Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tyler Chatwood was the Angels #1 draft pick in the 2008 Amateur Draft

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

The Angels enjoy having seven picks in the first 110 selections in this years' amateur draft on Tuesday (June 9th) after winning 100 games in 2008 and winning yet another AL West title. They'll look to capitalize with an abundance of talent this year, especially in the early rounds.

The Angels Director of Scouting - Eddie Bane, has gone on record to saying they're going after some power hitters, specifically from the outfield and corner infield positions, whether from college or high school. With that said, it wouldn't surprise me if they plucked a couple of arms in the first few rounds either, despite the Angels deep & talented crop of starting pitching. A big credit to Eddie for selecting top notch starting pitching talent such as Jordan Walden, Trevor Reckling, Tyler Chatwood, Ryan Chaffee, Will Smith, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell & lost to a tragic car accident back in April, Nick Adenhart. As a former successful college pitcher who was taken in the 1st round himself, Eddie knows pitching.

The Angels picks in the first three rounds are as follows.

1st Round Picks: #24 (from Mets for Francisco Rodriguez, A), #25 (from Yankees for Mark Teixeira, A).

The Angels lost their #32 pick to the Colorado Rockies for the signing of Brian Fuentes.

Supplemental First-Round Picks: #40 (from the Yankees for Mark Teixeira), #42 Angels (from the Mets for Frankie Rodriguez), #48 (from Diamondbacks for Jon Garland).

2nd Round Picks: #80

3rd Round Picks: #110

The amateur draft is shifting to prime time as this year's draft will start at 6 p.m. on June 9 and be held at the studios of the MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J.

There will be 111 picks on the first day, which includes the first three rounds mixed in with two compensation rounds. So the Angels will have selected all of their 7 picks in the first 3 rounds on draft day.

Rounds 4 through 30 are scheduled tentatively for June 10, with the remaining 20 rounds the following day. The last two days will be held by telephone conference call.

The draft was held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in 2007 and 2008.

Let's also look back at some of Eddie Bane's picks from the last four years. His first year as director of scouting was in 2004.

2004 Draft:

1. Jered Weaver, RHP, Long Beach State, #12 overall
2. Patrick White, OF, Daphne HS (AL), #113 overall - DID NOT SIGN
3. Luis Rivera, OF, Ramon Vila Mayo HS (PR), #143 overall
5. Bill Layman, RHP, North Florida, #203 overall:

Other notable draft picks: SS Freddy Sandoval (8th), San Diego, Hainley Statia (9th), Trinity Christian Academy (FL), RHP Nick Adenhart (14th), Williamsport HS (MD), 1B Mark Trumbo (18th), Villa Park HS (CA), RHP Nick Green (35th), Darton JC (GA); RHP Stephen Marek (40th), San Jacinto JC (TX)

2005 Draft:

1. Trevor Bell, RHP, Crescenta Valley HS (CA), #37 overall
2. Ryan Mount, SS, Ayala HS (CA), #58 overall
3. P.J. Phillips, SS, Redan HS (GA), #71 overall
4. Sean O’Sullivan, RHP, Valhalla HS (CA), #103 overall
5. Brian Matusz, LHP, St. Mary’s HS (AZ), #133 overall - DID NOT SIGN

Other notable draft picks:OF Peter Bourjos (10th), Notre Dame HS (AZ)

2006 Draft:

1. Hank Conger, C, Huntington Beach HS (CA), #25 overall
2. Russ Moldenhauer, OF, Boerne HS (TX), #102 overall - DID NOT SIGN
3. Clay Fuller, OF, Smithson Valley HS (TX), #132 overall
4. David Herndon, RHP, Gulf Coast CC (FL), #162 overall
5. Robert Fish, LHP, Miller HS (CA), #192 overall

Other notable draft picks: 3B Matt Sweeney (8th), Magruder HS (MD), RHP Jordan Walden (12th), Mansfield HS (TX), OF Chris Pettit (19th), Loyola Marymount

2007 Draft:

1. Jon Bachanov, RHP, University HS (FL), #58 overall
2. Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (CT), #118 overall - DID NOT SIGN
3. Trevor Pippin, OF, Middle Georgia JC, #148 overall
4. Andrew Romine, SS, Arizona State, #178 overall
5. Ryan Brasier, RHP, Weatherford JC (TX), #208 overall

Other notable draft picks: LHP Trevor Reckling (8th), St. Benedict’s Prep HS (NJ); RHP Mason Tobin (16th), Everett CC (WA), OF Terrell Alliman (43rd), Bluevalue Collegiate Institute (ON).

