Every waking moment of Matt Swanson’s career has led to this, an opportunity to lead this franchise into the next generation. Here are the players the Angels have been most linked to throughout this draft process, and who they might have their eyes on.
Disclaimer: This is all under the assumption that the top five talents (Greene, McKay, Wright, Gore, and Lewis) are gone by the time the Angels pick.
J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, University of North Carolina (Link)
Thought by many experts to be one of the best college arms in a strong draft for them. A poor showing in the super regionals has reduced his draft stock, but his stuff has been the same. He would move quickly in the system; most scouts see him as a solid mid-rotation starter with immense upside.
Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY) (Link)
A toolsy, athletic outfielder with upside galore. Excellent power and speed combo. Outfield arm should get stronger as a pro since he’ll no longer pitch, good instincts, will likely stick as a corner OF. My personal favorite of all the first-round OFs. Will take some time to develop him but upside is a middle-of-the-lineup anchor power bat. As a bonus for Billy Eppler, he’s got a tremendous head on his shoulders.
Alex Faedo, RHP, University of Florida (Link)
Stock is down due to arthroscopic surgery on both knees. As spring has gone on, his velocity has come back to normal. Killer slider, though relies too much on it sometimes. Safe quick moving mid-rotation starter, sneaky upside if velocity holds/improves but not as much [upside] as Bukauskas.
Adam Haseley, OF, University of Virginia (Link)
Hits well for average with gap-to-gap power, doesn’t K much. Above average speed, can play any OF position with good instincts. Will have a nice career but not a big enough impact to “move the needle” of a big-league club.
Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX) (Link)
Prep arms are riskiest draft commodity but Baz could be worth it. 5 pitch arsenal, knows how to pitch, and has touched triple digits. Secondaries are all raw, so they’ll have to take it slow, but the upside is mind-blowing. If the Angels do it right and health permits, they could have a homegrown ace on their hands.
There are a few other scenarios where the Angels overdraft a player in order to save money for a later pick, in which case they could take quick-moving college bats in Keston Hiura or Jake Burger, or go with David Peterson or Griffin Canning for a quick-moving college starter. The Angels could be beneficiaries of a team that has deals to overdraft and save money (as the Rays and Braves are being rumored to be), in which they are in good position to land a bigger talent.
In all likelihood, the Angels will stick with someone detailed within the body of this article...but then again, they do like to think outside of the box. No catchers in the first three rounds, okay?