Mike Trout has helped the Los Angeles Angels score a lot of runs over the years. Preventing them has been a bigger issue.
LA’s scouting department is going all out to solve that problem.
The Angels became the first club ever to select exclusively pitchers over a full amateur draft this week when they took 20 straight hurlers. The arms race began with Miami (Ohio) right-hander Sam Bachman at No. 9 overall Sunday and ended with TCU righty Marcelo Perez in the 20th round on Tuesday.
Scouting director Matt Swanson said the team expected to go heavy on pitching in the draft, knowing it was an area of need in the organization. He didn’t expect them to forego position players entirely, though.
“You can never have enough pitching,” Swanson said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
At full health, Los Angeles’ lineup is loaded with stars, including Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh and Anthony Rendon. The rotation — aside from two-way phenom Ohtani — not so much.
Trout has won three MVP awards but only been to the postseason once since debuting in 2011. The Angels pitching is a prime reason why.
The club last appeared in the playoffs in 2014. Since then, Los Angeles pitchers have a 4.49 ERA, and their 61.9 combined Wins Above Replacement (per FanGraphs) ranks 29th out of 30 teams spanning 2015-21.