The off-season of 2015 the Angels made Billy Eppler the General Manager of the organization, and haven’t looked back since. At the time, a dysfunctional organization, with no farm system to speak of, the team, the players, and the fan base were headed in the wrong direction. Just a few days ago, FanGraphs released their top farm systems in baseball, where the Angels ranked 11th, and after this draft, they could find their way into the top 10.
On Monday, the Angels will being picking 15th overall in the first round, which has a slot value of $3,885,800, and the 50th pick in the second round, which is valued at $1,307,000.
Let’s take a quick look at the first three rounds of each draft during the Billy Eppler era.
- Matt Thaiss 1st round 16th overall. Currently in AAA Salt Lake
- Brandon Marsh 2nd round 60th overall. Currently in AA Mobile
- Nonie Williams 3rd round 96th overall. Currently in A Burlington
- Jo Adell 1st round 10th overall. Currently in AA Mobile
- Griffin Canning 2nd round 47th overall. Currently with Angels
- Jacob Pearson 3rd round 85th overall. Traded to Twins
- Jordyn Adams 1st round 17th overall. Currently in A Burlington
- Jeremiah Jackson 2nd round 57th overall. Finished season in ROK Orem
- Aaron Hernandez 3rd round 93rd overall. Currently in A+ Inland Empire
The Halos have only taken 2 pitchers in the top three rounds in the past 3 years, and with that being said, early mock drafts had them looking hard at pitching in the first round. However, most recent mock drafts have had the Angels looking more the way of a high school position play, with high school pitching as a back up plan. Regardless of who they pick in the first round, one would have to imagine that who they pick will have a high ceiling, and is very athletic, much like Adell and Adams.
Note: Things change by the second during the draft, and anything can happen, but below are some players who you the fan should get to know, and who I believe fit what the Angels are looking for.
Matthew Allen, RHP, Seminole HS (FL): Allen can touch 97 MPH on his fastball at times but sits 93-96 MPH, with some arm side run and sink. He spins a plus power curveball that sits anywhere from 77-80 MPH. Allen also adds a plus changeup as well with good horizontal movement. He has good command of all 3 pitches and if it all works out, he can be a front of the rotation guy at the big league level.
Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto JC: Rutledge, who stands in at 6”8’, 250 lbs., lights up the radar gun, sitting anywhere from 94-97 MPH and touching 99 MPH at times. He has both a slider and curveball, which flash average to above average at times. Jackson Rutledge has a short arm delivery which has similarities to Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly.
Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri: Kameron Misner might very well be one of the best all around players in this draft, exhibiting a polished approach at the plate from the left side and he can hit for average as well, as has very good raw power to all parts of the field. Standing in at 6”4’, 215 pounds, Misner has also shown good speed on the base, stealing 20 bases this season at Missouri. He has also shown he can play first base, as well as all 3 outfield positions.
Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary Grove HS (IL): Priester is a very athletic prep pitcher who looks the part. He has a smooth and easy delivery, but the ball jumps out of his hand. His fastball sits anywhere from 92-95 MPH touching 97 MPH at times. The solid fastball is accompanied by a very good two-seam and an above average curveball, which usually sits 77-80 MPH. Priester also has a changeup, which he hasn’t had to use all that often in high school and could use a little work.
Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (GA): Espino has one of the most electrifying fastballs in this years draft, which sits 94-97 MPH and touches triple digits at times with arm side run. He also showcases a very heavy two-seam fastball with good run and sink. Espino has an above average hard slider in the upper 80’s and curveball in the lower 80’s. He has also shown an average changeup at times that needs some work since he hasn’t had to use it to much in high school. His delivery has a lot of moving parts and is difficult to repeat, which results in lack of command.
Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy HS (AL): Henderson, who has one of the more projectable bodies, and still has some growing to do, is one of the most electrifying young prep position players in this draft. A solid defender at shortstop, most scouts believe that he will stay at that position, but he might also find his way to third base. He has a good approach at the plate and can already hit for good power, with a good exit velocity as well.
Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (CA): Cavaco is probably the best prep player coming out of the Southern California class. He has above average power with above average tools everywhere else. He is a plus defender with an above average arm at the hot corner. Cavaco has the makings of a future super star if everything pans out.
Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (TN): If you like athletes, look no further than Maurice Hampton, as he is one of the best athlete in this draft class. He is committed to play football as a corner back at LSU, which makes him extremely raw and will need some work, but the upside is there. Hampton is a plus runner with big time raw power.
Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington: Jones is a switch hitting shortstop who is one of the fastest guys in this years draft. He is an average hitter from both sides of the plate, but has shown a lot of improvement this year. There isn’t a lot of power, and probably will never be, but his speed makes up for it. As a defender, he probably doesn’t stick at shortstop, but instead will find a home in center field.
Bryce Osmond, RHP/SS, Jenks HS (OK): Osmond has a solid approach at the plate, with some power and some growing left to do. He has shown good speed on the bases as well. As a pitcher, his fastball sits 88-92 MPH and can touch 94 MPH. He has a good slider at times, but can over throw it, which flattens it out. Osmond has also shown good change up at times.
Jimmy Lewis, RHP, Lake Travis HS (TX): Lewis stands in at 6”6’, 200 pounds, with room to grow. The Texas right gander will sit 91-93 MPH and touches 95 MPH. He has shown a good curveball with good bite, and has a changeup that he hasn’t had to use much and needs some work. He has a smooth and easy delivery, and with room to grow, he could see a spike in his velocity once he find a fit with a team.
Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep HS (MS): Ealy is one of the most athletic guys in this draft, as he is a 5 star running back who is committed to play at Ole Miss. Since he plays football and hasn’t focused on baseball full time, that makes him incredibly raw, but has a very high ceiling. Ealy has power to all parts of the field, but also swings and misses more than some scouts like. He has plus speed and a good arm in the field.
Ryne Nelson, RHP, University of Oregon: Nelson is very athletic pitcher with a smooth and easy delivery that produces a fastball that sits in the upper 90’s and can touch 99 MPH. His heater is accompanied by a plus power curveball and a changeup that he’ll primarily use against lefties. He produces a lot of swings and misses, but also has a tendency to lose his command at times. Nelson might work out as a starter, but some scouts thinks he will settle in as a very good reliever that will move quickly though any system.
Drey Jameson, RHP, Ball State: Jameson has a good fastball that sits 93-96 MPH and touches 98 MPH. The electric fastball is accompanied by a power curveball that has good depth, and a hard slider with good bite. Some scouts aren’t sure that Jameson will stick as a starter, but might become a solid late inning reliever.
Andrew Dalquist, RHP Rodondo, HS (CA): Dalquist has a smooth and easy delivery with a fastball that sits 91-93 MPH and touches 95 MPH with room to grow and to get stronger as well, so we could see an increase in velocity before it’s all said and done. He has a good curveball that could develop into a plus pitch. He also showcases a slider and changeup that need some work on at the next level.
Noah Song, RHP, Navy: Song is one of the best college pitchers in this years draft and should go higher, if it wasn’t for the fact he has to serve 2 years once he graduates after this year. Nonetheless, he is definitely somebody most teams should take a chance on, as he sits 94-96 MPH late into games. Song adds a plus slider, average to above average curveball, and average changeup when all things are going well.
Matthew Thompson, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX): Thompson is an athletic young righty with a smooth and easy delivery. His fastball sits 91-94 MPH, touching 96 MPH at times, and he has a curveball that flashes plus at times, but lacks consistency. He also flashes an above average changeup at times but doesn’t throw it enough because he doesn’t need to at the high school level. Thompson also needs to work on his command and repeating his delivery for all things to succeed at the next level.
Spencer Jones, 1B/OF/LHP, La Costa Canyon HS (CA): Jones is a 6”7’ left-handed two-way with a protectable body and room still to grow. On the mound he sits 89-92 MPH and touches 94 MPH at times. Jones also flashes a good curveball, and needs to develop a third pitch, if he thinks that pitching will work at the next level. As a position player, hitting has been better than most have anticipated, though he is still very raw at the plate. He is a plus runner, especially for his size, and can play first base as well as some outfield.
Evan Fitterer, RHP, Aliso Niguel HS (CA): Fitterer has a smooth and easy delivery, with no effort needed to sit 90-93 MPH and hit 95 MPH at times that he can both cut and make run, and there is still room to grow. His curveball and slider tend to become similar pitches, but both can be good at times. Fitterer also flashes a changeup that has a chance to be a plus pitch. He also showcases very good control.
Jack Kochanowicz, RHP, Harriton HS (PA): At 6”6’, 200 pounds and room to grow, Kochanowicz sits 89-93 MPH, touching 95 MPH at times, with a smooth and easy delivery. At times, he flashes a plus curveball that he spins well, and a changeup that can be a bit firm at times. He also showcases good command and a good mound presence.
Will Robertson, OF, Creighton: Robertson showed big time game power to all parts of field, and also showed that he could make a lot of contact as well, while he doesn’t swing and miss that often. He doesn’t have great speed and doesn’t play the field all that well, which will land him in left field at the end of the day, but the hitting makes up for it.