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Draft Preview – Los Angeles Angels

Here is the eleventh part in my series, this time focusing on the Los Angeles Angels and their scouting director Eddie Bane.

Owner: Arte Moreno, bought club in 2003
General Manager: Tony Reagins, first season was 2008
Scouting Director: Eddie Bane, first draft was 2004

Looking Back

2004 Draft: $4.7 Million Budget

1. Jered Weaver, RHP, Long Beach State, #12 overall: Weaver was the best player in the 2004 draft, and there really wasn’t much of an argument.  A tall, dominant pitcher, Weaver had one of the best junior seasons on record, and his maturity in repertoire on the mound was unparalled.  Great pick.  Following players selected: Bill Bray, Billy Butler, Stephen Drew.  Signing bonus: $4 million.
2. Patrick White, OF, Daphne HS (AL), #113 overall: After signing Weaver, the Angels basically had little to no room in their signing bonus budget.  In addition, they didn’t have second and third round picks.  As a result, they drafted White, who is better known as the kid who led the West Virginia Mountaineers from the quarterback position, and didn’t sign him.  Following players selected: Collin Balester, Nate Moore, Ross Ohlendorf.  DID NOT SIGN.
3. Luis Rivera, OF, Ramon Vila Mayo HS (PR), #143 overall: A reach in the fifth round, Rivera was considered a top ten prospect from Puerto Rico.  However, he was mainly known for his glove, and he was expected to go 3-4 rounds later.  Following players selected: Greg Bunn, Henry Barrera, Cesar Nicolas.  Signing bonus: $185,000.
4. Josh LeBlanc, 2B, Southern, #173 overall: LeBlanc was behind Rickie Weeks for two years, but he excelled during his junior season.  This was an overdraft by a couple of rounds, though LeBlanc’s speed was up there with the best in the class.  Following players selected: Devin Ivany, Chad Blackwell, Brandon Burgess.  Signing bonus: $115,000.
5. Bill Layman, RHP, North Florida, #203 overall: Layman was a college reliever with a good arm, and this was a couple rounds below where he was expected to go taken.  His status as a sophomore-eligible hurt in that regard.  Following players selected: Marvin Lowrance, Patrick Green, Koley Kolberg.  Signing bonus: $120,000.
Other Notable Selections: SS Freddy Sandoval (8th), San Diego, $84K bonus; Hainley Statia (9th), Trinity Christian Academy (FL), $90K bonus; RHP Nick Adenhart (14th), Williamsport HS (MD), $710K bonus (overslot); 1B Mark Trumbo (18th), Villa Park HS (CA), $1.425MM bonus (overslot); RHP Nick Green (35th), Darton JC (GA); RHP Stephen Marek (40th), San Jacinto JC (TX)

2005 Draft: $3.4 Million Budget

1. Trevor Bell, RHP, Crescenta Valley HS (CA), #37 overall: Bell was a well-known prospect by the time he reached the draft, as BA picked Bell as their top 14 year old player four years earlier.  A bit of an overdraft, Bell was supposed to go somewhere in the second round.  Following players selected: Eli Iorg, Henry Sanchez, Luke Hochevar.  Signing bonus: $925,000.
2. Ryan Mount, SS, Ayala HS (CA), #58 overall: Projected to go right around this slot, Mount was a less-heralded prospect entering his senior year.  He had a good amount of tools, but none of them seemed strong enough to warrant top consideration.  Following players selected: Brad Corley, Travis Wood, Nolan Reimold.  Signing bonus: $615,000.
3. P.J. Phillips, SS, Redan HS (GA), #71 overall: The brother of Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips, P.J. was a powerful middle infielder out of high school.  His range was questioned, but he was projected to go a bit higher than this.  Following players selected: Ralph Henriquez, Kevin Slowey, Josh Wall.  Signing bonus: $505,000.
4. Sean O’Sullivan, RHP, Valhalla HS (CA), #103 overall: The best prep pitcher coming into his draft year, O’Sullivan completely broke down with a bad case of draftitis.  Expected to still go in the second, he fell to here, spent a year at Grossmont CC and signed as a draft and follow.  Following players selected: Josh Lindblom, Ryan Mullins, Sergio Pedroza.  Signing bonus: $500,000.
5. Brian Matusz, LHP, St. Mary’s HS (AZ), #133 overall: Matusz was a popular prep from Arizona, and scouts seemed to love his projectability.  He was expected to go a couple rounds earlier, but fell to here due to signability questions, and the Angels couldn’t sign him.  Following players selected: Josh Flores, Caleb Moore, Josh Bell.  DID NOT SIGN.
Other Notable Selections: OF Peter Bourjos (10th), Notre Dame HS (AZ), $325K bonus (overslot)

