Angels on the Farm: Keeping an eye on class of ‘09

The 2008 and 2009 draft classes for the Los Angeles Angels were considered two of the better drafts for the Angels in recent memory. Tyler Chatwood, the 74th pick overall in 2008, picked up his first major league victory on Saturday with seven strong innings against the Chicago White Sox, and Michael Kohn, the 13th round pick for the Angels that year, briefly appeared on the Angels roster early in the season before being sent down to Salt Lake.

However, the 2009 draft class is the one that may pay great dividends in the very near future.

Mike Trout, the Angels’ first round pick and 25th overall, is hitting .318 with four home runs and nine runs batted in for Double-A Arkansas, and on Monday night, Trout homered and sacrificed, showing his overall versatility. MLB.com currently has Trout rated as the number one prospect in all of baseball.

Pitcher Garrett Richards, selected 25 picks after Trout, pitched eight strong innings in the Arkansas Travelers’ 15-inning 4-3 victory Monday night, giving up two runs on ten hits. Richards was 12-5 overall in 2010 with a 3.52 ERA and 149 strikeouts in 143 innings.

Third baseman Dillon Baird, selected in the 11th round by the Angels in 2009, is off to a sizzling start at Advanced Single-A Inland Empire. Baird was 2-4 with two runs batted in on Monday night in the 66ers’ 5-3 win over the San Jose Giants. Thus far, Baird is hitting .372 with 3 HR and 13 RBI on the young season.

Both Trout and Richards were supplemental picks in 2009, received as compensation for free agents Mark Teixeira and Francisco Rodriguez, proving that compensatory draft picks can be a pretty good payoff in the end.

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