Normally, this wouldn’t be in question. It’s as simple as the reverse order of the previous year’s record. But nothing is normal in a pandemic-truncated 2020 campaign. As part of the March agreement between the MLBPA and MLB owners, commissioner Rob Manfred had the authority to determine the draft order in the event of a shortened or canceled season, as noted by Jeff Passan at ESPN in September.
But rather than change things up, MLB has reportedly decided to keep the order the same as it usually is, which is the inverse order of 2020 record, per both Stephen J. Nesbitt at The Athletic and J.J. Cooper at Baseball America.
The Angels finished at 26-34, their worst winning percentage (.433) since 1999. That got them a five-way tie for the seventh-worst record in MLB. The tiebreaker is previous year’s record, so let’s separate these teams:
7) Royals (59-103 in 2019)
8) Rockies (71-91)
9) Angels (72-90)
10) Mets (86-76)
11) Nationals (93-69)
The Angels will pick ninth, and that was with a relatively strong finish. At the end of play Sept. 2, the Angels were 12-25, tied with Texas for the second-worst record in baseball, then won 14 of their next 20 before getting eliminated on the final Friday of the regular season.
Ninth will be the highest the Angels have drafted since taking Troy Glaus third overall in 1997. In the 2020 draft, they selected left-handed pitcher Reid Detmers 10th overall, the same spot they drafted outfielder Jo Adell three years ago.
The Angels have drafted ninth overall two previous times. In 1967, they took high school catcher Mike Nunn, though he never reached the majors. In 1989, the Angels drafted pitcher Kyle Abbott ninth overall out of Long Beach State. Abbott made the majors in 1991, and was traded that December in a deal that brought Von Hayes to Anaheim.