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06/07/07 9:52 PM ET
Angels tab big righty with first pick
Bachanov boasts power arm, impressive breaking pitch
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
The Angels drafted to their organizational strength Thursday, taking a pair of gifted high-school right-handers with their first two choices in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. They used their first pick -- No. 58 overall in the supplemental round -- to select Jon Bachanov, from University High School in Orlando, Fla. With their second choice, No. 118 overall in the third round, the Angels tabbed Matt Harvey, another athlete with size, premium stuff and a huge upside. Signing Harvey, a North Carolina recruit from Connecticut represented by agent Scott Boras, is the big issue. He was projected to go higher in the Draft. Bachanov, 18, had a dominant senior year, going 9-2 with a 0.37 ERA, walking 19 hitters while striking out 103 in 65 innings. He has size at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds and has wowed scouts with his power arm and potential. "This guy is one of the real hard throwers in this Draft," Eddie Bane, Angels scouting director, said. "Jon's got an ultra-quick arm, and his velocity is definitely there at 95, 96 [mph]. He has a very aggressive delivery, and he likes to throw hard." Bachanov's fastball has late action and downward movement, calling to mind the fastball that staff ace John Lackey deploys. His over-the-top breaking ball, with hard bite, also is similar to Lackey's. "Lackey's a nice comparison," Bane said. "If Jon ends up being like John, we'll be very happy." Bachanov -- whose parents are not, as reported, Russian immigrants -- wants to remain a starter and that's where he'll begin his professional career, Bane said. Some scouts have projected him as a potential closer. Tom Kotchman, regional scout, longtime manager in the farm system and father of Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman, scouted Bachanov and informed him of the club's interest. Bachanov said he was "ecstatic" with the selection and hopes to reach a contract agreement soon "so I can get started." Harvey, 18, was widely considered the premier prep pitcher in the country coming into the season based on his smooth delivery, crackling fastball consistently in the 90s and power curve.
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His changeup is a developing pitch, and he's in need of some mechanical refinements. Harvey carries 210 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame and hails from Fitch High School in Groton, Conn. Baseball America had him ranked 11th overall and seventh among all pitchers -- higher than Bachanov. Harvey this year was 4-0 with a 0.45 ERA in five games, striking out 63 while walking 10 in 31 innings. "Not good," Bane said when asked about the prospects of signing Harvey, adding that the club will make every effort to come to an agreement by the Aug. 15 deadline. The Angels took a flier on high-school star Nick Adenhart in the 14th round in 2004, signing him for $710,000 coming off Tommy John elbow surgery. He has emerged as the organization's premium right-handed prospect. "Our track record is pretty good with guys like Adenhart," Bane said, referring to the Harvey situation. "I'm glad we got the guy, but I was happier to get Jon picking 58th. Our board got picked pretty clean, and we were excited Jon was available." The Angels had their eyes on left-handed pitching, but a run on southpaws -- 16 of the first 55 choices and three of the top six overall were lefties -- made Bachanov the most desirable pick at No. 58 overall. The choice was compensation from the St. Louis Cardinals for their signing of Type B free agent Adam Kennedy in the offseason. The Angels' No. 1 pick, No. 24 overall, went to Texas as compensation for their signing of Type A free agent Gary Matthews Jr., who has excelled this season as their center fielder. The Angels' second-round pick, No. 89 overall, was dispatched to Toronto for their signing of Type A free-agent relief pitcher Justin Speier. Showing an affinity for the big-game environment, Bachanov saved one of his finest prep performances for Florida's 6-A regional quarterfinals, dominating highly rated Winter Springs High with a 15-strikeout effort. Bane watched that game and came away impressed with how Bachanov carried his fastball to the finish, the snap on his curve and his poise under pressure. His breaking ball is a curve/slider that is considered a plus pitch, but he needs work on his changeup. He also throws a cutter, again like Lackey. Bachanov, who projects as a power pitcher with presence, has watched Lackey pitch, marveling at the late life on his fastball and his ability to hide the ball in his delivery. "I'd like to be like him one day," Bachanov said. His free and easy delivery also has similarities to the form of Lackey, who should be an excellent role model for Bachanov -- and also for Harvey if the Angels manage to sign their other power arm. Fourth round (148 overall) -- CF Trevor Pippin, Middle Georgia College The Angels dipped into the college ranks for Pippin, 20. He is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, left-handed all the way. Bane compared Pippn to Todd Hollandsworth, a former National League Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers. "He can play center field, but I liked him in right," Bane said. "He reminds me of Hollandsworth, and I'll be happy if he has a career like Hollandsworth did." Fifth round (178 overall) -- SS Andrew Romine, Arizona State University A switch-hitter, Romine, 21, is considered a quality defensive player whose bat needs to catch up with his glove. He's the son of former Major Leaguer Kevin Romine. A slender 6-foot-1 athlete with good speed and instincts, Romine has excellent range and a strong arm. He plays little ball effectively but hasn't shown much pop. "A quality shortstop," Bane called him. "He can play."
Top MLB Draft Picks
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.