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Pitching targeted as Halos restock the farm

As part of rebuilding, club addresses biggest organizational need at Draft

The Angels' farm system was not highly regarded entering the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, but director of scouting Ric Wilson views the rebuilding process as a test.

"It is a challenge," Wilson said. "I know, and people within the organization, even outsiders, know what's happened. It's tough to see, but that's OK. I understand that's the nature of the beast. I also understand that there's an answer to it, and how you attack that answer is what we're trying to do."

The Angels chose to "attack that answer" by gathering a plethora of pitchers -- 22 to be exact.

"We're trying to create a different philosophy, and obviously you can tell by the way we drafted, we felt we were short in the starting pitching category," Wilson said. "We bounced around all spring to get as many of the good pitchers as we could get, so that was our strategy, and I know it paid off."

The Angels felt they needed to load up on pitching, because they lack top pitching prospects, and limited early-round selections in previous Drafts have made it hard to accumulate organizational depth.

"Obviously our system is depleted of these types of guys -- starters that can throw innings," Wilson said. "I'm thrilled about getting the guys in the top 12 [rounds]."

Due to the signings of Jeff Weaver, Gary Matthews Jr., Justin Speier, Torii Hunter, Scott Downs Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton, the Angels have been without a first- or second-round selection -- both in 2007 and '12 -- in six of the last eight seasons.

Another reason pitching was so heavily emphasized in 2013 is that the Angels are pleased with some of the position players in the organization. Currently, seven of the team's top 10 prospects are position players.

Third baseman Kaleb Cowart and first baseman C.J. Cron are regarded as the No. 1 and No. 3 prospects in the Angels' organization by, and both are expected to be Major League ready by 2014.

Cowart, the team's first pick in 2010, is a switch-hitter hitting .220 with Double-A Arkansas.

Cron was the team's first selection in 2011. Last season, he hit .293 with 123 RBIs for Class A Inland Empire. He is hitting .300 and slugging .449 for Double-A Arkansas this season.

A season ago, the Angels used their first pick on a pitching prospect -- R.J. Alvares. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA for Class A Inland Empire.

Although he was drafted after Alvarez, right-hander Mark Sappington is viewed as the Angels' best pitching prospect right now.

However, Sappington -- a starter -- is not expected to be ready until 2015 and is currently 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA for Inland Empire.

William Boor is an associate reporter for

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim