Angels finish draft with a load of arms
Pitching was the priority on final day of selections
The Angels continued to compile a bevy of pitchers on the second day of the First-Year Player Draft, but unlike Day 1, the club selected a majority of its 32 picks Wednesday from the college ranks.
Pitchers accounted for 19 of the Halos Day 2 selections, while the team also took six outfielders, four infielders and three catchers. Over both days, the Angels added 29 potential new hurlers into their farm system and 17 position players.
"We are very excited about the guys we got," director of scouting Eddie Bane said. "It's Christmas for scouts."
While the team took eight high school players on Tuesday, the Angels took just seven on Day 2. They mainly bulked up with more experienced players, selecting 15 from four-year colleges and 10 from community colleges.
Picking older players on the draft's second day is the general trend because they are easier to sign, which helps fill out minor league rosters.
"You know you are going to take guys second day that can help [Rookie League Orem Owlz Manager] Tom Kotchman along and help us all throughout the system and hopefully they turn into prospects," Bane said.
Hyun Choi "Hank" Conger was the Angels No. 1 choice. The catcher from Huntington Beach was taken with the 25th pick, a position the Angels got as compensation from Cleveland for losing free agent pitcher Paul Byrd.
The Angels lost their own pick, the 26th, to the Dodgers for signing Jeff Weaver.
Another highlight of Day 1 was outfielder Jarrad Page, a four-year starting strong safety from UCLA. He was taken in the seventh round. Outfielder Clay Fuller, younger brother of Angels' minor league outfielder Cody Fuller, was selected in the fourth round.
The Halos took a few more two-sport athletes on Day 2 when they picked pitchers Jacob Locker (40th round) and Jon Plefka (47th round). Locker starred at quarterback for Ferndale High School and Plefka, from Texas Tech, also plays center for Bobby Knight's Red Raiders.
Locker is a player that the Angels drafted simply because of his uncapped potential, even though he is likely to honor his football scholarship to Washington.
"We understand that he is one of the top three or four athletes in the entire country," Bane said of Locker. "He's very gifted in our sport and might even be more gifted in football. We want to let him know we're interested in him and if he's interested in us then we'll certainly accommodate him."
Like several other players who have signed with four-year schools, such as third-round pick Russell Moldenhauer (Texas) and Fuller (Baylor), the Halos will lose rights on Locker if he plays for the Huskies.
If a high school player attends a community college, however, the Angels still retain rights over him until next May. Sometimes teams will tell draftees to spend a season at community college, so they can get a better idea of their talent level and offer a more justifiable signing bonus.
Other times, as with Sean O'Sullivan -- a 2005 third-round draft pick who waited until the final hours to sign with the Angels -- players will use a year in community college to try and command a higher bonus.
The Halos ended the two-day draft with three pairs of teammates.
Right-handed pitcher Charles Brewer, the 18th-round pick, joined his Chaparral High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.) pitching mate Jason Jarvis (25th round), both left-handed pitcher Blake Holler (13th round) and second baseman Chris Lewis (32nd round) were selected from Stanford and outfielder Brian Hobbs (41st round) and right-handed pitcher Dwain Green (44th round) were teammates for Chipola College.
Bane said the Angels have yet to sign any of their 49 draftees, but are close to completing contract agreements with most of their high picks.
The Angels selected eight players from Southern California: Conger, Page, left-hander Robert Fish (sixth round) from Miller High in Fontana; and left-handed pitcher Nate Boman (ninth round) from the University of San Diego were all taken on Day 1.
The club followed on Wednesday by selecting outfielder Christopher Pettit (19th round) from Loyola Marymount, catcher John Curtis (24th round) from nearby Cal State Fullerton, Douglas Brandt (43rd round) from Cal State San Bernardino and Abraham Gonzalez (48th round) Coachella Valley High School.
"We want to be the best team in Southern California. We want to prove that on the field," Bane said. "We want to be the best in the Minors and throughout the organization."
Here is an up-close look at the Angels' Day 1 picks:
1st round, 25th overall: Hank Conger, S/R, C, 6-0, 205, Huntington Beach HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Conger hit .449 with 11 homers and 27 RBIs to lead the team. He also led the Oilers with 25 runs scored and seven doubles in 78 at-bats.
3rd round, 102nd overall: Russell Moldenhauer, L/R, OF, 5-11, 200 Boerne HS, Boene, Texas
Moldenhauer hit five home runs, drove in 21 RBIs and scored 25 runs for the Greyhounds. The left-handed hitter has committed to the University of Texas and led his high school squad to a 26-10-1, second-place finish in his senior year.