2006 Draft: $4.0 Million Budget

1. Hank Conger, C, Huntington Beach HS (CA), #25 overall: Conger was quite easily the best prep catcher in the 2006 class, despite the fact that the Astros chose Max Sapp over him.  With plus power and a strong arm, he was expected to go in the back half of the first round.  Following players selected: Bryan Morris, Jason Place, Daniel Bard.  Signing bonus: $1.35 million.
2. Russ Moldenhauer, OF, Boerne HS (TX), #102 overall: Without a second round pick, the Angels chose to go the prep route with Moldenhauer.  However, even though this might have been the right slot talent-wise, they didn’t gauge signability, and Moldenhauer left for Texas.  Following players selected: Bryce Cox, Zach McAllister, Justin Edwards.  DID NOT SIGN.
3. Clay Fuller, OF, Smithson Valley HS (TX), #132 overall: This was one heck of an overdraft, as Fuller wasn’t even a name on the radar for the first seven rounds.  However, his brother had signed with the Angels a year before, and this Fuller brought great foot speed.  Following players selected: Jon Still, Colin Curtis, Tyler Reves.  Signing bonus: $227,500.
4. David Herndon, RHP, Gulf Coast CC (FL), #162 overall: Selected in just about the right spot, Herndon was expected to be in the neighborhood of the fifth round.  The Twins failed to sign him as a draft and follow from the year before, so this was a nice coup.  Following players selected: Dustin Richardson, George Kontos, John Shelby.  Signing bonus: $157,500.
5. Robert Fish, LHP, Miller HS (CA), #192 overall: This was as big of an overdraft as Fuller was, as Fish was a little-known Southern California prospect.  The Angels took a chance on his funky motion early.  Following players selected: Zach Daeges, Mitch Hilligoss, Brian Omogrosso.  Signing bonus: $140,000.
Other Notable Selections: 1B Matt Sweeney (8th), Magruder HS (MD), $75K bonus; RHP Jordan Walden (12th), Mansfield HS (TX), $1MM bonus (overslot), draft and follow; OF Chris Pettit (19th), Loyola Marymount

2007 Draft: $1.8 Million Budget

1. Jon Bachanov, RHP, University HS (FL), #58 overall: This was still the supplemental first round, though in the last few picks.  Bachanov was projected to go a round or two later, but he was quite signable as a projectable 6’5” ox.  Following players selected: Corey Brown, Brandon Hamilton, Ed Easley.  Signing bonus: $553,300.
2. Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (CT), #118 overall: Harvey was one of the elite prep pitchers in the country entering the 2007 draft.  However, with a North Carolina commitment and Scott Boras connection, he fell, and the Angels failed to sign him.  Following players selected: John Ely, Sam Demel, Luke Putkonen.  DID NOT SIGN.
3. Trevor Pippin, OF, Middle Georgia JC, #148 overall: A huge overdraft, Pippin wasn’t even really on the prospect radar much at all after his year at Middle Georgia.  He had been a 29th round pick of the Diamondbacks in the past, and was considered to be somewhere in that range.  Signability pick.  Following players selected: Leroy Hunt, Travis Banwart, Charles Furbush.  Signing bonus: $140,000.
4. Andrew Romine, SS, Arizona State, #178 overall: Expected to go somewhere in this range, Romine was an all-glove shortstop for the Sun Devils.  Most teams didn’t think he could hit at all, but the Angels believed he could.  Following players selected: Nathan Jones, Andrew Carignan, Casey Crosby.  Signing bonus: $128,700.
5. Ryan Brasier, RHP, Weatherford JC (TX), #208 overall: Another overdraft, Brasier was a raw JUCO player with a good arm, but little refinement.  Given that he was about equal in terms of a total package as a prep pitcher, his draft stock wasn’t too high.  Following players selected: Johnnie Lowe, Scott Hodsdon, Garth Iorg.  Signing bonus: $123,000.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Trevor Reckling (8th), St. Benedict’s Prep HS (NJ), $123,300 bonus; RHP Mason Tobin (16th), Everett CC (WA), $120K bonus (overslot); OF Terrell Alliman (43rd), Bluevalue Collegiate Institute (ON), $25K bonus