2008 Draft:

1. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Redlands HS (CA), #74 overall
2. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Chipola JC (FL), #105 overall
3. Zach Cone, OF, Parkview HS (GA), #112 overall - DID NOT SIGN
4. Buddy Boshers, LHP, Calhoun CC (AL), #139 overall
5. Khiry Cooper, OF, Calvary Baptist Academy (LA), #169 overall - DID NOT SIGN

Other notable picks: LHP Will Smith (7th), Gulf Coast CC (FL), SS Rolando Gomez (11th), Flanagan HS (FL)

As you can see the Angels have drafted some nice arms in the last four years, including some relievers at the lower levels that weren't mentioned that should contribute in a couple years for the Halos. Be that as it may, outside of Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo, Matt Sweeney and Peter Bourjos, the Angels have failed to secure any top notch hitters in recent drafts, especially in the power department, something Angels' fans have been accustomed to in the 90's with the likes of Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds and Darin Erstad.

The Angels can remedy that in this draft, as outside of Troy Glaus & Darin Erstad who were drafted in the 1st round by the Angels; Salmon (3rd rd.), Anderson (4th rd.) and Edmonds (7th rd.) were all solid selections outside of the 1st round.

I suspect the Angels will select a good blend of college hitting power hitters, high school talent with tremendous athleticism, snagging some position players that possesses pure hitting ability and solid strike zone judgment. There is also no doubt that the Angels will be looking at some pitching as well. Despite the need to draft offense, don't be surprised if the Halos pluck a starting pitcher and a college closer or two in the first 3-5 rounds as well.

With the bullpen an issue this season, the Angels have a chance to snag a college arm with a live fastball and punch out ability with one of their high picks. One that could make the jump right to the big leagues and help out the bullpen in September.

Let's take a look at some of the young talent the Angels could be looking at on Tuesday in the first few rounds of the draft.

Position Players to Look at:

Jared Mitchell, Louisiana State, OF - Mitchell has often been compared to Carl Crawford, is one of the top athletic college players in the draft. The 6-foot, 192-pounder has plus speed and power potential. Has shown a knack for getting on base and hitting for average, though he still strikes out a lot because he concentrates so much on taking pitches that he often falls behind in the count. Mitchell gets down the line from the left side and steals bases with his blinding speed. Mitchell plays right field for Louisiana State but easily has enough range to move to center. Jared's arm is his lone below-average tool, but it will play fine in center field. Was a reserve wide receiver on the Tigers' 2007 national championship football team, Mitchell has already given up the gridiron as his passion is Baseball. Could take a little longer to development than most college players.

Mike Trout, Milville (N.J.) HS, OF - Tremendous talent and makeup, Trout has skyrocketed upwards in the draft in his senior year of high school. Trout runs the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds. He has good range and instincts in center field and plenty of arm for the position. Trout's bat is not a sure thing, but he has a chance to be a solid-average hitter with average or better power. Like former 1st rounder Darin Erstad, he is a grinder who always plays the game hard. Most see him as a Aaron Rowand type with perhaps more stolen base and home run potential.

Everett Williams, McCallum HS, Austin, OF - Everett combines athleticism and a pure bat out of high school. He has a strong 5-foot-10, 200-pound build and big, quick hands, which allow him to hit for power to all fields. One area scout says he's seen Williams hit a 500-foot blast, and the lefthanded hitter finished second in the home run derby at the Aflac All-American Game last summer. Williams has above average speed that translates into success on the basepaths. Gets good jumps on the ball in the outfield but could use more experience there to smooth out his weaknesses. His arm is fringe-average, but not like Damon or Pierre like. He didn't commit to Texas until March, but if he goes in the first round as expected you can bet he won't suit up for his hometown Longhorns. Williams also has some of the best bloodlines in his draft, as his father played in the NFL, his cousin Cedric Allen pitched in the Reds system and two of his aunts are enshrined in the national softball hall of fame.

Randal Grichuk, Lamar Consolidated HS, Rosenberg, Texas, OF - Making a name for himself as a power hitter at the 2004 Little League World Series, Grichuk led the tournament with four homers, and has continued to hit home runs since. He hit three longballs as the United States won the gold medal at the 2007 World Youth Championship in Venezuela. Grichuk turned some heads at the International Power Showcase at Tampa's Tropicana Dome in January, he led all participants with 20 total homers, including a 475-foot blast with a metal bat. Grichuk is more than just a masher, however. Has strong hands and bat speed that should allow him to hit for a solid average once he adjusts his pull-oriented approach. A 6-foot, 195-pounder, Grichuk has decent athleticism and fits best defensively as a left fielder. A below-average runner with a fringe arm, but his work ethic and passion for the game should make him a solid defender. He has committed to Arizona but is considered signable if he goes in the first three rounds as expected.

