In the 36th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday, the Angels took a shot at a player whom they were unable to sign two years ago.
For the second time, the Angels selected Kenny Hatcher, a right-handed pitcher from Dallas Baptist University. He's the nephew of former Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, who was dismissed on May 15 while the Angels -- and namely big free-agent signing Albert Pujols -- were struggling offensively.
Hatcher was selected in the 47th round of the 2010 Draft as a third baseman, and the fact that the Angels were already familiar with Hatcher through his uncle certainly helped, scouting director Ric Wilson said.
"We have a long history with Kenny," Wilson said. "I saw him develop through high school and through junior college in Arizona."
It's surprising to see Hatcher now listed as a pitcher, considering he appeared in only three games at Dallas Baptist, posting an ERA of 21.60. He spent the majority of his playing time in the infield, where he started 31 of the team's 60 games. In 110 at-bats, Hatcher had a .236 average with one double, one home run and eight RBIs.
"Kenny's just a good-body kid with a loose arm and some arm strength that we're going to have to develop into a pitcher," Wilson said.
Hatcher pitched a little bit with Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona before transferring to Dallas Baptist, but still, it wasn't much. This isn't the first time the Angels have tried to convert an infielder to a pitcher recently, however.
They drafted A.J. Schugel, a former infielder at Texas Tech, in the 25th round of the 2010 Draft. This season with Double-A Arkansas, Schugel is 2-5 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts.
The Angels are hoping for the same kind of success with Hatcher.
"We drafted him a couple of years ago when he was down in junior college, and we'd seen him throw a bullpen," Wilson said. "I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get him in the system as a pitcher."
Joe McIntyre is an associate reporter for MLB.com.