2008 Draft: $2.7 Million Budget

1. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Redlands HS (CA), #74 overall: Without a first round pick, the Angels went after a prep pitcher with a nice fastball-curveball combo.  Chatwood was expected to go somewhere in the second round, and this was a nice first pick.  Following players selected: Scott Bittle, Trey Haley, Derrik Gibson.  Signing bonus: $547,000.
2. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Chipola JC (FL), #105 overall: Though this was an overdraft by a few rounds by most standards, Chaffee was by far the best JUCO prospect in a loaded Florida class.  Already holding a plus changeup, this wasn’t criticized much.  Following players selected: David Adams, Cord Phelps, Kyle Weiland.  Signing bonus: $338,000.
3. Zach Cone, OF, Parkview HS (GA), #112 overall: Cone was projected as a possible second round pick, but slid here due to signability concerns.  Already a compensation pick for not signing Matt Harvey, the Angels failed to sign Cone, losing this pick forever.  Frustrating.  Following players selected: Ty Morrison, Chase D’Arnaud, Tim Melville.  DID NOT SIGN.
4. Buddy Boshers, LHP, Calhoun CC (AL), #139 overall: This was similar to the Chaffee pick in that some thought Boshers wasn’t a fourth round prospect, but his JUCO success made draft stock a bit harder to judge.  Tall, projectable lefty.  Following players selected: Corban Joseph, David Roberts, Pete Hissey.  Signing bonus: $210,000.
5. Khiry Cooper, OF, Calvary Baptist Academy (LA), #169 overall: When signing day came and went, I studied the Angels’ draft class, and once again, Cooper stood out to me as a funny pick.  Signed to play football at Nebraska, his signability should have been a huge red flag, and he ended up not signing.  Following players selected: Chris Smith, Zach Putnam, Ryan Westmoreland.  DID NOT SIGN.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Will Smith (7th), Gulf Coast CC (FL), $150K bonus; SS Rolando Gomez (11th), Flanagan HS (FL), $450K bonus (overslot)

Those are the five drafts undertaken by Eddie Bane since joining the Angels organization from the front office of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Yes, they were the Devil Rays back then, so no fine for me.  Back to Bane, it’s quite easy to see he’s been completely hamstrung by a tight budget, though there were some picks where signability needed to be gauged more accurately.  The Zach Cone mistake a year ago is pretty horrible, as even drafting a signable college first baseman would be better than losing a third round compensation pick forever.  And I don’t really doubt the scouting judgment much at all.  It’s the signability and budgeting questions that have me so confused.  The Angels have also been selling their draft picks down the river for free agents a little much lately, though that’s coming around to them in a positive way this year.  Looking at some obvious trends, it’s quite easy to see what Bane prefers.  He uses California and Florida heavily, with good amounts of Texas and Arizona mixed in.  The Gulf Coast is also a popular destination for Bane, with Georgia coming in the picture as well.  In general, he stays away from the cold weather guys, with Matt Harvey being the most notable exception, though he didn’t sign.  In addition, it seems that Bane really hates to pick four year program college players unless it’s absolutely necessary, with Andrew Romine being the only one picked early since Bane’s first Anaheim draft in 2004.  Even the later rounds are pretty bereft of any impact-type college players.  With the end of the draft and follow system, Bane’s lost one piece of the puzzle in his drafting scheme, but he’s continued to use JUCO programs as a springboard to find more signable players than preps, though with continued upside.  Last year’s picks of Chaffee, Boshers, and Smith were quite the norm.  Bane will mix and match pitching and hitting, but he obviously prefers the arms with the first picks.  Hank Conger is the only exception there.  So keep in mind those trends when thinking about a possible gameplan, and also think about guys a little underrated in terms of draft stock nationally, as Bane tends to call names a round or two early, sometimes more.

