Monday, June 1, 2009

The Angels should look to draft some sluggers in the up and coming draft (Robert Lopez)

By David Saltzer - Columnist

At the start of spring training this year, 53 out of the 66 players in the Angels camp were drafted by or developed by the Angels organization. The present club has many Halo draft successes on it such as John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver, and Mike Napoli. They’ve also had some notable misses in the draft such as high draft picks Joe Torres and Chris Bootcheck and misses such as Matt Harvey, Zach Cone, Khiry Cooper, Pat White, and Bryan Matusz.

With the 2009 draft just days away, and the Angels holding 5 out of the first 48 selections, the Angels are poised to restock their minor league system with more picks in the top 50 than they’ve had in any 1 year in over a decade. This draft could see the formation of a new nucleus of Angels’ players. There’s no extra pressure on Eddie Bane to get this draft right.

So, how should the Angels best utilize their top picks? Should they try and fill a hole or two on the parent club? Should they draft pitching? Do they go after power? Do they stick with their high risk/high reward approach? Should they draft a bunch of college players?

If I were running the show, I would take a slightly different approach to our draft this year than we’ve done in the past. In the past, we’ve taken a lot of high risk/high reward types and have some great talent to show for it. But, this draft is different. While no club wants to admit it, the economy is going to play a much greater factor into who gets drafted and where they get drafted.

So, this year, more than ever, we need to be prepared to draft the best player available, regardless of position. As Angels’ fans, we are lucky to have an owner who believes in developing talent from within and who will spend the money to sign a player. Even if that means drafting another middle infielder, we should do so because we want to get the best talent overall that we can. With injuries, trades, and the potential to shift a player’s position, we cannot predict how everything will play out, and instead should focus on having the best talent to win games.

If all things are equal between two players, then the Angels should go after power hitters this year regardless of position. While we have more need for a power hitting outfielder, we need power overall regardless of position. From top to bottom our organization lacks power, especially power hitters with patience. We have a good supply of pitching and plenty of middle infielders, but sorely lack power at all levels and in many of the traditional power positions.

Two things that we should not do under any circumstances: 1) Draft players based on the needs of the parent club; and 2) Primarily target college players. Drafting is still an art, not a science, and is prone to more mistakes than success. Most players in the majors didn’t come from the 1st round. If we have a need on the parent club then we will fill it through free agency or trades.

Similarly, going primarily after college players over high school players doesn’t make as much sense because the best players coming out of college have already been picked over when they came out of high school. There is a better chance to get an exceptional player coming out of high school than there is coming out of college unless you are picking in the top 10. And, frankly, I don’t want to be picking in the top-10 because that means we suffered through an abysmal season the prior year.

With 50 rounds to pick and 2 rookie teams to field, I’m sure that Eddie Bane and Co. will do a variety of things with the draft. But, with the first 5 picks or so, I do hope that they don’t get so focused on one type of player that they get blindsided to the potential to get someone who falls down a notch or two just because he isn’t a power hitting outfielder. But, if all things are equal between two players, then by all means they should draft power hitters with patience.

What do you think? What should the Angels concentrate on in the draft?

Power Hitters
Patient Hitters
College Players
High Risk/High Reward
The Best Player Available

Vote on our Poll to let us know what you think.

Also, look for Chuck Richter's draft preview on the Blog coming up this week.
Love to hear what you think!


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