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Angels look to begin rebuild of system in Draft

MLB.com @Alden_Gonzalez

ANAHEIM -- Ric Wilson will start to meet with his cross-checkers and scouts in person this week, at which point the Angels will start piecing together their Draft board, a power ranking of sorts for hundreds of the top amateur players throughout the country and in Puerto Rico.

With that, Wilson will conduct his sixth Draft under his third different front office.

ANAHEIM -- Ric Wilson will start to meet with his cross-checkers and scouts in person this week, at which point the Angels will start piecing together their Draft board, a power ranking of sorts for hundreds of the top amateur players throughout the country and in Puerto Rico.

With that, Wilson will conduct his sixth Draft under his third different front office.

Since Wilson was appointed scouting director in October 2010 -- stepping in after noted drafting guru Eddie Bane was let go -- the Angels' general manager job has gone from Tony Reagins to Jerry Dipoto to, now, Billy Eppler.

"Each one is different, but they have a lot more in common than people might think," Wilson said. "It's just a matter of connecting with them and figuring out which direction we want the organization to go."

The 2016 Draft will take place from Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Angels, whose first selection is the No. 16 overall pick.

Complete 2016 Draft coverage

In about 50 words
The Angels' system remains the consensus worst in the industry, especially after their top two prospects, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, were dealt for Andrelton Simmons over the winter. The organization has a lot of money tied to aging players, so the Draft is a critical process in its hopes to avoid a complete rebuild.

The scoop
Four players from the Angels' last four drafts have reached the Major Leagues. That may not sound like a lot, but 20 other teams had the same number or fewer and no club had more than six in that window. It usually takes five years before you can really start evaluating the success of a Draft class.

Eight prospects from that four-year window -- Elliot Morris, R.J. Alvarez, Mark Sappington, Eric Stamets, Kody Eaves, Adam McCreery, Newcomb and Ellis -- were used in trades that helped the Angels acquire Huston Street, Cesar Ramos, David Murphy, Jhoulys Chacin, Jefry Marte and Simmons.

"In that sense of it," Wilson said, "I think it's been successful, because those players, although they didn't play for us, they're getting us Major League players, which is very, very valuable, as well. We're trying to get as many players in the system as we can to give Billy the flexibility to do whatever he can do."

First-round buzz
MLB.com prospects expert Jim Callis has the Angels selecting Mississippi State right-hander Dakota Hudson in his latest mock draft. Hudson's fastball sits at 93-95 mph, with run and sink, and his best pitch is an upper-80s slider. He struggled in his first two collegiate seasons, but had a breakthrough stint in the Cape Cod League last summer and boasts a 2.62 ERA in 16 starts this spring.

Hudson is one of three standout collegiate pitchers who could be available near the middle of the first round, along with Boston College's Justin Dunn and Vanderbilt's Jordan Sheffield. Callis also mentioned high-school position players such as outfielders Alex Kirilloff, Taylor Trammell and Will Benson, and third basemen Nolan Jones and Josh Lowe as potential options for the Angels.

They're drafting late enough in the first round that Wilson doesn't want to narrow it down too much.

"You'd like to think you can, but I think you're flirting with danger when you do that because you just never know what to expect," Wilson said. "My mind tells me to be ready for anything. If you pin your ears back on two or three guys and they get picked, then you're not in a good situation. So I'm a little bit more open-minded."

Video: The guys break down the top 50 MLB Draft prospects

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

The Angels have been assigned a pool of $6,120,500, which ranks 22nd in the Majors. The value assigned to their first-round pick is $2,660,800. It's $1,073,300 for their second-round pick and $620,100 for their third-round pick.

Shopping list
The Angels selected a pitcher with 10 of their first 11 picks in 2013 and each of their first five picks in 2014. In 2015, they steered their attention towards position players, selecting one with 12 of their first 14 selections. This summer will probably feature more balance.

Wilson believes this year's crop is deepest among starting pitchers and outfielders, which probably remain the two most drastic needs in the Angels' system.

"We like the depth of it," Wilson said. "And when we start lining up the board and making our decisions, hopefully that's the way it will work out. But it's so hard to tell until you start getting in there and lining things up."

Trend watch
The Angels' Draft philosophy underwent a drastic change under Dipoto, who preferred to make perceivably safer picks with older college players as opposed to taking chances with high-ceiling teenagers, a staple under Bane.

Dipoto's strategy was part preference, part necessity, because the Angels' system was so thin that he needed to fill it with players who could contribute quickly. The Angels drafted a combined 37 players from high school or junior college from 2010-11. From 2012-15, they took just 32.

Recent Draft history

Video: LAA@OAK: Mahle K's Butler for first MLB strikeout

Rising fast
Lefty reliever Greg Mahle was supposed to be a year away from the big leagues when he arrived in Spring Training this past February. But he cracked the Opening Day roster and has been an important piece of the Angels' bullpen all year, despite being 23 years old and pitching in only his second full season in professional baseball. Mahle throws from two arm slots and had held Major League left-handed hitters to only a .636 OPS entering play on Friday.

• Angels' Top 30 prospects

Cinderella story
Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, who established himself as one of the game's premier players only 24 months after being taken in the 13th round of the 1999 Draft, was the ultimate Cinderella story for the Cardinals. But the Angels have one of their own in Matt Shoemaker, who went from being an undrafted free agent to the runner-up in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2014, his age-28 season. Shoemaker has a 1.59 ERA in his last three starts.

In The Show
Ten of the Angels' Major League-caliber players were drafted by the organization. Six of them -- Jered Weaver, C.J. Cron, Mike Trout, Cam Bedrosian, Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards -- were selected in the first round, further illustrating the importance of early picks. The Angels were also able to cash in on later-round picks with Kole Calhoun (eighth), Mike Morin (13th), Mahle (15th) and Jett Bandy (31st).

The Angels' recent top picks
2015: Taylor Ward, C, Class A Advanced Inland Empire
2014: Newcomb, SP, Double-A Mississippi (Braves)
2013: Hunter Green, SP, retired
2012: Alvarez, RP, Oakland Athletics
2011: Cron, 1B, Angels

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Los Angeles Angels