Anaheim, CA — Rocket City Trash Panda is about 2,000 miles physically from Angel Stadium and about eight years ahead of its parent Major League Club. The former becomes apparent every time the Los Angeles Angels recalls a player from a Class AA affiliate. The latter was exhibited one Sunday last month to celebrate Trash Pandas in Madison, Alabama spraying champagne to win the title of the first half of the Southern League in the North.
Even superstars like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani haven’t played champagne corks since the Angels won the American League West in 2014.
“The celebration was great. The minor league coordinator has resigned,” he said. “They have told us since spring training.” This is what we are trying to do. I’m trying to win here. “
But unfortunate and traditional pitching-hungry angels are still bohemian this season, not just paying lip services for the cultural changes in the minor league system. They implemented a draft strategy that hadn’t been tried at any time since the draft was launched in 1965 last summer. They chose all pitchers.
From the first round to the last round, the angels went 20 for 20.. Right-handed, left-handed. Most projects as a starter. A person landing on a bullpen. Tall pitcher (both round 8 pick Nick Jones and 15th round Glen Albanese are 6 feet 6). Short pitcher (5ft-10 for Marcelo Perez in the 20th round). Heavy pitcher (first round pick, Sam Bachman weighs 234 pounds). Light pitcher (4th round Luke Murphy weighs 175). 19 out of 20 are college pitchers, demonstrating the urgency of the Angels. College pitchers are older than high school pitchers and are generally more advanced, so they are on the road to majors faster.
Even if the Major League Baseball situation is moving south again, the early signs of the Angels are promising. Nine pitchers from last year’s draft make up the majority of Rocket City staff this season, including Silses, Buckman, Jones, and Murphy. , Ky Bush, Brett Kerry, Eric Torres, Braden Olthoff, Mason Erla.
And Silses was the first of the 612 players selected to reach the majors in last year’s draft, winning his May 13 debut in Auckland.
“Pitching is clearly a priority for us and we really wanted to attack,” said Angels’ second-year general manager, who oversaw his first Major League Baseball draft in 2021. One Perry Minasian said. With last year’s weapon harvest, and obviously last year’s draft shortening, there was not only quality but also quantity. “
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 draft was shortened to just five rounds, which helped to deliver that amount. This year’s draft will begin on July 17th and last for three days, going from 40 to 20 rounds in the previous year as a result of a new collective bargaining agreement between players and owners.
Whether the Angels bulk-buying philosophy can lead to industry trends that seem to be constantly lacking in pitch is what other clubs are discussing in their own internal conversation.
“That’s a great question,” said Joe Delicali, Pittsburgh’s scout director since 2012. “If you have 6 innings of horses and 4-5 innings of pitchers, how many hours are you talking about what’s happening in the game and how pitching is used in major league baseball? Can also be discussed. “
“It will be interesting to see a roster with 13 pitchers and how it pervades our work,” he added. “All teams have a lot of dialogue with it. We are.”
Delli Carri was Assistant Scout Director of Pirates in 2010. The club opened his eyes to the right-handed pitcher on nine of the first ten picks. Their first choice of the year was right-handed Jameson Taillon, who had suffered injuries, derailed him for several years, but has pitched well since last year’s trade to the Yankees. Only four players, Nick Kingham, Jason Hirsch, Brandon Cumpton and Zachari Weiss (faced only four batters in 2018 and an ERA of infinite), made it to the majors. Of the nine pitchers, only Taillon had an impact.
At the time, Pirates needed pitching, but Dellikari said the club wasn’t making collaborative efforts to target right-handed players. In Pirates’ opinion, those pitchers happened to be the best at the time. As Cleveland’s general manager Mike Chernoff said, the Guardians weren’t always focused on all pitches in last summer’s draft, even though 19 of the 21 picks were pitchers. rice field. Only angels have drafted more.
“Believe it or not, it was just a feature of who was on the board when we chose,” Chernov said. “We didn’t take a strategic approach to grab a lot of pitching. We feel that our system is deeply involved in the talent of fielders. But we are ourselves. Considering where I was, I tried to hire the best player on the board.
“I think it was a very strong pitching draft.”
The Angels, Guardians, and San Francisco Giants, who chose pitchers on 14 of 20 picks (including 13 college students) last year, hope to prove that it was certainly a powerful pitching draft. I am.
However, overall, the variability and unpredictability of the amateur talent pool makes it very difficult to match a particular skill set to the needs of an organization of a particular year.
AJ Preller, head of baseball operations in San Diego, said: “For some years, we have strengths in catching. For some years, high school fielders have strengths. For us, we are still the best players and available in every round.”
Even in times of lack of major pitching, most scouts see this as a light-year for top-level amateur pitching.
“There is no pitching anywhere,” said one source from the American League team who was not allowed to discuss the draft publicly. “There is no pitching on earth.”
Perhaps if it proved accurate, the Angels, and the Guardians and Giants, succeeded in buying pitching in bulk in a draft last summer. However, the draft is not guaranteed. In 2018, Kansas City chose 26 pitchers out of 43 picks, and in 2021, five pitchers, Brady Singer, Chris Bubic, Jackson Kawar, Daniel Lynch, and John Heesley, will make history and raise expectations. In, started at least one game for the Royals. .. It was the first time five pitchers in the same draft class started a major match in the same season for a drafted team.
But time is still making that decision: singers, Bubic and Lynch are now in the Royals rotation, Heathley has started 11 times, but is on the shoulder-hurting injured list, Kowal. Located in the bullpen, Kansas City is expected so far. Royals rotation is the worst in AL, measured by ERA, WHIP, and allowed total runs. It’s not known for years if the pitchers have gone through regular development hard knocks, or if these starters will be bust.
As for the Angels, the Rocket City first half title was a festive moment, but as with all minor league moments, be careful.
“We have been really encouraged,” Previnsky said. “In terms of maturity, the overall competitiveness of the group, and also in terms of staff. Most of them came from where they were competing at a high level, so we felt good. “
So, so does a particular angel who is regularly locked out of the playoffs in his career and whose biological baseball clock is ticking bigger than every day.
“Last year I saw the pitcher and thought it would be a big upgrade for us. Obviously it paid off,” said Trout, who turns 31 on August 7. “Look at the Double A team. It’s incredible.”