We’re about to start the third week in August, so of course it’s high time to start talking about the 2014 draft that takes place next June. What? Too soon?
It might be too soon for some people (I’m looking at you, Virginia), but I’m developing a realists outlook with regards to this season. And after losing to the Houston Astros again last night, the Angels find themselves needing to go 27-14 the rest of the way…just to be at .500 by the end of the season. Think about that. I hate to be the one who brings down the rest of the optimists, I love you guys, but that’s a .658 winning percentage. All for the purpose of ending up with a season that is the definition of “meh.”
That doesn’t mean that I couldn’t write about Mike Trout. Everyday. Twice a day. But, I don’t want to burn you guys out on Trout.
So instead of going into “Trout overkill,” or writing about how Josh Hamilton is having a season that looks eerily similar to the season Vernon Wells put together in 2011, how about we look at where the Angels stand in MLB’s Reverse Standings. It’s not as depressing as you might think. Okay. It is. But only for a couple of minutes.
Now, I realize that a number nine pick in the draft is kind of totes whatevs, but there isn’t a lot of space separating the number four team, Milwaukee Brewers from the number ten team, the Minnesota Twins, with the Angels only two and a half games behind the Brewers. And with only the first ten picks in the draft being protected (The Blue Jays are protected at 11 because they did not sign their number one pick in 2013), I would much rather the Angels created some distance between themselves and the number ten spot.
But what is there to look for in the 2014 draft?
Admittedly, it is technically way too early to actually put any stock in the projections for next year’s draft. And it’s even more precarious in the Angels case since they will almost assuredly be looking at arms once again because, as the old adage goes, “You can never have too much pitching.” Unless a highly polished shortstop happens to fall into their laps making Erick Aybar expendable. In which case, hopefully it is North Carolina State’s, Trey Turner, who just so happens to be ranked seventh in Minor League Ball’s Extremely Early 2014 Draft Rankings.
But we’ll stick with pitchers, even though amateur pitchers, just like Major League pitchers, are incredibly volatile.
Minor League Ball has three pitchers in the Angels neighborhood (assuming they finish 2013 with the ninth worst record), Tyler Beede, Luis Ortiz and Grant Holmes. Through the Fence Baseball has Sean Newcomb and Jeff Hoffman going around that slot. But they project that the Angels will take an outfielder with their first pick in the draft. So we can probably just ignore them for now.
Tyler Beede is probably the most recognizable name of the initial three that I mentioned, and some prospect lists have him going first overall in 2014. But Minor League Ball projects him as the fifth best amateur going into the draft, meaning that he could possibly drop to the Angels, or even be selected where expected should the Angels record continue to slide.
Ortiz and Homes on the other hand, are High School pitchers with mid-90’s fastballs as well as good breaking balls according to perfectgame.org. They also have what looks like herky-jerky mechanics to me (Links to videos are in the paragraph above), which could mean nothing, or it could mean that team’s will shy away from their youth in the early rounds of the 2014 draft.
This could mean nothing. A whole bucket of absolute nothing. The Angels could win 41 games in a row and ride that whirlwind winning streak into the playoffs. I could also win the lottery. Our new puppy could be magically potty-trained tomorrow. But chances are, that none of those things are going to happen. The Angels aren’t going to win 41 straight games. I’m not going to win the lottery. I will probably have to clean up a puppy accident at some point.
So, why not get familiar with amateur players? Other than writing about Mike Trout, it’s really the only thing we have to look at and get at least a little bit optimistic about.