By Taylor Blake Ward, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer
1st Round, 11th Overall: Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic
Schanuel was the best performer across Division-1 baseball in 2023, barely missing out on the slash line Triple Crown, leading the nation in on-base percentage, falling just .002 short of the batting title, and .047 short of the slugging title which went to a player at the high-elevation Brigham Young. Regardless of falling short of a fun title, Schanuel put up video game numbers slashing .447/.615/.868 with 71 walks to 14 strikeouts and 19 home runs to boot, leading to plenty of first-round chatter and the eventual 11th overall selection by the Angels. Schanuel's offensive operation begins with an unorthodox setup with a high hand load and exaggerated leg kick (though not to point of Zach Neto, Josh Donaldson, Bo Bichette, etc.). It's a load you'd likely see more overseas in Asia, but Schanuel does a fine job of keeping his body and swing in sync throughout the process putting him in a good hitting position at separation. As he comes out of his load, Schanuel has a balanced uphill swing from the left side with some explosion to the ball. He has shown good barrel control with above-average bat speed, giving him an above-average or plus future hit tool and with the present physical maturation to his six-foot-four, 220-pound frame with natural strength average-or-better power projection. Schanuel is a highly disciplined hitter who has an excellent eye for the zone, who rarely chases out of the zone and can punish pitches in the zone, with an approach that helped carry him into first-round status. There were questions about Schanuel's actual hit tool -- particularly with a wood bat -- after hitting just .200 in 125 at bats in the Cape Cod League in 2022 and coming from a mid-major conference with limited velocity. However, Schanuel had a realization that something was off and had an eye doctor appointment that led to an Astigmatism diagnosis and a corrective contact placed in his right eye in January of 2023. Schanuel noted his vision went to four-dimensional status from that point and he felt like a new hitter which should give more confidence in his long-term ability to hit. He also has a short track record against some major programs, albeit coming from midweek games and lesser on-mound prospects. An average runner, Schanuel has enough speed to keep catchers honest but likely will never be a double-digit base stealer. The Angels will hold Schanuel to first base at least until instructional league where he could see time in the corner outfield. Schanuel is a good defender at the bag and has some athleticism that could lead to corner versatility, with personal comments about hoping to be a utility man at the next level with time at third and second base, though the Angels did not express those similar feelings initially. With so much promise on the bat, Schanuel is a high-floor type collegiate with outstanding performances under his belt and hopes that everything will translate to become a middle-of-the-order hitter in the future. For the comparison crowd, it's challenging to tab Schanuel down to a modern-day player but there was a sound comparison made by Joe Doyle of FSS Plus in a Nathaniel Lowe profile (see comp below).
Nate Lowe/Nolan Schanuel comparison
Munetaka Murakami/Nolan Schanuel comparison
Tim McIlvaine on Nolan Schanuel: "Nolan did a lot of things that we really liked and that we sought out to look for. He's got power. He can hit. He knows the zone. He's very patient. He doesn't get himself out. He rarely ever strikes out. Took a lot of walks this year, had a lot of extra-base hits, and can hit the ball over the wall. He's a good player. He's a really good baseball mind when you sit down and talk to him. He understands hitting. He understands his swing. He understands what he's trying to do at the plate and what makes him successful. There's a lot of pieces that go into it but first and foremost we liked his bat. We think he's going to be a pretty good hitter for us... This guy is wired right. I think he's a really good competitor. He really wants to win. He's made himself better and he's going to make us better. He really makes you like him."
Nolan Schanuel 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 289 PA, .447/.615/.868, 70 R, 19 HR, 64 RBI, 14 SB, 24.6 BB%, 4.8 K%
Note: Carlos Collazo of Baseball America has reported that Schanuel has signed with Angels for slot value, $5,253,000, which is a new record bonus for any Angels draftee by $583,000 (Reid Detmers, 2020).
3rd Round, 79th Overall: Alberto Rios, 3B, Stanford
Rios spent his first two years at Stanford as a bullpen catcher who received eight total plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, reaching base once. His junior season, the Cardinal put him in their starting lineup and all he did was hit, and hit, and hit, to a point of outperforming his first-round teammate Tommy Troy and earn him Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. Rios sets up with a rhythmic hand load and great balance as he turns and extends. He has a compact cut from the right side with some quick explosion and a great ability to find the barrel letting his natural strength drive the ball to all fields. He has solid zone coverage and pitch recognition, which aids to his hitability where he rarely chases and has shown the ability to hit higher velocity and adjust to off-speed. With his solid pitch recognition, Rios is a disciplined hitter with zone awareness and should be able to keep his swing-and-miss in check consistently aiding to his hit tool which projects above-average. There is some thud in his compact six-foot, 203-pound frame and his natural strength with average-or-above bat speed has allowed him to frequently tap into his power which plays to all fields and easy projection to see 15-20 home runs annually. There is plenty of faith in Rios' ability to hit, but that same faith is not shared in the other facets of his game. Rios is a below-average runner who is more of a grinding baserunner and though he has some active feet in the outfield, his limited speed and fringy arm make him a below-average fielder in left field where he spent the majority of his time with Stanford in 2023. The Angels opted to take him away from the outfield and selected him as a third baseman -- where he played as a prep -- where his feet may play a bit better but still with a below-average projection (the Angels worked him out at second base during a private workout). Rios has spent some time catching and has some raw receiving skills that make him a fascinating development project behind the dish, though the Angels will hold out until at least Instructional League before putting him there, if they do. Rios has shown a strong arm in glimpses, but it is mostly graded as fringy or below while his throwing mechanics would need attention to stick at catcher with the modern game leaning to more base stealing. If Rios can catch, his profile could have a meteoric rise as an above-average hitting catcher, but the likelihood is that the Angels will need to focus one defensive home whether it be third base, second base, left field, or catching (likely in that order) to capitalize on a special bat that could play as an everyday regular.
Tim McIlvaine on Alberto Rios: “It’s a neat story with him. He was recruited by (Stanford). Got there and just really couldn’t get into the lineup. For him – he kept working hard, kept working at it. Something seemed to click for him in the fall and he really started swinging it well. Once they put him in there this spring, they couldn’t get him out of the lineup, and he ended up being Pac-12 Player of the Year. We followed him pretty closely. We have a guy that lives in Northern California, Scott Richardson, he’s around there a lot. He started calling me a little early on in the spring and was like, ‘Hey this guy, he didn’t really play, but he’s really good. He’s really swinging it well.' So, we kind of kept tabs on it and he didn’t stop and just got better seemingly every game this spring, so we ended up watching him a lot."
Alberto Rios 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 293 PA, .384/.485/.707, 69 R, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 5 SB, 13.0 BB%, 14.3 K%
4th Round, 111th Overall: Joe Redfield, OF, Sam Houston
Redfield is a toolsy outfielder from Sam Houston who had an impressive Western Athletic Conference performance and carried that into the Cape Cod League with a brief, but moderate performance. Staying low and compact throughout his operation, Redfield has short levers that keep him inside the ball with a quick and compact left-handed swing. There's strength in his six-foot-two, 200-pound frame and present bat speed that lets him tap into some fringe-average power when he catches the ball out front. Redfield controls the strike zone well, particularly the inner half, and has shown the ability to make contact on higher velocity in the zone without expanding on off-speed. He's an above-average runner who can cover enough ground in the outfield to man all three positions with some ease and be a modest base stealer. His profile fits a fourth outfield type with some hitting upside. On a fun note, Redfield's father (Joe) played one game for the Angels on June 4, 1988 (0-for-2) and was drafted by the Mets in the ninth-round of the 1982 MLB Draft with the Mets amateur scouting director being Joe McIlvaine, the father of current Angels amateur scouting director, Tim McIlvaine.
Tim McIlvaine on Joe Redfield: “He’s a well-rounded player. Center fielder. Above-average runner. Hit over .400 this year with 15 homers, 15 stolen bases. He had 100 hits I think and was probably top ten in all of collegiate baseball in hits. He’s a guy that has tools and can touch a lot of different tools. He’s a well-rounded player that can go out and not do anything different. He goes out and just plays his game. He’s gonna get his hits, gonna hit some doubles, gonna hit a few homers, gonna steal some bases, gonna play center field. We’re excited about the athleticism and the excited about the kid too.”
Joe Redfield 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 300 PA, .402/.485/.683, 81 R, 15 HR, 56 RBI, 15 SB, 11.3 BB%, 11.3 K%
5th Round, 147th Overall: Chris Clark, RHP, Harvard
Clark joined the Crimson rotation this spring after spending time in relief with spot starts and missed bats at a premium. Clark operates in the low-to-mid 90's touching 97 with some life to his glove side and firmness in the upper velo echelons. His fastball command and shape allowed it to be hit more often than his velocity and general opponent lesser talent would suggest, with refinements needed to get the most of its plus potential. He throws an average low 80's slider with some depth-and-sweep to his glove side when executed properly and could grade out higher with some added power. There was some touch-and-feel addition to the slider in the form of a harder cutter this spring that could play off or scrap his slider entirely as a power breaking fastball-breaker. Clark has a firm changeup in the bag, but it's a below-average offering in its' current state. Clark is a solid on-mound athlete with plenty of arm and physical strength in his six-foot-four, 195-pound frame, with the athletic markers to see improved command through development, though there's some whip in his delivery that will need to be refined. His general two-pitch arsenal and high-compete level would lean to a power relief outlook where his fastball and breaker could tick up and play, but the Angels will send him out as a starter in development with belief he can stick in the rotation with a backend future.
Tim McIlvaine on Chris Clark: “Our scout Drew Dominguez has been talking about (Chris) for years as a guy we need to get. We gotta get this guy in the system. He's wired right. He's a starter. He's smart. Last year it just didn't work out -- he was eligible last year. Drew stayed on him and was still jumping up and down about him today. We walked out in the hallway after calling (Chris) and Drew was jumping up and down so excited that we got him. It’s great. It’s fun to see that kind of passion. It’s way easier for us to take a guy when our scouts have that sort of conviction with players.”
Chris Clark 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 65.2 IP, 4-4, 4.93 ERA, 0 SV, 8.4 H/9, 4.4 BB/9, 12.7 K/9
6th Round, 174th Overall: Camden Minacci, RHP, Wake Forest
Minacci was a two-year closer at Wake Forest, who were the top-ranked program in the nation throughout the spring up until their elimination by LSU in the College World Series. Minacci was frequent on the national stage and was one of the most renowned big-moment relief pitchers in the draft class. He comes right at hitters with a lively mid 90's fastball that has been tapped at 99, with significant ride and some run to his arm side. He pairs his fastball with a mid-to-upper 80's power slider with depth that he works away from right-handed hitters and in on the hands of lefties. There's power and tunnel to the slider making it a highly effective swing-and-miss offering with consistent plus grades attached. Everything comes from a highly active delivery with effort, and though Minacci has been able to harness the command of his fastball and slider, he is a relief only prospect. Minacci has a big-moment mentality and serious aggression on the mound, which was present in big-conference and postseason play with the aptitude and arsenal for high-leverage relief. In general, Minacci is what you see is what you get when it comes to development and projection with minimal physical development to his six-foot-three, 215-pound frame, with enough current feel to his arsenal to move him quickly through the minors and let his fiery attitude and ability dictate his future relief role. Note: Carlos Collazo of Baseball America has reported that Camden Minacci has signed with Angels for $328,500.
Tim McIlvaine on Camden Minacci: “He brings a different kind of energy and fire and excitement to him that other guys just feed off of. He comes at guys with a big fastball. He's got a good slider. He’s not afraid of anybody and he just comes right at guys. It’s a good fire that a lot of those backend relievers seem to have. I love his intensity. I love his competitiveness. I love the way he comes at guys. I don't see that changing at all with his approach once he gets into pro ball."
Camden Minacci 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 32.1 IP, 0-1, 2.78 ERA, 13 SV, 7.2 H/9, 2.8 BB/9, 12.8 K/9
7th Round, 204th Overall: Cole Fontenelle, 3B, TCU
Fontenelle took a roundabout way to Fort Worth after stops at Washington and McClennan CC before turning into a big-moment bat for the Horned Frogs in 2023. A switch-hitter, Fontenelle stays simple is his load with some drift in his hands. He has strength in his hands to manipulate the barrel and cover the entire zone from the left side where the physical strength in his six-foot-three, 205-pound frame lets him produce some bat speed and near above-average power. There's a bit more slap tendency and flat plane when swinging from the right side that seems more focused on making hard contact, though it can get groundball dominant. Though it's not alarming, there are some chase concerns with Fontenelle's approach, while strength-based refinements to his hand load should cut down some in-zone swing-and-miss. He's an average runner with aggressive/instinctual baserunning making him an honest base stealing threat who could possibly snag double-digits bags. More out of necessity with Brayden Taylor (Rays first-round pick) and Tre Richardson (Cardinals 15th-round pick) manning the left side of the TCU infield, Fontenelle spent the majority of his time this spring at first base. The Angels selected him as a third baseman where he could profile with good athleticism for someone his size and a fair arm and footwork, with a chance of gaining some versatility in left field where he's spent some time in the past. There are tools to like in the package, and with some swing and decision refinements, there's offensive ceiling to tap into, with some high-energy leadership traits to carry his tools and teammates.
Cole Fontenelle 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 294 PA, .352/.473/.640, 66 R, 14 HR, 58 RBI, 20 SB, 15.3 BB%, 17.0 K%
8th Round, 234th Overall: Barrett Kent, RHP, Pottsboro HS (TX)
Usually more suited for the third-round or over slot early teen picks, Kent is the prototypical prep arm with a projectable frame and current feel for pitching that teams are constantly enticed by. Tall and strong at six-foot-four, 215-pounds, Kent has shown a pro-ready four-pitch arsenal and ability to land each for strikes, with plenty of refinements to tap into his big on-mound upside. Kent will work in the low-to-mid 90's, upwards of 97, with some ease early in outings but hasn't been able to hold premier velocity beyond a few innings. At its peak, there is liveliness to the fastball with good angle to the plate coming from a high three-quarter slot and some life to his arm side. With physical maturity and development, there should be some ticks added to his fastball with more frequency in maintaining that velocity. He has a promising slider with a fastball plane and late depth away from right-handers, regularly flashing above average with command of the breaker. He also has a curveball in the bag with a more high-arching break that shows potential but doesn't have enough current feel to label above fringe-average. Like most prep pitchers, Kent hasn't had to incorporate his changeup often, but he's shown fair feel for the pitch with arm speed and some fade to his arm side. Most of Kent's arsenal plays well fading to his arm side while he'd be better equipped to find the left half of the zone to make his full arsenal more well-rounded. Kent is an easy operator with a clean arm stroke and athleticism in the delivery, which aids his ability to locate pitches and throws strikes at a high clip. There's plenty of development focused on the physical side and ability to work all quadrants of the zone which may take time but could be vital to tapping into his groundball-focused rotation upside. Kent is committed to Arkansas and will take the bulk of the Angels remaining bonus pool beyond Schanuel and Rios.
Tim McIlvaine on Barrett Kent: "He's really good. He's a guy we talked about a little bit earlier in the day and things didn't really go his way, so we were able to grab him. High school kid from Texas. Right-handed pitcher. Big kid. Six-four. Long, loose. Four pitches. We think he's a starter. We're really excited to have him. We did a lot of work on him this year. He kind of stumbled out of the gates and found his footing about halfway through and finished up really strong. He came to a workout we had in Dallas and threw for us there. We really got to spend a lot of time with him and figure out what he was like as a kid. We couldn't be more excited to have him."
Barrett Kent 2023 high school statistics via MaxPreps: N/A
9th Round, 264th Overall: Chase Gockel, RHP, Quincy University
Gockel was a grad student at Quincy this spring after spending scattered time with Charleston Southern and Illinois State. Praised for his off-season strength-and-conditioning, Gockel saw a velocity spike over the fall and winter that carried into the spring. His fastball now sits in the mid 90's, up to 98, with some heaviness down in the zone and some lively cut up in the zone with more of a "let it ride" control-over-command feel for the pitch. The fastball dominated Division-2 hitters and he was near untouchable because of it. He'll incorporate a mid-70's slider that adds some shape and life when he throws it in a higher velocity range, but it has a fair amount of inconsistencies that make it a fringier offering that could be a development focus. There's some violence in Gockel's near over-the-top delivery and command will have to improve for him to be more than a power thrower.
Tim McIlvaine on Chase Gockel: “Big arm from Quincy. He came to our workout in Dallas and threw really well there. He's been up to 98 in the past and was 93-95 for us at the workout. It’s a good arm and he’s had some struggles before that but seemed to kind of figure it out a little bit. He got a little bit stronger this past year and he threw the ball really well for us.”
Chase Gockel 2023 NCAA Divison-2 statistics: 32.0 IP, 3-0, 2.25 ERA, 4 SV, 3.4 H/9, 5.6 BB/9, 16.0 K/9
10th Round, 294th Overall: Chris Barraza, RHP, Arizona
Barraza is a fifth-year senior with a fastball dominant arsenal. Everything with Barraza starts and ends with his fastball which is thrown in the low-to-mid 90's with significant carry and was near unhittable this spring. It's a dominant pitch with carrying traits that he has shown the ability to command, particularly up in the zone, and get chases above the eye level. He has a power slider with a soft and short break making it hittable and predictable if not tunneled well off his fastball. Undersized at six-foot with a two-pitch (maybe one-pitch) arsenal and aggression with the fastball, Barraza has some quick-moving relief-only traits but will have to reshape his breaking ball and find better command of it as well. Arizona has seen a flourish of pitchers hit pro ball and see the shape of their pitches -- whether it be the fastball or breaking pitch -- be altered which has helped them find more success with professional development, most notably with the Angels: Chase Silseth. The same could be said of Rays 2023 sixth-round selection, T.J. Nichols.
Chris Barraza 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 29.0 IP, 5-2, 6.52 ERA, 1 SV, 11.5 H/9, 5.0 BB/9, 12.1 K/9
11th Round, 324th Overall: John Wimmer, SS, Rick Hill HS (SC)
Wimmer is an athletic South Carolina prep shortstop with some offensive spark plug upside. He has a whippy swing from the right side that is more compact in batting practice and loosens up in game where he's a bit more level-plane barrel focused, giving him more all fields contact. He can get pull-happy with his quick hip turn and swing over top of pitches when getting more intentful, which is fairly typical from a prep hitter, and that steadily improved over this spring as he fared well against some more challenging prep arms. Wimmer has some present average-or-better bat speed and ability to hit the ball with authority. There's plenty of room to fill into his six-foot-one, 170-pound frame giving some power projection though it may be more hard-contact to the gaps rather than over-the-fence prowess with some fringe overall power projection which plays more to his gap-to-gap approach. Wimmer is an average-or-better runner with athleticism, standard actions, and footwork to stick at shortstop through development, and see how he adjusts to the game getting quicker with a potential move to second base where his arm would play well. There are a lot of rudimentary aspects to Wimmer's overall game that come standard with most preps, but there are some upside tools to see a big league regular at a premium position as he fills out physically. Wimmer, one of two prep selections by the Angels, is committed to The Citadel.
Tim McIlvaine on John Wimmer: "Really athletic high school shortstop. A guy we kind of targeted and knew fell a little bit because of the price tag and we had an opportunity to make this marriage work, and we did that. He's a great kid. He can really play defense. The bat is coming along well. There's good life in the body. He came to our workout in Atlanta, and we met him there and watched him against everybody else and sized up against everybody else. We're really excited to get him. We think there's a lot of ceiling left with him."
John Wimmer 2023 high school statistics via MaxPreps: N/A
12th Round, 354th Overall: Sam Brown, 1B, Washington State
Brown transferred to Washington State for his junior year after two decent years at Portland. He has an active load that creates rhythm in his uphill left-handed swing. The bat plane and natural strength packed into his six-foot-two, 218-pound frame give him some moderate power projection while his ability to find the barrel allow him to tap into his power, but also take away from some intent making him more of a balanced average-and-power guy. Brown shows a balanced approach with some minimal swing-and-miss and chase. Brown is a good defender at first base with some athleticism to test him in the corner outfield, but his final destination will be first. He was named to the All-Pac-12 team in 2023 after hitting .374 with a 1.155 OPS and 11 home runs, with above-average offensive career numbers. Steady performers like Brown tend to be good bets through development, and the offensive tools could give some first base platoon upside.
Tim McIlvaine on Sam Brown: "Strong left-handed hitter from Washington State. It's a good-looking swing with some pop. That's what we're hoping he just continues doing is hitting. That's why we took him. We're hoping he just continues to hit."
