Week: June 3rd - June 9th
AL West Standing: 4th Place
Games Back: 11.5 GB
Date Written: June 4th
Welcome to weekly Angels updates by me, Farbod Markazi, your resident Angels fan. Basically I think there are many different narratives surrounding the Angels, both good and bad, and I wanted to add onto it. I’m going to write about what I feel about the current situation of the team so there (most likely) will be some ridicule, irony, and ranting from my part but there will also be Angels’ news and my opinions on it. That’s what this is, my opinions; so don’t get upset if I’m biased.
Alright all of that over with let’s get into this week: June 3rd-9th
2019 MLB Draft:
I know most people don’t want to talk about the Scioscia years anymore but I had to throw this fact in here. During the 19 years that Scioscia was at the helm, we drafted more catchers than any other team in baseball. Ironically enough only 4% of them actually made the MLB in that time, the lowest percentage of catchers reaching the big leagues in baseball during that time. Scioscia's ability to "groom" catchers really means switching them immediately to other positions (AKA Ward and Thaiss).
Going off the tangent, in true Billy Eppler fashion we drafted hitting early and pitching later on. Obviously the draft isn’t near completion yet so I’m only going to talk about the guys we have drafted thus far.
1st Round 15th Overall: Will Wilson- I was kind of confused when we picked him. There definitely were higher upside players than Wilson available. Reasons to be excited about this guy would be that he was one of the best hitters available in the draft with legit power potential and only a 20% K rate. Reasons to not be excited include the fact that he’s noticeably slower than other shortstops in the game and has an average arm. This would potentially be the reason he’s moved to 2B. Overall this just feels not like an Eppler move because it’s not as much of a risk; he has a higher floor than many of the guys he was drafted with, but a much lower ceiling. The kid just got drafted though so let’s be optimistic!
2nd Round 55th Overall: Kyren Paris- Another SS?? He’s one of the youngest players in the draft, not even 18 yet. He’s small and light right now but has the hands and the swing to be a projectable stud once he fills in and develops. That being said he’s committed to Cal so Billy and the Angels better have a strong intuition that he will end up signing with them.
3rd Round 92nd Overall: Jack Kochanowicz- First pitcher taken in the draft by the Angels and another high schooler. Kid averages 89-93 with his fastball but he has touched 96 with it too, and also has a potential plus curve. Being the second overpay candidate in two rounds, once again the Angels must have hope that he will sign rather than carry out his commitment to the University of Virginia.
4th Round 122nd Overall: Erik Rivera- Reports are coming out about him being a two way player and boy does Billy love those. I don’t think he’s going to be a two way guy for us. He’s the #2 Puerto Rican prospect per Baseball America with natural arm strength from the left side whether from the mound or the outfield. He’s got a raw power bat so his arm on the mound is likely the preferred choice for the upcoming future. He averages 88-92 with his fastball but has gotten it up to 97 before. ONCE AGAIN, the Angels better have a strong inclination that he will choose to sign with them instead of going to college at Florida International University in Miami.
Overall: There’s lots of rounds left and lots of picks to be made. Am I as excited with how these prospects look as I have been in the past? No. But I don’t think these are necessarily dumb decisions. Billy would not have drafted any of the high school guys so high if he didn’t think he had a strong chance to sign them. It’s kind of expected that he would have taken these high schoolers too. Pitching and catching are our weakest positions in our front office by far, both farm system wise and in the show. It’s not surprising that we’re taking high upside pitchers in the third and fourth rounds, hoping that they’d sign with us. With the exception of Wilson, the others look rather raw and will need a couple years to develop so we won’t know how they will pan out till then. I think Billy’s plan here is to create options for this team to cover every infield spot whether Andrelton Simmons is still on the team or not. Along with David Fletcher, Paris and Wilson join Jeremiah Jackson, Luis Rengifo, Matt Thaiss, Taylor Ward, and Jared Walsh as infield options if everything goes to plan. To be completely honest that’s a pretty solid group to choose from.
What matters now is signing these guys and developing them (And watching Griffin Canning take on the A's tonight at 7)!!