Earlier Thursday morning Mike DiGiovanna broke the news that the Angels will be removing Ric Wilson from his role as director of scouting. According to the article, Billy Eppler will be discussing with Wilson the possibility of remaining in the organization in a different capacity, though neither one have yet to speak publicly about the move.
Wilson arrived in Anaheim in 2011 with the tough chore of replacing Eddie Bane, the man who drafted Mike Trout and was widely credited with building the Angels farm system with his high-risk, high-reward draft strategy. That the Angels farm system has nose-dived to the very bottom of the league since then has not done anything to endear Wilson to Angel fans.
While Wilson's job was not made any easier by the team's lack of international presence and the frequent sacrificing of first round selections due to the signings of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, he also did himself no favors with the universally-panned selection of Taylor Ward in the first round of the 2015 draft, along with the low-risk, low-upside pick of C.J. Cron in the first round of his very first draft with the Angels. That pick has amounted to 1.5 WAR thus far for the Halos across Cron's first three seasons, not quite what one would hope for for a mid-first round selection.
Wilson has a few feathers he can put in his cap, in particular the drafting of Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, who progressed well enough to net the Angels Andrelton Simmons this past offseason. While Cron hasn't developed into the middle-of-the-order beast Wilson was likely banking on when he made him his first ever selection as scouting director, he struck gold in the 31st round that year, selecting Jett Bandy, who is looking more and more every day like the Angels' starting catcher going forward. Matt Thaiss, who will be Wilson's final first-round selection for the Halos, is off to a fine start in his minor league career, batting .316/.366/.433 across two levels thus far. Next year will be more telling for the lefty swinging Thaiss, when the polished college product faces tougher competition in the minors.
Billy Eppler was director of scouting for the Yankees and clearly has seen enough of Wilson to determine a change must be made with regards to how this club views amateur talent. With the Angels very likely to stay out of the deep end of the free agent pool once again this offseason, we should see rather quickly how the club's drafting philosophy will change when the new scouting director makes his first pick in the first round of the 2017 draft. Whomever is entrusted with that pick is unclear at the moment, but expect an announcement sooner than later as the Angels are clearly already in offseason mode, whether they admit it publicly or not.