Angels draft Notre Dame receiver, center fielder Torii Hunter Jr.
There was a very familiar name and a somewhat notorious one among the Angels’ picks Saturday, the third and final day of the draft.
The Angels selected Notre Dame center fielder Torii Hunter Jr., the son of the former Angels outfielder and nine-time Gold Glove Award winner, in the 23rd round, and controversial Florida high school pitcher Anthony Molina in the 13th round.
Hunter, a speedy 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior, caught 28 passes for 363 yards as a Notre Dame receiver last fall. He was a part-time player on the baseball team in 2015 and 2016, but his stock rose after a May workout with the Angels in Dallas.
Scouting director Ric Wilson said he is “very confident” the Angels will sign Hunter and is “comfortable” with Hunter playing his final football season at Notre Dame this fall.
“We discussed the possibilities of him playing baseball, and he told us that’s what he wanted to do, so we’re willing to take a chance,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to turn those kinds of tools away. He can run, he has some power, and he’s very athletic. We’ll roll the dice and see what we’ve got.”
Hunter Sr., who played five seasons (2008-12) in Anaheim, was invited by General Manager Billy Eppler to make the official selection via conference call. The pick could give Angels center fielder Mike Trout the chance to play with Torii Sr. and Torii Jr. in the big leagues.
“That would be cool,” Trout said. “I know both of them really well. It’s just special to get drafted.”
Molina was one of the pitchers featured in Jeff Passan’s book, “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports.”
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander’s fastball was clocked at 96 mph as a 16-year-old. But he attended three high schools, was expelled from one because of a marijuana possession charge, and was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery after a fight at West Broward High in 2015.
The charge was reportedly dropped, but so did the velocity of Molina’s fastball, which was recently clocked between 89 and 94 mph, and his draft stock.
“I know there were some questions, but we vet these guys pretty well,” Wilson said. “Sometimes you’re a 17- and 18-year-old kid who doesn’t always do the right thing. Once we got to know him a little bit and dug into the background of why things happened, we felt pretty comfortable with it.”
Of the team’s 40 picks, 31 were college players and nine were high school players. The team took 25 position players and 15 pitchers.
“We’re trying to get athletes in the system, guys with good plate discipline, guys who can miss bats,” Wilson said. “We got a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism. That’s the direction we’re heading.”
The Angels recalled left fielder Todd Cunningham from triple A and sent outfielder Rafael Ortega, who hit .158 in his last 13 games, back to Salt Lake. … The Pittsburgh Pirates, who lost catcher Francisco Cervelli because of a broken bone in his left hand, acquired triple-A catcher Erik Kratz from the Angels for cash.
Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.