Angels Draft Report
Angels go local with catcher Conger
ANAHEIM—His given name is Hyun. He is of Korean descent. But his grandfather, from Atlanta, couldn't pronounce that first name.
So the grandfather started calling the kid Hank, after his favorite baseball player, Hank Aaron
. The name stuck, and the kid grew up to be a Hammerin’ Hank of his own.
And so it was that the Angels selected Hank Conger
with their top draft pick. Conger attends Huntington Beach (Calif.) High, a short drive from Angel Stadium.
"It's a dream come true," Conger said. "I've grown up in Orange County, watching them play every day."
"It’s a pretty neat deal, to hear a house come completely unglued," Angels scouting director Eddie Bane
18, a switch-hitting catcher regarded as one of the top power prospects
available, hit .449 in 24 games this season, with 19 of his 35 hits
going for extra bases, including 11 home runs.
At age 12, on
an Ocean View Little League team that finished one victory shy of
Williamsport, Conger said he hit 33 homers in 38 games.
said Conger has "plus power and a plus arm." The 6-foot, 210-pound
Conger did not catch regularly until his sophomore year, and he has
played first base, third base and the outfield.
"I see him
staying at catcher, with his plus arm," Bane said. "His work ethic is
outstanding. His parents are outstanding. There were more than a few
guys in this draft you had to worry about makeup with, but Hank was not
one of them."
The Angels had the No. 25 pick, and Bane said he targeted Conger and righthander Colton Willems
. The Nationals selected Williams at No. 22. "We would have been thrilled with either one," Bane said.
Conger said he would “most likely” sign and forfeit his scholarship to Southern California.ANGEL FOOD
• The last Orange County product selected in the first round by the Angels, USC righthander Seth Etherton
, appeared in 11 major league games for the Angels before they traded him to the Reds for infielder Wilmy Caceres
• Bane used a distinctly Anaheim term to rip Tom Lasorda
for announcing the Dodgers' selection on behalf of what Lasorda said
was the only major league team in Los Angeles. "That other team up
north pulled some Mickey Mouse stuff," Bane said.
• The Angels' selections included fourth-rounder and UCLA outfielder Jarrad Page
, a four-year starter at safety for the Bruins' football team, and ninth-rounder Nate Boman
, a San Diego lefthander who did not pitch this year after shoulder surgery.