Angels draft 'impact arm' Bachman at No. 9

July 12th, 2021

The Angels have an organizational need for pitching, and they helped fill it with the No. 9 overall pick of the 2021 MLB Draft by selecting right-hander Sam Bachman from Miami University in Ohio. It marks the second straight year they’ve selected a college pitcher with their first selection, as Bachman joins lefty Reid Detmers, who was the No. 10 pick in '20.

Bachman, 21, went 4-4 with a 1.81 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings over 12 starts as a junior this year at Miami. His ERA was the seventh-best among NCAA Division I pitchers, and he possesses a fastball that can reach triple digits. Bachman is considered close to reaching the Majors and could make his debut as a reliever, but the Angels believe he profiles as a starter long-term.

"This is some impact arm and someone we can continue to develop around on the pitching side,” said Angels scouting director Matt Swanson. “We're just thrilled to bring in another arm and couple him with Reid from last year and just keep the pitching going. This was an exciting pick for us. He went out this year and what he was able to do in a starter's role was impressive. He just needs to continue to build up innings and develop as a starter."

Bachman is the first player from Miami University to be selected in the first round of the Draft, and he is the highest overall selection by the Angels since they took Troy Glaus with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1997 Draft. Bachman was notably selected just ahead of Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker, who saw his velocity dip this year, while Bachman saw his rise.

Bachman lacks traditional height for a starting pitcher -- he's listed as 6-foot-1, 235 pounds -- and has a three-quarter delivery that some think is better suited to a bullpen role. But Bachman's fastball can reach 101 mph and he has strong secondary pitches with an above-average slider and changeup, which makes the Angels believe he can stick as a starter.

"It's a really dynamic pitch package that plays off of itself and the weapons are really impressive,” Swanson said. “And what's really impressive is his ground-ball rate. He's not just a pure power pitcher; he has a lot of finesse and grace that goes with it."

The Angels don’t believe there will be any signability concerns with Bachman, and the pick carries a slot value of $4.95 million. If Los Angeles wants to keep Bachman in relief this year, there’s a chance he could reach the Majors as soon as this season, according to many in the industry, including’s Jim Callis. But Swanson said the Halos haven’t determined the level at which Bachman would start, nor did they want to put a timeline on his ascent to the Majors.

"I think a big thing is getting him signed as soon as possible and getting him into the Angels' system and just letting him go,” Swanson said. “He's going to have the opportunity to move at his own pace and hopefully impact the Major League roster sooner rather than later."

Bachman was also the first selection under new general manager Perry Minasian, who said leading up to the Draft that character and makeup were two of the most important traits he was looking for in picks this season. Swanson said Bachman fits that bill.

"Incredible,” Swanson said. “I am fortunate enough to meet with many players throughout this process, and his character and his routine and his prep for pitching and taking care of his body and doing everything he needs to do to be ready, it was really unmatched in this class."