DETROIT — For all that has gone wrong for the Angels this season, their Double-A team has provided some hope for the future.
The Rocket City Trash Pandas, who play in Madison, Ala., are 65-48, with a roster dotted with the Angels’ top prospects.
On Saturday night, the Trash Pandas trailed by five runs at the seventh-inning stretch. They came back to win 8-7 on a three-run homer by Preston Palmeiro in the bottom of the ninth, just after many of the players had helped get the tarp on the field in time to keep the game from ending prematurely.
Even before that game, Angels general manager Perry Minasian said he’s happy to see how well the team has played because of the value that could eventually have to the big league team.
“That’s important for us, absolutely,” Minasian said during the Angels series in Detroit. “I believe in winning at all levels. Now, there’s a development aspect to it too. There’s a balance. But winning is definitely important.
“I think when you’re in winning situations, you learn how to play the game. There are small things that make big differences. When there are close, tight games, when you’re a team that’s in every game, that has a chance to win every game, you experience more on an individual basis.”
The Angels have most of their top prospects playing in Double-A, including newly acquired No. 1 prospect Logan O’Hoppe, the catcher who came from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Brandon Marsh trade.
Shortstop Zach Neto, the Angels’ first-round pick in last month’s draft, is also playing at Double-A. Pitching prospects Ky Bush, Sam Bachman, Chase Silseth and Ben Joyce are also there.
Other than O’Hoppe, none of those players had played even one full pro season before getting assigned to Double-A.
“We’ve challenged a lot of a lot of our players, putting them in places that are difficult to play, especially at the ages or the experience they have,” Minasian said. “We’ve done that, one, for the environments and two, because of the makeup of the players. We think that they can handle it. And so far we’re pretty happy with the results.”
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Angels (LHP Tucker Davidson, 2-3, 6.75) at Rays (LHP Jeffrey Springs, 5-3, 2.52), Monday, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM