Sam Bachman Could Be On Fast Track To Big Leagues
The Angels drafted Miami (Ohio) righthander Sam Bachman ninth overall in July and believe he has the kind of stuff to put him on a fast track to the big leagues.
The burly 6-foot-1, 235-pound righthander generates natural movement with a fastball that touches 100 mph. He throws what he calls a “tight, gyroscopic-spinning slider that falls off the table” and induces ground balls, and he has an improving changeup that will be a critical third pitch.
His college coach Danny Hayden thinks Bachman could be on a warp-speed track to Anaheim, saying Bachman could pitch in a big league bullpen right now, an opinion Bachman did not dispute.
“I do believe that’s a very realistic thing that could happen, and I’m comfortable doing it,” said Bachman, who signed for an under-slot bonus of $3.85 million.
If the Angels were leading the division or in the thick of the playoff race in early August, they might have considered Bachman for a relief or even setup role, much like they used a 20-year-old Francisco Rodriguez during their World Series run in 2002.
But with the Angels far out of contention, there is no need to rush the 21-year-old Bachman. Angels scouting director Matt Swanson is emphatic in his belief that Bachman’s combination of velocity, movement and ability to rack up ground balls as well as strikeouts are a perfect fit for the rotation, so he will be developed as a starter.
Bachman was dominant during a junior season in which he recorded a 1.81 ERA in 12 starts and struck out 93 in 59.2 innings. He ranked second in the nation with a 0.77 WHIP.
He relied predominantly on his fastball and slider in college, but much of his early focus in Arizona will be on the development of his changeup.
“I think the right-on-right changeup is the comfort level I’m trying to get to right now,” Bachman said. “I think it’s the true equalizer, the best pitch in baseball in the big leagues, and it gets a lot of good hitters out, especially when they’re geared up for mid-to-upper 90s."
— The Angels' big league roster has been thin on high-end pitching for the past five years, so the organization used all 20 of its draft picks on pitchers in 2021. The group is likely split 50-50 in terms of potential starters and relievers.
“It’s a commodity you can’t have enough of,” Swanson said. “Just go all out on that.”
The Angels signed 19 of their 20 picks. Their lone holdout was Texas Christian righthander Marcelo Perez, who was selected in the 20th round.