Sam Brown 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 241 PA, .374/.481/.674, 38 R, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 5 SB, 11.2 BB%, 13.7 K%
13th Round, 384th Overall: Riley Bauman, RHP, Abilene Christian
Bauman transferred to Abilene Christian after a lackluster freshman campaign at Navarro College and made four appearances with the Wildcats before requiring Tommy John surgery, which made him miss the entirety of the 2023 season. The Angels are banking on on-mound athleticism and a power arsenal shown post-surgery. Bauman, a six-foot right-handed pitcher, was working 94-97 with his fastball as recently as June, featuring notable run to his glove side and carry up in the zone. He was up to 98 in a private workout with the Angels. Bauman shows some feel for two off-speed pitches in a fringy short two-plane slider and a curveball he's added power and shape to from previous years, with both breakers sitting in the low 80's. The command of his off-speed will need to improve at the next level. Bauman has a loose arm and showed decent command in recent workouts though his track record indicates he'll need to seriously refine his command and control with some problematic walks and pitches in the zone being hammered, but he has the athletic markers to see this improve. There are a lot of questions about Bauman's overall package with a limited track record and a healthy return should answer some of those questions quickly, though his command may waver initially as he gets back to some body and motion memory. The Angels plan on using Bauman as a starter due to his athleticism and three (or four) pitches, but with his limited size and a power arsenal with limited track record of strikes, he looks more like a reliever in projection.
Tim McIlvaine on Riley Bauman: "Athletic right-handed pitcher. He's coming off of Tommy John but our guy, K.J. Hendricks, had known him from the past before that and kind of caught up with him while he's been in the rehabbing process. It was coming out of his hand really good. He's got three or four pitches. We think he's going to be able to start. He's athletic and been up to 98 recently in a workout for us. We think there's a lot to tap into here."
Riley Bauman 2023 NCAA Divison-1 statistics: N/A (Did not pitch due to Tommy John surgery)
14th Round, 414th Overall: Zach Joyce, RHP, Tennessee
One of the best feel-good stories of the entirety of the 2023 Draft, Zach Joyce is an easy to cheer for reliever, particularly, for Angels brass. The twin-brother of Angels hurler, Ben, was a pitching prospect during his time at Walters State in 2019 and 2020 and transferred to Tennessee with his brother but not before going down with Tommy John surgery. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Joyce was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and walked away from baseball to address his mental health. Missing the entirety of the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to Tommy John recovery and his diagnosis, Joyce was open about his depression and anxiety and found assistance through therapy, leading to a return to the mound in 2023 with Tennessee. Joyce came out of the gate throwing 95 and touched as high as 98 over the spring with some life to his fastball, paired with a mid-80's slider/cutter. Subtracting the unicorn-like velocity, the younger Joyce brother has similar collegiate traits to Ben with a two-pitch arsenal based more on velocity and separation while working around the zone, with size in his six-foot-four, 225-pound frame to continue holding velocity. There's untapped upside in the college reliever with a small track record, with hopes of having a pair of power relief brothers near the middle-to-backend of the bullpen.
Tim McIlvaine on Zach Joyce: "The first time I saw both (Zach and Ben) they were both at Walters State. I want to say it was 2019, maybe. I was at a tournament at Lipscomb University and there was a junior college tournament going on there and I saw both of them that day and I thought both of them were really talented. Ben kind of took off a little quicker and then Zach had Tommy John and had to recover from that, then took the year off. I saw him this year at Tennessee and he looked great. He was throwing the ball really well. Spinning the ball really well. Then the velocity started climbing back up. He was up to 95, 96, 97, 98 even. He's back. It's great to see after taking a little bit of time but he's got the injuries behind him. He has the (depression and anxiety) behind him. It's all full throttle ahead for him now. We are really excited to have him. The story of it being with Ben and being his brother is great but that was a guy that regardless of any connections to the Angels, I was targeting him as a guy that could help us for sure. The story now with Ben could be awesome at some point as well but he's a really talented kid. We're excited to get him -- lucky to get him."
Zach Joyce 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 10.1 IP, 1-0, 4.35 ERA, 7.8 H/9, 1.7 BB/9, 14.8 K/9
15th Round, 444th Overall: Caleb Ketchup, SS, Lipscomb
Ketchup is an undersized do-it-all athlete with an up-the-middle future. Ketchup has a simple stroke from the right side that stays compact through contact. Listed at five-foot-eleven and 160-pounds, there is a lot of physical development remaining though he has some wiry strength while his size may limit him to fringy or below-average power and be more of a gap-to-gap hitter limiting his offensive impact. With an approach more oriented to contact, there are no glaring issues in his walk or strikeout rates with some natural mid-major collegiate balance. Ketchup is a gifted defensive shortstop with excellent range, with feet that operate like a one-cut halfback (which he played in high school as well as defensive back). He can throw from multiple angles with some mustard... (shoutout Jeff Johnson for this awesome joke) giving confidence to his long-term ability at the premium position. He is a plus runner who has more gusto once underway and is aggressive on the base paths making him a constant stolen base threat. Pending the growth of his offensive impact there are some carrying tools here between his defense and speed with table setting traits through development and some bench and versatility upside.
