Draft 2024: Pitchers the Angels Might Draft in Round One

The college baseball season approaching the post season. Soon ESPN will be carrying a plethora of college baseball games across its platforms. While the play on the field is worthy of watching all by itself, the post season will likely feature the Angels first round draft pick.

General Manager Perry Minasian’s draft strategy is clearly centered around drafting college players who are likely to reach the big leagues quickly. In each of the last three drafts, the first player from the class to reach the bigs has been an Angel. Given the weakness of the MLB roster and lack of track record developing players it is logical to assume this pattern will continue.

Interestingly enough the first few college arms are likely going off the board around the time the Angels draft in spot 8.

Hagen Smith – Arkansas

Many mock drafts have Smith falling as low as 7 but I think he’ll be gone by then. Stranger things have happened, though, so I’ll link the current SEC Pitcher of the Year as an outside possibility. Hagen Smith is basically Josh Hader as a starter. He’s a dominant lefty who is striking out hitters in the best conference in college baseball at a record clip.

Arkansas will definitely be in the Regionals and you can expect Smith to start their first game. If they go on a deep run, which is likely, Smith will get multiple starts. Honestly, looking at pure stuff he looks like he could be a multi inning reliever in MLB right now. I know the SEC isn’t MLB but it is impossible to watch him without being impressed.

Chase Burns – Wake Forest

Here’s a guy I think is a real possibility at 8. He’s the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year and features a fastball/changeup mix that is very effective. He has what I call deceptive speed because his delivery is not max effort but the radar gun lights up. Burns has a very fluid and repeatable delivery and looks to have a grasp on the concept of pitching, not just throwing.

As you can see he has multiple pitches and is capable of mixing speeds on most of them. On the season, Burns has a .164 BA against, 169 K’s, and 39% whiff rate across 89 innings. I would be extremely happy with Burns as the top pick and consider him the best case scenario for the Angels.

Wake Forest is also moving along to the postseason so you should be able to watch Burns toe the mound at least one more time.

Trey Yesavage – East Carolina

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Yesavage is the Pitcher of the Year in his conference, the AAC (American Athletic Conference). The mid major star has a four pitch arsenal and is generally regarded as the third best college arm in the nation. Had he put up similar numbers in one of the powerhouse conferences, he’d be higher on the board.

Yesavage is a good possibility for the Angels for two reasons. First, the two above could easily be off the board by the 8th selection. Or, the Angels could look to sign Yesavage at a discount and have more spending room later in the draft.

Nonetheless, Yesavage would be a solid signing. He’s the ace of the #9 ranked team in the country and will definitely get the ball for East Carolina’s first playoff game. On the season he has 132Ks in 80.1 innings and the postseason will be another chance for him to prove himself against the game’s best. He has a legitimate chance to see his prospect stock rise.

Brody Brecht – Iowa

Brecht is a clear notch below the three above according to the draft profiles. The Big Ten is not a historically great baseball conference and the cold start to the year might have impacted Brecht’s early numbers. He’s been on fire as of late.

While the overall numbers are trending in the right direction, the reason he’s in many first round picks is his spin rate and Stuff+ metrics. He’s a guy the analytics guys like a lot.

Brecht would almost certainly be a discount signing, allowing the Angels to reallocate some of the draft allotment on another pick. But his recent outings and the Trackman data suggest he could also be a low key steal in the draft if get gains some consistency. The Hawkeyes likely need a deep run in the Big 10 tournament to make it to the Regionals, but Brecht will start the critical first game.

This article focuses strictly on college arms but cookmeister posted a more inclusive draft piece this week that deserves a read. Several of the names are the same but he adds position players, which I will do in my next piece.

Hopefully this list gives you a few players to watch as the postseason unfolds. Putting on your GM hat while watching a game is a fun experience. For you prospect hounds out there, please list some other college arms you like.

