Angels 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Reinforcing A Balanced Los Angeles System
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 MLB RECORD: 72-90
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: At the top, the Angels are buoyed by a pair of high-ceiling, near-proximity outfielders in Jo Adell—who ranks as the No. 3 prospect in the game—and Brandon Marsh. Beyond those two, help is mostly far away. Of the rest of the Top 10, only lefthander Patrick Sandoval has played above high Class A. There’s upside at the lower levels, but not a whole lot outside of Adell, Marsh and Sandoval ready to complement a core of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Mike Clevinger (fourth round, 2011). Although Clevinger didn’t stay with the Angels for long, the team’s amateur scouting department was right on the money when it identified his upside out of a Florida junior college. Dealt to Cleveland in 2014 for reliever Vinnie Pestano, Clevinger has been excellent since making his big league debut in 2016. He really blossomed in 2019, when he went 13-4, 2.71 with 169 strikeouts in 126 innings. Adell or Marsh might overtake Clevinger in the coming years, but for now the honor goes to the electric righthander with the double-plus hair.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: OF Chevy Clarke (first round, 2010). Clarke received a signing bonus of just over $1 million as the 30th overall pick, but he topped out with 36 games at high Class A Inland Empire before being released in 2014. He's played in independent ball since 2015. What makes the pick even worse is the Angels passed over two prep righthanders right in their own backyard in Southern California: Aaron Sanchez and Taijuan Walker.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Outfield. Outfielders comprise the system’s top three prospects. In addition to Adell and Marsh, the Angels’ outfield group also includes the toolsy Jordyn Adams. The multi-sport star in high school was recruited to North Carolina to play both football and baseball, but a first-round selection and corresponding $4.1 million bonus convinced him to turn pro. The Angels have additional outfielders with upside in international signees D’Shawn Knowles and Alexander Ramirez.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Catcher. The Angels don’t have a single catching prospect among their Top 30 and haven’t drafted one earlier than the 20th round since 2016, when they selected Matt Thaiss (who immediately moved off the position), Michael Barash and Jack Kruger. That's a problem for a team that doesn't have a long-term catcher in the majors.
DRAFT TRENDS: The Angels have used three high picks on shortstops the last two years: North Carolina State’s Will Wilson and preps Kyren Paris and Jeremiah Jackson. They dealt Wilson to the Giants last winter, while Jackson and Paris each rank among the organization's Top 10 prospects.