Looking at draft budgeting probably makes Angel fans sick to their stomach.  Cheap budgeting has meant the loss of prospects such as Pat White, Brian Matusz, Tim Murphy of the Rangers, Brad Suttle of the Yankees, Chris Davis of the Rangers, Buster Posey of the Giants, and future draft prospects Jake Locker, Matt Harvey, Zach Cone, and Khiry Cooper.  While one can’t expect all these players to be signed, as every team picks some guys every year that they attempt to sign that go on to succeed in college, this has been a maddening trend for the Angels.  They’ve combined to spend only $4.5 million on the draft over the last two years, equal to or lower than the budgets of 24 of the other 29 teams in baseball for the 2008 draft alone.  That utter lack of care for draft budgeting has undeniably harmed the Angels’ system and their current Major League team, as well.  Drafting is not done just with the idea of making players into Major League players on your club, but to also have attractive prospects with which to deal for Major League talent.  The Angels lack this talent as a result of the poor budgeting.  However, expect the budgeting to change this year.  While I don’t expect any overslot signings in the later rounds, I expect the Angels to go all out to sign their early picks after years of embarassment seem to have caught up to them.  The Angels hold picks #24, 25, 40, 42, 48, 80, 110, and 141, followed by every 30 picks after that.  That’s an extra first round pick and three supplemental first round picks.  Signing Brian Fuentes cost them their own slot at #32 overall, but I highly doubt that they were concerned about that.  Using the slot recommendations from a year ago, the picks listed above would equate to somewhere in the $6.5 million range through pick 171.  So I’d guess that they’ve budgeted somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million, the highest since Bane’s initial draft in 2004 (the budget number listed above is for the first ten rounds, the number BA has).  I don’t doubt that they’ve actually budgeted this much, if not more, and that they’ll do better at signing players this year.

Tying specific players to the Angels at this point is very difficult.  Prep players are proving harder and harder to sign, especially for slot, and the Angels have been stopping at slot in early rounds historically.  However, finding a small number of very signable preps is possible.  I do think that Bane might tab a college player or two early this year, if only to balance out signability.  I’m fairly sure he doesn’t want to be caught with two unsigned early picks again.  I’ve currently connected the Angels to Bobby Borchering, Wil Myers, Matt Davidson, Madison Younginer, and Aaron Miller of Baylor.  I know that both Borchering and Davidson are considered third basemen, but my feeling is that Davidson will likely be moved to first pretty quickly by someone who wishes defense to be less of a pressure on the power-hitting kid.  Borchering and Davidson obviously fit the Florida and California connections, but Myers and Younginer are in North Carolina and South Carolina respectively, though I think Bane isn’t opposed to drafting from those areas.  Miller’s in the Texas scouting zone, so I’m sure he’s not being ignored.  Other names could include Tyler Skaggs, possibly Max Stassi, Mychal Givens, Tommy Joseph, and Everett Williams for some of the early picks, with other names such as Brody Colvin, David Holmberg, Colton Cain, and Brooks Pounders also popping into my head for the supplemental or second round picks.  Some JUCO names to consider are all the names I mentioned in the article below, as well as Patrick Corbin of Chipola JC, Mike Rayl of Palm Beach JC, and Daniel Webb of Northwest Florida State.  Webb’s probably the least signable of the three as a JUCO freshman.  Just remember those names when draft day comes around.

All bonus information came from BA, and writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG.  Go to their sites for draft coverage.  They’re awesome.

What do you guys think?  What do the Angels do?

Previous Draft Previews:

Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers
Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles
Colorado Rockies
Chicago White Sox
Washington Nationals

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Draft Previews | , , | 3 Comments

   

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