Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

2020 Draft recap: Los Angeles Angels

Halos manage to fill needs from top of their Draft board
Reid Detmers averaged 19.6 strikeouts per nine innings over four starts in the shortened 2020 season. (University of Louisville)
June 25, 2020

Following the five-round 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft, MiLB.com takes an organization-by-organization look at each pick with help from team scouting executives. For the Angels, there’s an obvious imbalance between position players and pitching in the prospect ranks. Jo Adell, MLB.com’s No. 6 overall prospect, and Brandon Marsh (No. 79

Following the five-round 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft, MiLB.com takes an organization-by-organization look at each pick with help from team scouting executives.

For the Angels, there’s an obvious imbalance between position players and pitching in the prospect ranks. Jo Adell, MLB.com’s No. 6 overall prospect, and Brandon Marsh (No. 79 overall) -- a duo that likely will flank Mike Trout in the Los Angeles outfield sometime in the near future – lead a group of up-and-coming hitters in a system that’s thin on pitching.

It's difficult for a club to bolster weaknesses in their farm system through any one Draft, and it’s especially tough to do so in just five rounds. But it seems that the Angels were able to do just that, assuming they can agree to terms with their picks. In that sense, the Draft couldn't have worked out any better had they come into it dead set on netting a couple of advanced hurlers, which they didn't.

“I always try and go into the Draft with an open mind of not limiting ourselves to one profile of a player,” Angels amateur scouting director Matt Swanson said. “You make, in each round, as good of a selection as you can and trust that all of the work that you put in over the last year set you up to make this selection.”

The Angels had the 10th-lowest bonus pool at $6,397,100, and this precarious position was made even more challenging by the slot value for their No. 10 overall pick: more than 74 percent of that total. Los Angeles ended up with some room in that limited budget after forfeiting its second-round pick with the signing of All-Star third-baseman Anthony Rendon.

First round: LHP Reid Detmers (No. 10 overall) -- Although the Orioles and Marlins threw monkey wrenches into the early picks, the Draft seemed to return to expectations by the time the Angels picked at No. 10.

Detmers figures to become the club’s top pitching prospect the moment he signs. He might just be their top prospect once Adell is inevitably called up. And with the exception of Shohei Ohtani, who bypassed the Minors altogether, he might spend less time as a prospect than any other Minor Leaguer the Angels have had in recent years.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is a throwback, mixing excellent command of a low-90s fastball and looping curveball. He also throws an effective, sinking changeup from a repeatable delivery. Detmers sported a 1.23 ERA with 19.6 strikeouts per nine innings in four starts four Louisville this spring.

“I think how advanced and polished he is, it's a really hard thing to find or at least stumble across. And when you scout him and when you see it, it just jumps out at you,” Swanson said. “This is somebody who is so advanced for his age and for his level. From a live scout standpoint, what you can see, and for somebody who's left-handed and a starting pitcher with that advanced of feel and command and pitch mix and it's just really kind of a special package.”

Although he was the fourth pitcher off the board this year, it’s likely he’s the first from this class to reach the big leagues, considering the Angels' lack of rotation depth. Swanson said that the player’s performance dictates when he's ready to make that leap. But he’s entertained by the idea.

Detmers, a native of Chatham, Illinois, has connections to Adell, a Louisville native and Cardinal commit before being drafted by the Angels, also at No. 10 overall. The two played together in the Area Code Games as high schoolers in 2016.

David Calabrese's 75-grade speed is one of the loudest tools in this year's Draft class. MiLB.com

Third round: OF David Calabrese (No. 82 overall) – Although the club wasn’t looking for a player meeting a specific profile, its first two selections on Day 2 revealed a continuation of the Angels valuing up-the-middle athleticism in recent Drafts.

Calabrese, the highest-ranked Canadian in the Draft, stands out for his 75-grade speed – not unlike 2018 first-rounder Jordyn Adams. His speed gives him a boost on the bases and in center field, and he seems like he has the bat-to-ball skills to develop into a strong hitter.

“[He’s] incredibly young for his Draft class and just a very advanced feel and approach for hitting at such a young age,” Swanson said of the 17-year-old. “It's a really exciting set of tools. With the projection and with the athleticism, there's just plenty to dream on. I think just his base components are really exciting and gives us a lot to work with in player development.”

Calabrese committed to the University of Arkansas, which has produced Andrew Benintendi and 2020 No. 2 overall pick Heston Kjerstad. If the Angels fail to sign him, they’ll get a compensation selection in next year’s Draft.

Fourth round: SS Werner Blakely (No. 111 overall) – Every scouting department faced the same challenges from spring season shutdowns, especially concerning players in cold-weather areas like Detroit, where the season never started. So clubs had to bank on some lucky moments.

One of those happened for Swanson on Super Bowl Sunday when he met Blakely and his family at a showcase event in Chicago. At the time, Swanson certainly didn’t think that it’d be the last chance he’d get to look at the 18-year-old. But it was a worthwhile final step after his department spent years establishing the connection.

“To make a selection on a player that you didn't see this spring, you have to be really comfortable with the work that you've done, from February before that to just trust that the process that you have in place is as airtight as you can make it,” Swanson said.

Blakely has the tools to stick at shortstop. Swanson believes the Michigan teen is built in a similar mold as Calabrese: an athletic presence up the middle of the field with enough bat-to-ball skills to develop into a big-league hitter.

“I don't think the general narrative on those two players is all that far off,” Swanson said.

Adam Seminaris sports a 3.58 ERA in 173 2/3 college innings. Long Beach State University

Fifth round: LHP Adam Seminaris (No. 141 overall) – Although the Angels found what they were looking for in Detmers, they didn’t have to go far to find a pitcher of a similar ilk.

The Angels selected Seminaris -- a Pomona, California, native whom the organization has scouted closely since high school -- from their backyard at Long Beach State. Seminaris is another “pitchability” lefty with good command of a four-pitch mix. His fastball hovers around 90 MPH and he can change speeds well between a curveball and slider, while his changeup grades out as plus. He may not be as effective as Detmers at the moment, but his profile is similar.

“One thing I think both of them do exceedingly well is they're sort of ... greater than their individual parts,” Swanson said. “Their pitches play up against each other with their command and with their feel.”

While he may not have the ace potential that Detmers brings to the system, the 22-year-old has the stuff to move quickly. As of Monday, Seminaris was the only pick to sign with the Angels, taking a bonus around $250,000 below reported slot value.

Overall outlook: If the Angels taking players from two distinct profiles (college lefty and high school athlete) was merely a coincidence, then it was a happy one. Swanson said that a team going out of its way to draft for need is “one of the worst things you can do.” So it was fortuitous that the Angels were able to address their largest deficiency and continue to follow their trend without having to pass on the top names on their Draft board.

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Gerard_Gilberto.