Tim McIlvaine on Caleb Ketchup: "Athletic kid. Younger body still but room for some strength. Hit 17 homers this year and stole over 30 bases. Can play shortstop. It's a guy we're pretty excited about. He can do a lot of different things. Once he puts a little more strength on the body, I think we'll see a little bit more from him."
Caleb Ketchup 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 306 PA, .255/.375/.534, 68 R, 17 HR, 45 RBI, 31 SB, 14.4 BB%, 17.6 K%
16th Round, 474th Overall: Rio Foster, OF, Florence-Darlington Tech (SC)
Foster is a high-ceiling junior college corner with strong athleticism and physicality. He hits from the right side with an active setup and a loose-and-whippy cut. There are some moving parts to his swing which should be a development focus to tap into his power projection aided by present strength and bat speed and should only improve as he fills his athletic six-foot-four, 205-pound frame. Foster is an above-average runner with aggression on the base paths and will steal his fair share of bags. He's an athletic fielder who should be able to cover ground in the outfield and has played on the dirt in the past. The hit tool will have to improve for Foster to reach any ceiling but power and speed profiles like this tend to balance out during development as they focus on other traits of their game. Scouts praise Foster's work ethic and the athleticism is evident giving some confidence to tapping into some upside.
Tim McIlvaine on Rio Foster: "He's kind of a power and speed type with some ceiling to him. Still gotta get to where the hit tool is going to play, and I think it will because he's a smart kid. He's a hard worker. He's got some ceiling. There's room to put some really good weight on him and get him stronger."
Rio Foster 2023 NJCAA statistics: 212 PA, .386/.481/.665, 60 R, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 39 SB, 11.8 BB%, 13.2 K%
17th Round, 504th Overall: Logan Britt, RHP, Abilene Christian
Britt has been around prospect circles for some time after showing big power projection as a Texas prep. He's spent his entire collegiate career as an outfielder for three years at Texas A&M and this last spring with Abilene Christian, but the Angels are planning on sending him out as a pitcher after throwing at a private workout. It's an immensely short track record of Britt's pitching as he only faced three batters on the mound while in college, walking two and allowing a hit to the other. Britt has a strong arm with accuracy from the outfield, but little is known about him on the mound. In high school, Britt touched 90 as a pitcher and threw over 98 from the outfield (via Perfect Game, 2019).
Tim McIlvaine on Logan Britt: "He's a guy who's been a position player for most of his career and pitched a little bit in the past. For us he's going to pitch. We worked him out in a workout before the draft and really liked the way he looked. He was probably going to be drafted as a position player if we didn't take him as a pitcher but we're going to put him on the mound and turn him loose."
Logan Britt 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 0.0 IP, 3 BF, 2 BB, 1 H, 1 ER
18th Round, 534th Overall: Dalton Kendrick, LHP, Memphis
Kendrick was a four-year reliever for Memphis and served as their closer his junior and senior seasons. He's a deceptive hard-throwing southpaw with a lively low-to-mid 90's fastball and snappy curveball. He has a track record of throwing strikes and could be a quick mover through development. His 12 saves ranked ninth across Division-1 baseball in 2023 and earned First Team All-ACC honors.
Tim McIlvaine on Dalton Kendrick: "He was a closer for Memphis. Struck out 55 in 45 innings this year. I think he was leading the country in saves for a little while. I don't know if he ended up with the lead, but he comes in and just gets outs which is what we like."
