Sports

Angels draft 20 straight pitchers, pass on all belly-itchers

Junior Guerra has 20 new friends in the Angels organization.

Junior Guerra has 20 new friends in the Angels organization.
Photo: Getty Images

Man, if only the Los Angeles Angels could surround Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani with some pitching, then maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t waste their careers.

At least, that’s been the prevailing wisdom. The front office of the Angels took a very unorthodox approach to the MLB draft, clearly knowing that pitching was a need.

With the No. 9 pick in the draft, the Angels selected pitcher Sam Bachman out of the University of Miami Ohio. Then they took Ky Bush, a pitcher out of St. Mary’s, in the second. Okay, smart — address the position of need early with a couple arms. That seems right… maybe now…

Then they took Landon Marceaux, also a pitcher, from LSU in the third. Wow, three straight pitch—

In the fourth round, Vanderbilt’s Luke Murphy, (you guessed it) pitcher.

And then they took 16 more pitchers after that.

I’m not kidding.

In the 20-round MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Angels used all twenty picks on pitchers.

I mean, it makes sense why they would want to address their rotation and bullpen, but every single pick? That seems a bit… excessive? It’s almost like someone in the front office heard the rumblings from outside and said, “Oh yeah, you want pitchers? Here’s your damn pitchers.”

The Angels, as a team, have the fifth-highest ERA in the majors at 4.89, and they currently only have Shohei Ohtani and Patrick Sandoval, with his 3.70 ERA and 2-3 record, under team control beyond this season.

Who knows what the plan is for Ohtani past this year? I’m not sure manager Joe Maddon even knows. Having a plan and knowing how to utilize a player that is unlike any we have ever seen is an impossible task. What happens if Ohtani hurts his elbow while pitching? Can the Angels afford to risk losing his bat in the process? It’s a fine line to walk between allowing the two-way sensation to contribute in all the ways he can, all while attempting to manage the risks of doing so.

Some of these prospects, including first-round selection Sam Bachman, will likely be asked to contribute to the big league club sooner rather than later. In 59.2 innings this year, the hard-throwing righty with a fastball that can touch triple digits posted a 1.81 ERA with 93 strikeouts, allowing only one home run on the season. There’s a lot to like about the 21-year-old.

It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. At least one thing’s for sure — you can’t say the Angels aren’t trying to fix their pitching.

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