Angels mix it up, add a two-way opportunity with MLB traction

Angels added variety to the types of players they selected in this year’s amateur draft.

The team used all of their 20 pitchers last year. They have acquired more position players this year as well as two two-way players, although only one was chosen specifically as a two-way player.

However, according to the team’s director of scouting, the selection of more position players was not a deliberate deviation from selecting only pitchers. Tim McIlwainwho brought up the topic 1 day draft.

“Every draft is unique,” McIlwain said Sunday. “I think as the draft happens organically, you end up going down different paths. Maybe we’ll take 10 more bats, or maybe we’ll take all the pitchers for the rest of the journey. I do not know yet.

“It’s going to be just the guy we think is the best player on our board.”

On the first day the angels chose Zach Neto, shortstop from Campbell University, with number 1. 13th pick. Neto, who is of Cuban ancestry and hails from Miami, has a two-way background and was even compared to Shohei Otani in college in that regard.

Neto has no plans to be a two-way player at the professional level – and McIlwaine confirmed that the Angels intend to use him as a shortstop – but said he would pick up the pitch again if ever needed.

Neto described himself as a “boastful gambler” with great confidence. He used a chip on his shoulder that he developed after being dropped from high school in 2019 to become a stronger and more mature athlete in college.

McIlwain said the Angels had been following Neto for several years and they knew that when they came to this draft, he was who they really wanted, praising his athleticism, especially his body control. He also said that the Angels like that, despite his size, Neto swings the bat, hits hard and has a good feel for the strike zone.

“He has a lot to like,” McIlwain said.

Neto, who was one of eight prospects present at the first day of the draft at Xbox Plaza in LA Live, said he knew he was on the Angels’ radar for their first pick. He did not know that it was they who chose him when his adviser Gavin Kahn told him that he was being chosen.

“It came as a surprise to me, too,” Neto said. “I knew that I would be called. I didn’t know where, but I’m glad they were Angels.”

The Angels picked up two pitchers, Ben Joyce and Jake Madden, in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, and first baseman, Sonny DiCiara, in the fifth.

They drafted two more pitchers at sixth and seventh (Victor Mederos and Roman Fansalkar), a two-wayer at eighth (Dylan Phillips), an outfielder at ninth (Joe Stewart), and another first baseman at 10th (Matt Coutney). .