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Angels use Draft to give system jump-start

Though the constant reminder throughout the First-Year Player Draft was that the Angels were without a first- or second-round selection, they used their picks to stock a somewhat depleted system.

With an outfield that includes young talent in 26-year-old Mark Trumbo and 20-year-old Mike Trout, second-year scouting director Ric Wilson went up the middle with his first eight picks -- pitchers, a catcher and middle infielders. By the Draft's end, the Angels had selected just five outfielders among their 38 picks.

"What we're trying to do more than anything, with the trades we've made and some things we've done in the past, our system is not loaded anymore," Wilson said on Wednesday. "So what I wanted to do was kind of jump-start the system a little."

With their first selection in the Draft, pick No. 114 overall, the Angels took R.J. Alvarez, a right-handed relief pitcher from Florida Atlantic. Alvarez went 5-0 in 2012 with eight saves and a 0.72 ERA in 22 appearances, holding batters to a .155 average against.

Wilson compares Alvarez to Giants pitcher Matt Cain and said he can see the righty as a potential eighth-inning setup guy once he makes it to the Majors.

The Angels shifted to the middle infield with their fourth-round selection, drafting Alex Yarbrough, a second baseman out of Ole Miss. The switch-hitter from Allen, Texas, led the Rebels in batting this season with a .380 average.

Given the average time it takes for Draft picks to make it to the Majors, Yarbrough could be the replacement for Howie Kendrick, who will be 32 years old once his contract is up in 2015.

"A lot of those college closers and things go right in that area," Wilson said. "[Alvarez] was there, and we were fortunate enough to have Yarbrough right behind him -- two good players that we kind of were penciling in and hoped would be there, and it worked out for us."

After taking another potential bullpen guy in righty Mark Sappington from Division II Rockhurst College in the fifth round, and shortstop Eric Stamets from the University of Evansville in the sixth, the Angels selected their first of only five high school players in Andrew Patterson, a catcher from Alabama.

The only other high schoolers the Angels selected were second baseman Cody Evans from Texas with pick No. 507, right-handed pitcher Yency Almonte from Florida at No. 537, catcher Pedro Pizarro from Louisiana at No. 1,077 and catcher Justin Morhardt from Connecticut at No. 1,197.

Aside from loading up on pitchers as is customary for most teams, the Angels' next most-drafted position was behind the plate, as they drafted seven catchers through round 40.

Without an All-Star-type backstop playing in the big leagues now, or one in their Top 20 organizational prospects, the Angels took Patterson at No. 237, Zachary Wright from East Carolina at No. 387, Anthony Bemboom from Creighton at No. 687, Sam Mulroy from Princeton at No. 1,017, Zachary Livingston from Arizona Christian University at No. 1,047, along with Pizarro and Morhardt.

Unlike last year, when the Angels selected nine players either from California or who had played their college ball in the state, they took none this year. It was just a coincidence, however, Wilson said.

"Picking at 114, a lot of those guys just weren't there for us, and most of them went," Wilson said. "We ran into some signability issues, and guys just got pushed back, but we scouted California as hard or harder than we did everywhere else."

Los Angeles Angels