Subscribe
Notify of
33 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Turk's Teeth
Editor
Super Member
18 days ago

It’s hard for me to see either Burns or Smith making it to the 8th pick, given the dearth of advanced pitching in this draft. I could actually see one of the vaunted power bats – Kurtz, Caglianone, or Montgomery – sliding down the boards in favor of the top pitchers or some of the more dynamic prep bats.

That would probably leave the Angels with choices like Yesavage and Tibbs – which would extend their trend of going for floor over ceiling, as they have with selections like Schanuel, Thaiss and Wilson in recent years. There could be worse picks than, say, Yesavage, who has mid-rotation upside, and projects for more starter durability than injury red flag selections like Bachman and Joyce – though analysts are split on whether his short arm delivery presents reliever risk.

But it would be interesting to see if they’d be tempted by genuine power if Kurtz or Cagilanone fell to #8 after picking Schanuel last year. And any reasonable FO would select Montgomery over Tibbs any day of the week, given the former’s athleticism and defensive superiority.

This is probably the worst draft in a decade – or at least since the 2016 Thaiss draft – to try get a discount at #8. It’s just a weak class that lacks depth once the Angels get to their 4 picks between #45 and #110. They should go for upside at #8 if any of Wetherholt, Burns, or Caglianone fall into their laps.

Angelz4ever
Super Member
21 days ago

In other news:

No word on Neto yet?

Angelz4ever
Super Member
21 days ago

Looking at this season probably not leading to the PS, i am torn as to what I’d like to see this season. I had been preaching that we should trade Anderson, Rineeeeeeefo and maybe Sandoval at the deadline, but I don’t know now. I think we need to let the kids play and keep our young core and one more reasonable salaried Anderson for next season.

We’d still get a mid-first round pick, so we’ll still have an opportunity to get some help.

Last edited 21 days ago by Angelz4ever
Angelstan
Trusted Member
21 days ago

FYI Smith came out of his playoff game tonight after 2 innings. Not sure why yet.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
21 days ago
Reply to  Angelstan

his coach said he just wanted him to get a little work in. The game meant nothing to Arkansas so Smith went 2, giving up 2 unearned runs and will be ready for the first game of the regional.

FungoAle
Legend
21 days ago

College Baseball this time of year is great stuff. Regionals….let’s go!

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend

I want all the starting pitching. Teams should be permitted to draft draft choices.

Based on reading, it seems that the primary reason why teams aren’t allowed to trade draft picks (exception being competitive balance picks) is because owners don’t trust themselves not to be idiots.

Ownership can be idiots is every other facet of the game…except trading draft picks. Brilliant.

“Teams could be stupid and trade away all their picks. Yeah, we have to protect ourselves,” one club executive said with an embarrassed laugh. “Is it really good to set up a system in baseball that rewards intelligence?”

Angelstan
Trusted Member
21 days ago

Nice article. All of them seem to have merit. The odd delivery of the Arkansas guy worries me a little. I know lefties sometimes throw differently but it’s unsettling a little.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Angelstan

Lefty Paul Skenes…. kind of. But yeah. Looks a bit like you should plan for TJS.

Actually, though I’ve only seen about ten pitches from him on video, Will Schmidt, the top HS arm in the draft, is the opposite. Pretty easy delivery. Awesome curve. Can hit 99MPH. Reminds me of when I really wanted to draft Andrew Painter even though he was a HS kid. Has “ace stuff” if they can get him a change up.

Of course, Painter has been out with TJS soooooo…. I’m still dumb.

Angelstan
Trusted Member
21 days ago

He kinda has an Alex Wood type delivery. Makes me nervous.

FungoAle
Legend
21 days ago
Reply to  Angelstan

A lot of these high octane college arms, maximum effort and body motion after pitch release.. Notice how he is in no way ready to field his position. Nonetheless,, no way he drops to No. 8.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

You n Cookmeister have perfect timing. Jeffy on the spot.

