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2016 Draft Report Card: Los Angeles Angels

BEST PURE HITTER: Angels scouts didn’t have C/1B Matt Thaiss (1) shoved up their boards, but the club’s analytics had him as one of the best hitters available in the draft class. He hit .348 with 20 homers over his final two seasons at Virginia with more walks (72) than strikeouts (42) thanks to pitch recognition, bat speed and strength that are all above-average. 2B Jordan Zimmerman (7) also has above-average hitting potential thanks to a simple, direct righthanded swing and plate discipline.

Best Power Hitter: Thaiss has above-average power potential. Early pro reports on his power were mixed, but his amateur track record, with wood and metal, speaks to 18-22 home run potential.

Fastest Runner: OF Brandon Marsh (2) and SS Nonie Williams (3) both are plus runners, as is OF Brennan Lund (11). Lund, a potential above-average hitter as well, knows how to use his speed more at this time.

Best Defensive Player: SS Connor Justus (5) and C Michael Barash (9) were college players with polished defensive tools who hit just enough to get into the top 10 rounds. Barash’s blocking, receiving and pitch presentation are ahead of his fringy throwing arm. Justus has steady rather than flashy shortstop actions and tools.

Best Fastball: RHP Chris Rodriguez (4) pitched his way into the top five rounds with a strong performance at Florida’s high school all-star weekend, showing a 93-95 mph fastball. His fastball has a bit more life and plane than that of 5-foot-9 RHP Mike Kaelin (15), who can reach the mid-90s. RHP Blake Smith (29) also has reached 92-94 and touching 95 in short relief outings.

Best Secondary Pitch: Rodriguez has a hard slider that resembles a cutter with short, late break and power. With refinement, it projects as a second plus pitch for him, though his delivery has effort in it.

Best Pro Debut: Thaiss hit .292/.361/.462 in 264 at-bats, most of them coming at low Class A Burlington, while shifting full-time to first base. SS/2B Keith Grieshaber (16) has an aggressive approach but hit .317/.362/.405 between two Rookie-level stops.

Best Athlete: Williams gets a slight edge over Marsh, but both provide the kind of athleticism the Angels’ organization and big league team lack. Williams is raw but has a lively 6-foot-2, 200-pound body and could stick at shortstop with refinement, though he’ll need time. Marsh has more power, earning Colby Rasmus comparisons.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Torii Hunter (23), son of the retired big leaguer and ex-Angel, plays more wide receiver at Notre Dame than baseball. He signed for $100,000 but didn’t play this summer for the Angels.

Closest To The Majors: Thaiss fits the John Jaso/Scott Hatteberg profile as an OBP-first first baseman and will move as fast as bis bat will take him.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Angels bought C Jack Kruger (20) out of another year at Mississippi State with a $395,000 bonus. His bat’s ahead of his glove and he was more of a  DH for the Bulldogs. Lund was one of the better college outfielders available but slipped to the 11th round despite having fourth-outfielder tools.

The One Who Got Away: SS David Hamilton (28), another plus athlete and runner, was a star prep quarterback who headed to Texas to play baseball.

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