Angels Sign Drew Ellis To Minor League Deal

The Angels are adding infielder Drew Ellis on a minor league contract, per an announcement from his now-former team in the independent Atlantic League: the Charleston Dirty Birds. Ellis’ contract was purchased from the Dirty Birds by the Angels yesterday, per the announcement. Presumably, he’ll head to the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City.

Ellis, 28, has appeared in each of the past three major league seasons, spending time with the D-backs, Mariners and Phillies. He’s only tallied 129 overall plate appearances, during which he’s popped three homers and walked at a 13.2% clip while struggling to an overall .157/.295/.269 batting line. Ellis has fanned in 31.8% of those 129 trips to the plate. He’s played first base, second base and third base in the majors, plus a pair of minor league games at shortstop and 37 games in left field back in his days at the University of Louisville.

Originally drafted by the Diamondbacks back in 2017, Ellis was that year’s No. 44 overall pick. Baseball America ranked him 66th in that year’s draft class and pegged him as high as ninth in Arizona’s system at one point, touting his plus power, athleticism and solid skills at the hot corner.

In parts of three Triple-A seasons, Ellis has shown off that power and a good approach at the plate but still hit for a low average. He’s a career .247/.364/.500 hitter at the minors’ top level. Given his big league contact issues and that low average, it’s easy to suspect he’s been excessively strikeout prone in the minors. But while Ellis has fanned at a slightly higher-than-average 24.3% rate in Triple-A, the greater culprit has been his penchant for weak infield flies. He’s totaled 1124 Triple-A plate appearances and popped up to the infield a staggering 86 times. That propensity has undercut his plate discipline and impressive power.

Drew's father was the head coach at Jeffersonville until he retired a few years ago.