Coming out of the second day of the Angels’ draft this week, the most exciting – and highest profile – selection was prep pitcher Jack Kochanowicz. A 6’6”, 220 lb RHP from Pennsylvania, Kochanowicz had a commitment to the University of Virginia, but according to the Philadephia Inquirer, he has decided to forego it, and begin his professional career with the Angels.
Going into this year’s draft, most of the Angels’ faithful was fixated on supplementing the system’s pitching talent pipeline, and many were alarmed after Day One of the draft came and went with no pitching selections, despite several high-caliber arms being available on the board when the Angels selected in the first two rounds. Across the next two days, however, the draft room selected exclusively pitchers with their next 14 picks, sequentially, and the first of those was a very projectable high schooler from Harriton High, near Philly.
Signing prep kids with college commitments always carries some risk outside the early rounds. While teams tend to have reasonably solid confirmations if they draft high schoolers in the top five rounds, not all sign. The Angels, for instance, lost their fifth-round selection, JoJo Booker, from the 2017 draft, when he and his childhood pal Hunter Brittain (whom the Angels also drafted in the 15th round) decided to go to South Alabama U instead. 12 of 40 selections declined to sign in that draft, most of them prepsters. So it’s very positive to get an early sign from Kochanowicz at this juncture.
Kochanowicz was considered a second-round talent who might possibly go off the board on Day One by several sources. Baseball America rated him #61 on their big board, MLB slotted him at #75, and Fangraphs at #76. So he was a good value when the Angels chose him at #92. His father confirms that he’ll receive “above slot” money, though the exact sum is unspecified. The Angels drafted some arms with recent Tommy John surgeries in later rounds, so there is pool money to be reallocated to prepsters like Kochanowicz who were drafted early.