4th round, 132nd overall: Clayton Fuller, S/R, OF, 6-2, 180, Smithson Valley HS, Bulverde, Texas
Fuller led all of Region IV (Texas) with 48 runs and completed his senior season with six home runs and 24 RBIs. He also pitched in high school and has orally committed to play for Baylor next season.
5th round, 162nd overall: Kenneth Herndon, R/R, RHP, 6-5, 200, Gulf Coast CC, Southport, Fla.
Herndon was drafted for the third time on Tuesday. He was tabbed by the Royals in the 38th round out of high school and last year the Twins took him in the 23rd round. Herndon went 10-0 mark and 2.15 ERA, 59 strikeouts and four complete games this season.
6th round, 192nd overall: Robert Fish, L/L, LHP, 6-2, 215, AB Miller HS, San Bernardino, Calif.
Fish had an 8-4 record while striking out 102 batters and walking 28 in 69 2/3 innings in his senior year with six complete games and one shutout.
7th round, 222nd overall: Jarrad Page, S/R, OF, 6-1, 205, UCLA
Page not only played outfield for the Bruins; he was their starting strong safety. Page was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh and final round of April's NFL Draft. Page hit .195 in two years at UCLA, with four home runs, 28 RBIs and 37 runs scored.
8th round 252nd overall: Matthew Sweeney, R/L, 1B, 6-3, 210, Magruder HS, Rockville Md.
Sweeney hit .600 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI. He also struck out just once in 77 plate appearances. Sweeney, who hit .463 as a junior with six homers and 28 RBIs, has signed to play with Potomac State next season.
9th round, 282nd overall: Nathan Boman, L/L, LHP, 6-0, 180, USD
Boman didn't play his junior year after shoulder surgery cut short his sophomore season. He struck out 122 batters in 99 innings with six saves in his collegiate career. The Angels also drafted Boman with their 39th-round pick in 2003.
10th round, 312nd overall: Leonardo Calderon, L/L, LHP, Lake City CC, Loaiza, Puerto Rico
Calderon posted an 8-3 record in 2006. He appeared both as a starter and reliever and ended with a 3.29 ERA, including 89 strikeouts and 51 walks in 66 innings, and held batters to just a .201 clip against him.
11th round 342nd overall: David Pellegrine, L/R, RHP, 6-4, 195, Northeastern
Pellegrine posted a 6-5 record with 69 strikeouts and 42 walks in 92 1/3 innings last season and ended his college career with an overall 12-8 mark and a 4.26 ERA.
12th round, 372nd overall: Jordan Walden, R/R, RHP, 6-4, 215, Mansfield High School, Mansfield, Texas
Walden has the size the power to dominate. He's been clocked as high as 97 mph and mixes in a good curve. He was slowed by a groin injury this past season.
13th round, 402nd overall: Blake Holler, L/L, LHP, 6-4, 180, Stanford
Holler amassed an 11-5 record in his Cardinal career, sporting a 4.58 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 52 walks in 132 2/3 innings primarily as a reliever. Holler's best year was his sophomore campaign when he was 5-2 with a 3.48 ERA, one save and 51 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.
14th round, 432nd overall: Chris Armstrong, L/L, LHP, 5-9, 170, Owasso HS, Owasso, Okla.
Armstrong struck out 503 batters in 303 1/3 innings and walked 117 in his high school career, compiling a 40-4 mark and 2.10 ERA. The left-hander started the state title game in each of his four years at Owasso and won two of them --- in 2003 and 2004.
15th round 462nd, overall: Scott Knazek, R/R, C, 6-1, 215, Rider U.
Knazek scored a team-high 47 runs in 2006 with 34 RBIs and four home runs. He also threw out 21 of 39 baserunners. The right-hander hit .285 at Rider, with a season high of .316 during his sophomore year.
16th round, 492nd overall: Scott Carroll, R/R, RHP, 6-5, 200, Southwest Missouri State
Carroll played both football and baseball last season. The redshirt sophomore was a transfer from Purdue and compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.73 ERA, a complete game, 55 strikeouts and 32 walks in his first season with the Bears. He's been clocked in the mid-90s and also throws a splitter and a curveball.
17th round, 522nd overall: Tadd Brewer, R/R, 2B, 6-2, 190, Lipscomb U.
Brewer hit .266 in his senior season with a team-high 35 RBIs, nine stolen bases and 22 errors.
18th round, 552nd overall: Charles Brewer, R/R, RHP, 6-2, 180, Chaparral HS, Paradise Valley, Calif.
Brewer, no relation to Tadd, did not lose in 18 decisions in his high school career and went 11-0 with a 1.51 ERA as a senior. Brewer struck out 54 batters in 69 innings and committed to play for UCLA.