Normally, the first year player draft brings about much excitement for baseball fans. For lower level teams, their fans get to watch their team get a crack at some of the best talent that the amateur ranks have to offer. Will this year have a Stephen Strasburg-type pitcher? Will there be a Mike Trout-like hitter available? Angels fans didn’t have that kind of excitement coming into the draft. The Angels are not only playing well below-average baseball, but they had forfeited their first pick in the draft when they signed Josh Hamilton in the offseason.
The Angels biggest need in the draft, was pitching. You can never have too much pitching, but in the Angels case, their pitching cupboard is filled with a lot of out of date items. So with 39 picks in this years draft, the Angels chose 22 pitchers. That’s one way to restock the pitching ranks of a minor league system that is ranked dead last among all MLB teams.
A short while ago, Alden Gonzalez tweeted this about how the Angels are doing in securing the rights to the 39 players they selected:
#Angels have signed 34 of their 39 picks so far. Still missing is their first — second-rounder Hunter Green (LHP).
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) June 14, 2013
Although Hunter Green is not a Strasburg, Gerrit Cole or Mark Appel type of pitcher, he is still a pretty big deal.
Hunter was ticketed as an early second round choice by John Sickles of SB Nation’s Minor League Ball, and some mock drafts even had him going late in the first round. So, for Green to fall into the Angels lap at 59 is a large stroke of luck. Especially with his projectability and three pitches that are projected to be plus offerings. Expect him, next year, to shoot up the Angels top prospects rankings.
One reason that Green might not have signed already could be because he might know that he can be a first-round selection. He was 3-1 this past season with 0.14 ERA and 110 strikeouts against 37 walks. As a Junior, he went 6-2 with a 1.76 ERA and threw a 20-strikeout no-hitter. And never underestimate the money factor. Slot value for the 59th pick is a little south of $1MM. Seven figures can be enticing for a 17 year old.
Rumor is that each of the players that Angels have signed that were drafted in the first 10 rounds (the Angels had a bonus pool money amount of $2,998,200 for those rounds) has signed either at or, in some cases, below slot level. This bodes well for the Angels if they need to up the amount to bring Hunter Green into the fold.
Not all prospects are guarantees, and Hunter Green is no different. But this team needs a legitimate, top-shelf pitching prospect that will hopefully don an Angels jersey one day. Hunter Green could be that pitcher. He has the projectability and the repertoire. It’s up to the Angels now, to make sure that he doesn’t get away. Kind of like how Matt Harvey got away from them because the Angels wouldn’t pony up an extra $500,000.