The last time the Angels took a high-school kid from Michigan early in the Major League Baseball Draft, they were the California Angels — and the franchise was 11 years old.

That pick, a Detroit Catholic Central flame-throwing lefty named Frank Tanana, worked out pretty darn well.

And so, 47 years after the Angels took Tanana in the first round (13th overall), they dipped into the Detroit talent pool once again Tuesday, selecting Detroit Western right-hander William English in the fifth round (151st overall).

English was with about nine friends and family members in Taylor watching the draft at, and was ecstatic to his name pop up on the computer screen.

"We all screamed for joy," English told The News on Tuesday afternoon, before he headed out to play a high-school game. "It was fun, truly a blessing.

"It's been exciting for me and my whole family."

English, widely considered one of the top prep players in the state, received word from his advisers during the fourth round that the Angels were ready to make him their guy in the fifth round.

They stayed true to their word, and English plans to stay true his — and sign (recommended slot value is $340,300) and forego his college career at the University of Tennessee.


English is a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder who features four pitches — two different fastballs, a curveball and a change-up. The fastball sits between 89 and 93, and can touch 95. He started finding himself on scouts' radars during his junior season at Western.

The Angels emerged as a favorite recently, when English attended a pre-draft workout in Atlanta last week. He stood out among a crowd of about 60 draft candidates.

"It's an honor, truly an honor," said English, who doesn't turn 18 until December. "I didn't expect this at all."

English was the first state player taken Tuesday. Oakland University senior right-hander Jake Lee went in the ninth round (271st overall; $147,500 slot value), also to the Angels, after striking out 112 in 75.1 innings this season. Lee is from Milford, and also attended Hillsdale College.

Also of note, a big-time Michigan recruit, Kentucky high-school left-hander Drew Rom, went in the fourth round to the Baltimore Orioles.

English has been playing baseball since he was 3, and while he also played some basketball, he decided against playing his senior year at Western so he could turn his attention to baseball.

That decision might've just paid off in a big way.

The MLB Draft picks up again Wednesday at noon, for the final 30 rounds.

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