Los Angeles Angels: A Decade Of Hits And Misses In The 1st Round
The Los Angeles Angles have been competitive for nearly a decade due to very good draft strategy and scouting. The past two off-seasons we have seen the Angels spend a large amount of money on top free agents C.J. Wilson, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Sadly though, buying your team sometimes does not work well and can’t expect players to just work well with each other. They have been able to trade for top players thanks to their high valued prospects in their system. The Angles will not make the playoffs this year, which will allow them to get a look at some younger talent without having any repercussions to the big league club when the 25 man roster is expanded to 40 in September. Here is a review of the Angels 1st round picks over the past 10 seasons.
2013- No First Round Draft Pick(Compensation for Josh Hamilton)
2012- No First Round Draft Pick(Compensation for Albert Pujols)
2011- C.J. Cron, 1B University of Utah (17th Overall)
Cron is a big man, standing at 6’4” 235 lbs that was praised for his ability to hit for good average and very good power. He is a very good fastball hitter which leaves his discipline suspect as he chases a lot of breaking balls outside of the zone but has improved since being drafted. Currently, Cron is at Double-A Arkansas where he is hitting .277 with 12 homers and 74 RBI in just about 500 plate appearances. With Albert Pujols injured and out for the season, Cron could get a taste at the big leagues this September if the front office believes he could break with camp next spring. Right now, Cron is #2 on the Angels mlb.com prospect list.
2010- Chevez Clarke, OF Marietta HS (30th Overall)
Also known as Chevy Clarke, was drafted out of high school as a high-risk high-reward type of draft pick. Coming out of high school, he had the potential of being a 20/20 type player but also had the risk of being a Double-A flameout. Clarke has a tough time with pitch recognition that has caused him to develop slowly. He is currently at Single-A through four seasons, batting only .225 with a stolen base percentage of just 56%. Clarke’s highest batting average in the minors was .271 at Rookie ball last year, so it’s safe to say he will not be called up anytime soon.
2009- Mike Trout, OF Millville Senior HS (25th Overall)
Ah yes, Mike Trout. I’m sure you’ve heard of him. Trout has become one of the most electrifying players in all of baseball. He possesses the skills of a five tool player we have seen in a very long time, if we have at all. Trout soured through the minor league system, earning him a call up in 2011 in which he batted .326 with 11 home runs and 33 stolen bases. He struggled a good amount, but he was only a 19 year old kid in the major leagues. Trout then started out 2012 in the minors, hitting .403 which earned him a call-up in May. Since then, he has hit 52 home runs, 77 stolen bases and hit for a .328 average. Easily he won the AL Rookie of the Year award and just missed the MVP award if it wasn’t for Miguel Cabrera‘s historic season. He will be a great talent to watch for over the next 20 years and it’s crazy to think that 24 teams passed on him in the 2009 draft.
2008-No First Round Draft Pick(Compensation for Torii Hunter)
2007-No First Round Draft Pick(Compensation for Gary Matthews Jr.)
2006- Hank Conger, C Huntington Beach HS (25th Overall)
Once a top prospect in the Angels system, even higher than Trout, has been plagued by injuries a lot throughout his young career. He was honored as an All-American in 2006 and was ranked as the fourth-best positional prospect and had the best rated power in the 2006 draft. Conger has done pretty well in the minors been called up and down to the majors since 2010. This year he has seemed to find a little hope in sticking with the big league club, hitting .251 with 6 homers in just under 200 AB. He could provide a nice back-up for now with the potential to become an everyday catcher as he is still just 25 years old.
2005-No First Round Draft Pick(Compensation for Orlando Cabrera)
2004- Jered Weaver, RHP Long Beach State (12th Overall)
The younger brother of Jeff, Jered needed very little time in the minors, going 14-5 with a 2.85 ERA over just 2+ seasons. He was highly regarded coming out of college, with very good command with plus stuff, standing at an intimidating 6’7”. Weaver hasn’t missed a beat since his big league debut in 2006, combining for 110-59 record with a 3.26 ERA in just 8 seasons. He has been the anchor to the Angels pitching staff and also earned his first big league no-hitter in 2012. A three-time All-Star, Weaver will continue his big league success in Anaheim after signing a five-year, $85 million contract in 2012.
2003-Brandon Wood, 3B Horizon HS (23rd Overall)
Wood burst onto the scene in 2005, showing off his power where he hit 43 home runs and 51 doubles at Single-A. But since then, Wood has seen his numbers dwindle, as well as his career. He did manage to hit about 25-30 homers from 2006-2009, but just never translated to the big leagues, as he was never able to adjust to the pitching. Wood was a typical power hitter, hitting home runs, but also striking out at a high rate. He managed to make the big league club in 2007, but his low averages, decreasing power and 33% strikeout rates weren’t going to cut it. Anaheim finally lost faith in him, where he wound up in Pittsburgh and hit a career high 7 home runs in 2011. Sadly, that was his last season in the bigs.
BHC Pick of the Litter: Mike Trout/Jered Weaver
BHC Franchise Flop- Brandon Wood
Analysis: The Angels have done pretty well over the past decade in drafts. They have been able to draft talent that either makes an impact for their own team or have used highly-touted prospects in trades for more established Major League players. They were able to trade Tyler Skaggs, who is a top pitching prospect for Arizona, to acquire Dan Haren, as well as Jean Segura to acquire Zack Greinke. Even the highly praised prospects flame out and occurs more often than not, but sometimes you hit the jackpot, like Mike Trout and Jered Weaver. The Angels have all the pieces to have a great team for 2014, the question is will they stay healthy and put it all together?