The Los Angeles Angels went into Sunday’s MLB Draft knowing they needed to do something to boost their pitching depth within their organization. They had several good choices available to them, ultimately landing on Miami (OH) right-handed starter Sam Bachman.
Bachman is 21 years old — he’ll be 22 at the start of the 2022 season — and pitched three years at Miami (OH), showing significant leaps each year he was there. In his final season at school, he started 12 times and sported an ERA of 1.81, a WHIP of 0.771, and a K-to-BB ratio of 5.47. All of these are remarkable numbers and showed marketable improvement from 2019 and 2020.
Angels scouting director Matt Swanson spoke about Bachman, saying the plan is to develop him as a starter despite some in the league believing he may be a bullpen arm, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“This is some impact arm and someone we can continue to develop around on the pitching side,” said Angels scouting director Matt Swanson. “We’re just thrilled to bring in another arm and couple him with Reid from last year and just keep the pitching going. This was an exciting pick for us. He went out this year and what he was able to do in a starter’s role was impressive. He just needs to continue to build up innings and develop as a starter.”
Bachman makes his money with one of the best two-pitch combinations in the entire draft. He throws three main pitches, but two of them significantly more than the third.
His top pitch is his fastball, which has been graded out as one of the best and fastest in the 2021 class. His fastball sits between 95-97 mph, but can routinely reach 100 without much effort. Meanwhile, his No. 2 pitch — the slider — could be the best breaking ball in the 2021 class as well.
The slider sits between 87-89 mph, but can easily top 90, which is remarkable for a slider. If everything works as planned, that fastball-slider could easily be the best one-two punch in the draft class. He also has a changeup that is seen as an impactful pitch, but isn’t used nearly as much.
There are some stamina and durability concerns with Bachman that have led to the conversation of starter or bullpen pitcher, but the Angels firmly believe he can develop as a starter. If they change their mind, some scouts believe he could be a Major League reliever by the 2022 season.
Angels all over All-Star week festivities
While the Angels scouting department makes their selections in Denver, there will be multiple other Angels players representing the team during All-Star week. On Monday night, Shohei Ohtani will look to dazzle in the Home Run Derby. Then, Ohtani and Jared Walsh will represent the Halos during the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.