Though I am hardly a draft expert, that doesn’t mean I am not excited to get a first look at some of the (hopeful) Halo stars of tomorrow. The Angels headed into the draft looking to provide a better mix of talent into their farm system which has thinned out extensively the last few years, especially in the power department. Let’s see how they did on their first day of drafting with this new focus:
Round 1, Pick 24 – Randal Grichuk, LF: This should be the first real sign of the Angels shift in philosophy. Grichuk is a big-time power-hitting prospect. Even though he isn’t that big, he is the kind of power corner outfield bat that the Angels haven’t produced in well over a decade. The big knock on Grichuk is that he is incredibly pull happy. In fact, ESPN’s Keith Law declared Grichuk one of the biggest reaches of the first round.
Round 1, Pick 25 – Mike Trout, CF: Say hello to the Angels next big-time prospect. Let’s hope the Angels are more keen on getting him to the minors than they are with Brandon Wood. Not only is Trout a five-tool outfielder, but he is already a media darling. Trout was the only prospect to show up in person for the draft and immediately showed a gregarious personality and a way with the media. Reporters simply gobbled him up. Better yet, the draft experts raved about the pick. Trout is pretty raw still, but he has the athleticism to be stay in center field and enough power to finally break the mold of speedy, slap-hitting Angel outfield prospects. And surely I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the synergy in picking an outfielder with a fishy last name to take the mantle of the next great homegrown Angel outfielder previously held by Tim Salmon.
Round Compensation A, Pick 40 – Tyler Skaggs, LHP: After toying around with a new strategy, the Halos reverted back to their old tricks and went right back to loading up on starting pitching, especially high school starting pitching. Skaggs is the prototypical lanky lefty and has solid velocity and a well developed breaking ball that could make him a future front-line starter.
Round Compensation A, Pick 42 – Garrett Richards, RHP: Richards is a classic boom-or-bust selection. The Oklahoma University product is an absolute flame-thrower, but he has never had much success in college because of his propensity for giving up the long ball. Richards’ biggest problem is a lack of command, so Angel management has to be hoping that working with their minor league pitching coaches can rein in his stellar stuff to make him a future closer for the team. Plus his name is Garrett and those guys are always awesome.
Round Compensation A, Pick 48 – Tyler Kehrer, LHP: This is where the Angels started going lefty crazy. Kehrer is a college pitcher but still has plenty of work left to do. He racked up some huge strikeout totals (90 Ks over 65.2 IP), but also scary walk numbers as well (41 over that same span). His control issues could create a problem from him turning into a starter, but at worst, he projects as a high-quality relief prospect.
Round 2, Pick 80 – Patrick Corbin, LHP: A Tom Kotchman special, Corbin is a raw juco prospect with great upside but some control issues. He is committed to going to Southern Misssissippi, but since he is a Tom Kotchman selection, signability likely won’t be an issue.
Round 3, Pick 110 – Joshua Spence, LHP: To close out the first day of action, the Angels went outside their normal comfort zone of selecting high school power pitchers in favor of soft-tossing, college southpaw Josh Spence. He only throws in the mid-eighties, but Spence has several strong off-speed pitches and the pitching IQ of a seasoned MLB veteran. Due to his advanced feel for the game, Spence is the odds on favorite to reach the majors first, assuming his subpar velocity doesn’t cause him to stall out at the higher minor league levels.