Angels’ Top Pick Has Tommy John

The Angels spent their top pick from the 2007 drafted, the 58th overall pick in the supplemental first round, on Jonathan Bachanov. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound righthander out of University (Orlando, Fla.) HS won’t pitch in 2008 though after having Tommy John surgery in December.

General Manager Tony Reagins said the team’s scouts saw Bachanov pitch late before last summer’s draft and had no indication of a problem. But Bachanov threw in workouts for the team shortly after signing his first contract in July and complained of a sore elbow. He was sent to the team’s minor-league complex in Arizona to begin a rehabilitation program. When the pain persisted, Bachanov underwent an MRI that revealed ligament damage in the elbow. He had Tommy John surgery in December.

Some scouts who saw Bachanov pitch in high school felt his max-effort delivery and power arsenal may lead to an eventual move to the bullpen, which Angels scouting director Eddie Bane acknowledged was a possibility after the Angels drafted Bachanov.

"We could see him as a closer," Bane said . "But there’s no way, at least at the start of his career. He’ll be a starter. There’s no way he’ll be a closer right off the bat."

Bachanov’s surgery means that the Angels won’t have a single player from the first three rounds of the 2007 draft play a professional game this year. The Angels lost their first-round pick last year to the Rangers as compensation for signing free agent outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., and their second-round pick went to the Blue Jays as compensation for signing righthander Justin Speier. The Angels used their third-round pick to select righthander Matt Harvey, who fell in the draft due to his bonus demands, and he opted to go to college at North Carolina rather than sign. Outfielder Trevor Pippin, who hit .188/.269/.203 in 138 at-bats last year at Rookie-level Orem in his first pro season out of Middle Georgia Junior College, was the Angels’ fourth-rounder.