Pac-12 Player of Year among Halos' Day 2 haul

Angels again pull primarily from collegiate ranks in 2023 Draft

July 10th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- The Angels made waves with their obvious and historic trend in the 2021 Draft, taking only pitchers with their 20 selections.

But they’ve quietly had another tendency under general manager Perry Minasian over the past three Drafts, as they’ve clearly preferred selecting college players over high school players. Of the Angels' 48 selections in those three Drafts, only three have been high school players.

The Angels took Florida Atlantic first baseman Nolan Schanuel with their first selection on Sunday and then took seven more college players out of their eight selections on Day 2 of the Draft on Monday.

Scouting director Tim McIlvaine, who is in his second year with the club, downplayed the trend, but noted it’s partly because the Angels haven’t had a second-round pick or any compensatory picks the past two years, so they have a smaller bonus pool than other clubs. Their bonus pool of $8,328,900 ranks as the eighth-lowest total among the 30 clubs this year.

“It’s somewhat of a coincidence,” McIlvaine said. “[Sunday], we talked about a lot of high school guys, but it ended up being a college kid. But the high school kids can get expensive, and it’s hard to able to get them if you don’t have pick between the first and third rounds, or any extra picks.”

The Angels, though, are also perhaps the most aggressive team in the Majors in terms of challenging their prospects and getting their recent Draft picks to the big leagues. Right-hander Chase Silseth, a 10th-round pick in 2021, was the first player from that Draft to reach the Majors in '22. And shortstop Zach Neto, the club’s first-rounder in 2022, was the first player to reach the big leagues from that Draft class this season.

Additionally, relievers Ben Joyce and Victor Mederos were taken in last year’s Draft, and both reached the Majors this season, while 2021 first-rounder Sam Bachman is in the Angels’ bullpen.

They went heavy on offense early, selecting Stanford slugger Alberto Rios with their third-round pick (No. 79 overall) and Sam Houston outfielder Joe Redfield in the fourth round (No. 111 overall).

Rios, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, had a 1.191 OPS with 18 homers and 73 RBIs in 62 games last season and mostly played outfield. He’s not considered a strong defender in the outfield, however, but has experience at catcher and third base as well. Rios is also an interesting story because he didn’t play much until this season.

“He couldn’t get in the lineup but kept working hard and something finally clicked for him in the fall,” McIlvaine said. “We kept tabs on him, and he just didn’t stop. He seemingly got better each game.”

Redfield has some bloodlines. He’s the son of Joe Redfield, who played one game with the Angels in his Major League debut in 1988 and 11 with the Pirates in ’91. The younger Redfield had a 1.168 OPS with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 61 games, and he is also considered a strong defensive outfielder.

The Angels went with college pitchers in Rounds 5 and 6, selecting Harvard right-hander Chris Clark and Wake Forest righty Camden Minacci. Clark projects to be a starter, while Minacci was considered one of the better relievers in college baseball.

Ninth-rounder Chase Gockel from Quincy University and 10th-rounder Chris Barrazza are also considered relievers.

Minacci, who was the closer for Wake Forest, is considered a candidate to reach the Majors quickly, like Joyce, Mederos and Bachman.

“It’ll be up to him,” McIlvaine said. “We don't really try and put timetables on guys, because it can mess you up. If he needs time, we’ll give him time. If he rolls and puts it together, we’ll roll with him.”

The lone prep selection came in the eighth round, when they drafted Pottsboro (Texas) HS right-hander Barrett Kent, who is committed to Arkansas.

Kent could be a candidate to sign for more than the recommended bonus, as the Angels could sign Schanuel or others for under slot to save money for their bonus pool. They did that with their other two high school selections, signing Caden Dana in 2022 and Madison Albright in '21 over slot value.

“We’re really excited about him,” McIlvaine said. “He’s a big kid. He’s 6-foot-4, and long and loose. He has four pitches. We see him as a starter. We did a lot of work on him this year.”