[Editor’s Note: Our longtime readers know Adam Shemesh and his reputation as one of the best thinkers and writers on what is happening in the game of the baseball. This piece speaks for itself.]
In 2009, the Angels drafted Mike Trout, a senior from Millville, NJ with the 32nd overall pick. Little did they know that about 4 years later, he would establish his position as the best player in baseball.
Their front office was all smiles and the subject of envy for many GMs. But, let’s zoom out a bit and look at the Angels’ first round draft picks from 2010-2014 (to measure the picks we will use WAR, which measures how many wins a player is worth. a
A war of 5 or above in one year is All-Star worthy, 10 and above is MVP worthy):
2010: Chevez Clark (Released), Sam Bedroisan (0.4 WAR in 3 years)
2011: C. J. Cron (1.5 WAR in 2016)
2012: Forfeited 1st round pick to sign Albert Pujols to 10 year/$240 million (2 WAR per year since 2013)
2013: Forfeited 1st round pick to sign Josh Hamilton to 5 year/$125 million contract (3.3 career WAR as an Angel)
2014: Sean Newcomb- traded to Atlanta for Andrelton Simmons (2.2 WAR this year)
As you can see, the Angels have done an atrocious job of drafting since they selected Trout in ’09. So bad, in fact, that they got the honor of having baseball’s worst farm system according to Baseball America. It’s not just that- the long term signings of C. J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols are also to blame. Those three alone are making around $70,000,000 this year. And the fact that the Angels’ have a few of yesterday’s superstars on their team has blinded their higher-ups of the possibility and reward of trading Mike Trout. Trading Trout for a package of prospects and MLB-level talent would be like the Angels exchanging their one lottery ticket for a bundle of smart investments. While they did strike gold by drafting Trout, don’t let anyone tell you the Angels’ front office has done a good job since then.