Knowles was the Angels’ second largest international signee from the 2017 J2 class at $850K, and he joined his Bahamian countryman, Trent Deveaux (CF, Angels), in the States for the 2018 season. Despite early offensive struggles during Extended Spring Training, Knowles came into his own during the AZL and earned a promotion to Orem on August 1. In 58 games, he slashed .311/.391/.464 with four home runs and 15 extra base hits.
Knowles has a solid, athletic build on his 6-foot frame, and he goes about his business with an energetic, blue-collar playing style that helps his double-plus speed play fast. His posture at the plate and timing have become more efficient, keeping his bat path in the zone more consistently and transfer force more efficiently. His plus bat speed generates a powerful stroke that displays present gap-to-gap power but projects to over-the-fence pop. The switch-hitter has seen success from both sides of the plate but has shown little to no power from the right side. Defensively, Knowles has made tremendous strides in the outfield. Presently, Knowles carries a fringe-average arm, but his athleticism helps project the tool to a future 55. What he lacks in first step quickness, he makes up for with closing speed and route efficiency and is one of the few young AZL outfielders I saw confident in taking his eye off the ball and sprinting to a spot. As he matures, his anticipation and first step should improve and add significant value in the outfield, grading out as a future 60. Knowles is aggressive on the bases and looks for opportunities to take an extra bag. Only 9-for-16 in stolen-base attempts, his elite speed and aggressiveness, coupled with more reps, should help him hone his craft and become a more serious threat on the base paths.
Still only 17-years-old, Knowles opened a lot of eyes this year, and he showed an ability to be more than a defense-first outfielder. He’ll probably start in Class A Burlington next season, and move through the Angels’ system quickly. He has a low-risk floor as a fourth outfielder, and a high ceiling as a Role 55 everyday center fielder with plus defensive ability, an average hit tool, and as a stolen-base threat that produces 15-20 home runs a year.