Thaiss, Barria named Angels Prospects of Year

Thaiss, Barria named Angels Prospects of Year

ANAHEIM -- Matt Thaiss is already making a name for himself in the Angels' farm system, as he was recognized by MLBPipeline.com as a Halos'  2016 Prospect of the Year in the player category. Thaiss earned the honor in his first professional season after being selected 16th overall out of the University of Virginia in June's MLB Draft.

Jaime Barria was named the 2016 Angels Pitching Prospect of the Year.

Angels' Top 30 Prospects

In addition to adjusting to life as a professional, Thaiss has been tasked with switching positions from catcher to first baseman. One thing has remained constant for Thaiss: his skill for hitting a baseball.

The Angels considered Thaiss one of the top hitters in his Draft class, and the early returns have validated those scouting reports. He's ranked as the organization's top prospect.

Thaiss, 21, debuted with Rookie-level Orem and produced a .338/.394/.569 slash line with 10 extra-base hits over 15 games, earning a promotion to Class A Burlington, where he hit .276/.351/.427 with 19 extra-base hits in 52 games.

While the Angels initially debated using Thaiss in the outfield, he exclusively played first base this summer.

"I love catching," Thaiss said. "It's what I love to do. I love being involved in every play. But at the same time, I'm a team guy. I'm willing to do whatever it takes, wherever I'm placed."

Barria, the Angels' No. 7 prospect, spent the entire season in the rotation for the Burlington Bees, his first action in Class A. He was 8-6 with a 3.85 ERA over 25 starts. The right-hander worked 117 innings, his highest total in four seasons in the Minors.

Barria, 20, features a three-pitch mix with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a developing changeup and a curveball. He struck out 78 against 21 walks this year.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.