Halos take LHP Bush, all pitchers on Day 2

July 12th, 2021

After picking right-hander Sam Bachman from Miami University in Ohio on Day 1, the Angels kept it rolling by selecting nine straight collegiate pitchers on Day 2 of the Draft on Monday.

Scouting director Matt Swanson said it wasn’t the plan to select all college pitchers through the first 10 rounds of the Draft, but it simply fell that way because there was an excess of quality college pitchers because last year’s Draft was only five rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Swanson acknowledged that pitching is an organization need for the Angels and was pleased with the way things went on Monday.

"I don't think it's ever the plan but it's an area of focus for us," Swanson said. "You have to be really advantageous every round and take it as it comes. This did lean pitching but we didn't exclude certain subsets of players. It definitely wasn't a need to get pitchers every round. With the shortened Draft last year, it brings a deeper influx of college pitchers and a surplus this year, so it's something we've obviously attacked through 10 rounds."

Here’s a look at the Angels’ selections on Day 2 of the Draft, which features Rounds 2-10, with the Draft concluding on Day 3 on Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT with Rounds 11-20.

Round 2, 45th overall: Ky Bush, LHP, St. Mary's College

Notable skill: Bush is big left-hander, who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, and he has a fastball that can touch 96 mph and sits at around 94 mph with deception. His best secondary pitch is his slider, and he also has a slow curveball, but his changeup is a work in progress. There's a chance he ends up a reliever, but the Angels profile him as a starter.

Fun fact: Bush is just the fourth player from St. Mary's to get drafted in the second round or higher and was previously selected by the Royals in the 40th round of the 2018 Draft out of Freemont High School in Utah, but didn't sign. His strikeout total this season led the West Coast Conference and was fifth most in a season in school history.

Quotable: "I'm over-the-top and a high three-quarter guy," Bush said. I think my release point is like seven feet. It's pretty high. I try to let it have some ride to it. The fastball has always been one of my better pitches. It has a little wiggle and some movement. It's kind of hard to see the release because of the higher slot."

Round 3, 80th overall: Landon Marceaux, RHP, LSU

Notable skill: Marceaux is a strike-thrower who knows how to fill up the zone and has a low-effort delivery that profiles well as a starter. He doesn't have the prototypical size at six-foot and 179 pounds, and his fastball sits at around 90-92 mph, but he has excellent command of all his pitches, including a curveball, changeup and slider. His curveball is his best pitch.

Fun fact: Marceaux was a standout pitcher at Destrehan High School in Louisiana and reportedly turned down an offer from the Royals in 2019 that would've made him a third-round selection with a $1.5 million signing bonus. He ended up being selected by the Yankees in the 37th round but didn’t sign. Marceaux honored his scholarship to LSU instead and finally broke out in a big way his junior season. He started his season by throwing 33 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, which was the third-longest streak in school history. And he finished with a 2.54 ERA that ranked sixth in the SEC.

Quotable: "I think the pitch package and the performance at LSU in a major conference like the SEC is really important, but I think the separator is if you ask any of our scouts and staff in the room, the makeup with this kid is literally the top of the scale. He was a Team USA pitcher out of high school with the national team and obviously anchored a rotation at LSU this year. So it's no small feat and he's hyper-competitive."

Round 4, 110th overall: Luke Murphy, RHP, Vanderbilt

Notable skill: Murphy, a 6-foot-5, 190-pounder, was a dominant reliever for Vanderbilt, who saw starters Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker get drafted in the first round. His fastball velocity has continued to increase. He can touch as high as 99 mph, and he pairs that with a power curveball that sits in the low 80s. He has a three-quarters arm slot that helps him create plane with his pitches and get ground balls.

Fun fact: Murphy was a rare third-year freshman in 2021, as he redshirted in 2019 after blowing out his elbow as a high school senior and threw just two innings during the shortened 2020 season. He ranked second on his team with 27 appearances this season, which was the seventh-most in the SEC, and he also led his team with nine saves, which was the fourth-most in the conference. He struck out 61 batters in 41 1/3 innings.

Quotable: “[He has] the ability to contain his emotions,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin told the Tennessean. “I think when you’re put in that position, very rarely do you come into a situation that is clean. Often you come into a situation that is very tight, and the temperature of the game is hot. He's done a good job of getting into those environments and throwing strikes, and very committed strikes at that. He's not trying to feel his way around.”

Round 5, 141st overall: Brett Kerry, RHP, South Carolina

Notable skill: Kerry’s best attribute is his control, as he has pinpoint control that saw him strike out 167 batters and walk just 26 in 127 2/3 innings in three seasons with South Carolina. He has three secondary pitches he locates for strikes and has a fastball that has reached as high as 96 mph, but he isn’t known for lighting up the radar gun.

