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After long wait, Angels draft a 'bulldog'

After the free-agent signings of pitcher C.J. Wilson and first baseman Albert Pujols, the Angels were left without a pick in the first two rounds of the First-Year Player Draft.

But even with the team's first selection not coming until the 114th overall pick, scouting director Ric Wilson was pleased with the player that the Angels landed.

With that 114th overall pick on Tuesday, the Angels selected R.J. Alvarez, a relief pitcher from Florida Atlantic. The 20-year-old junior out of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., was the 19th pick in the third round.

In 2012 with Florida Atlantic, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound righty went 5-0 with eight saves and a 0.72 ERA in 22 appearances, holding batters to a .155 average against. He struck out 47 batters while walking 10 in 37 2/3 innings en route to earning first-team all-Sun Belt Conference laurels.

In three seasons in college, Alvarez pitched in 54 games, starting 26, and had a 14-7 record with 4.19 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 171 2/3 innings.

He had been a starter for two years before converting to a reliever this season, and Wilson said he could see Alvarez as a setup-type guy in the Majors. He has a heavy fastball that can reach up to 97 mph with a breaking ball as an out-pitch with a "very aggressive, bulldog mentality," Wilson said.

Though he probably won't start as high as Double-A right away, Wilson foresees Alvarez as a guy who starts his career off in a higher league. He's a "quick mover."

"He's not going to be a guy who's going to go step by step," Wilson said. "There's not a lot of refinement to him, just get him headed up the system and see where he lands."

Being without a selection until the third round allowed Wilson to spread his group of scouts around and focus on as many mid-round guys as they could, while not so much focusing on the top-tier players.

The Angels were fortunate for Alvarez to have fallen to them, Wilson said, because usually a lot of college closers land somewhere around the third round. And despite not having a first-round selection for the first time since 2008, with the additions of Pujols and Wilson, it was a pretty successful Draft for the Angels.

"It's honestly been a blessing in disguise," Wilson said. "Obviously we got Albert and C.J., and I'll take them one and two every year. They were our first two picks."

Los Angeles Angels