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Angels Draft Preview

By Josh Boyd
May 17, 2003

Scouting Director: Donny Rowland (first draft: 2000).

2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 10th)
1a. Joe Torres, lhp, Gateway HS, Kissimmee, Fla.
1b. Chris Bootcheck, rhp, Auburn
2. Jared Abruzzo, c, El Capitan HS, Lakeside, Calif.
3. Tommy Murphy, ss, Florida Atlantic
4. Charlie Thames, rhp, Texas
5. Bobby Jenks, rhp, Spirit Lake, Idaho

2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 13th)
1a. Casey Kotchman, 1b, Seminole (Fla.) HS
1b. Jeff Mathis, c, Marianna (Fla.) HS
2. Dallas McPherson, 3b, The Citadel
3a. Steven Shell, rhp, El Reno (Okla.) HS
3b. Jake Woods, lhp, Bakersfield (Calif.) JC.
4. Mike Nickoli, rhp, Birmingham-Southern College
5. Brad Pinkerton, lhp, Elon College

2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 12th)
1. Joe Saunders, lhp, Virginia Tech
2. Kevin Jepsen, rhp, Bishop Manogue HS, Sparks, Nev.
3. Kyle Pawelczyk, lhp, Chipola (Fla.) JC
4. Jordan Renz, of, Tulsa Union HS, Broken Arrow, Okla.
5. Javy Rodriguez, ss, Miami

2003 Draft
Angels pick 23rd in rotation

Overview
You couldn't turn anywhere last fall without seeing a story crediting the former Angels front office of general manager Bill Bavasi and scouting director Bob Fontaine for assembling the 2002 World Series champions. And rightfully so.

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.

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