Fun fact: Kerry served as both a closer and a starting pitcher for South Carolina, showing off his versatility with the Gamecocks over the last three seasons. He had a 2.54 ERA in his career and a 2.15 ERA in 54 1/3 innings this season.

Quotable: “He’ll be the first pitcher in the history of collegiate baseball to never have a bad outing," South Carolina pitching coach Skylar Meade told GamecockCentral.com. "He never had a bad outing. Three years of college baseball and never had a bad outing. It’s one of the more unbelievable things. I think he’s just a unicorn. He’s the unicorn of unicorns of what he can handle mentally and [the] process of [being] a pitcher.”

Round 6, 171st overall: Jake Smith, RHP, Miami

Notable skill: Smith is a versatile pitcher who can start or relieve and his best pitch is his slider. He throws from a lower three-quarters arm slot and has a bit of funk to his delivery, which deceives hitters. His fastball has also touched 97 mph, so he has some velocity.

Fun fact: Smith started the season in the bullpen for the Hurricanes but pitched his way into the rotation and had a breakout junior year. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder went 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 47 innings and limited opponents to a .216 batting average. He was a candidate to get drafted last year but it was shortened to five rounds.

Quotable: “I’m a competitor. I love to win,” Smith told MiamiHurricanes.com. “That’s the biggest thing I’d say about my style of pitching is that I’m a power pitcher and I am a competitor. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to win no matter what we were doing. If I was just playing dodgeball in elementary school, I wanted to be the last guy standing.”

Round 7, 201st overall: Ryan Costeiu, RHP, Arkansas

Notable skill: Costeiu has a fastball that can get up to 95 mph to go along with his curveball -- which is his best secondary pitch -- and a changeup. He struck out 50 batters in 40 innings and held opponents to a .198 batting average. But he needs to work on his command, as he walked 15 and gave up eight homers, giving him a 5.10 ERA in 26 relief appearances this year. But he did pitch well in key spots, given his 8-3 record on the year.

Fun fact: Even though Costeiu went to college at Arkansas, he's a Clayton, Calif., native who went to De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. The 6-foot, 200-pounder also pitched at Sacramento City College before joining the Razorbacks prior to the 2020 shortened season.

Round 8, 231st overall: Nick Jones, LHP, Georgia Southern

Notable skill: Jones is a lanky lefty at 6-foot-6 and 209 pounds, but he has great command and a repeatable delivery, as he only walked five batters all season in 42 2/3 innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he pairs it with a changeup and a curveball. He profiles as a reliever going forward.

Fun fact: Jones set the school record with 17 saves this season and appeared in 29 games as closer, posting a 1.48 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. His best performance came against Appalachian State on March 28, when he struck out eight straight batters.

Round 9, 261st overall: Braden Olthoff, RHP, Tulane

Notable skill: Olthoff is a strike-thrower, as he finished fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio in NCAA Division I this season, striking out 91 and walking 11 in 78 2/3 innings. Olthoff, at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, doesn't have overwhelming velocity, as he sits at around 88-91 mph, but possesses a plus changeup and a developing slider. But despite his lack of velocity, he keeps the ball in the park, as he didn't allow his first collegiate homer until his 180th career inning in late April.

Fun fact: Olthoff put himself on the radar in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season, as the junior college transfer had a 0.32 ERA in four starts with 47 strikeouts, which ranked fourth in the country. He's from Southern California, as he attended El Camino High School in Oceanside and pitched at Palomar College in San Marcos before transferring to Tulane.

Quotable: “I was able to figure out more about myself,” Olthoff told Nola.com about his season. “Last year they really didn’t have any scouting reports on me, but this year there were some games where they would take my slider instead of chasing it. I had to make those in-game adjustments as best as I could. With a full season under my belt, I’m just a more mature pitcher.”

Round 10, 291st overall: Andrew Peters, RHP, South Carolina

Notable skill: Peters has plenty of velocity, as he's had his fastball register as high as 98 mph, while also offering a plus slider. He worked exclusively in relief this season, going 4-1 with a 3.62 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.

Fun fact: Peters has been teammates with Kerry for the last two seasons and previously pitched at both Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo., and John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill. He was a 21st-round Draft pick by the Rays in 2019, but didn't sign.

Quotable: “It’s funny how that worked out,” Swanson said of drafting Kerry and Peters. "I think with the unique challenges some of these kids at major programs went through last year where they would've been drafted, we were able to be afforded to go into a major program like South Carolina and get two pretty big impactful arms. It's pretty cool they are teammates and have known each other for as long as they have. We're excited for them to be playing together going forward."