Yesterday, we explored the Angels top three selections of the draft. Today, we’ll give you brief rundowns on some notable mid-round selections the Angels made in last week’s draft.
RHP Jeremy Rhoades – Rhoades looks like a reliever to me. He has a high impact, high effort, cross his body, almost fall off the mound type of delivery. The fact that he was once used as a starter is both puzzling and amusing to me. Possibly even more confusing is the fact that the Angels drafted him with the intention of making him a starter in the short-term. Good luck with that. Whatever role he’s in, Rhoades has the stuff you like to see. As a starter, a 90-92 mph fastball with movement and a fall off the table slider. As a reliever, it is expected that his fastball may climb into the mid-90’s, but again, the Angels will try and push him to be a starter first.
RHP Jake Jewell – If you aren’t worried about grabbing a high risk pitcher or position player in the fifth round, than Jake Jewell is a fantastic grab for the Angels. He has a verbal commit to Oklahoma and with good reason, this kid has tons of projection. The thing that jumps out immediately about him is his loose arm. Jewell pumps mid-90’s fastballs without a great deal of effort or pressure on his elbow, which hopefully means his arm will remain healthy in the long-term. Jewell also has a very good slider and has shown an advanced feel for a change up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him transition into a starter, but at this point I can see success in any role he assumes. (Update: Yesterday Jewell signed with the Angels on a below slot bonus, which helps them out considerably with other plays demanding above slot money)
RF Alex Abbott – Finally! A position player, and a high-risk high school one at that. I really like what I see in this kid. He has a beautiful left-handed swing, loose and fluid, gets the barrel out quickly and can put some backspin on the ball. He’s not overly big (6’0, 190) but is athletic and has a cannon for an arm. Abbott was used as a CF in the prep ranks but will inevitably move to RF as a professional. He’s an average runner. I’d look for continued power to develop in this kid, who has all the tools to turn into something special.
RHP Jordan Kipper – TCU plays in an especially competitive conference for college ball and Kipper was not only the staff ace for the Horned-Frogs, but one of the better pitchers in the conference. This is his third time being drafted, so perhaps the Angels will finally get him to sign.
RHP Jared Ruxer – Ruxer is currently on the mend from Tommy John surgery and it appears the Angels are intent on buying low on Ruxer. Jared has a fastball that sits in the low-90’s and a curve and change up that he spot in the zone. He has a low three-quarters delivery and projects adequately both in a starting a bullpen role. Before surgery, Ruxer owned a 2.27 ERA on the season and had a shot at breaking into the top 5 rounds if healthy.
RHP Kam Uter – Uter is a high school RHP that has a fastball that reaches the mid-90’s. He appears to be a difficult sign though as Uter was ranked as one of the best wide-receivers in the country and has a full-ride scholarship to play football at Wake Forest.
3B Zach Houchins – In 2011 he was drafted in the ninth round and chose not to sign and instead attend East Carolina on a baseball scholarship. He was also reprimanded for posting racially derogatory and homophobic tweets. As a senior this season, it seems likely he’ll sign as it’s his last chance as a drafted player.
RHP Austin Robichaux – How’s this for a build, 6 ft. 6 inches tall, 170 lbs. Robichaux is going to need to put some meat on those bones of his but does offer some intrigue as a pitcher. Autin’s best weapon is a sinking low-90’s fastball that he pounds the strike zone with. He also offers a change up and slider in the low-80’s. Definitely a worthwhile selection for the Angels as there is certainly projection left in his frame and room for growth.
C John Bormann – We know nothing about his bat but check out this stat-line from this past season. Bormann gunned down 61 percent of base stealers. 61%! The average major league line is somewhere between 25-30%. If nothing else, that’ll get him the reputation as a defensive first catcher, the Angels love those.