The eighteenth part of my draft preview series is on the Los Angeles Angels and their scouting director Eddie Bane. Bane has run the Angels’ drafts since 2004, but I will focus on the most recent five, starting in 2005.
Owner: Arte Moreno, bought club in 2003
General Manager: Tony Reagins, first season was 2008
Scouting Director: Eddie Bane, first draft was 2004
2005 Draft: $3.4 Million Budget
1. Trevor Bell, RHP, Crescenta Valley HS (CA), #37 overall: Bell was a well-known prospect by the time he reached the draft, as BA picked Bell as their top 14 year old player four years earlier. Bell was supposed to go somewhere in the second round after watching his stock slightly drop year to year. Following players selected: Eli Iorg, Henry Sanchez, Luke Hochevar. Signing bonus: $925,000.
2. Ryan Mount, SS, Ayala HS (CA), #58 overall: Projected to go right around this slot, Mount was a less-heralded prospect entering his senior year. He had a good amount of tools, but none of them seemed strong enough to warrant top consideration, and he was considered a solid all-around player without superstar potential. Following players selected: Brad Corley, Travis Wood, Nolan Reimold. Signing bonus: $615,000.
3. P.J. Phillips, SS, Redan HS (GA), #71 overall: The brother of Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips, P.J. was a powerful middle infielder out of high school. His range was questioned, but he was projected to go a bit higher than this, making this a solid selection of an up-the-middle athlete. Following players selected: Ralph Henriquez, Kevin Slowey, Josh Wall. Signing bonus: $505,000.
4. Sean O’Sullivan, RHP, Valhalla HS (CA), #103 overall: The best prep pitcher coming into his draft year, O’Sullivan completely broke down with a bad case of draftitis. Expected to still go in the second, he fell to here, spent a year at Grossmont CC and signed as a draft and follow. Very solid pick for the Angels. Following players selected: Josh Lindblom, Ryan Mullins, Sergio Pedroza. Signing bonus: $500,000.
5. Brian Matusz, LHP, St. Mary’s HS (AZ), #133 overall: Matusz was a popular prep from Arizona, and scouts seemed to love his projectability. He was expected to go a couple rounds earlier, but fell to here due to signability questions, and the Angels couldn’t sign him away from a San Diego commitment. I think we all know him by now. Following players selected: Josh Flores, Caleb Moore, Josh Bell. DID NOT SIGN.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Bobby Mosebach (9th), Hillsborough CC (FL), $152K bonus; OF Peter Bourjos (10th), Notre Dame HS (AZ), $325K bonus.
2006 Draft: $4.0 Million Budget
1. Hank Conger, C, Huntington Beach HS (CA), #25 overall: Conger was quite easily the best prep catcher in the 2006 class, despite the fact that the Astros chose Max Sapp over him. With plus power and a strong arm, he was expected to go in the back half of the first round to a team that believed in him sticking behind the plate. Following players selected: Bryan Morris, Jason Place, Daniel Bard. Signing bonus: $1.35 million.
2. Russ Moldenhauer, OF, Boerne HS (TX), #102 overall: Without a second round pick, the Angels chose to go the prep route with Moldenhauer in the third round. However, even though this might have been the right slot according to talent, they didn’t gauge signability as well as one would hope, and Moldenhauer left for the University of Texas, where he’s now a senior. Following players selected: Bryce Cox, Zach McAllister, Justin Edwards. DID NOT SIGN.
3. Clay Fuller, OF, Smithson Valley HS (TX), #132 overall: This was one heck of an overdraft, as Fuller wasn’t even a name on the radar for the first seven rounds. However, his brother had signed with the Angels a year before, and this Fuller brought great foot speed and up-the-middle athleticism, a draw for Bane and the Angels. Following players selected: Jon Still, Colin Curtis, Tyler Reves. Signing bonus: $227,500.