I may be nuts, but Hagen being awesome I still prefer Burns. It’s that Wake Forest pitching program. I dig it. The fact he can already throw a change up well removes a big obstacle to his quick rise in a system. He also looks more likely to be able to go more than 5 innings.

Sticking with my obsession with Demon Deacons I’d actually be OK with taking a HS pitcher like Schmidt, or say Bradon Montgomery falls to 8, and then Massey or Hartle from Wake in the 2nd round. Hell, at picks 45 and 74 take both these guys….

cookmeister
Trusted Member
21 days ago

He totally stole my thunder! lol

Smith actually has a good splitter, he just doesn’t have to use it because his fastball/slider combo is so good.

I’m going to write another article on potential targets for round 2-5 here in the next little while

Charles Sutton
Editor
Super Member
21 days ago
Reply to  cookmeister

Thanks for the heads up. We have to keep a pretty close watch on an out of the way part of the steam tunnels back behind CtPG or we can miss noticing that someone is presenting a FanPost. (cookmeister’s article for cross-reference)

If I noticed you back on May 16, you would have scooped Jeff by a lot more than just a day.

Last edited 21 days ago by Charles Sutton
Eric_in_Portland
Legend
21 days ago

don’t know much about Burns. I’ll say this about Smith, though. He dominated a great hitting Oregon State team. Dominated. Burns would have to be special if you think he might be as good or better than Smith.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

I think Smith is better, maybe, but I also think he may be a little more risk as a starting pitcher.

cookmeister
Trusted Member
21 days ago

to be fair, the ACC is not exactly chopped liver. Burns dominated Clemson, Duke, and Virginia

Angelz4ever
Super Member
21 days ago

Oh Neto, just spray some Windex on it, it’ll be fine.

cookmeister
Trusted Member
21 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

what does Neto have to do with drafting pitchers?

Angelz4ever
Super Member
21 days ago
Reply to  cookmeister

When someone pitches, you hope there is a shortstop to cover that area.

WallyChuckChili
Legend
21 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

Why? You want to leave me?

FungoAle
Legend
21 days ago

Really hoping a couple of teams drafting ahead of the Angels start selecting arms, this would allow one of the college bats drop to us, there is where the strength of the draft is.

GrandpaBaseball
Legend
21 days ago
Reply to  FungoAle

Need outfielder, preferably a CF. But pitching-a starter would be good also as pitching wins games too.

FungoAle
Legend
21 days ago

Need a 3rd baseman, Condon please. Of course, it ain’t happening but neeeed a true 3rd baseman.

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
21 days ago

There are so many awesome college hitters and great arm in this draft. It would be hard to pass on JJ Wetherholt at 8. Guy was on the top of boards last year until a hamstring injury slowed down his season. Dude can flat out rake. I laughed when the early drafts had Bazanna to us at 8 after what he did in the Cape last year and would have also laughed at Wetherholt slipping to us at 8 too. Regardless, we’ll have some great options. We don’t have a great track record drafting and developing pitchers, so go get an elite bat that can come up quickly.

Last edited 21 days ago by HalosFanForLife
gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

Wetherholt would be a great pick too… maybe play 3rd or 2nd next to Neto? And then two Deacons with our next two picks? Happy Gitcho….

Angelstan
Trusted Member
21 days ago

I don’t know. I like all three right handed pitchers featured in this article and I cannot recall the last guy the Angels drafted that had the upside those guys seem to have. And don’t say Detmers please. He wasn’t what those guys seem to be. It has to have been 10-15 years or more since a really top pitcher was drafted high in round one by the Angels.

halofansince1978
Super Member
21 days ago

I leave the draft prognostication to the smart people here…too deep in the weeds for me.

cookmeister
Trusted Member
21 days ago

first two.. yes…
Yesavage only if it’s under slot. Can’t imagine taking the Iowa kid unless he somehow falls to the 2nd

33
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x