Angels Select Five In Rule-5 Draft

The Rule-5 Draft gives players a new opportunity with a new organization. For five prospects, the Los Angeles Angels will be their new adventure in baseball, including two who will likely join the big club out of Spring Training.

The Los Angeles Angels were adventerous in this season's MLB Rule-5 Draft, taking two players that will have to stick with him through the entire 2016 season. The Angels will welcome a new reliever in Deolis Guerra, as well as Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi following Thursday's draft.

Guerra, 26, is known for being part of the package that sent Johan Santana from Minnesota to the Mets. Prior to the trade, had named him one of the Mets top five prospects. Though Guerra has yet to meet his expectations, there's still some to desire for the 10-year Minor League venture.

Coming equipped with a mid 90's fastball and clean slider, Guerra found a revelation in striking batters out when his slider developed. Over the past three seasons, between Triple-A and some Major League time with the Pittsburgh Pirates - Angels selected Guerra from Pittsburgh - he has seen a minimum of one batter struck out per inning.

Choi, 24, gives the Angels some diversity as he can play both first base and left field, all while showing steady patience at the plate. Choi has a career .302/.404/.481 slash line in the Minor Leagues, but has yet to see a full year of health - finished last season with the Baltimore Orioles.

Choi had back surgery that took his entire 2011 season away from him, was suspended for 50 games in 2013after testing positive for methandienone - a performance enhancing drug - and broke his fibula in the first Spring Training game of 2015, taking away six months of baseball.

Choi may serve as a defensive substitute late in games throughout the 2015 season, and also serve as a switch-hitting presence off the bench. However, the Angels have yet to express if they see a long-term future with Choi.

In the Major League portion of the Rule-5 Draft, the Angels lost some relief depth when southpaw, Chris O'Grady, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with their first pick. O'Grady, right about to emerge towards being a Major Leaguer, won't "wow" anyone with his stuff, but is precise and records outs, exactly what you'd like in a pitcher.

The Angels also lost funky side-arm reliever, Kurt Spomer. One of the more interesting stories in baseball, Spomer went from undrafted free agent to potential Major Leaguer and could become just that, now with the Detroit Tigers.

Billy Eppler and crew felt they made some big pickups in the Minor League portion of the draft, nabbing pitchers; Blaine Weller, Ariel Ovando and D.J. Johnson.

Weller, 25, is another play who lacks "wow" factor, but he records outs and competes. He possesses a strong curve ball and low 90's fastball, helping him project well. After being taken from the Arizona Diamondbacks, he should be moved to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Ovando, 21, went from a Houston Astros, franchise-record $2.6 million investment at 16-years-old, to a Rule-5 selection turned pitcher in 2014 by the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies couldn't find a spot for him on the 40-man, and the Angels jumped to grab a raw southpaw who allowed one run in 21 innings last season, while striking out 14.1 per nine in Rookie Ball.

Johnson, 26, has yet to pitch above Double-A, but has posted strong numbers throughout his Minor League career. Over five years at the MiLB levels, he holds a 3.58 career ERA, while striking out 9.2 per nine. The Angels took him away from the Miami Marlins.

For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.

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