Angels will be busy early in Draft
Club looking for power with five picks among top 48
ANAHEIM -- With five choices among the first 48 and two in the first round, at 24 and 25, the Angels are in an unusually busy mode in anticipation of the First-Year Player Draft.
They surrendered their own first-round pick to Colorado for signing closer Brian Fuentes, but claimed the first-round picks belonging to the New York Mets for their signing of Francisco Rodriguez, and the New York Yankees for their signing Mark Teixeira. The Angels also collected supplemental picks No. 40 and 42 for those two Type A signings, and another (No. 48) for Arizona's signing of Jon Garland, a Type B free agent.
Beginning with the 33rd pick, up-to-the-minute on-air coverage from the remaining rounds will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where host Vinny Micucci will be joined by MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo and Major League Scouting Bureau director Frank Marcos.
Once the first night is done, the Draft will continue with the rounds 4-30, via conference call from MLB Headquarters in New York, at noon on Wednesday, June 10. Rounds 31-50 will be on Thursday, June 11, starting at 8:30 a.m. PT.
Here's a glance at what the Angels have in store as the 2009 First-Year Player Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The class is rich in pitching, always a special area of interest for the Angels, along with center fielders and catchers. The Angels have a history of taking hard-throwing pitchers, usually high school teens, in the early rounds of the Draft, but it's unusual for them to have so many prime picks to harvest. They would like to bring some power into their system to join Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger and Matt Sweeney, with a strong focus on the corners of the infield and outfield. Southern California is fertile ground, as always, and the Angels might not have to look far for athletes who can enrich their organization.
"We're never going to Draft in the top 10 because of the success our team has, but we're in a unique position this year after the Teixeira and Frankie Rodriguez signings. We're not approaching it any different, though. We've been able to get good talent in the past, and we still won't have a shot at the Evan Longoria's, those type of players, at 24 and 25. One thing we haven't done great at in the past is getting power at the corners. The rest of it we've done a good job with, in terms of drafting, signing and developing young talent. I think the depth in our system is apparent during Spring Training, the way our young guys perform. It may be a center fielder, but I'm guessing one or two of those first five picks are going to be a corner outfielder or a third baseman, somebody we project to have some power." -- Eddie Bane, director of scouting.
The Angels could use their two first-round selections for a pitcher and a position player, most likely an outfielder or a third baseman with power. They could go local, with Santa Monica High School's Tyler Skaggs, a 6-foot-5 left-handed pitcher, among those high on everybody's list. Mike Trout (Millville H.S., N.J.), Everett Williams (McCallum H.S., Austin, Tex.)and LSU's Jared Mitchell fit the club's desired profile in the outfield. Jiovanni Mier, a shortstop who also pitches at Bonita H.S. in LaVerne, Calif., could be a fit. Matt Davidson, a power-hitting third baseman at Yucaipa (Calif.) H.S., might be an intriguing choice.
The way they look at it, you never can have enough or too much pitching. The Angels have a nice collection of young arms but are always on the lookout for more power pitchers for their rotation and bullpen. They have tremendous depth in the infield and quality depth behind the plate. The outfield could use a fresh group of athletes, and power at the corner positions, both in the outfield and infield, is a priority they plan to address.
The Angels have a history of preferring high school talent and molding it from the ground floor up. The preference has been for pitching, historically, but they are not averse to pursuing position players, especially in the outfield.
Recent top picks
Tyler Chatwood, the team's top pick in 2008 in the second round out of Redlands East Valley (Calif.) H.S., is throwing premium gas for low Class A Cedar Rapids, striking out close to a hitter per inning but fighting his command. Catcher Hank Conger, the club's 2006 first-rounder out of Huntington Beach (Calif.) H.S., has come back from a shoulder injury and is doing the bulk of the catching for Double-A Arkansas, continuing to swing a productive bat from both sides of the plate. He's highly regarded for his power and is improving defensively. Jon Bachanov, the 2007 first-round pick out of Orlando (Fla.) University H.S., is in extended Spring Training in Arizona, recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. He has a power arm and could be a starter or closer down the road.
Left-handed pitcher Trevor Reckling, an eighth-round pick in 2007 out of St. Benedicts Prep School in Newark, N.J., is flourishing at Double-A Arkansas at age 20 after dominating hitters at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga earlier this season. He was 10-7 with a 3.37 ERA at low Class A Cedar Rapids last season, striking out 128 hitters in 152 1/3 innings.
Outfielder Chris Pettit, from Loyola Marymount University and San Dimas (Calif.) H.S., wasn't happy when he lasted until the 19th round of the 2006 First-YearPlayer Draft. Bane told Pettit to make everybody look bad for overlooking him, and he's doing precisely that with a big season at Triple-A Salt Lake. He hits for average, runs the bases effectively and is a quality defender.
In The Show
The Angels have no players from the past three Drafts on their 25-man roster.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.