Angels select 20 pitchers, and zero hitters, in 2021 MLB Draft

Talk about sticking to a strategy.

The Angels chose all pitchers in the the 2021 MLB Draft, drafting 19 college pitchers and one prep pitcher with their 20 selections.

After selecting Miami (Ohio) University right-hander Sam Bachman with the ninth overall selection Sunday night, the Angels drafted nine more pitchers during the second day of the MLB Draft: St. Mary College’s Ky Bush (second round); LSU’s Landon Marceaux (third); Vanderbilt’s Luke Murphy (fourth); South Carolina’s Brett Kerry (fifth); Miami’s Jake Smith (sixth); Arkansas’ Ryan Costeiu (seventh); Georgia Southern’s Nick Jones (eighth); Tulane’s Braden Olthoff (ninth); and South Carolina’s Andrew Peters (10th).

After the 10th round, Angels director of amateur scouting Matt Swanson spoke to the media. Prior to the final day of the MLB Draft, he said he doubted they would go all-in on pitching and draft 20 hurlers.

“I would think not, no,” Swanson said. “That would be something.”

Well, they did it, adding 10 more pitchers Tuesday, shocking the baseball world.

One Twitter user had an interesting take on the Angels’ strategy: “Well, if you’re unwilling to trade for an ace or sign one in free agency, you have no choice but to try and draft one!”

The Angels have David Fletcher, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh and Taylor Ward – plus top outfield prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh – all locked up long-term, creating a star-studded lineup. Without any trades, they have seven position players signed for at least four more years.

However, their rotation has been lacking for years. Outside of Shohei Ohtani – who is also another one of the team’s star hitters – they have been getting the most starter innings from Alex Cobb (4.23 ERA), Andrew Heaney (5.38) and Dylan Bundy (6.68).

Angels manager Joe Maddon.
Angels manager Joe Maddon.
Getty Images

“It’s something I believe in doing, attacking in pitching and bringing in volume,” Swanson said. “You’re not excluding any subset of player each round. You try to look at each round in a vacuum, make the best decision you can, sign the right player and move on from there.”

But did the Angels purposely draft only pitchers? According to Swanson, the answer is no.

“The funny thing is, I didn’t realize until I think the seventh or the eighth round that we had taken all pitchers,” Swanson said. “You’re so ingrained on each pick, working through and navigating, comparing different players to different players across the whole country – a shortstop to a college pitcher – it takes you a second to look at the board.”

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