2010 Draft Review: AL West by Bryan Smith August 19, 2010 The series continues. LOS ANGELES ANGELS Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 9. Highest Bonus Awarded: Kaleb Cowart, Georgia HS, 18th overall. College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 3 college, 6 HS, 1 JC. Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 5/5. Notable Performances Thus Far: Here’s what happens when you start your draft with five high school picks: you have a talented, but underperforming, team in the complex league. This is certainly no exception with the Angels given the struggles of Chevez Clarke (.325 wOBA), Taylor Lindsey (.299 wOBA), Wendell Soto (.325 wOBA) and Ryan Bolden (.248 wOBA) in their professional debuts … On the good side is second-round pick Daniel Tillman, who is closing for the man that drafted him, Tom Kotchman. Tillman has been dominant in the role, striking out 32 of the 82 batters he’s faced, while allowing just 20 to reach base. Thoughts: The Angels farm system was pretty good before June, but with five picks in the first 40, this draft offered the opportunity to completely restock the shelves. Los Angeles took a really interesting approach to their multitude of picks: spending $6.2 million on five high school players. The team is clearly willing to take a couple busts in the name of adding a couple star players. While I like the picks to have a more diverse pedigree, it’s certainly a defensible approach. Cowart is certainly one capable of being a star, and after the first round, the team did go with some college pitchers with a little higher floor. OAKLAND ATHLETICS Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10. Highest Bonus Awarded: Michael Choice, UT Arlington, of, 10th overall. College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 5 college, 4 HS, 1 JC. Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 3/7. Notable Performances Thus Far: Michael Choice is just 11 games into his first stint, in the Northwest League, and he’s been exactly the player he was in college: 17 strikeouts, 8 extra-base hits, 6 walks in 53 plate appearances. Choice is a Three True Outcome player through and through. Thoughts: I really liked the A’s first two picks this year, and then after, I couldn’t find a lot to get excited about. Choice is athletic, powerful, but also has an understanding for the strike zone. If the team can cut his strikeouts down even a little — he’ll always be a high-K guy — he could absolutely take off. In the second round, the team drafted and signed Florida prep infielder Yordy Cabrera. He’s older than most high school picks at age 19, but his tools are first round caliber. After that, the team spent more than $150,000 on just three players, all high school picks that weren’t considered elite talents. One of them might ultimately be successful, but even that’s optimistic. After Choice and Cabrera, the draft is littered with potential relievers and bench players. SEATTLE MARINERS Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 8. Highest Bonus Awarded: Marcus Littlewood, Utah HS, ss, 67th overall. College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 5 college, 4 HS, 1 JC. Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 5/5. Notable Performances Thus Far: The highest pick with regular playing time so far is fifth-rounder Stephen Pryor, who has 16 relief appearances under his belt between the Northwest and Midwest Leagues. Pryor has been excellent, striking out 37 batters over 24.2 innings. He should move quickly next season … Mickey Wiswall has split his season in the same way as Pryor, and been just as effective through almost 110 plate appearances: .297/.339/.604. Thoughts: While James Paxton has yet to sign, the Mariners spent more than $200,000 on just three players this season, and didn’t eclipse the $1 million threshold on anyone, which is principally because the team didn’t draft until 43rd overall, and drafted a player there (Taijuan Walker) without a college commitment. In the next round, the team drafted Marcus Littlewood — who some had talked about as a first-round pick — and bought him away from his college commitment. Missing third-round pick Ryne Stanek is a bummer, but mitigated by the fact that 16th rounder Jordan Shipers took $800,000 to sign. Assuming Paxton does sign, this team will likely end up with four solid talents for less than $3.5 million. They got good value, but they don’t have one of the league’s great talent hauls. TEXAS RANGERS Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10. Highest Bonus Awarded: Jake Skole, Georgia HS, of, 15th overall. College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 4/6. Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6. Notable Performances Thus Far: The team has been pretty aggressive with Skole, sending the 18-year-old to the college-heavy Northwest League. But he’s held his own there, posting a .322 wOBA, but showing a nice 10.1 BB%. … It hasn’t gone as well at that level for Canadian Kellin Deglan, who has a .470 OPS in 10 NWL games. I don’t know why he was promoted from the complex league, where he hit just .286/.355/.357 in 10 games. … Ex-UConn third baseman Mike Olt is a little better fit for the NWL, and it shows: he has a .400 wOBA through 238 plate appearances. Thoughts: Like the Angels, Texas was busy early in the draft, with four picks in the top 50. Also like LA, the team opted for high school talents early, drafting six of their first 7 players out of high school. But the team did commit money to the college side: Olt was a supplemental first round guy, and the team went above slot to sign enigmatic college pitchers Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch. The current depth of the Rangers farm system allows them to gamble a little bit on draft day. For a team that was facing such financial questions in June, spending this much on the draft was a welcome surprise. Favorite AL West Draft: Texas. Least Favorite: Seattle.