Matt Davidson, Yucaipa, CA, HS 3B/1B - California product Matt Davidson won the home run derby during the Aflac Classic at Dodger Stadium last summer. Davidson is athletic and put together well at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Davidson is a power bat the Angels could use in their lineup down the road as he has always flashed impressive raw power. As a junior in the spring of 2008, he opened many eyes by putting on a power display during the National Classic home run contest. Davidson needs to show more of that power against in game competition and above average arms as the power didn't always translate after the ump declared "Play Ball". Davidson waits out the pitch and then uses a short backswing and sweeping follow-through to wallop the ball when everything is working for him. When he's slumping, he struggles to pick up the pitch, flinching on his front side and ultimately commits too early or too late. Davidson's speed is below-average, but he does have an above-average arm. If Davidson is selected in the first couple rounds he may choose not to go to Southern California. His power potential alone should get him there without a doubt.

Max Stassi, Yuba City, CA HS, C - Stassi is quite possibly the best offensive catcher in this year's deep catching crop. Related to Myril Hoag, an outfielder who played during the 1930s and '40s for the Yankees and St. Louis Browns and was an All-Star in 1939, and Stassi's father is his high school coach - Max carries on quite the Baseball tradition. For a high schooler, he's an exceptionally advanced hitter. Started off the season hitting .593 with 9 home runs in his first 21 games. He attacks the ball, uses the entire field and has above-average bat speed. Defensively, Stassi is solid but not outstanding.

Wil Myers, Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C., C - Myers projects as an average or above-average big league bat. A good majority of scouts consider him one of the draft's safer hitters, with a smooth swing he repeats and quick, strong hands. He has the bat speed and leverage to produce future power. Shows solid catch-and-throw skills behind the plate defensively, though there is no guarantee he'll remain a catcher. A slightly above average runner, he has the arm and speed to play both right field and center if he's moved from the catching position.

Bobby Borchering, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, FLA, 3B - Borchering has excellent size at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, and projects as a power-hitting corner infielder. Bobby has good hands, a ton of strength and excellent bat speed, giving him the ability to hit both for average and for power. Profiles as an average defender at the hot corner with a strong arm, though his size could see him moved to first base as he's not the most graceful third baseman out there.

Brett Jackson, California, OF - Jackson has a strong and muscular build and is a wonderful athlete who plays the game with a little flair much like the Angels' own Torii Hunter. Known as an enthusiastic, upbeat and supportive teammate, and he's an aggressive baserunner who challenges outfielders and takes the extra base, something Mike Scioscia loves. Jackson uses his above-average speed to chase down drives in the gaps in center field, and he has the range to flag down balls hit in front of him or over his head. Has enough arm strength for both left and center. Jackson shows excellent bat speed and the ability to drive the ball from foul pole to foul pole, with acceptable home run power, particularly for a leadoff man. His high strikeout totals are a concern, though, as he had 58 whiffs in 206 at-bats this season.

A.J. Pollock, Notre Dame, OF - Polluck who stands at 6'1 and 200 pounds is known most for his athleticism and pure hitting ability from the right side. He has a good approach, a quick bat and strong hands. Scouts do say he'll have to stop cheating out on his front side looking to pull the ball all the time and stay back more on pitches in pro ball. A.J. projects as a 35 doubles, 15-20 homers threat in the majors, and he's a slightly above-average runner who has plus speed once he gets going. Pollock also has good instincts and a solid arm in center field.

Chris Dominguez, Louisville, 3B - Dominguez's is a big man (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) who combines both power and arm strength from the third base position, looking a lot like former 1st rounder of the Angels', Troy Glaus. Hits tape-measure shots in batting practice and games, and he has three home run crowns to his credit (New England Collegiate League in 2006, Big East Conference and Cape Cod League in 2008). Strike outs are a concern like every power hitter, but you'll take it with his type of game changing power. Dominguez is an average runner, stole 17 bases in 22 attempts. His arm is an asset at third base, and he has the hands and reactions for the position, though he could also move to 1B or LF down the road. Dominguez is likely to go somewhere in the first three rounds of the draft.

