Draft haul leaves Halos 'really excited'
Angels address needs for power, left-handed pitching
ST. PETERSBURG -- Eddie Bane, scouting director of the Angels, emerged from a three-day First-Year Player Draft bonanza feeling "really excited" about the haul the organization made, starting with five choice selections among the first 48 players taken.
"We're always enthused coming out of the Draft," Bane said on Thursday afternoon, "but this time it's a little special. We had some extra picks this year and we're very happy with the guys we got. We think there's a lot of talent in this group.
"We feel like we addressed some of the areas that we wanted to fortify, especially power at the corners and left-handed pitching. We also came into this Draft with the intent of honoring the memory of Preston Gomez and Nick Adenhart, and we dedicate our efforts to both of them."
Gomez, a senior club adviser and baseball man for six decades, died in January. Adenhart, the Angels' brilliant 22-year-old pitcher, was killed on April 9 in a Southern California auto accident that led to triple murder charges against a motorist.
The Angels drafted 22 pitchers, five catchers, 15 infielders and 12 outfielders. There are are 26 collegians, 10 community college players and 18 high schoolers.
"We wanted to add power, and we got some young guys who can swing the bat with athleticism to go with the power," Bane said. "And I really like the pitching we came up with, starting with Tyler Skaggs, a 6-4 left-hander out of Santa Monica [Calif.] High School."
Media criticism was expressed in the aftermath of the Angels' selection of outfielder Randal Grichuk, from Rosenberg, Texas, with their first of two first-round picks, No. 24 overall. One insider referred to the Lamar Consolidated High School athlete as a "reach" that early in the Draft.
"I have a lot of faith in my area scouts and our cross-checkers," Bane said. "Our guys really liked Randal Grichuk. We targeted him, and we think he has a chance to be a terrific player. I think we saw a lot more of him than [the critics]."
Right behind Grichuk (pronounced Gri-chick), the Angels landed another versatile high school outfielder, Michael Trout of Millville, N.J.
A gifted athlete who also pitched and played football and basketball at Millville Senior High School, Trout is projected as a center fielder with top-shelf speed and power.
"We're talking about Grichuk as a left fielder because Trout's definitely a center fielder," Bane said. "These kids are both terrific athletes."
Trout has blazing speed, having been clocked by scouts in 6.38 seconds at 60 yards. Anything 6.5 and under is plus speed.
"That 6.38 is a scout's timing -- we're not electronic," Bane said. "But you see few guys get under 6.5. Trout and [outfielder] Peter Bourjos [of Double-A Arkansas] would be the fastest guys in our organization -- and Bourjos can fly.
"Trout is faster than most everybody else in the Draft -- and he's put together. He's the first guy from that area ever to go in the first round, so they're really excited back in Jersey. His dad, Jeff, played in the Minor Leagues when I was playing. He comes from a real baseball family and environment."
Grichuk, the national high school home-run leader over the past two seasons with 38, is not a big guy -- he lists at 6 feet and 190 pounds -- but has "lightning" bat speed and can drive the ball, Bane said.
Grichuk was one of two compensation picks for the Mets' signing of Type A free agent Francisco Rodriguez. Right-handed pitcher Garrett Richards of Oklahoma came in the supplemental round at No. 42.
Two picks earlier, with a compensation pick acquired along with Trout for the Yankees' signing of Mark Teixeira, the Angels landed Skaggs.
Angels -- Top five selections
|24||LF||Randal Grichuk||Lamar Cons HS|
|25||CF||Michael Trout||Millville Sr HS|
|40||LHP||Tyler Skaggs||Santa Monica HS|
|42||RHP||Garrett Richards||U Oklahoma|
|48||LHP||Tyler Kehrer||Eastern Illinois U|
|Complete Angels Draft results >|
The 6-foot-4 Santa Monica teen -- a month shy of turning 18 -- impressed Bane and Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher in a recent workout at Angel Stadium.
"He threw a big, slow curveball and then a slurve that he really snapped off," Bane said. "That's his out curve. He get to 92. He's still growing."
Butcher was thrilled with the prospect that he could be working with Skaggs, who signed a letter-of-intent with Cal State Fullerton.
"I really like that kid," Butcher said. "He's got nice size, a smooth delivery, and quality stuff. He broke off a great-looking hook, and he throws hard. I like his demeanor, too.
"I'm grateful he lasted as long as he did."
Skaggs had been projected to go in the first round, but an ankle injury his senior year apparently dropped him a few notches -- into the Angels' embrace.
Richards is a 6-foot-3, 217-pound right-hander with the heat and stuff to start or work out of the bullpen. The club's third compensation-round pick -- from Arizona at 48 for its signing of Type B free agent Jon Garland -- was another southpaw, Tyler Kehrer of Eastern Illinois University.
Kehrer has size at 6-3, 210 pounds and throws in the 90-93 range with a developing slider.
Loading up on southpaws, the Angels took two more in the second and third rounds -- Patrick Corbin of Chipola (Fla.) Junior College and Arizona State's Joshua Spence, who is busy pitching for the Sun Devils in the College World Series.
"Spence doesn't throw real hard -- he's a soft-toss lefty from Australia who gets guys out," Bane said. "He's shown that in the Pac-10 and the College World Series."
The Angels chose two of Spence's ASU teammates -- catcher Carlos Ramirez, in the eighth round, and infielder Raoul Torrez, in round 32.
Another Angels draftee, catcher Ryan Cisterna, is playing in the College World Series as a senior at the University of Arkansas. He was taken in the 34th round.
Selected back-to-back in rounds 14 and 15 were a pair of pitchers Bane values highly but will be challenged to sign -- Sam Selman, a left-hander at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Texas and Michael Nesseth, a right-handed junior at the University of Nebraska.
Locker, a physically gifted outfielder taken in the 10th round, also is in that category as the University of Washington's quarterback.
Tapping heavily into Southern California, along with Skaggs the Angels selected infielder Wes Hatton of Norco High (fourth round); junior first baseman Casey Haerther of UCLA and Chaminade High (fifth round); Cal State Northridge's senior outfielder Richard Cates (Round 21); outfielder Jordan Drake of Elsinore High (23); senior infielder Eric Oliver of UC Santa Barbara and Irvine High (36); right-handed pitcher Justin Bellez (38) of Mira Mesa High; and infielder Phil Bando (45) from College of the Canyons. Bando is the son of former Major League star Sal Bando.
Wednesday's final day of drafting was highlighted by the Angels' 40th-round selection of catcher/outfielder Asaad Ali of Niles High in Niles, Mich.. His father is legendary heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.