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10/30 Postseaon Review: Who Needs College?

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Rangers 4, Giants 2 (San Francisco leads series 2-1)

Well, that was a little more...conventional. Not that there wasn't some weirdness, like all runs scoring via home runs. Or how about this one: Vladimir Guerrero, Bengie Molina, and Jeff Francoeur drawing four unintentional walks in the same game. That trifecta has about a 5% career walk rate, so the chance of four walks in ten plate appearances is less than 0.1%. So there's your bizarreness for the evening. Except that it's really not that bizarre, because Jonathan Sanchez walks everybody.

I have to confess that I'm really smitten by this Mitch Moreland guy. You may otherwise know him as the guy who hit two home runs off of Jered Weaver in his last start of the season. A 17th round pick out of Mississippi State in 2007, now he's turning heads in the World Series. I don't think he's just having a good day, either. He looks like he knows what he's doing at the plate. He reminds me of maybe the young Sean Casey: not a big star, but just solid in every department.

So now I'm wondering, why can't the Angels ever seem to dig up position players like this guy? Yeah, yeah, it's all Eddie Bane's fault, or whatever. Look, I won't pretend I know how the front office works. But if you made me guess, I would say that drafting all these athletic kids right out of high school has something to do with it. They can run, they can jump, they can put a ball in play, but can they actually hit? Who knows, they're 17 years old!

Obviously you can't expect to find a Sean Casey in the 17th round very often. However, it seems the Angels have strongly disfavored college hitters in the draft. They haven't selected a position player out of college in any of the first four rounds since 2001 (I did a brief breakdown awhile ago). I read an interview with Bane a few years ago where he explained this along the lines of "well, we're never going to draft very high in the order, so we'd rather go for exciting high-schoolers than middle-class collegians."

Sure, that's true for the first round pick, but what about the second round? Or the third? And so on. The Angels' system could use a few more middle-class hitters with polish and experience. Some of their more interesting guys right now are later-round college picks (although they might just look good against less experienced competition). Too bad Eddie won't be around to enjoy drafting a little higher in the order next June. I can't help but think he should reap the benefit of this situation he probably had a hand in creating.