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No Angels 1st, 2nd round draft picks due to Pujols, Wilson signings
ANAHEIM – Angels director of scouting Ric Wilson and the rest of his department have been putting in long hours and logging lots of miles to prepare for baseball's annual draft.
And when it begins Monday, they can all go fishing.
The Angels will not make their first pick in this year's draft until the third round, 114th overall, some time Tuesday. They sacrificed their first- and second-round picks as compensation for signing free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last winter.
"It's going to be a long day," Wilson said of sitting out Monday's first round. "You're going to be watching all those names coming off the (draft) board and thinking about a lot of time and a lot of nights in hotels scouting for this draft.
"But that's OK. It's worth it. I'll take the two guys we got (Pujols and Wilson). They're going to mean an awful lot to our ballclub for years."
The Angels' decision to splurge on Pujols and Wilson will cost them in another way during this year's draft.
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement reached last winter, every pick in the first 10 rounds of the draft now has a specific bonus amount attached to it. Teams are then given a total signing budget based on how many picks they have and where they fall in the draft order. Teams can spread that budget out however they decide – but anyone exceeding their total bonus pool will face a punitive (and escalating) tax on the amount they go over and the possible loss of future draft picks.
Under the new system, the Angels have the smallest bonus pool of any team in the majors, approximately $1.6 million to spread over their eight picks in the first 10 rounds.
The ramifications of attempts to restrain spending on unproven draft picks (and drafting decisions based more on 'sign-ability' than ability) are a mystery heading into this year's draft.
"It's hard to say. It's going to be interesting because of the unknown," Wilson said. "You don't know what it's going to look like as it plays out.
"We're kind of in a good position in that way – we can sort of sit back and see what works this first year (under the new system), what doesn't work and how different teams are going to do things."
One option that has worked for the Angels in the past (particularly in other years when they lacked a first-round pick) might be less available under the new system. In the past, the Angels have landed higher-round talent with mid-round picks by paying more than the recommended slot money. That strategy paid off with players like Mark Trumbo (18th round), Jordan Walden (12th) and Peter Bourjos (10th).
"That's going to be tougher now," Wilson said.
The combination of a new front-office hierarchy led by GM Jerry Dipoto and the lack of a premium pick is making this a unique draft for the Angels, Wilson said.
"It really gives us an opportunity to sit back and look at things differently," Wilson said of reallocating scouting time that would have been spent on first- or second-round talents. "We were allowed to get a little deeper into this draft. We got into some places that we've been in before but this time we got much deeper."
The new front-office makeup (with a greater use of statistical analysis) has brought "a whole lot more information" into the process, said Wilson, who will be engineering his second draft as the team's director of scouting.
"We've had some really great meetings, great discussions about the whole philosophical way to look at things," Wilson said. "What really makes a major-league reliever? What really makes a major-league starter? What does speed really mean to the game?
"It doesn't change the players you're looking at. It changes the way you're looking at them."
Catcher Chris Iannetta has been cleared to begin "aggressive baseball activities," according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Iannetta has begun a throwing program, running and defensive drills including blocking balls in the dirt. He has been out since undergoing surgery on his wrist May 11 but Scioscia said Sunday "I'd be surprised if he's not ready (to return) in a couple weeks." ... Garrett Richards will make his first start on Tuesday against the Mariners. Richards was promoted from Triple-A last week to fill the vacancy created in the Angels' starting rotation when Jered Weaver went on the DL with a back strain. ... Former Angel Garret Anderson will make his debut as a member of the Fox Sports West broadcast team for Monday's game against the Mariners. Anderson will appear as an analyst on the pre and postgame shows.
Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.78) is scheduled to start against Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas (6-4, 3.45). Game time is 7:05 p.m. and it will be broadcast on FSW, KLAA/830 AM and KWKW/1330 AM in Spanish.