ANAHEIM -- It was a Draft unlike any other because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Angels came away pleased with their selections in the 2020 MLB Draft. They selected two polished college left-handed starters and two athletic, up-the-middle high school position players on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Angels had the No. 10 overall selection in the Draft and took left-hander Reid Detmers from the University of Louisville. He immediately becomes one of their top prospects while being considered close to reaching the Majors. The Angels didn’t have a second-round pick after signing Anthony Rendon as a free agent but took speedy Canadian prep outfielder David Calabrese in the third round, toolsy Detroit-area shortstop Werner Blakely in the fourth round and classic Long Beach State lefty Adam Seminaris in the fifth round.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler and director of amateur scouting Matt Swanson both liked what the club was able to do in the shortened five-round Draft. They are excited for the infusion of talent into the farm system.
“I think the fun thing was just working through this as a group and collaborating,” Swanson said. “Every day, there’s some issue to work through and some issue to fix. It was all hands on deck to pull this off and have a successful Draft. We’re really thrilled with the four picks we were able to make.”
The signing deadline this year is Aug. 1.
If a club exceeds its assigned pool, it faces a penalty. Teams that outspend their allotment by 0-5 percent pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, clubs lose future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for surpassing their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.
In eight years with these rules, teams have exceeded their allotments a total of 149 times but never by more than 5 percent. Twenty-one of the 30 teams outspent their pools last year.
Swanson said he believes all four selections will sign with the Angels. The slot bonus for Detmers in the first round is $4.74 million, while Calabrese in the third round is $744,200, Blakely in the fourth round is $522,600 and Seminaris in the fifth round is $390,400.
The Angels have a preference for toolsy players who play up-the-middle positions such as shortstop and center field, and both Calabrese and Blakely fit that mold. Calabrese is a leadoff-type hitter who should stick in center because of his range, while Blakely is a 6-foot-3 shortstop with room to add to his wiry frame. Detmers and Seminaris are both college lefties with solid track records and high strikeout totals this year, but Detmers throws harder and has an elite curveball. Seminaris has a true four-pitch mix and is a local product who attended Ayala High School in nearby Chino Hills before attending Long Beach State.
Detmers has something in common with the last No. 10 overall selection by the Angels: He played with top prospect Jo Adell in the Area Code games in 2016. Adell, ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, was the No. 10 overall selection by the club in the 2017 Draft. Adell won the Home Run Derby at Long Beach State’s Blair Field that year.
Day 2 name to watch
The Angels love the upside of Calabrese, who was considered the top Canadian prospect in the Draft. His best tool is his speed, but he gets plenty of hard contact and could develop some power. He’s considered a strong defender in center and is yet another athletic outfielder in a system full of them.
Eppler said he doesn’t believe it’ll be a frenzy for non-drafted free agents because the bonuses are capped at only $20,000. Players are likely to remain in college for another year, while high school seniors could opt to go to junior college for a year before entering next year’s Draft or go to a four-year university and play for three seasons. The Angels have the advantage of being based in the hotbed of Southern California, which could lead to them signing a few local players, but most of their scouts are currently furloughed, which hurts their ability to contact players.
“I think the idea of a frenzy is a little more theoretical because the bonuses are capped,” Eppler said. “I’m not sure how much activity there will be. There will be some, no doubt, but just how active that is, it still needs to be seen.”
The last word
“We tried to make it as seamless as possible. There are no doubt some constraints that all teams were under and it was unique for some people, but I do feel good about the selections we were able to make. It’s a memorable process, but I prefer the Draft rooms in the future. … We were taking the guys at the top of our board. Based on the signing bonus pool we had, we took the guys at the top of our board, no different than in years’ past.” -- Angels general manager Billy Eppler