Whicker: Angels’ pitching mess caused by many whiffs in the draft

The Dodgers weren’t the only history makers this fall.

The Angels closed their fifth consecutive sub-.500 season. However you look at the hors d’oeuvre of 60 games, they had never done that before.

In related news, the Angels were 13th in the American League in terms of gait prevention. They have risen tenth or worse four times in the past seven seasons. In WHIP (walks and singles per innings pitched), the Angels were eighth or worse five times in the past eight seasons.

In other related news, the Angels chose 80 pitchers in the first 20 rounds of the 2011-18 drafts. Nineteen of them have thrown at least one game in the major leagues.

But only Griffin Canning and Nick Maronde have started a game for the Angels, and 48 of them were out of baseball in 2019.

Maronde was the Angels’ best choice in 2011, followed by Mike Clevinger. The Angels traded Clevinger to Cleveland for Vinnie Pestano, and Clevinger, now in San Diego, has 92 Major League-starts and a record of 44-23.

There are some caveats. Canning was one of only three second-round picks on that list. The lone first-rounder was Sean Newcomb. The Angels got a short stop Andrelton Simmons from Atlanta in exchange for Newcomb, and you’d call that a bargain if the Angels could have won with Simmons.

Most teams routinely swing and miss when they line up pitchers. But there was a time when the angels didn’t.

In 2009 they chose Tyler Skaggs, Garrett Richards and Patrick Corbin. In 1999 they chose John Lackey. In 2000 they chose Bobby Jenks. Corbin (Washington), Lackey (Angels) and Jenks (White Sox) all pitched in the World Series clinching games.

In 2002, they took on Joe Saunders, and in 2004, they chose Jered Weaver and Nick Adenhart, reaching deep to sign pitcher / first baseman Mark Trumbo. And in 2007 they drafted Matt Harvey, although he didn’t sign.

Nevertheless, scouting directors Bob Fontaine and Eddie Bane were dismissed. They don’t come back through it.

It’s also true that drafting is just one leg on the crutch, and the Angels, like most teams, have revered weapons signed from the Caribbean. Billy Eppler, the general manager that that was replaced by Perry Minasian, second-round Kyle Bradish and three other arms traded to Baltimore for Dylan Bundy, one of baseball’s best comeback stories in 2020.

“Chris Rodriguez’s talent (fourth round pick, 2016) is real,” said manager Joe Maddon. Patrick Sandoval (acquired from Houston) is the same way. (Reid) Detmers is very polished coming out of college (Louisville). ”

Still, Minasian’s Job One is unmistakable.

“We also had problems developing pitchers with the Cubs,” said Maddon. “It comes down to the reviewers. You need a cross checker, a man with a good track record. When I was at Tampa Bay they developed really good turns. They emphasized clean deliveries and then learned fastball, changeup, curve. Then you evaluate work ethic and makeup. They are also important.

‘I’d like to see us move away from the concept of limiting innings because we can hurt people. They get hurt anyway. You can’t push them too quickly. They have to throw innings in the minors, develop and dominate, and not just for a year. In this way they learn how to be starters and pitch deep into games. That’s how you develop good bullpens by having tall starters. We have some interesting arms. They must be nurtured. ”

Below that, there are sabotage forces, outside of MLB’s control.

“We have these showcases and travel ball teams,” said Maddon. “The goal is to be best-in-show instead of being part of a winner. You pay to be part of a team, rather than representing your city or region. The only goal should be to win. If you do that well, you will be seen by the scouts. This method we have is quite repugnant. She is only taught to be the best pitcher in the showcase. ”

Maddon also says the ball should be deactivated because “not so tall second basemen should not hit homers from the opposite field.” But he also thinks Wall Ball has reached its peak.

“Everyone wants to swing and miss it,” Maddon said. “The hitters have adapted to increased speed. If pitchers go back to the sinker under the hands, batters will have to adjust back. I really think real baseball is about to make a comeback. The Giants won three World Series by playing it. ”

Signing Trevor Bauer, National League Cy Young Award winner, would put the Angels back in the arms race. But their fans must recognize that climbing the tree takes longer than falling.