Two exciting events today that may tease a little something about the next horizon for this Angels ball club. Sunday is funday for Halos farm watchers and futurists, as we have both the Futures Game and Day One of the 2021 MLB Draft to look forward to.
The Futures Games starts at 12pm Pacific time and will feature both the Angels #1 draft pick from 2020, Reid Detmers, and wildman reliever Hector Yan, currently with the High A West Dust Devils. Detmers will pitch the third inning for the American League, and Yan will pitch the eighth.
The inclusion of Yan is a bit of a headscratcher. While MLB Pipeline considers him the #9 prospect in the Angels’ system, their system is not among the elite ones in baseball, and Yan has really been struggling this year, especially with control (BB/9 of 7 at the moment) – which might make for an incendiary and decisive moment when he comes on in late innings in the context of a big media showcase. (Good luck, Hector.) A more logical choice for a second Angels selection would have been Chris Rodriguez or Brandon Marsh, but it may be that their health statuses when the rosters were determined were uncertain.
You can watch the Futures Game on the MLB Network or live streaming at MLB.com.
After the Futures Game, 2021 MLB Draft coverage begins! Tonight’s coverage begins at 4pm Pacific, broadcasting out of Coors Field in Denver. It will be featured on both the MLB Network and ESPN, and will cover the first 36 selections of the draft. That means all of Round One plus seven picks in the compensation rounds before Round Two. Rounds two through ten will be covered on Day Two on Monday.
That means the Angels have exactly one selection tonight, at #9, which will probably be announced somewhere between 5 and 6pm Pacific.
Recent gossip and last minute mock draft updates from Baseball America and the MLB draft analyst team of Mayo and Callis confirm what I had suspected – the virtual consensus that the Angels were reaching for a prep bat like Will Taylor (or Bubba Chandler) in round one is likely a lot of “smoke” (to use Callis’ term). Now the emerging consensus is that the Angels will likely catch a falling star, grabbing one of the Top Eight should they fall – meaning, specifically, Jackson Jobe, Kumar Rocker or Brady House. If one of those three are not available, they will look at college pitchers like Ty Madden or Sam Bachman, or perhaps Will Bednar or Gunnar Hoglund.
This is all good news, should it be so, but the inclusion of House in that mix, and the always-looming specter of a weird underslot selection from among the hordes of raw youth the Angels covet certainly adds more intrigue than usual this year. It will be interesting to see if the Angels resist the tooled-up power profile of Brady House should he be among the Eight that fall to the nine slot. He’s likely a long-term third-baseman, and he gets Gallo comps, but is more physical and athletic. He’d add another boom-or-bust prospect to they system in the mold of Jeremiah Jackson, but with a more well-rounded toolset and a higher floor.
Whatever the Angels end up doing, it will be highly conditioned by what the eight teams preceding them announce at the podium. It should be a pulse-quickening event.
Let’s use the comment sections here as an Open Thread to cover all the Sunday action. We’ll post an article on the lucky winner once he’s selected this evening.