5/30/2014 3:00 P.M. ET
Angels have dug deep in the Draft for gems
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The Angels weren't always the financial juggernauts you know of today, throwing around nine-figure contracts and dominating offseason headlines with splashy signings.
They used to have to build it through the Draft, and over the years they sniffed out several gems, many of whom played a big part in the franchise's success of the 2000s.
Leading up to the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, MLB.com selected the best players taken by the Angels in each of the first 15 rounds; players who either went on to have productive careers elsewhere or established themselves among the very best in team history.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Without further ado, here are the Angels' best Draft selections, round-by-round ...
Round 1: CF Mike Trout, 2009
No disrespect to Jered Weaver , Troy Glaus, Darin Erstad, Jim Abbott or Frank Tanana. All were first-round Draft picks, all were All-Star-caliber players and all went on to spend a bulk of their careers -- or the entirety of it, in Weaver's case so far -- donning an Angels uniform. But none of them were widely considered the greatest overall player in the game at the tender age of 22, as Trout is.
Trout was overlooked by many scouts, mostly because his high-school ball was played in the Northeast. But area scout Greg Morhardt saw a potential Hall of Famer, one former scouting director Eddie Bane would take with the No. 25 overall pick in '09. Trout's first two full seasons included unanimous selection for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, back-to-back second-place finishes in MVP voting and a 20.4 Wins Above Replacement score that was easily tops in the Majors.
Crazy as it may seem, Trout hasn't even come into his prime yet.
Round 2: SP John Lackey, 1999
Plucked out of the University of Texas, Lackey went on to become one of the best starting pitchers in Angels history, tied for fifth with Tanana in wins (102), sixth in strikeouts (1,201) and sixth in innings (1,501) while sporting a 3.81 ERA and winning three playoff games -- including Game 7 of the '02 World Series -- from 2002-09. Lackey left the Angels via a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Red Sox in December 2009, had a rough first three years in Boston, then played a big part in helping them win the World Series last fall. Former teammate Jarrod Washburn was also taken in the second round.
Round 3: RF Tim Salmon, 1989
The Angels selected this local product out of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, and Salmon went on to become the franchise leader in homers with 299 from 1992 to 2006. The slugging right fielder spent his entire 14-year career in Anaheim, batted in the middle of the order for the World Series champions of '02 and finished his career with a .282/.385/.498 slash line. Salmon never made an All-Star team, but he played at an All-Star level for a long time. First baseman Wally Joyner and third baseman Carney Lansford also deserve mention here.
Round 4: LF Garret Anderson, 1990
One year after taking Salmon in the third round, the Angels got another Southern California product in the fourth. And Anderson was every bit as big of an impact on the Angels franchise. With his smooth lefty stroke, Anderson notched a franchise record in hits with 2,368 -- way more than the second-place Salmon's 1,674 -- while making three All-Star teams, winning the Home Run Derby in 2003 and posting a .296/.327/.469 line from 1994 to 2008. This was also the round the Angels took All-Star starter Mike Witt in 1978.
Round 5: RP Bobby Jenks, 2000
Jenks had his ups and downs while trying to carve out a career as a starting pitcher in the Angels' system. Then the White Sox picked him up off waivers in December 2004, turned him into a reliever, and Jenks went on to compile a 3.40 ERA and 173 saves in the South Side of Chicago from 2005-10.
Round 6: CF Devon White, 1981
The Jamaica native spent his first six Major League seasons with the Angels, winning the first two of seven Gold Gloves and making the first of three All-Star Game appearances. White compiled 1,934 hits, 346 steals and a .263 batting average in his 17-year career. The Angels also drafted some local favorites in Troy Percival, Clyde Wright and Gary DiSarcina in this round.
Round 7: CF Jim Edmonds, 1988
Edmonds' best years wound up coming in St. Louis, but before that, he was a Angels fixture, winning a couple of Gold Gloves, making an All-Star team and turning in possibly the greatest catch in franchise history, diving over his shoulder near the warning track at Kauffman Stadium in 1997. Edmonds' career finished with eight Gold Gloves, 393 home runs and a .284 batting average. Edmonds was dealt to the Cardinals in a deal that brought back second baseman Adam Kennedy in March 2000. In December 2007, he was traded from the Cardinals to the Padres for current Angels third baseman David Freese.
Round 8: OF Kole Calhoun, 2010
In win-now mode and with the upper levels of their farm system drying up, the Angels wanted to take players who could rise through the system quickly in 2010. And in the eighth round, they got just that with Calhoun, who compiled 222 Major League plate appearances -- and an .808 OPS -- by his third full season in 2013 and entered 2014 as the starting right fielder and leadoff hitter.
Round 9: Mark McLemore, 1982
McLemore spent parts of his first five Major League seasons with the Angels, which wound up being one of seven teams he played for during a 19-year career in which he batted .259/.349/.341 while seeing time at six different positions (second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield spots).
Round 10: 2B Howie Kendrick, 2002
Taken out of St. Johns River Community College in Palatka, Fla., Kendrick has continued to provide steady production at the keystone. The 30-year-old has been with the Angels since '06 and has been the everyday second baseman since 2010, providing solid defense, above-average speed and some of the best opposite-field power in the game. From 2010-13, Kendrick -- an All-Star in 2011 -- batted .287/.327/.426 while averaging 142 games per season.
Round 11: OF Ruben Amaro Jr., 1987
He's known now as the general manager of the Phillies, but before that, Amaro was a Major League outfielder, compiling 485 games and a .663 OPS from 1991-98. He played the first 10 games of his career with the Angels, then was traded alongside pitcher Kyle Abbott for outfielder and first baseman Von Hayes in December 1991.
Round 12: RP Jordan Walden, 2006
The hard-throwing Texan saved 32 games and posted a 2.98 ERA in 2011, then had a 3.46 ERA in 45 appearances in 2012 and was traded to the Braves in a one-for-one deal that brought back starting pitcher Tommy Hanson the following offseason.
Round 13: UT Alfredo Amezaga, 1999
The Mexico native played in 122 games with the Angels from 2002-04, before the Rockies selected him off waivers. Amezaga, who still plays for his home country, went on to have a nine-year Major League career, batting .247 and serving as a super-utility player in every sense of the word.
Round 14: SP Nick Adenhart, 2004
This pick comes with a heavy heart, because Adenhart was just starting to show glimpses of a sparkling career before a drunk driver took his life at age 22 on April 9, 2009. Hours earlier, Adenhart pitched six shutout innings against the A's in his 2009 debut. The Maryland native would've been 27 years old right now, and perhaps somewhere in the front end of the Angels' starting rotation.
Round 15: SP Chuck Finley, 1984
Officially, Finley was the fourth overall selection by the Angels in 1985. But that was in the January Secondary, a mere seven months after the Angels had originally selected him in the 15th round. Finley went on to be one of the best starting pitchers in franchise history from 1986-99, setting club records in wins (165) and innings (2,675), and ranking second to Nolan Ryan in strikeouts (2,151). Finley's career -- spent in Cleveland and St. Louis over the last three years - finished with a 3.85 ERA and five All-Star Game appearances.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.