ANAHEIM -- The Angels' guiding principle coming into the 2018 Draft was to pick up as much raw talent, as much raw athleticism, as they possibly could.• Draft Tracker: Every Angels pick"I think it's a very common thread of what we're looking for. What we're trying to bring in our
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' guiding principle coming into the 2018 Draft was to pick up as much raw talent, as much raw athleticism, as they possibly could.
• Draft Tracker: Every Angels pick
"I think it's a very common thread of what we're looking for. What we're trying to bring in our organization is guys we can get bigger, faster, stronger -- that we can develop internally," director of scouting Matt Swanson said after the event concluded on Wednesday. "Sometimes it looks like a safer pick, sometimes it looks like a riskier pick, but it's the lens that we look at all of our players through."
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
That principle was reflected in their first two selections -- Jordyn Adams at 17th overall and Jeremiah Jackson at No. 57 -- following in the footsteps of their Draft plan last year, when they nabbed outfielder Jo Adell -- now the No. 1 prospect in the Angels organization, according to MLB Pipeline -- with the 10th overall pick.
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Adams, who was committed to play both baseball and football at the University of North Carolina, said he has already agreed to terms with the Angels and expects to travel to Anaheim in the near future to officially sign.
"Very blessed to be in this spot," Adams said. "I'm glad to make it official that I'm going to be part of the Angels organization. I'm ready to go to work."
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Starting with Round 3 on Day 2 of the Draft, the Angels snagged 11 straight pitching prospects, seven from college, four from high school.
"We took some heat for not taking any [pitchers] on Day 1, so just figured we'd take them all from there on out," Swanson joked. "I think we were pretty intentional on all of our picks, and we felt really comfortable with the two position players on Day 1 and the way the board lined it up was to make a run on pitchers coming up."
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Out of those 11 pitchers, 10 were right handed.
"If they were all left-handed, we [still] would've taken them," Swanson said.
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One of those pitchers selected, William English, is a potential two-way talent. As the one organization that has tried that experiment in the big leagues, with Shohei Ohtani, the Angels are a natural fit for English, who profiles better as a pitcher but wants to play both ways as he develops through the ranks. Swanson said the club has already decided to begin his developmental process as a two-way player.
"Our organization can take a player like that and be patient with him, develop him both ways," Swanson said. "When a player like that is so young and so gifted athletically, I'd hate to pigeonhole him from such a young age into doing one or the other. I think the upside in giving him the opportunity to go out there as a position player and at the same time develop as a pitcher is just a bonus to the kid, and to us."
Because of the regiment that they've undergone with Ohtani, general manager Billy Eppler feels comfortable about the infrastructure the Angels have in place.
"Ultimately, we have a little bit better lens into that right now, so we can put [English] on somewhat of a similar workload program," Eppler said. "He's gonna have to move a lot slower. ... But we can begin to start his development process -- kinda gaining strength and getting ready for that workload. It's something that he asked if we'd be open to having him do, and we said yes."
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With their 21st round selection, the Angels selected Christian Reyes, whose school is listed as "No School," as he isn't enrolled in one. Swanson said that their area scout in South Florida, Ralph Reyes, found the 23-year-old while he was pitching in a Sunday league.
"We brought him to a workout, he was up to 98 in our workout and we made him our Draft pick," Swanson said. "I think there's a lot of excitement. It's a very old school way of scouting a player, where there's so much information these days, and our scout outworked 29 other teams and signed a player with a really good arm."
Overall, Swanson is excited to bring so many ballplayers from so many backgrounds into the Angels family.
"I'm really excited about all the players that we were able to get," Swanson said. "It's exciting to see the process come together. We got players from all different backgrounds, and they all ended up being Angels Draft picks, so I think we're all excited about it."
Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.