Here are Angels' top homegrown Draft picks

February 15th, 2021

There’s always something special about a homegrown talent being drafted by a club and eventually reaching superstar status.

Every team has examples of just that and the Angels are no different. They’ve always prided themselves on being an organization that develops talent from within, especially during their run of success in the early 2000s. Here’s a look at the Angels’ Top 5 homegrown talents who were originally drafted by the franchise:

1. (No. 25 overall, 2009 Draft)
It's still amazing to look back and see that 21 teams passed on Trout in the 2009 Draft and he wasn't even the Angels' first selection, as he was picked immediately after the club drafted fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk. Trout has won the American League MVP Award three times and has been an All-Star eight times. He was also the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and has finished in the Top 5 in balloting for AL MVP for a record nine years in a row. Trout, 29, is already the club's all-time leader in WAR with 74.6 and is signed through the 2030 season. So Trout still has plenty of time to add to his accolades.

2. (No. 4 overall, 1985 secondary-phase Draft)
Finley was drafted twice by the Angels, as he was first selected in the 15th round of the 1984 Draft and then the club followed up by drafting him again as the No. 4 overall selection in '85. But it was worth it for the Angels, as Finley is the best pitcher in club history. He was a four-time All-Star with the club and finished seventh in the balloting for the AL Cy Young Award in 1990. Finley racked up 51.8 WAR in his 14 seasons with the Angels from 1986-99, which is the second-highest total in club history behind only Trout. He was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 2009.

3. (Third round, 1989 Draft)
Salmon, affectionately known as Mr. Angel or King Fish, slipped to the Angels in the third round of the 1989 Draft out of Grand Canyon University. The right fielder made an immediate impact, winning AL Rookie of the Year honors in 1993. He also was seventh in the balloting for AL MVP in both '95 and '97, while finishing 14th in '98. He won a Silver Slugger Award in '95 but was notably never an All-Star. But Salmon played a key role in helping the Angels to their World Series title in 2002, hitting .288 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 16 postseason games. He also memorably homered twice in Game 2 of the World Series against the Giants. He finished his 14-year career with the Angels with 299 homers, which is second in club history, and 40.6 WAR, which is fourth in team history behind Trout, Finley and Jim Fregosi. Salmon was inducted into the club Hall of Fame in 2015 and no Halos player has worn his No. 15 since his retirement.

4. (No. 1 overall, 1995 Draft)
Erstad was the first overall selection in the 1995 Draft after serving as a two-sport star at the University of Nebraska, as he was also the punter on the football team. Erstad was one of the best defenders of his era, as he's one of only two players to win Gold Glove Awards in both the infield and the outfield. He won a Gold Glove in 2000 while primarily playing left field, another in '02 as a center fielder and again in '04 as a first baseman. He was an All-Star in '98 and '00, and his '00 season was one of the best in club history. He hit .355/.409/.541 with a Major League-leading 240 hits and became the first leadoff hitter to reach 100 RBIs in a season. Like Salmon, he also played a key role in helping the Angels to the 2002 World Series title, hitting .352 with two homers and seven RBIs in 16 postseason games.

5. (No. 12 overall, 2004 Draft)
Weaver, the younger brother of fellow Major League right-hander Jeff Weaver, was considered one of the top players in the 2004 Draft, but the Scott Boras client slipped due to bonus demands. The Angels, though, were willing to meet Weaver's price, giving him a $4 million signing bonus. It turned out to be a steal for the organization, as Weaver won 150 games and posted a 3.55 ERA in 322 starts with the Angels from 2006-16. He was an All-Star in 2010, '11 and '12, finishing in the Top 5 for AL Cy Young balloting in each of those three seasons. He also posted a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings in the postseason. He's third among Angels pitchers in WAR with 36.0, behind only Finley and Nolan Ryan.