Kent Matthes, Alabama, OF - Matthes has solid tools across the board. He's athletic and a solid-average runner, as well as a good stolen base artist (27 for 30 on stolen bases the last three seasons), with a plus arm that most consider suitable for right field. Kent has plenty of raw power, though some wonder if he'll produce enough game power for a corner outfield spot. Alabama coaches believe he started to pick up on breaking balls better during the team's fall tour of Cuba, and Matthes carried that confidence into the spring. As he improved his approach, he turned his power into production, leading Division I with 28 home runs. He made more consistent contact and drove the ball to all fields, helping him hit .365 after entering the season with a .293 career average.

Levon Washington, Gainesville, FL, OF - Washington can hit, and he was moving up draft boards thanks to his blazing speed and consistent spring. A 6.2-second runner over 60 yards at showcases, Washington has played mostly infield but doesn't have the arm for it, and most scouts see him as an outfielder thanks to his easy speed. Washington has bat speed at the plate, giving him solid pop, though not true power, and he has shown signs of developing a good pro approach. Washington, who spent three years in Guam when his father was assigned there while in the military, could move as high as the supplemental first round.

Tommy Mendoca, Fresno State, 3B - Mendoca shows solid power from the left side and puts on one of the best batting practice exhibitions in college baseball according to the scouts. He's a flyball hitter who looks to lift everything, and his opposite-field power is outstanding. Mendoca has a swing of his own as he starts with his hands high, then drops them into an angled launch position. He can drive a ball out even if he doesn't get all of it. There are questions about his defense, where he looks ok going to his left but not to his right, and while his arm appears to be solid at times, other times his throws are loopy. Tommy doesn't have much speed, but it's decent for a power hitter. Should get selected somewhere in the second round.

Jason Kipnis, Arizona State, OF - Eddie Bane knows the Sun Devils well so Kipnis who possesses tremendous plate discipline is someone I'm sure the Angels have their eye on. Led the Sun Devils in batting, on-base percentage and slugging, as well as stolen bases. Kipnis doesn't have one standout tool, but can do a little bit of everything. He has a patient approach and a line-drive swing. He has shown he can hit quality pitching, though his power profiles somewhere in the 15-20 with a wooden bat. His defense in the outfield is decent enough to stay there, but some think it would be best to move him to 2B since his arm is fringy and he doesn't have the range to play center.

Reymond Fuentes, Callego HS, Manati, P.R., OF - Fuentes is a cousin of Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran, shows the same type of tools as Beltran with the exception of power right now. Only 6-foot and 160-pounds, the center fielder is slender, but wiry strong and can put a charge in a ball during batting practice. Hits line drives from foul pole to foul pole with his lefthanded swing. Fuentes is a plus base runner, clocking in at just under 6.3 seconds in the 60-yard dash at Puerto Rico's annual Excellence Tournament in early May. In game situations, Fuentes stays within himself, goes with a contact-oriented approach and lets his plus speed play to his advantage. These tools make Fuentes an ideal leadoff hitter. Defensively, Fuentes' range will allow him to stay in center field as a professional. His arm is slight below average, which reminds a lot of scouts of a young Johnny Damon.

Pitchers to Look at:

Kyle Heckathorn, Kennesaw State, RHP - Heckathorn has raw stuff on par with anyone in the draft class, even Stephen Strasburg. He runs his fastball up to 99 mph as a starter, sitting in the 94-97 range into the eighth inning against Jacksonville in a May start. His slider can be similarly lethal, sometimes turning into a true cutter at 91-93 mph, other times getting decent depth in the 85-88 mph range. Needs to throw something soft if he's going to remain a starter, as hitters start to get down the timing with the hard stuff that is generally always in the strike zone Most believe with his short and quick arm action, he'll likely become a reliever as a pro.

Sam Dyson, South Carolina, RHP - Dyson has an laser for a fastball. He generates easy heat, touching the upper 90s while sitting 93-95 mph. He has an athletic frame and quick arm. Dyson's second plus pitch is a hammer curveball, thrown with power and depth at 78-82 mph. It has lacked consistency, as has his changeup, which like his fastball is fairly straight. Dyson has solid control but lacks command as a starter, making him a good bet to be converted to a late inning reliever as a pro with his heater. Whatever happens, he's one of the hardest throwers in the college ranks. Should go in the first couple of rounds.

Matt Hobgood, Norco HS, CA, RHP - The local product out of Norco High, Hobgood first gained attention in Southern California when he outdueled Gerrit Cole (who went on to be a first-round pick) in a high school playoff game in 2008. That made him the local player of the year as a junior, beating out first-round picks such as Cole, Kyle Skipworth and Aaron Hicks. A 6-foot-4 245-pounder, Hobgood resembles a young Goose Gossage. His raw stuff is electric, with a fastball ranging from 90-94 mph and peaking at 95. His curveball shows a sharp, late break, and he also has shown a solid changeup and slider. All three show promise, but his command is spotty and he'll need to develop and sharpen each one. Hobgood's mechanics are cleaner than most high school pitching prospects, though he still needs refinement.

Drew Storen, Stanford, RHP - Storen instantly settled in as the closer and helped the Cardinals reach the 2008 College World Series. The eligible sophomore has been one of the few bright spots for a disappointing '09 Stanford club. Storen has been one of the team's few consistent performers, thanks to his ability to throw quality strikes. He pumps his fastball in the 92-94 mph range and regularly touches 95-96. His fastball has decent life, and his biggest difficulty has been locating it. His power slider is his best secondary pitch, giving him a second plus offering. Storen challenges hitters and isn't afraid to pitch inside. He has a good chance to be the first college closer drafted, potentially in the supplemental or second round.

Tyler Skaggs, Santa Monica, CA, HS, LHP - Skaggs has a projectable frame which bodes well for more velocity and upside later on. The thin and lanky 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Skaggs has long arms, long legs, big hands and the angular and athletic build that could handle more muscle without becoming bulky. Skaggs' mother Debbie is the girls volleyball coach at Santa Monica High, and Tyler has also played football and basketball, though his emerging baseball talent caused him to drop the other sports. Skaggs struck out 15 in a showdown with Bryan Berglund, and then tossed a 12-strikeout gem at the Anaheim Lions Tournament in front of 60 scouts. Skaggs' fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range right now, peaking at 92, and his four-seamer is most effective when it darts to his arm side. He adds a classic, over-the-top 12-6 curveball, and is experimenting with a slider. He will need to develop his changeup, but that pitch also shows promise. Utilizing an old-fashioned windup in which he brings his hands over his head and to the back of neck, Skaggs does a nice job of bending his back leg to drive off the rubber. He can fall into bad habits, such as rushing his delivery and overthrowing, and he'll have to be patient enough to let his velocity rise as his frame fills out. He should eventually pitch in the mid-90s, but that might not be for a few years. With his projectable build, easy arm action and promising stuff, Skaggs is one of the more enticing pitchers recently seen in Southern California. He's committed to Cal State Fullerton but is a likely first-round pick.

Billy Bullock, Florida, RHP - Bullock has taken off in a relief role and become the top draft-eligible bullpen arm in the Southeastern Conference. Bullock hits 97 MPH regularly on the radar gun. Bullock has pitched more consistently as a closer than a starter. His breaking ball has evolved from a curveball to a slider, and at times it reaches 83 mph with tilt. Bullock still tends to leave his fastball up at times, leading to five home runs allowed in 40 innings, and could pitch downhill more frequently with refinements to his delivery. Despite lashing ability for a changeup in the past, Bullock seems to have taken to the closer role, emphasizing on overpowering hitters late in teh game.

Joe Kelly, UC Riverside, RHP - Kelly has emerged as one of the nation's top college closers in 2009. With a fastball that ranged from 93-96 mph, with a natural sink to it, he maintained his stuff in the spring and now regularly clocks at 94-97 on the gun. Strictly a short relief man, Kelly is an aggressive hurler who wants the ball in pressure situations. He had nine saves this spring for the Highlanders, with 18 strikeouts against five walks in 25 innings, though his 5.33 ERA wasn't impressive. Kelly figures to be a closer in pro ball whomever drafts him and his stuff may help him rush through the minors as quickly as any pitcher in the draft class.

As you can see by some of the players I noted that may be available around the Angels selections, the Angels and Eddie Bane have a shot at plucking some talented young ball players in the amateur draft this Tuesday. The real question is, will Arte fork out the money for several high profile amateurs in the draft which will demand some serious coin? I believe if Arte gives Eddie the green light, expect to see a few college players drafted in the first couple rounds. Especially potential late inning relievers and outfielders. If not, don't be surprised to see very little of these guys drafted in an effort to save on money, drafting young high school talent which could take some time to develop and cost a lot less up front and overall.

Hopefully Arte and Bane will go for it and draft with a mind set of needs: game changing power, overall hitting ability & relief pitching help, taking the best player at each selection with the first seven picks in the draft. If that happens, this could be the Angels best draft ever.
Love to hear what you think!


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