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Los Angeles Angels 2022 MLB Draft Report Card

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Best Pure Hitter: The Angels signed SS Zach Neto (1) for $3.5 million with the 13th pick of the draft and aggressively pushed him to Double-A Rocket City, after just seven games with High-A Tri-City. He hit well in 30 games at the Double-A level, slashing .320/.382/.492 with four home runs and nine doubles. How Neto progresses as a hitter will be fascinating, as his swing employs plenty of noise and moving parts but it always worked well for him at Campbell.

Best Power Hitter: Neto (1) likely has the best accessible game power of the Angels draft class. Amateur scouts evaluated him with above-average future power. In terms of raw power, that could belong to 1B Luke Franzoni (19). The former Xavier player smashed 29 homers during the 2022 college season—second to only Texas 1B Ivan Melendez for the Division I lead. The Angels believe Franzoni has some of the best raw power in the entire system.

Fastest Runner: There are more hulking sluggers than burners in this Los Angeles draft class, but the group likes the wheels of OF Joe Stewart (9), who signed for $7,500 as a 24-year-old senior sign. Stewart stole 28 bags in 34 tries (82.4%) throughout his college career at Michigan State and Michigan and played all three outfield positions with High-A Tri-City in his pro debut. He’s a well above-average runner.

Best Defensive Player: Neto (1) was one of the better defensive shortstops in the college class. He has played all over the infield in the past, but in 2022 was Campbell’s everyday shortstop and showed impressive defensive actions, hands and enough range to stick at the position. His biggest asset defensively is a big arm (he touched 93 mph on the mound) that allows him to make difficult plays deep in the hole.

Best Fastball: Imagine drafting RHP Ben Joyce (3) and not having him win this category. Joyce has one of the most impressive fastballs in amateur baseball history after sitting at 101 mph as a reliever with Tennessee and touching 105.5. It’s truly elite velocity and the only thing preventing it from being an 80-grade pitch would be his control and the shape of the pitch. He cut his walk rate in a brief, 13-inning pro debut with Double-A Rocket City and generated whiffs at a 33% rate with the heater.

Best Secondary Pitch: Some amateur scouts actually liked Joyce’s (3) slider more than his fastball, but RHP Jake Madden (4) also has a pair of promising secondaries between his mid-to-upper-80s slider and a changeup in the same velo range.

Best Pro Debut: Neto’s (1) performance across two levels is encouraging for an up-the-middle player who was drafted in the first round. Between High-A and Double-A, Neto posted a 129 wRC+ and was three years younger than the average hitter in the Southern League. 1B/OF Tucker Flint (13) played 30 games at Low-A Inland Empire and slashed .287/.443/.455 with three home runs, eight doubles, a 142 wRC+ and a 17% walk rate.

Best Athlete: Stewart (9) is a 6-foot-4, 207-pound center fielder who moves around the outfield well and has impressive speed—as mentioned above. The Angels are high on his athleticism and believe he has flashed above-average raw power as well, making him an intriguing and toolsy older prospect if he can make more contact.

Most Intriguing Background: OF/LHP Dylan Phillips (8) played both ways for Kansas State, but most amateur scouts expected a team to sign him on the basis of his offensive potential. The Angels are continuing to develop him as a two-way player. He slashed .277/.390/.426 with a 127 wRC+ between the Arizona Complex League and the Northwest League in a 21-game pro debut, while also throwing 8.1 innings out of the bullpen with an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Closest To The Majors: Neto (1) already has a taste of the upper minors in his first abbreviated pro season and has the sort of skill set and overall polish that could allow him to move quickly. He’s the most talented and advanced player in this Angels draft class. Given Joyce’s (3) pure stuff, it would also be unsurprising if he moved quickly as long as he’s around the strike zone.

Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): The Angels pulled some creative financial maneuvering to sign RHP Caden Dana (11) on the third day of the draft for $1.5 million. Dana ranked as the No. 76 prospect in the class and was a top-three round talent who pitched well in the Arizona Complex League for three brief starts, posting a 1.35 ERA over 6.2 innings while striking out six and walking none. He pitched in one game with Inland Empire at the Low-A level and got hit around, but is one of the most talented players to sign in the 11-20 round range in 2022. A more typical “late round” player the Angels like is RHP Max Gieg (18), who signed for $125,000 and touched 99 mph in his pro debut while showing progress with a slider. 

The One Who Got Away: C Sabin Ceballos (14) was the only player in the class who the Angels didn’t sign.

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