4. David Herndon, RHP, Gulf Coast CC (FL), #162 overall: Selected in just about the right spot, Herndon was expected to be in the neighborhood of the fifth round, where this pick was. The Twins failed to sign him as a draft and follow from the year before, so this was a nice coup of a young junior college pitcher. Following players selected: Dustin Richardson, George Kontos, John Shelby. Signing bonus: $157,500.
5. Robert Fish, LHP, Miller HS (CA), #192 overall: This was as big of an overdraft as Fuller was, as Fish was a little-known Southern California prospect. The Angels took a chance on his funky motion, which turned majority of scouts off. Part of a baffling 2006 draft strategy behind Conger. Following players selected: Zach Daeges, Mitch Hilligoss, Brian Omogrosso. Signing bonus: $140,000.
Other Notable Selections: 1B Matt Sweeney (8th), Magruder HS (MD), $75K bonus; RHP Jordan Walden (12th), Mansfield HS (TX), $1 million bonus; OF Chris Pettit (19th), Loyola Marymount.
2007 Draft: $1.8 Million Budget
1. Jon Bachanov, RHP, University HS (FL), #58 overall: This pick was in the supplemental first round, though in the last few picks. Bachanov was projected to anywhere from the 2nd to 4th round, but he was quite signable as a projectable 6′5" ox. The Angels liked their chances of Bachanov fulfilling his promise. Following players selected: Corey Brown, Brandon Hamilton, Ed Easley. Signing bonus: $553,300.
2. Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (CT), #118 overall: Harvey was one of the elite prep pitchers in the country entering the 2007 draft. However, with a North Carolina commitment and Scott Boras connection, he fell, and the Angels failed to sign him. He has been quite disappointing at North Carolina, though he’s still a top 100 guy for the 2010 draft. Following players selected: John Ely, Sam Demel, Luke Putkonen. DID NOT SIGN.
3. Trevor Pippin, OF, Middle Georgia JC, #148 overall: Another outfielder overdraft, Pippin wasn’t even really on the prospect radar much at all after his year at Middle Georgia. He had been a 29th round pick of the Diamondbacks in the past, and he was considered to be somewhere in that range again in 2007. It should be obvious by now that the Angels value outfielders differently than most. Following players selected: Leroy Hunt, Travis Banwart, Charles Furbush. Signing bonus: $140,000.
4. Andrew Romine, SS, Arizona State, #178 overall: Expected to go somewhere in this range, Romine was an all-glove shortstop for the Sun Devils. Most teams didn’t think he could hit at all, but the Angels believed he could. He was a solid all-around college shortstop either way. Following players selected: Nathan Jones, Andrew Carignan, Casey Crosby. Signing bonus: $128,700.
5. Ryan Brasier, RHP, Weatherford JC (TX), #208 overall: Brasier was a raw JUCO player with a good arm, but little refinement. Given that he was about equal in terms of a total package as a prep pitcher, his draft stock wasn’t too high, but the Angels loved his arm enough to spend a 6th round pick on him. Following players selected: Johnnie Lowe, Scott Hodsdon, Garth Iorg. Signing bonus: $123,000.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Trevor Reckling (8th), St. Benedict’s Prep HS (NJ), $123,300 bonus; RHP Mason Tobin (16th), Everett CC (WA), $120K bonus; OF Terrell Alliman (43rd), Bluevalue Collegiate Institute (ON), $25K bonus.
2008 Draft: $2.7 Million Budget
1. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Redlands HS (CA), #74 overall: Without a first round pick, the Angels went after a prep pitcher with a nice fastball-curveball combo. Chatwood was expected to go somewhere in the second round, and this was a nice first pick, similar to the Bachanov pick from the year before. Following players selected: Scott Bittle, Trey Haley, Derrik Gibson. Signing bonus: $547,000.
2. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Chipola JC (FL), #105 overall: Though this might have been an overdraft by a few rounds by some industry standards, Chaffee was by far the best JUCO prospect in a loaded Florida class. Already throwing a plus changeup, this pick wasn’t criticized much, as Chaffee had good upside and good refinement. Following players selected: David Adams, Cord Phelps, Kyle Weiland. Signing bonus: $338,000.
