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Minor League Report – Draft Review

Minor League Report – Draft Review

Now that the signing deadline has passed, we have a better idea of what the Dodgers got out of their 2011 haul. I’ve broken down the first 10 picks, along with a handful of later round selections and looked at what I think was a solid, yet unspectacular class.

The Top 10 List

Chris Reed, LHP – Stanford

The Dodgers were quiet about their pick until draft day, when Keith Law first reported that they had interest in Reed. The 21 year old struggled during his first two seasons with the Cardinal before finally breaking out in the summer of 2010 and continuing to have success in the spring of 2011.

The has the chance for three above average pitches, starting with his fastball that sat in the low 90s and touched 95 in relief, tho I’m not sure if he’ll retain the velocity in a move to the rotation. His slider is another above average offering and he’s shown a promising changeup. At 6’4, 190 lbs he has a starter’s frame and should be durable. His mechanics are sound.

He signed for $1,589,000, which was $77,000 more than the commissioner’s office’s recommendation. I really didn’t have him on my first round radar, given the fact that he had such a short track record of success and started just one game in college. The Dodgers haven’t had a whole lot of success converting college relievers into pro starters; the most recent example being Josh Lindblom, who flourished in his debut but subsequently lost velocity and had to move back to the pen.

To no one’s surprise, the Dodgers weren’t looking to go far over slot like they did in 2010 with Zach Lee, though Reed presents more risk than your average college pick. The lack of experience in the rotation, coupled with a presumed downgrade in fastball velocity, limits his ceiling and leaves me skeptical about his ability to make the conversion with no ill effects.

Alex Santana, 3B – Mariner HS, Cape Coral, Florida

LA has made a habit of selecting the sons of former major leaguers. Dee Gordon, Ivan De Jesus, Preston Mattingly, Brett Wallach and James Baldwin have all been taken high in the draft under Logan White. So it should come as no surprise that they’d take yet another pedigree pick with Santana.

The rangy 6’4 infielder doesn’t resemble his father physically and never really projected to follow in his father’s footsteps by playing shortstop. However, he profiles as a good defender with soft hands, good range and a strong arm. At the plate, he’s more prone to hitting doubles than homers right now but should grow into his power. Thus far, he’s struggled to make contact, as evidenced by his 58 strikeouts in 40 games. Long arms lead to long swings and he’ll have to shorten up to make the most of his size.

For a second rounder, Alex is very much a projection pick with a low floor, meaning he’s got a ways to go to fulfill his potential and there’s a good chance he won’t. Most sources had him pegged as a 6th-10th round pick, so taking him in the 2nd seems extremely aggressive to me.

Pratt Maynard, C – North Carolina State

The organization’s biggest need, aside from third base, was catcher and White did a good job of addressing it in the draft. The first of three backstops selected in the first 20 rounds, Maynard had a stand out season as a junior, batting .323 with 21 doubles, 5 homers and 38 walks in 62 games.

Pratt only began catching in college and is understandably raw on defense, but he has the tools and athleticism to become a capable defender. His value lies in his offense, where he provides line drive power and patience that lead to above average hash lines for a catcher.

While he’s struggled in his debut, he does figure to hit more than enough to justify this selection. While his overall line is unimpressive, he’s posting some of the most bizarre and extreme reverse platoon splits I’ve ever seen. He’s a left-handed batter hitting .429 in 21 at bats against lefties and .132 in 53 at bats vs righties.

Ryan O’Sullivan, RHP – Oklahoma City University

The brother of Sean, former Angels’ property and current Royals pitcher, high expectations were quickly dashed when he hurt himself in his first inning of the 2010 season and ended his chances of being San Diego State’s replacement for Stephen Strasburg. His grades caused him to relocate to OKC and sit out the spring.

During private workouts, O’Sullivan showed a fastball ranging from 92-94mph and a good, low 80s curveball. He’s a risky pick because of the injury and some scouts have expressed concerns about his makeup.

The Dodgers ended up signing Ryan for $100,000, which is less than half of what his slot recommendation was. That leads me to believe that he’s still not fully healthy, which is cause for concern. However, if he does come back physically sound, he possesses two potential plus pitches and offers some upside.

Scott McGough, RHP – Oregon

An unimposing, yet live-armed righty, McGough was the first reliever taken by the Dodgers in this year’s draft that they intend on keeping a reliever. His stat line as a junior was just OK, posting an ERA of 3.59, allowing 52 hits and 25 walks in 57 innings. He did manage to strike out just over a batter an inning and surrendered no home runs this spring.

He features a fastball that sits about 92-94 with good movement and also throws a slider. While some consider the slider a plus pitch for his ability to command it, I question how effective it will be against advanced hitters because of the fact that it breaks fairly early and not especially hard.

This is a low risk, low reward type of pick that should generally be saved for later rounds. While he’s probably not going to be a major league closer, he should be a serviceable middle reliever with the chance at being a setup man.

