The Los Angeles Angels will reap the benefits of drafting Mike Trout for years, and likely decades to come. However, that very draft in 2009 has gone on to show how, even when a team gets it right, they can get it so wrong.
For the Los Angeles Angels, they framed the missteps following the 2009 draft with a disastrous drafts in both 2007 and 2012. All three have served to aide in the Angels farm system ranking at or near the bottom for years now.
For the Los Angeles Angels, the 2007 draft didn’t seem them pick until the 58th selection, in the first round supplemental. Strike one. Their pick, Jonathan Bachanov never reached the majors. The Angels had no second round pick. However, teams did take Freddie Freeman, Giancarlo Stanton, Zack Cosart, and Jordan Zimmerman in the second round. After the Angels had made their pick at the 58th pick. Third round selection, Matt Harvey did not sign with the team. 2007 got no better from there. Only three of the picks that the team signed that year made it to the major leagues. Andrew Romine was the most successful for the Los Angeles Angels. Even at that, Romine has not been an Angel for sometime and only possesses a career 2.1 WAR.
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Two seasons later in the 2009 draft the Angels found themselves with five picks in the first fifty. With those five picks they selected Randal Grichuk, Mike Trout, Tyler Skaggs, Garrett Richards, and Tyler Kehrer. The second round also brought them Patrick Corbin with the 80th overall selection. However, before any of them would play in the major leagues, half of them would be shipped off for what amounted to a few seasons of David Freese, Dan Haren, and Fernando Salas. While Haren had some bright spots with the Angels, it did not result in any more championships. As if to almost add insult to injury, the Los Angeles Angels traded slugging odd-man out, Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks to re-acquire Skaggs. Speaking of injury, Skaggs has had a few. Even when the team made an absolute haul, they couldn’t either hold onto them or turn it into quality major league returns (aside from Haren.)
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The 2012 draft still looms in the rear view mirror of Angels draft day. Stripped of picks until the 114th overall pick in the third round, the team selected pitcher RJ Alvarez. The draft simply craters from there. Mark Sappington and Alex Yarbough were prospects at one point. Even when skepticism was about about both players, they were supposed to at least crack a major league roster. They never did. In fact, not a single player taken by the Angels in the 2012 draft has produced a positive WAR for their career. There doesn’t even need to be a “who they missed out on” for this draft. The Angels flat out missed. They signed players who did not produce near expected levels, for lots of money and at the sacrifice of picks.
They say that hindsight is 20/20, and by no means is yours truly a major league GM. However, there have been some big swing and miss incidents in recent drafts. In addition, some trades that looked much more like patchwork attempts, than trying to right the ship. The current leadership has so far shown a willingness to swing trades while at least getting value back. As well, the front office has shown an ability to make smaller, lower risk trades an acquisitions. While at some point the team will need to mix caution with risk, it is nice to see some caution for a change. It is my sincere hope that 2017 will be discussed like 2009 was at the time, without the trades and re-trades. Mike Trout needs more support, as do the rest of the Angels.