Angels select C Matt Thaiss with first pick (16th overall) in 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft

The Angels selected catcher Matt Thaiss out of the University of Virginia, as their first pick (1st round, 16th overall) in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. The announcement was made by Angels' Director of Scouting Ric Wilson.

"We thought he was one of the top bats in the draft," Wilson said. "Obviously we took a catcher last year, but we are looking to acquire as many assets as we can and it's exciting to get one of the best bats in the draft. We feel he has an above average bat with power potential and some defensive versatility."

Thaiss (pronounced: thyce; rhymes with ice), 21, wrapped up his junior season at the University of Virginia where he led his team in average (.375; 87/232), home runs (10), RBI (59), total bases (134), slugging (.578) and OBP (.473). The catcher also logged 13 doubles and two triples in 60 games for the Cavaliers. He finished the season tied for fourth in the ACC in hits, sixth in batting average, sixth in RBI, seventh in slugging and total bases and eighth in OBP.

Across his three seasons with the Cavaliers, Thaiss combined to hit .338 (187/554), with 115 runs scored, 36 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs and 130 RBI. The backstop was named a Second Team All-American by Baseball America following the 2016 campaign, his second straight season with All-America honors. He was a semi-finalist this year for both the Dick Howser Trophy (College Baseball Player of the Year) and the Johnny Bench Award (top collegiate catcher). He helped lead the Cavaliers to the College World Series Finals in both 2014 and 2015, with Virginia capturing their first national championship in school history last season.

In 2013, Thaiss was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 32nd round out of Jackson Memorial High School (Jackson Township, NJ) where he was twice named First-Team All-State.

Thaiss becomes the second New Jersey native to be selected in the first round by the Angels, joining OF Mike Trout (25th overall in 2009).

The Angels have selected a catcher with their first selection for the second consecutive season, with Taylor Ward (26th overall) being selected last year from Fresno State. Thaiss becomes the eighth catcher in franchise history to be selected in the first round of the draft.

The 16th overall selection is the earliest pick made by the Angels since 2004, when RHP Jered Weaver was selected 12th overall in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State.

Thaiss is the first of two selections the Angels will make on the first day of the draft. The Halos also hold the 60th overall selection, which will come in the second round of the draft.

The Angels 40-man roster currently features 12 players who were first round selections, including seven players who were first round picks by the Halos: C.J. Cron (17th overall - 2011), Kaleb Cowart (18th overall - 2010), Cam Bedrosian (29th overall - 2010), Mike Trout (25th overall - 2009), Tyler Skaggs (40th overall - 2009), Garrett Richards (42nd overall - 2009) and Jered Weaver (12th overall - 2004).