Angels Bebuild Strategy Showing Promise

Los Angeles Angels Spring Training Report

Everybody in baseball, especially those who worked in scouting, were curious to see how the 2021 Draft would pan out. The Angels won each round by beating different pitchers. The Angels’ 20-round, 20-selection Draft consisted entirely of collegiate pitchers (with the exception of the first overall choice).

It’s been a whole year since they signed those 19 arms, and now that they’ve all reported to camp for Year 2, is it unreasonable to assume that maybe this crazy idea is… working?

Ten members of the class reached Double-A, with several spending the full year there. This is despite the fact that first-round choice Sam Bachman (more on him later) was held back by injury. Furthermore, Chase Silseth, the 11th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, is the first player from any team’s draught class to reach the major leagues. The whole Draft group averaged 4.07 earned runs and 1.28 walks allowed per nine innings. The Rocket City Trash Pandas, the team’s Double-A affiliate, dominated the Southern League, going undefeated in both half of the season.

“A lot of those guys came from big time college programs,” Angels farm director Joey Prebynski said. “They pitched in very competitive environments so we felt good about being aggressive. I think you saw that play out over the course of the year and that Rocket City club was one of the better pitching groups in the Southern League.”

“It’s really important for us to put guys in good environments and winning environments,” Prebynski said. “This is a place certainly where we put a priority on winning, but certainly development happened through winning. We were definitely aggressive with guys, but we’re encouraged by how it’s played out so far.”

Along the way, there were a few mishaps and injuries. The club’s 17th-round pick, Mason Erla, missed two months due to a shoulder injury. One of the college arms that didn’t make it to Double-A but pitched effectively in High-A, Ryan Costeiu (Round 7), was shut down in July with an elbow ailment.

Things are trending in a fresh way this spring. Silseth, learning from his mistakes in the majors last season, has added a cutter to his repertoire, and in his most recent Cactus League start he allowed just one run on three hits while striking out five batters in four innings. Tossing-wise, Bachman, Erla, and fourth-round pick Luke Murphy have all performed admirably in major league camp. Ky Bush has been throwing bullpen sessions and is ready to go after spending the winter in Arizona working on his fitness and conditioning. The good news just keeps piling up.

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Gregory Thomas

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