MLB Draft: Angels Look To Add College Bats
By Andrew Petrucci
The 2015 MLB Draft is right around the corner, taking place on June 8th and finishing up on June 10th. Unlike years in the past, this draft seems to lack a clear cut number one player like a Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, etc. As of right now, ESPN Insider Keith Law has the Arizona Diamondbacks taking Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the first pick, considered amongst scouts as the top hitter in this class.
Holding the 26th pick in the draft is the Angels, where they are still in a good spot to grab a talented player. The MLB Draft is usually the hardest out of all the sports to determine if a player will ever reach their potential. After all, Mike Trout was passed over by 24 teams, and even the Angels at first. According to multiple reports and just about every mock draft out there, the Angels are looking strictly at the collegiate level for position players. Historically, the front office has been big believers in high school talent with the first round, but with the exception of Mike Trout it hasn’t worked out. So in recent years the change of philosophy to add collegiate players looks like it is paying off, as Sean Newcomb seems like the real deal and C.J. Cron has already broke the big leagues.
Specifically, ESPN Insider Keith Law has the Angels selecting SS Blake Trahan out of Louisiana-Lafayette. This is the scouting report on him:
“The pool of up-the-middle college bats runs many fathoms in this draft and is its saving grace. While lots of attention is going to be paid to Kevin Newman, Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman, Trahan merits early consideration as well.
Trahan is short and stocky and is likely to kick over to second base at some point in pro ball, as his actions lack the silky refinement scouts like to see in a shortstop. While a move down the defensive spectrum will put more pressure on his bat, Trahan has good bat speed and a strong weight transfer, both of which provide him with some pop.
While Trahan’s superfluous pre-load barrel movement might give the uninitiated cause for concern, it doesn’t impact his swing, which is short and direct albeit a little clunky. He has hit in college, walking much more than he has struck out this year and touting a 23-game hit streak that might have continued if not for a terrific diving play by Jackson State’s Melvin Rodriguez in the game that broke the streak.”- Keith Law, ESPN MLB Insider
Whether the Angels draft Trahan or not, the philosophy of adding a college bat is the right move. Outside of 4 or 5 guys in the lineup, the offense could use long term help, and could use it sooner rather than later. The Angels have a team that needs to focus on winning now. With Mike Trout still young, entering his prime, and Albert Pujols only getting older, the lineup is looking to build insurance while both of these players are still contributing at a high level. Not to mention the massive contracts that are handcuffing the Angels (Pujols, Trout, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, etc.) they have to get impact players at a cheap cost and a collegiate bat would seem like the quickest solution.
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Some may argue that the Angels could be better suited taking a player with a high ceiling that isn’t ready right away. But looking at the farm system neglects this notion. Currently, 7 of the top 10 prospects in the Angels system are pitchers. Middle infielder Roberto Baldoquin, the top position player in the system, hasn’t taken off like the team has hoped and his offense needs a lot of developing still, the cuban is hitting .154 right now. With the exception of third basemen Kyle Kubitzka, currently hitting .290 in Triple-A, the Angels don’t have any offensive prospects in the pipeline for the near future.
The best chance of capturing a World Series title is going to be with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the lineup. While you don’t have to worry about Trout, the window is only getting smaller for Pujols to contribute at a high level. Free agency or trades can fill some holes, but it isn’t likely to land a big impact player. Adding a proven collegiate bat and praying that it works out is probably the smartest plan with the 26th pick.