Major League Baseball on Friday announced that 23 prospects will be featured remotely on its MLB Draft telecasts, including several players who have been linked to the Angels in the first round in various mock drafts.
The Angels pick 10th overall, and among the players they projected are projected to take are pitchers Mick Abel, Cade Cavalli, Reid Detmers, and Max Meyer; catcher Patrick Bailey, and outfielders Robert Hassell, Heston Kjerstad, and Garrett Mitchell, all of whom will remotely join the draft broadcasts from their respective homes.
The MLB Draft will be televised by MLB Network and ESPN2 beginning Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT, with Thursday’s coverage begins at 2 p.m. on MLB Network and ESPN2. Wednesday will feature 37 picks, including the first round and Competitive Balance Round A, with the final 123 picks coming Thursday, Rounds 2-5 plus Competitive Balance Round B.
All 30 MLB teams will have one baseball operations executive featured remotely on the broadcasts. The Angels will be represented by general manager Billy Eppler, also joining the telecasts remotely.
MLB shortened the draft this year from 40 rounds to just five, a ploy that saves team owners roughly $1 million on average in signing bonuses, and reduces the talent coming into the sport coinciding with a reported 40-plus minor league teams potentially losing their major league affiliation beginning in 2021.
The Angels have four picks in this year’s five-round draft, having forfeited their second-round pick for signing free agent Anthony Rendon. Whoever the Angels pick in the first round, if the mock drafts are accurate there’s a good chance we’ll get to hear from him during Wednesday night’s broadcast.
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel on a pre-draft conference call was asked about teams cutting back on their scouting departments, especially relevant to Angels’ interests since their reported staff cuts are among the most aggressive in the sport.
“I think this stuff, pandemic, is going to ‑‑ there’s going to be some furloughs and teams are going to be forced to do a thing in terms of relying more on data than reports than they have in the past, that they wouldn’t have done.
“Now they’re forced to do it and some teams are going to realize, hey, the information is not quite as good but we’re okay with this, let’s try it out again one more year, see if we’re actually okay with it. There’s teams aggressively trying to do this, and this gives them the PR cover of being able to do it otherwise.”
The Angels have committed to pay their minor league players a $400 weekly stipend through at least through the end of June, per Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times. The Angels were the last team in MLB to reveal their plans beyond the original league-wide commitment through May 31. Twenty-eight other teams commited to paying their minor leaguers through at least June. The A’s initially discontinued such payments at the end of May, but reversed course on Friday and will keep paying their minor league players, per the San Francisco Chronicle.
Mike Rosenbaum at MLB.com wrote about the best power-hitting prospects in this year’s draft, and included Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, a player linked to the Angels with the 10th overall pick in a recent mock draft.
MLB.com also picked the most-hyped left-handed pitching prospects of the last 20 years for every team. The Angels’ selection was Andrew Heaney, who was slated to start opening day this year in the Before Times.