Dalton Kendrick 2023 NCAA Division-1 statistics: 45.1 IP, 2-3, 3.38 ERA, 12 SV, 5.6 H/9, 2.6 BB/9, 10.9 K/9
19th Round, 564th Overall: Raudi Rodriguez, OF, Georgia Premier Academy (GA)
Rodriguez is a Dominican-born outfielder who performed well at prep showcases and against some premier Georgia prep arms. He swings with intent from the right side with a loose swing and level bat path and strength to manipulate the barrel. There is present strength in the six-foot, 190-pound profile and plenty of power projection with his mold and cut, though he is currently a gap hitter with loud metrics. His timing isn't always consistent, and his long swing may lead to a questionable hit tool and serious refinement to tap into his offensive upside. He has an aggressive approach. Rodriguez is a plus-plus runner who utilizes that speed in the outfield field and backs it up with a plus arm that would profile well in right field though there's a non-zero chance of him staying a center fielder due to his athleticism. There are plenty of tools to dream on, especially pending how he physically matures, with the hit tool being the focus and a speedy bench outfielder profile. Rodriguez is committed to South Carolina and would be a draft-eligible freshman in next year’s draft.
Raudi Rodriguez 2023 HS statistics via MaxPreps: 129 PA, .352/.473/.485, 25 R, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 9 SB, 16.3 BB%, 19.4 K%
20th Round, 594th Overall: Mac McCroskey, SS, Oral Roberts
McCroskey is a redshirt-senior who bounced around the JUCO ranks from Crowley CC (TX) and Eastern Oklahoma State before landing at Oral Roberts for two years with his high school middle infield counterpart, Blaze Brothers, and helped lead the Golden Eagles to their second trip in program history to the College World Series. McCroskey has a flat-plane swing from the right side and is focused on making hard contact while altering his path to get uphill and drive the ball over the fence on occasion. He's a sound middle infielder with athleticism and a good internal clock giving some faith to sticking at the premium position. Late day three seniors don't always have the sexiest profiles and blend through development but there's enough to like in the general tools to see some bench upside in McCroskey. McCroskey's leadership qualities have been praised by his college coaches and teammates and was a drawing off-the-field tool for the Angels.
Tim McIlvaine on Mac McCroskey: "Shortstop from Oral Roberts who was in the College World Series. He's a really good leader with an infectious approach, personality. He can play shortstop and has some ability with the bat as well."
Mac McCroskey 2023 NCAA Divison-1 statistics: 318 PA, .314/.392/.520, 67 R, 14 H, 64 RBI, 17 SB, 10.7 BB%, 14.5 K%
UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS
To the point of finalizing this this recap, the Angels have signed nine non-drafted free agents to minor league contracts. I wrote over 900 mini-reports on players with the majority of unselected being high school players, but three of the Angels NDFA's did appear in my pre-draft notebook. Landon Wallace, an outfielder from West Virginia, was a steady three-year performer between WVU and Nevada who is an above-average runner with a rhythmic right-handed swing and good feel for the barrel with some fringe power projection and versatile outfield defense. Will Christopherson, a right-handed pitcher for Iowa, is a physical reliever with a low 90's fastball with cut and a sweeping slider that could be a plus swing-and-miss weapon. Caleb Bartolero, a catcher from Troy, is a fifth-year senior with right-handed power upside and a strong arm behind the plate but lacks the actions for long term confidence and a 1B/LF outlook where the bat will have more focus. Andy Blake, a shortstop from Columbia, was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2023. The current Angels undrafted free agents look as such:
- RHP Will Christopherson, Iowa
- RHP Ben Thompson, Troy
- LHP Cameron Tullar, Western Kentucky
- C Caleb Bartolero, Troy
- C Peter Burns, Boston College
- C Caleb Pendleton, Florida Atlantic
- IF Will McGillis, South Carolina
- SS Andy Blake, Columbia
- OF Landon Wallace, West Virginia
Tim McIlvaine on undrafted free agents: "It's tough when (the draft) is only 20 rounds. There's plenty of talented kids that can certainly be drafted and can go out into pro ball and endless stories of Major Leaguers that have made it after the 20th round. In preparing for the second half of (the third day), rounds 16-20, we had it all kind of lined up. All the names of guys we maybe would have drafted, we still consider signing them after the draft. We've already made contact with a lot of guys trying to get that process going and I think we'll sign a handful of guys after the draft as well. You have to have it ready to go because there's 29 other teams that have seen these guys too. We have targets that we've liked. We have a few guys that I think we've already reached out to and talked pretty far down the road with already. As soon as that 20th round is over you have to be on your toes and ready for it because a lot of these kids are going to get calls from everybody. With it being 20 rounds there are certainly guys that are deserving of being drafted and for us it's just figuring who is the best fit for us."