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ANGELS FYI

Angels' draft picks signal shift toward more advanced college players

New scouting director Ric Wilson says it doesn't necessarily signal a shift, but Angels' first 10 picks are all college players. In 2010, team used seven of first 10 picks on high school players.

June 07, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • The Angels selected Utah first baseman C.J. Cron in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft on Monday.
The Angels selected Utah first baseman C.J. Cron in the first round of the… (Bob Levey / Getty Images )

New scouting director Ric Wilson said Monday's selection of Utah slugger C.J. Cron in the first round didn't necessarily signal a shift in the team's draft strategy away from high school players and toward more advanced college players.

But Wilson's actions seem to be speaking much louder than those words.

USC pitchers Austin Wood and Logan Odom were among the 23 college or community college players the Angels selected with their first 29 picks of the draft, which ran through the 30th round Tuesday.

Wood, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander who had a 5.64 earned-run average with 50 strikeouts and 34 walks in 77 innings this season, was picked in the sixth round.

Odom, a 6-6, 240-pound right-hander who had a 3.96 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 38 walks in 84 innings, was picked in the eighth round.

All of the Angels' first 10 picks, including Florida left-hander Nick Maronde (third round), Seminole State College right-hander Michael Clevinger (fourth round) and Northeast Texas Community College outfielder Andrew Ray (fifth round), are college players.

The list includes ninth-round pick Nicholas Mutz, a right-hander who played the 2010 season at Dakota State in Madison, S.D., and is on the roster of a Cape Cod League team this summer.

Under previous scouting director Eddie Bane, whose preference for high-risk, high-reward type players led him to more raw-tooled high school kids, the Angels used seven of their first 10 picks of the 2010 draft on high school players.

Among the Angels' other picks on the second day of the draft Tuesday were UC Riverside shortstop Trevor Hairgrove, who was a high school teammate of pitcher Tyler Chatwood, and UC Irvine third baseman Brian Hernandez. Hairgrove was picked in the 18th round and Hernandez in the 27th round.

The team used its seventh-round pick on catcher Abel Baker of Grayson Community College in Denton, Texas, the same school Angels closer Jordan Walden and former ace John Lackey attended.

Tapping Wells

To say Vernon Wells felt a sense of urgency to return to a lineup that has been struggling to score runs and hit in the clutch would be an understatement.

"I felt a need to get back the day after I hurt myself," said Wells, who was activated and started in center field Tuesday night after missing almost a month because of a right groin strain.

"You go through periods like this on offense. We just need some small things to go right and to get the ball rolling, and hopefully tonight will be a start."

Though Wells hit only .183 with four home runs and 13 runs batted in before he got hurt, "I think I can bring some things to the team that can help move us forward," he said. "Part of my job is to be a spark plug."

Short hops

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, when asked Tuesday whether managing against Joe Maddon, who was Scioscia's bench coach for six years before taking the Rays job, is like managing against himself. "Just a smarter version." … To make room for Wells on the roster, the Angels optioned utility player Alexi Amarista to triple-A Salt Lake.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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