In 10 words or fewer: Bo Way does the little things. Gets the job done.
Position: OF | Age (2016): 24
Bats: L | Throws: L
Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 180
2015 Rank: 19
Contact – B. Not sure Way’s path to the ball could be any more efficient than it already is. This resulted in very little swing-and-miss in A-ball, and slightly more though still meager in High-A. Way’s swing has some uppercut to it, though not enough to be a fly ball hitter. He isn’t afraid to take the ball the other way and his reflexes, his strength, and the way he aggressively attacks fastballs make him more than a singles slapper. Just a gorgeous swing.
Power – D+. Way doesn’t have power in the traditional sense for an outfielder. He’ll run into a home run here and there, but he’s a line-drive gap hitter. He will slap at pitches from time to time because his speed can get him on base in those scenarios, but he has enough pop in his bat to force outfielders to play him honest.
Discipline – B. Way won’t be the type of leadoff hitter to post an OBP near .400; very few do these days. But his ability to reach base has never been in question. This season in the Cal League, his .349 OBP wasn’t a number that stands out, but in the second half of the season Way’s OBP was at .371, nearly 80 points higher than his batting average.
Speed – B+. He’s one of the faster runners in the system, but it seems to be an organization-wide philosophy not to run as often these days. This spans all the way from Mike Trout being planted on first base in the majors and trickles down to the low minors, where players capable of stealing 40+ bags a season are limited.
Arm – B+. Bo is your prototypical CF. Plays the position like a natural, and has more than enough arm to continue playing this spot in the majors.
Fielding – B+. Another stellar season from Way. He isn’t in the Bourjos or Trout realm of defensive ability, but not many are.
Range – A-. Way has more than enough speed to get to most balls in the gap. His reads aren’t the best, but again, speed covers up a lot of mistakes. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the minor leagues that covers more land in the outfield than Way.
Performance – B-. To be honest, I expected a bit more. Way is a year behind the age curve, which means he was about a year older than the rest of the league this year, and the numbers didn’t absolutely jump off the page. Sure, Way was solid. He did all the little things right. He can bunt, hit, reach base, steal, take the extra base, and play very solid defense. He just wasn’t a standout, at least not until the second half. His platoon splits are cause for concern as well. He should’ve done a lot better on the road, getting to play in the Cal League, but he didn’t. But he made up for this by playing well at home, despite it being a pitcher’s park. The second half ensures he’ll be in AA next year, but he only hit .170 against LHP this past year, making Way a likely platoon outfielder.
Projection – C-. Without gaudy power or speed totals, nor the ability to hit same-side pitching, it looks like Way is more than likely destined to be a platoon or fourth outfielder. He’s a little old for his development level, and doesn’t look as if the speed or power will get any better with age. He looks like the type of player you’d see against a RHP in the late innings with the game on the line, or as a defensive replacement, or as a pinch runner. Regardless, Way looks like he could have more value in Anaheim down the road than any outfielder not named Trout or Calhoun will this season.
What to expect in 2016 – Way’s numbers were neither helped or hurt from his time in the Cal League, so I don’t expect AA to be much different for him. The numbers are bound to go down a little because the defenses are better, as is the pitching, but Way should continue to progress next season and put himself in prime position for another promotion shortly thereafter. He could really improve his stock if he starts hitting LHPs.
Most Likely Scenario – Way’s speed and defense earn him a position as the OF who’s permanently on the cusp of the majors with a number of different organizations.
Grade as a Prospect – C. Way is 24 years old and headed into AA after a good but not great performance in A-ball. Translation: make or break year. If Way hits and fields the way he’s capable, we should see him in the majors before he turns 26, as a key cog for the Angels with the game on the line. But age and lack of eye-popping tools obviously force our expectations to be tempered a bit.
Estimated Time of Arrival – 2018. He could make an appearance in 2017 and even earn a spot on the playoff roster with his speed, defense, and contact ability. But 2018 seems like the year we’ll see Way jump into an Angels uniform for good, as long as he isn’t blocked by another player like Chad Hinshaw.