average defense. Rivas, though, is a switch hitter with more speed, a better eye, and has more translatable tools at the big league level. Rivas owns a career 16.0 BB% in the minor leagues but as he continues to climb up the organization expect that to diminish a little bit.
Expect the speedy Rivas to begin the season in high-A Inland Empire.
2018 Stats R/A: 121 G, 462 PA, .234/.354/.333,103 wRC+, 17 2B, 7 3B, 5 HR, 64 R, 37 RBI, 15.1 BB%, 25.SO%, 16 SB
22. Jack Kruger
Acquired: Drafted 20(606) 2016
Kruger climbed up the Angels organization rankings last year, as he put up career highs in home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, wRC+, and OBP. Defensively, Kruger has a good eye for the strike zone, commands the rotation well, and steals a lot of strikes, although some have questioned his arm strength behind the plate. Kruger profiles as a solid back up catcher at the major-league level.
Expect Kruger to start the season in AA mobile so he can get consistent playing time.
2018 Stats A+/AA: 97 G, 431 PA, .299/.357/.413, 115 wRC+, 22 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 50 R, 40 RBI, 7.2 BB%, 17.9 SO%, 13 SB
23. Jesus Castillo
Acquired: Trade from the Cubs for Joe Smith
Acquired at the 2016 trade deadline from the Cubs for Joe Smith, Jesus Castillo has been on the Angels’ radar for quite a while, and even earned a 40 man roster spot this off-season before even playing a game at the AAA level. Castillo had a nice breakout year during his 2017 campaign, but couldn’t continue that in 2018 as he struggled with his control and left a lot of pitches over the plate. Castillo has average to below average stuff across the board, which translates as a fringe major leaguer.
Expect Castillo to start the season in AA mobile again as he tries to find his 2017 form.
2018 Stats AA: 21 G(20 GS), 98.1 IP, 9-5, 4.17 FIP, 4.94 ERA, 60 SO, 31 BB,.259 BA/A, 7 HR Allowed
24. William English
Acquired: Drafted: 5(151) 2018
Billy Eppler continues to add athletic pieces via the draft, and William English is no exception to that. The two-way player was considered one of the best athletes as a pitcher among all prep stars in the 2018 draft. We didn’t see English pitch at all after being drafted, and on paper the offense was not where it was supposed to be in the AZL, but there was still a lot of promise. Coming into the spring, there are reports that English has added upwards of 25 pounds of muscle.
Expect English to both hit and pitch and the AZL as the Angels continue to mold the raw athleticism.
2018 Hitting Stats AZL: 30 G, 117 PA, .220/.325/.260, 80 wRC+, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 13 R, 8 RBI, 9.4 BB%, 29.1 SO%, 4 SB
2018 Pitching Stats AZL: Did not pitch
25. Aaron Hernandez
Acquired: Drafted 3(93) 2018
The Angels implemented an organization wide rule in 2017 that any college pitchers drafted will be shut down after being drafted. The 3rd rounder Aaron Hernandez fell into that rule, but during his time at Texas A&M–Corpus Christi he showed good life on his fastball, which sat anywhere from 92-95 mph, and topped off at 98 mph at times. The electrifying fastball is accompanied by three average to above average secondary pitches, which sets him up to be a fairly quick mover through the Angels’ organization. The only thing that may hamper his ability to move up quickly would be the command, which the Angels hope will come along with time.
Expect Hernandez to start the season in Orem(R), but if he shows that he can handle the competition he will be moved up quickly.
2018 Stats: DNP
26. Stiward Aquino
Acquired: International Signing 2016
The lanky right hander, who stands in at 6 feet 6 inches tall, missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, and isn’t expected to return to the mound until extended spring training. At only 19 years old, the upside of Aquino is promising, as his fastball tops off at 97 mph. He has also showed good command of both his above average curveball and change-up. The combination of those three pitches could make him a mainstay in the rotation as long as he returns to his pre Tommy John form.
Expect Aquino to start in the AZL. There could be an innings limit on him this year which might limit his ability to move up too far in the organization.
2018 Stats: DNP
27. Kyle Bradish
Acquired: Drafted 2018 4(121)
Like Aaron Hernandez, Kyle Bradish found himself shut down shortly after being drafted in the fourth round from New Mexico State. He has a maximum effort delivery which might hamper his ability to start down the road, but would likely make him a solid bullpen piece if the Angels choose to go that direction. As a starter his fastball sits anywhere from 91 to 93 mph, and tops off at 96 mph. During his time at New Mexico State, he also showed decent command of his secondary pitches, which include a good curveball, above average slider and average change-up.
Expect Bradish to start in Orem(R), but like Hernandez could find himself moving up rather quickly.
2018 Stats: DNP
28. Jared Walsh
Acquired: Drafted 2015 39(1,185)
Jared Walsh is one of the most interesting stories not only in the Angels’ organization, but in all of baseball. He will be attempting to join Shohei Ohtani as the Halos second two-way player. The 39th round pick in 2015 plays a solid first base and outfield, but also showcases a fastball that sits from 90-92 mph. Scouts worry that the power he showed last year might not translate to the major league level, making him just an average hitter who plays good defense. With all that being said, Walsh seems to be in line as one of the more compelling stories in all of baseball next year as he attempts to both hit and pitch at the major-league level.
Expect Walsh to start the season in AAA Salt Lake, but the Swiss Army knife may find himself in the big leagues sooner rather than later.
2018 Hitting Stats A+/AA/AAA: 128 G, 549 PA, .277/.359/.536, 137 wRC+, 34 2B, 1 3B, 29 HR, 11.1 BB%, 28.1 SO%, 1 SB
2018 Pitching StatsA+/AA/AAA: 8 G, 5.2 IP, 0-1 (1SV), 2.20 FIP, 1.59 ERA, 7 SO, 2 BB, .261 BA/A, 0 HR Allowed
29. John Swanda
Acquired: Drafted 4(115) 2017
The athleticism on the mound continues here with John Swanda. The former shortstop turned pitcher has been slow to progress as he continues to make his full transition to pitching. There is a lot of promise in the right hander, as he has shown good command with his 90 to 92 mph sinking fastball, and displayed an above average curveball. However, his change-up still needs a lot of work.
Expect Swanda to continue to develop as he likely starts the season in low-A Burlington.
2018 Stats (R): 10 G, 30 IP, 0-4, 5.23 FIP, 4.50 ERA, 26 SO, 7 BB, .291 BA/A, 4 HR Allowed
30. Alexander Ramirez
Acquired: 2018 International Sign
The youngest one on this list, Alexander Ramirez is a 16-year-old outfielder that the Angels signed last summer from the Dominican Republic for $1 million. Even though we probably won’t see Ramirez play in the United States until at least 2020, the size is decently projectable, and some think he will have serious power.
Expect Ramirez to play in the DSL Angels next season, and maybe even start 2020 there too.
2018 Stats: DNP
The top 30 doesn’t just end here. There are still plenty more Angels prospects that didn’t make my list, but might down the road, or might be impact players at the big league level. In no order, here they are:
RHP: Jeremy Beasley, Cole Duensing, Joe Gatto, Brett Hanewich, Adam Hofacket, Alex Klonowski, Isaac Mattson, Luis Pena, Jeremy Rhoades, Keith Rogalla, Andrew Wantz, Austin Warren
LHP: Jerryell Rivera, Nate Smith, Hector Yan, James Ziemba
Catchers: Marlon Marcano
Infielders: Roberto Baldoquin, Connor Justus, Tim Millard, Jose Rojas, Jordan Zimmerman
Outfielders: Francisco Del Valle, Torii Hunter Jr., Orlando Martinez, Brandon Sanger, Bo Way, Nonie Williams