3. Zach Cone, OF, Parkview HS (GA), #112 overall: Cone was projected as a possible second round pick, but slid here due to signability concerns. Already a compensation pick for not signing Matt Harvey, the Angels failed to sign Cone, losing this pick forever. Cone is now working his way into the top half of the first round of the 2011 draft. Following players selected: Ty Morrison, Chase D’Arnaud, Tim Melville. DID NOT SIGN.
4. Buddy Boshers, LHP, Calhoun CC (AL), #139 overall: This was similar to the Chaffee pick in that some thought Boshers wasn’t a fourth round prospect, but his JUCO success made draft stock a bit harder to judge. A tall, projectable lefty, Boshers offered more upside than comparable college pick. Following players selected: Corban Joseph, David Roberts, Pete Hissey. Signing bonus: $210,000.
5. Khiry Cooper, OF, Calvary Baptist Academy (LA), #169 overall: When signing day came and went, I studied the Angels’ draft class, and once again, Cooper stood out to me as a funny pick. Signed to play football at Nebraska, his signability should have been a huge red flag, and he ended up not signing. He hasn’t established himself on the baseball field at Nebraska, so they might have saved money on a bust in the end. Following players selected: Chris Smith, Zach Putnam, Ryan Westmoreland. DID NOT SIGN.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Will Smith (7th), Gulf Coast CC (FL), $150K bonus; SS Rolando Gomez (11th), Flanagan HS (FL), $450K bonus; RHP Michael Kohn (13th), College of Charleston.
2009 Draft: $6.8 Million Budget
1. Randal Grichuk, OF, Lamar Consolidated HS (TX), #24 Overall: In a rare year where the Angels had both a first round pick and extra picks, Grichuk became their first selection. Considered more of a 2nd-4th round prospect, Grichuk offered good power potential while being fairly raw in his pitch selection. Following players selected: Mike Trout, Eric Arnett, Nick Franklin. Signing bonus: $1,242,000.
2. Mike Trout, OF, Millville HS (NJ), #25 Overall: Trout was a good makeup prep outfielder that profiled to stick as a true center fielder in the pros. He offered a plus hit tool and some power projection, making this an excellent first-round selection as far back as this was. Following players selected: Eric Arnett, Nick Franklin, Reymond Fuentes. Signing bonus: $1,215,000.
3. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica HS (CA), #40 Overall: Skaggs was in the first round picture early in the season before an ankle injury brought his stock down. He was tall and projectable, and some thought he offered as much upside as any pitcher in the entire class. Good pick to start their run in the supplemental first round. Following players selected: Chris Owings, Garrett Richards, Brad Boxberger. Signing bonus: $1,000,000.
4. Garrett Richards, RHP, Oklahoma, #42 Overall: Richards was an inconsistent college performer, flashing big power stuff, but getting hit hard. He flashed a plus fastball in terms of velocity, but it was straight. He did get some looks for the late first round, but he landed here, which was a better place for slot. Following players selected: Brad Boxberger, Tanner Scheppers, Mike Belfiore. Signing bonus: $802,800.
5. Tyler Kehrer, LHP, Eastern Illinois, #48 Overall: Kehrer wasn’t the most polished college lefty, but he offered some upside if he could get his mechanics together. Command wasn’t his forte, but at the end of the supplemental first round, getting an upside collegiate college lefty is a good coup. Following players selected: Victor Black, Jeff Kobernus, Rich Poythress. Signing bonus: $728,100.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Pat Corbin (2nd), Chipola JC (FL), $450K bonus; C Carlos Ramirez (8th), Arizona State, $110K bonus.
