The Los Angeles Angels have some big holes to fill in their farm system, but they took a big step in addressing the problem on Day 1 of the 2014 MLB Draft on Thursday night. Their 1st pick, slated at #15 in the draft and their first in the first round in 3 years, went to University of Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb.
A big-bodied lefty at 6’5″ and 240 lbs, Newcomb comes at hitters with a solid fastball that sits in the mid-90’s and can reach as high as 97-98 at times. He compliments that well with a slider with sharp bite, and a curve-ball and change-up, both of which are improving.
As noted by MLB.com, he draws comparisons to Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox, which makes him projectable near the top of a rotation. However, they also note that Newcomb has trouble repeating his relatively quiet delivery. As you can see in the video below, he makes a nice stride to the plate and doesn’t seem to have to put to much effort on his arm.
The good news here is that as a college arm, he has the potential to move through the system quickly, which should help rebuild the upper levels and potentially contribute to the big leagues in the next 2-3 years. The Angels will no doubt work on developing those secondary pitches quickly and getting the big lefty into a routine.
With their second pick of the draft, 53rd overall, the Angels took New Jersey prep pitcher Joe Gatto. A 6’3″, 204 lbs righty, Gatto is another projectable-bodied kid who as he fills out, his velocity will tick up. He already throws in the low to mid-90’s with solid run and sink according to MLB.com.
His curve-ball and change-up are still a bit of a project, but they also project to be usable pitches at the Major League level. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as both have shown that there is something to work with. Gatto has a good down-hill delivery, with a little hitch in his stride, but the motion is repeatable and doesn’t look like it will wear much on his arm either, as the video below shows.
That all said, Gatto has committed to the University of North Carolina in the fall. However, there hasn’t been any whispers of signability concerns, so the Angels felt justified in their selection.
Two solid arms, one projectable and the other with a high ceiling, is a great way to start the draft off for the Angels. Day 2 is underway, and we should have a wrap-up for you later tonight on LA’s picks.