ANAHEIM -- The 2021 MLB Draft is set to be an important one for the Angels, who the have the No. 9 overall pick, and it’s the first under new general manager Perry Minasian, who was hired in the offseason in November.
Minasian, though, retained director of amateur scouting Matt Swanson, who has been in that role since before the 2017 season. But Minasian also hired Ray Montgomery as director of player personnel in December, and Montgomery has experience as the former scouting director for the D-backs and Brewers and he's helping oversee the Draft for the Angels in his new role.
Minasian said his philosophy regarding acquiring amateur talent is simple and that the goal is to outwork other clubs to find the kind of prospects who can help the organization long-term.
"I'm not very philosophical when it comes to those things, I'm about doing the work," Minasian said. "We're looking for quality individuals with talent. Baseball players that love the game, that think about the game, that commit themselves to the game. That's basically what we're looking for. Now whether that'll be on the mound or certain positions, we'll take each individual player and we'll be as thorough as we can."
Day 1 of the 2021 Draft will take place live from Denver’s Bellco Theatre on Sunday. It will feature the first 36 picks and will air on MLB Network and ESPN at 4 p.m. PT. Day 2, which will span Rounds 2-10, begins at 10 a.m. on Monday. The Draft will conclude with Rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m. MLB.com will simulcast MLB Network’s broadcast and provide live coverage on all three days.
The Angels, who have a bonus pool of $9,295,900, have been linked to several pitchers with the No. 9 overall selection, and many believe the club is primed to select a starting pitcher, given the organization’s lack of pitching depth. Minasian has also worked for organizations that were heavy on drafting pitching in the first round. In the last 13 Drafts that Minasian was a part of with the Blue Jays and Braves, the club took a pitcher in the first round every year.
"I mean, you always need pitching," Minasian said. "And I think every organization never feels like they have enough pitching. So that's something we'll always be looking to acquire. But there's not necessarily a philosophy where we're picking pitchers early and position players late. I know it sounds simple, but it's do the work, and take each individual player and do as much background as you can."
As for the No. 9 overall selection, there remains an outside chance Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker could slide in the Draft to the Angels, as he wasn’t as effective this year with diminished velocity. But after last season, he was considered a possibility for the No. 1 overall election.
Otherwise, they’ve been linked to Texas right-hander Ty Madden, prep right-hander Jackson Jobe from Heritage Hall High (Okla.) School and prep left-hander Frank Mozzicato from East Catholic (Conn.) High School.
And unsurprisingly, given two-way star Shohei Ohtani's success this season, the Angels also have reported interest in prep shortstop/right-hander Bubba Chandler from North Oconee (Ga.) High School.
But if the Angels decide to go with a position player, options include UCLA second baseman Matt McLain, Sam Houston State center fielder Colton Cowser and Boston College center fielder Sal Frelick.
Minasian hasn’t tipped his hand either way, but he said that the players’ character and makeup will be an important consideration.
"It's not only about getting the right talent, but the right people," Minasian said. "And that's what we have to do."