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Angels Draft Preview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Donny Rowland (first draft: 2000).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 10th)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 13th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 12th)
Where the old regime succeeding in signing and developing stars like Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, Jarrod Washburn and Francisco Rodriguez, however, they perennially lacked depth in the farm system.
That's where the current braintrust of GM Bill Stoneman and scouting director Donny Rowland came in. They addressed the system's weaknesses by allocating more resources to scouting and player development.
The result is a bulked up farm system, ranked as the fifth-best in baseball. Rowland's drafts have been fruitful, producing eight of the system's Top 10 Prospects, and a ninth, Ervin Santana, from their efforts in the Dominican Republic.
Some even speculate the Angels' 2001 draft class--highlighted by Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, Dallas McPherson, Steven Shell and Jake Woods--could go down as one of the best in recent memory. While that is still to be determined, the system's overall depth has undeniably improved.
Last year's draft focused on pitching in the first three rounds, but the class took a hit this spring when Joe Saunders went down for the season with a shoulder injury. Saunders was considered one of the most polished pitchers in the draft, and looked strong in his 2002 debut.
The Angels would love to bolster their position player depth, particularly in the outfield, and would be elated if Pennsylvania prep outfielder Chris Lubanski were to slide to the 23rd pick. Florida high school outfielder Lastings Milledge might be an intriguing option, as will lefty Andrew Miller. Louisiana State shortstop Aaron Hill, who the Angels selected in the seventh round out of high school in 2000, might not be available but will be near the top of the Angels' draft board. Arizona high school shortstop Brandon Wood is another option they will strongly consider.