Time to Replenish: Prep-are yourself for the 2016 MLB Draft

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the last time the Angels had a prospect worth getting excited over? Yeah, me neither. Well actually, it probably spans back to early November, but even before that? You're probably looking at the superstar centerfielder that is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (hint: his name rhymes with "Spike Gout"). A teenager drafted from a cold weather region who wasn't on many radars, but blossomed into a megastar regardless of the lower draft profile. Yep, that was way back in 2009. Obama was inaugurated for his first term, Michael Jackson let out one last "Ah Hee Hee", John Madden retired, MLB Network premiered, I was a freshman in high school, and the Angels were a legitimate power house in baseball...seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

But have no fear fellow Halo die-hards! The 2016 MLB Amateur Draft is less than two weeks away and the Angels actually have a pick in the first round! Feels like Christmas (aside from the anxiety of buying a significant other a present or having an excuse to get plastered) and much like Christmas, I'm expecting a couple of nice gifts underneath the tree. And at the top of my wishlist, is a prep bat with as much upside as possible. There are a number of different routes the Angels could go, and there's a valid argument for almost every single one of them (sans another freakin' catcher). The Angels farm system is so bad, they just need talent, period. Need a starting pitcher who can climb the ladder at an accelerated rate despite not having the highest of upsides? TJ Zeuch, Dakota Hudson, Connor Jones, or Jordan Sheffield might be your guy. Want a college bat who could do the same? You might be classified in team "Bryan Reynolds or Buddy Reed". Want young, raw talent that could potentially lead to the next great thing for the Angels, despite the lack of polish and certainty? I present to you outfielders Alex Kirilloff, and my new favorite entry, William Benson (or Will if you're feeling cordial).

Let's start off with the early consensus favorite, Pennsylvania prep outfielder, Alex Kirilloff. As many of you, who I'm sure have been constantly checking mock drafts around the web like I have, have noticed, Kirilloff's name's been connected to the Angels in almost all of them. He's a left handed hitting/throwing first baseman and outfielder with considerable raw power. SBNation's own John Sickels gives his take on Kirilloff.

Kirilloff is listed at 6-2, 195, a left-handed hitter and thrower born November 9th, 1997. His weakest tool is average running speed, though there's enough there for him to handle right field combined with an arm that draws 55-60 grades. He also has experience at first base and could certainly be a quality glove at that position if he loses too much speed as he matures.

Bat speed and raw power are considered his main strengths and this could be a 20+ homer bat eventually. There were some concerns with swing mechanics and pitch recognition last summer but word this spring is that he's closed up those issues and shows the ability to hit for both average and power against good pitching, as he's put in the hard work necessary to fix any approach flaws.

Here's some video of Kirilloff, it's pretty clear to see the talent, but I wanted to make this FanPost focused on another alternative, and it's a guy that's become my new prospect crush, Georgia prep outfielder, Will Benson.


That's a dinger.

Benson is often compared to Jason Heyward since they're both from Georgia, left handed, and offer very big, athletic frames (Benson is 6'5 at 220 lbs at the age of, in a month, 18). Benson is a two sport star, a very talented basketball player which I like, and much like Kirilloff, plays the outfield along with some first base, but will seemingly man a corner outfield spot if he doesn't fill out too much as he matures. He has very good bat speed and a very sweet left handed swing, as seen in this round of batting practice, runs like a deer, has a commitment to Duke that he'll turn down once he's drafted, and is said to have great makeup and an equally impressive work ethic. While all of that sounds fine and dandy, he wouldn't be a prep prospect without some warts, which Baseball America and help break down.

Benson showed plus-plus raw power throughout the summer, though his ability to get to his power is still a question due to concerns that some scouts have about his hitting ability. Benson does not consistently use his lower half, forcing him to commit to swinging at pitches early. His bat path can be a bit steep, leading to a tendency to roll over pitches and hit them on the ground with topspin. -Baseball America

He's at his best when he uses a short stroke, though he falls into the trap of trying to do too much at times. He hasn't had a great spring with the bat but still has enough offensive upside and all-around potential to go in the first round.

The hope here is that professional coaching and the ability to focus solely on baseball will iron out the wrinkles, but the athletic and power potential is so damn tantalizing. He may have the highest upside of any player available when it comes time for the Angels to pick, it's just a matter of the Angels' ability to detect what changes he needs to make in order to take that next step in his development. Besides, he already has an 80-grade bat flip.


Thank you,, you will be the main proponent of my future procrastination.

Now I am by no means a scout or know anything about scouting, but talent can be pretty clear when you see it, and Benson's got it. It'll be up to the Angels to decide who they value more, but if Kirilloff is off the board or another target of theirs is gone, perhaps they could try and cash in on this lottery ticket. The Angels need star talent in the farm system in the worst way possible and could finally be in a position to do so, whether that's Kirilloff, Benson, Trammell, you pick. But the Halos have to start thinking about building for the future, if that's to help build around Trout before his contract is done in 2020 or if you're preparing for a possible Trout exit, then so be it, but the Angels have to start acquiring young talent anyway they can. Otherwise, 2020 could be the year of hindsight (I'll see myself out).

This will be the third straight year the Angels will have a first round pick, next year they'll be able to get back into the international market and be relieved of their spending restrictions due to the Roberto Baldoquin signing (thanks, Jerry!), and we should be lucky enough to be having talks like this during next years draft. But at this time, it's a two horse race between Kirilloff and Benson for me, and while I'm still leaning a bit more towards Kirilloff, I would be pretty eager to see how Benson develops. Alright, Turks Teeth, break it down. Let's get the draft chatter going!

This FanPost is authored by an independent fan. Tell us what you think and how you feel.

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