Eddie Bane is now on his second general manager as scouting director of the Angels, having come over from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to run the Angels’ drafts starting with the 2004 draft. Prior to joining the Angels, he was a Special Assistant to the General Manager with Tampa Bay, where he assisted original GM Chuck LaMar. Bane has played the game himself, having been a first-round pick of the Twins back in 1973 out of Arizona State. He even went straight to the Majors that year. However, he ended up having arm troubles and leaving the playing field, entering scouting and managing some 30 years ago. He’s built of a lot of experience in the years since, and he’s now one of the longest-tenured scouting directors in all of baseball, with 2010 being his seventh draft with the Angels. Looking for trends in the previous drafts, it’s easy to see that Bane and the Angels rely heavily on Florida for their talent. That’s due to having one of the most successful scouts in modern history in Tom Kotchman, who is their area scout in Florida. Kotchman doubles as their Gulf Coast League manager, and he’s become renowned for finding talent, including his own son Casey. In addition, the Angels also hit the major states of Texas and California hard, and the majority of their picks have come from those three states. They have renewed their presence in the Midwest in recent years, so that should reap dividends again in the coming years. In general, Bane also favors up-the-middle athletes with catchers, shortstops, and center fielders, almost all coming from the prep or junior college ranks. Pitchers are generally harder-throwing arms, and he focuses mainly on prep and junior college arms, though collegiate arms have been used a little more lately, though mainly due to having extra picks. The Angels raid junior colleges just about as equally as the Braves in the early rounds, and that’s one trend I fully expect to continue.
Looking at draft budgeting, the Angels’ front office has been extremely frustrating for their fans. It’s one thing to set an amount for specific players, then not going above it, but when you do that consistently and don’t sign other high-ceiling players to make up for not signing earlier players, your organization suffers. I know an Angels blogger wrote a scathing piece about the difference between draft budgeting and actual spending, but the end result is the same. Not spending in the draft hurts your club. The Angels have simply not spent enough in the draft over the last five years. Their spending places them 29th out of the 30 Major League teams over that period, with the above amount only being $3.74 million. Taking that to tenured scouting directors, that puts Bane dead last for resources compared to his peers. That’s simply unacceptable. The only good news is that the Angels’ 2009 spending showed a willingness to pay for good talent, even if they were at slot for almost every pick, Skaggs being the slight exception. Even looking at 2009 alone, the Angels barely snuck into the top half of the league for draft spending. For a team that spends over $100 million on Major League payroll on average, that’s too low. The Angels are once again in a good position in 2010. They own picks 18, 29, 30, 37, 40, 81, 111, 115, 144, and every 30 picks after that. That’s two extra first round picks, two supplemental first round picks, and a supplemental third round pick for not signing Josh Spence last year. I’d expect another $7 million or so for draft budgeting in 2010, which should put them roughly in the top dozen teams for draft spending. Don’t expect much, if any, overslot spending, but it should be a solid draft much like their 2009 class.
Connecting players to the Angels is tough at this point, since signability is not too clear. The Angels prefer slot players, and that typically pulls a team away from prep players early on, which would go against the Angels’ method of operation. However, looking at my latest mock draft, the five first round and supplemental first round players I have going to them are Nick Castellanos, A.J. Vanegas, Justin O’Conner, Sammy Solis, and Kyle Blair. That’s three California-based prospects, a Florida prospect, and a Midwest prospect. Vanegas might be out of their price range, as he owns a Stanford scholarship that typically goes for more than slot of the 29th overall pick. These are all very possible picks for the Angels, mixing a couple affordable college arms, one left-handed, with the three earlier prep picks. Castellanos is a little off their history of drafting up the middle, but his Florida connection and hitting might draw Kotchman and Bane. Later picks could include Austin Wood, Michael Lorenzen, Burch Smith, and Matt Lipka. This is a solid group of players, and the Angels could come out with multiple names here. These are all speculative right now, as Lipka and Lorenzen might also be out of their price range, but keep these names in mind in terms of connections with the Angels. They’ll have another solid draft, featuring pitchers and up the middle athletes, and it should help continue to rebuild a fallen system.
*Bonus information came from BA.
What do you guys think? What will the Angels do?