Angels take Kentucky high school pitcher in draft

The Angels chose 17-year-old pitcher Hunter Green of Kentucky with their first pick Thursday night in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft.

Green is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound left-hander who just graduated from Warren East High in Bowling Green.

“Well I’m an Angel!” Green promptly said on Twitter, his tweet accompanied by a photo showing him wearing an Angels cap.

In his senior year this season, Green was 3-1 in 10 starts with an earned-run average of 0.14 and 110 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. As a junior, he had 20 strikeouts in a no-hitter.

“He has a good size, a young loose arm and a high ceiling,” Ric Wilson, the Angels’ director of scouting, said in a statement, adding that the Angels project him as a starter.

Green, who turns 18 on July 12, also had committed to the University of Kentucky in the event he didn’t sign with an MLB club.

The Angels weren’t able to make their first selection until the 59th pick overall in the second round. The club had forfeited its first-round pick because of the five-year, $125-million signing of free-agent slugger Josh Hamilton in December.

The same thing happened last year because the Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Their eventual first pick last year was right-handed pitcher R.J. Alvarez, who’s now with the Inland Empire 66ers, the Angels’ Class-A affiliate.

The loss of those first-round picks, along with the call-up of top prospects such as Mike Trout, is partly why the Angels have a farm system that Baseball America this spring declared the worst in the big leagues.

-Jim Peltz