The Angels apparently took the criticism of their pitching staff to heart.
During the 2021 MLB Draft, Los Angeles had 20 picks during the 20-round affair. With each selection, the Angels drafted a pitcher. They didn’t take a single position player.
2021 MLB DRAFT: Complete results from all 20 rounds
Los Angeles has long had a problem finding strong starting pitchers, and the problem has reached critical mass in 2021. The team has two of the best players in baseball in its lineup — AL MVP front-runner Shohei Ohtani and three-time MVP Mike Trout — but the pitching just isn’t good enough to make the Angels a playoff contender.
That’s why they’re sitting at 45-44 in fourth place and nine games back of the pace in the AL West. They simply haven’t gotten quality starts from most of their staff. Even Ohtani, who is the starting pitcher for the AL in this year’s All-Star Game, has only started 13 games and pitched 67 innings on the year.
The Angels have a team ERA of 4.89 this season. That ranks fifth-worst in MLB ahead of only the Twins, Royals, Diamondbacks and Orioles. Their pitchers have walked 357 batters (third-most in the league) and no MLB team has fewer than their one shutout.
Needless to say, Los Angeles had to overhaul its pitching staff if it wants to build a contender. As such, investing heavily in pitching makes sense. At least some of the 20 pitching prospects the Angels drafted should pan out. They added quantity, and now they can sort through the prospects in hopes of finding quality.
The Angels are the third team in the past two years to spend their selections exclusively on pitchers. The Marlins and White Sox are the other two and both did so during the 2020 MLB Draft.
Of course, the 2020 draft was only five total rounds. So, the Marlins took home six new pitching prospects while the White Sox ended up with five in the abbreviated draft.
The Angels’ strategy is certainly more bold, but it just might be crazy enough to work.
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