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Angels select prep outfielder Jordon Adell in first round of MLB draft

Angels select prep outfielder Jordon Adell in first round of MLB draft
Jordon Adell, an outfielder and pitcher from Ballard High in Louisville, Ky., walks by the MLB draft board after being selected No. 10 overall by the Angels. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Mike Trout can leave as a free agent in 2020, and the Angels are desperately in need of frontline talent to complement him in order to return to the postseason before then.

With their first pick in Monday's draft, the Angels selected high school outfielder Jordon Adell, a high-ceiling, high-risk choice unlikely to ascend to the major leagues before Trout's current contract expires.

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With their second pick, the Angels chose UCLA right-hander Griffin Canning, who had been projected as a first-round selection before dropping among unspecified concerns over his medical examinations.

Adell, 18, is highly rated for power, speed and throwing ability. Angels scouting director Matt Swanson said Adell has "the ability, the makeup and the intangibles" to realize his potential as "a perennial All-Star."

He hit 25 home runs, tops among prep players in the United States, and batted .563 with 22 stolen bases at Ballard High in Louisville, Ky. He even hit 95 mph as a right-handed pitcher, which could be a fallback option for the Angels if his tools do not develop.

Adell's father was drafted by the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

Adell attended the MLB draft. Asked what the Angels were getting, Adell told MLB Network: “They’re getting the full package, I believe.”

Swanson, in his first draft since the Angels hired him last year, said Adell could spark the revitalization of a player-development system ranked by Baseball America as the worst in the game.

"Our organization can now have a player to build around long-term," Swanson said, referring to the minor league system.

Canning, 21, grew up an Angels fan and played at Santa Margarita High, although he wore No. 55 at UCLA in honor of Orel Hershiser. He was 7-4 with a 2.34 earned-run average this season.

He also averaged 116 pitches per start, not including two brief starts on a rainy weekend, according to Baseball America.

Swanson declined to say what red flags might have caused Canning to drop into the second round but said the Angels medical staff had cleared him and said the team had "no concern" about his condition.

Swanson called Canning "a polished and advanced college pitcher who can move really quick," with the best case of helping the Angels as soon as some time next season.

Hoping for a turnaround

Draft success is crucial for the Angels in rebuilding their talent base. They have not spent lavishly in Latin America, and they forfeited their 2012 and 2013 first-round picks as compensation for signing Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, respectively.

Their top pick in 2011, first baseman C.J. Cron, has spent parts of the last four seasons in Anaheim but has yet to secure a full-time job. Their top pick in 2014, pitcher Sean Newcomb, was included in a trade with the Atlanta Braves for shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Neither of their top picks in 2015 or 2016 — catcher Taylor Ward and first baseman Matt Thaiss, respectively — is considered a top prospect.

Richards return?

The Angels could use reinforcements in starting pitching, but none could be better than the return of ace Garrett Richards. They have been cautious in discussing his progress, but manager Mike Scioscia said he expected Richards to pitch again this season.

Richards has not pitched since April 5 because of what the team calls a biceps strain.

Scioscia was less committed to a return this season for Andrew Heaney, who had elbow ligament-replacement surgery in July. Heaney threw a bullpen session Monday.

“At the very least, we’ll see him 100% in spring training,” Scioscia said.

Relief return?

Relievers Cam Bedrosian and Huston Street are scheduled to resume minor league rehabilitation assignments this week, Scioscia said.

Bedrosian is expected to pitch for Class-A Inland Empire on Tuesday.

Bedrosian, the Angels' top reliever, has not pitched since April 21 because of a groin injury.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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