06/09/2004 12:19 AM ET
AL West: Angels make bold moves
Anaheim grabs oft-passed-on Weaver with first pick
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
What the Angels got in surprising quality at the top of the draft, their AL West rivals in Oakland and Texas got in quantity.
If the First-Year Player Draft can be defined by the first few rounds, the AL West provided some interesting contrast.
Anaheim expected to get some quality out of their No. 12 overall pick but they found even more than they anticipated when potential No. 1 pick Jered Weaver fell into their lap, and they jumped at the opportunity.
The A's, on the other hand, walked away with four quality picks in the first 40 overall, even getting the two they wanted in the first round in their later compensation picks. The Rangers did pretty well early on as well, addressing their pitching needs with a pair of first-round picks, one from college and one from high school.
The Mariners, meanwhile, had to pin their hopes on the draft's depth without picks in the first two rounds, yet managed to make an impact pick by selecting the best all-around athlete in the Northwest.
Here's a glance at the AL West's selections in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft:
|Jered Weaver was drafted by the Angels with the 12th overall pick on Monday. (AP)
Angels draft picks
By selecting Long Beach State's Weaver, the Angels got a surprisingly big name for their spot in the draft order.
Other teams passed on Weaver, the younger brother of Dodgers starter Jeff, because his asking price was expected to reach for the stars, with agent Scott Boras at the helm of negotiations. But the Angels went for it.
Somebody's happy about it: Weaver.
"It's going to be sweet playing in my back yard and having my friends and family there," he said.
The Angels made outfield a priority in this draft, but they weren't about to pass up the hometown kid generally considered the best amateur pitcher in the country this year -- and one with the fastest track to the big leagues.
Anaheim turned its attention to the outfield with their second- and third-round selections of high school players, and took 17 prep players overall. The Angels took Patrick White, Alabama's Mr. Baseball for 2004 who also happens to be a quarterback committed to West Virginia, with the 113th pick overall and Puerto Rico prep product Luis Rivera with the 143rd pick.
The Angels selected a total of 48 players -- 22 pitchers, four catchers, 13 infielders and nine outfielders. They went for 31 college players, including 14 from the JC ranks, and 17 high school players.
Long Beach State
Position: RHP B/T: R/R
H: 6-7 W: 205
Born: 1982-10-04 Class: SR
VERY TALL, LEAN, WIRY PHYSIQUE. LONG, LOOSE, SINEWY MUSCLES. SQUARE SHOULDERS. LONG ARMS, LEGS. THIN HIPS, WAIST . RM TO CARRY MORE WEIGHT. BUILT SIMILAR TO BROTHER JEFF WEAVER. NO WINDUP, 3/4 ARM. SIDE STEP TO START. BIG HIP, SHOULDER TURN. FLASHES PLUS FB, MOST 90-91, SOME TAIL, SINK WHEN DOWN. DECEPTIVE DELIVERY, TURNS BACK TO HITTER, TOUGH TO PICK UP PITCHES. SPOTS ML SLIDER. GOOD MOTION ON SINKING CHANGEUP. PLUS CONTROL. TOUGH COMPETITOR WHO PITCHES W/ CONFIDENCE. HAS THE SIZE, MAKEUP, & PITCHES FOR A FRONTLINE ML STARTER.
Athletics draft picks
Staying true to their tradition of combing the college ranks for talent, the A's went with collegians in 39 of their 44 selections. That includes all four of their top-40 picks, starting at No. 24 overall with Landon Powell, a catcher out of the University of South Carolina.
The A's selected a couple of college outfielders with their two picks after Powell's selection, taking Richie Robnett out of Fresno State and Danny Putnam of Stanford. Right-hander Huston Street of Texas rounded out their four picks in the top 40.
In Powell, the A's got a big catcher they trust won't become too big. Standing 6-3 and weighing 235 pounds, the switch-hitting Powell worked hard on conditioning this winter and had a great senior season. The A's, who traded away young catcher Ramon Hernandez last offseason, grabbed another catcher with second-round pick Kurt Suzuki of Cal State Fullerton.
Actually, the A's had six of the top 67 picks, but scouting director Eric Kubota doesn't think signing them all up will be a problem for the small-market club. "We don't like wasting our picks," Kubota said.
Stopping after Round 40, the A's selected 22 pitchers, 10 outfielders, eight infielders and four catchers.
Mariners draft picks
The Mariners would have been hard pressed to make an impact with the 93rd pick overall, but they managed to do it by selecting Seattle-area product Matt Tuiasosopo, a shortstop projected as a corner infielder.
Buried pretty deep in the draft thanks to the free-agent signings of closer Eddie Guardado and outfielder Raul Ibanez, the Mariners made the best of a tough situation. They definitely spread out their scouting tentacles this time: Players were drafted from 21 states, as well as two from Canada and one from the Virgin Islands.
The gem is the Emerald City lad they took with their first dip into the draft pool on Monday, but there are other considerations.
A three-sport star whose family name is associated with football, Tuiasosopo has expressed a desire to narrow down to one sport -- a quarterback, he's committed to the University of Washington in football. But the Mariners are hoping the lure of playing for the hometown ballclub will bring him into their fold.
Five of the Mariners' selections were from the state of Washington, the next after Tuiasosopo being third baseman Brent Thomas out of Bellevue Community College (15th round).
The club also addressed its need for a catching prospect by taking University of Houston catcher Robert Johnson, described as a take-charge type.
Overall, Seattle drafted 30 college players and 18 high school players. The Mariners selected 19 pitchers (eight left-handers), 12 infielders, five catchers and 12 outfielders.
Rangers draft picks
The Rangers addressed their organizational need for pitching by taking college right-hander Thomas Diamond and high school right-hander Eric Hurley with their two first-round picks.
The Rangers selected eight pitchers among their 19 picks on the opening day of the draft -- none with more potential to help the Rangers develop a winning pitching staff on the Major League level than Diamond.
Described by assistant GM Grady Fuson as "a big, strong strike-thrower," Diamond raised his stock considerably after three years at the University of New Orleans. A 38th-round pick out of high school, in large part because he was headed for UNO, Diamond was the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year.
The Rangers hit up the prep ranks for their other first-round pick, taking
Hurley out of Wolfson High School in Florida as the 30th selection in the draft. Hurley was rated by Baseball America as the second-best prospect coming out of the state of Florida this year.
Texas took 41 players from the college ranks among their 51 selections, but they took prep players in three of their first four picks, including outfielder Karl Herren (51st overall) and right-hander Michael Schlact (81st).
Overall, the Rangers drafted 29 pitchers, 10 outfielders, eight infielders and four catchers.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.