Scott Barlow, RHP – Golden Valley HS, Santa Clarita, CA

This is the latest Logan White has ever drafted his first high school pitcher. In 2005 and 2009 he took one in the 2nd, in 2002 he took one in the supplemental 1st and every other year he took one in the 1st round.

Barlow is the type of projectable arm that White likes, as Scott wasn’t necessarily drafted for what he is, but for what he can be. At 6’3 and 170 lbs, he figures to fill out over time, which should allow him to add velocity to his average fastball. He already knows how to throw a curve and is a good athlete.

Don’t expect things right away, but a few years down the road we could be looking at a pretty good prospect.

Scott Woodward, 3B – Coastal Carolina

The third of the Scott triumvirate, Woodward was the first college senior sign by the club this year. He batted .342 this spring with 31 stolen bases in 35 attempts, to go along with 17 doubles and 4 homers.

Part of Scott’s appeal was the fact that he’s had experience playing in the outfield as well as at third base, where the Dodgers need players. He’s had a difficult time playing the infield after signing, committing 10 errors in 45 chances with Ogden. Offensively, he has power and speed but struggles to make contact.

He’s part of the reverse platoon club, batting .275 against lefties and .185 against righties, so his .219 average figures to come up naturally. He’s a little more raw than you’d like a 22 year old to be, but the tools and versatility make him an intriguing player.

Rick Anton, LHP – Utah

Another senior sign, Anton had a good outing late in the spring against a top prospect named John Stillson that gave him a boost going into the draft. He posted an ERA of 2.52 this spring in 100 innings.

Anton’s fastball is average but touches the low 90s and he has a four pitch mix. He throws strikes, as evidenced by his 4 walks in 33 innings since turning pro. He’s not terribly big, but repeats his delivery and has some deception.

The upside isn’t too high, but the floor isn’t too low. If everything goes right, Rick could sneak into the back of a rotation down the road.

Tyler Ogle, C – Oklahoma

The second catcher taken in the top 10 rounds, Ogle has a similar profile to Maynard and Chris O’Brien. He batted .343 this spring with 15 doubles, 9 homers, as many walks as strikeouts and even stole 10 bases.

A right-handed hitter, Ogle makes consistent, hard contact and knows the strike zone. Defensively, he’s the most advanced of the three backstops and he threw out 31% of attempted base stealers this spring.

Just a bit of trivia: Ogle continued a trend of Oklahoma catchers being drafted in the top 10 rounds, the most recent of which being JT Wise, drafted in 2009 by the Dodgers. While he signed later than the other two, Tyler may have the most going for him considering his defensive prowess. It’ll be interesting to see how the Dodgers fit those three in to full time leagues next year.

Jamaal Moore, LHP – Westchester HS, LA, CA

The first pick to go unsigned, Moore was probably better off going to college anyway. His fastball was fringy, sitting in the high 80s and he figures to add velocity in time. Maybe the Dodgers will give him a look in a few years.

Other Notable Selections

Scott Wingo: After dominating in the CWS for the champion Gamecocks, Wingo turned pro and hit the ground running in the AZL. Unfortunately, the jets have cooled after he was promoted to Ogden and he’s batting just .216 as of August 17th. Still, he figures to be an organizational favorite and has a chance to move quickly.

O’Koyea Dickson: Perhaps the hottest hitter of all 2011 Dodger draftees, Dickson is currently third in the Pioneer League in batting average and first in OPS with a slash line of .370/.420/.637 in 34 games. The 21 year old first baseman could end the year with the batting title and a shot at MVP.

Jesus Valdez: One of the Dodgers’ most surprising picks, Valdez was seen as an arm heading into the draft. But the club liked him as an athletic, strong-armed third baseman and made him a position player after he turned pro. Early results are good, as the 19 year old has shown some power mixed with some patience and a little speed. He’s being eased in defensively, playing 4 games at DH, 11 games at first base and just 3 at third.

Chris O’Brien: Much like Maynard and Ogle, O’Brien’s value lies in his bat, where he shows line drive power and good on base skills. After struggling out of the gate, Chris has turned things around and is batting .272/.367/.456 in 33 games. Oddly enough, he’s the oldest of the three catchers, having turned 22 on July 24th and he celebrated with a home run.

Malcolm Holland: A football recruit to Idaho State, Holland decided to put the pads away and sign for $150,000 as a 33rd round pick. He’s a very good athlete with great speed and is being groomed to switch hit and play second base. He’s off to a slow start in pro ball, but he’s a project.

Summary

In a year that saw spending records shattered, where clubs spent a combined $239 million on prospects, LA doled out a mere $3.5 million, the 26th most in the league. The Dodgers didn’t get a ton of upside, but they did get a good amount of solid prospects out of this haul. Reed’s a gamble and Santana’s a project, not too comforting as the club’s top two picks. However, the catchers and some of the arms should provide enough value to produce some return. Overall, I wouldn’t rate this as the Dodgers’ best draft, but it’s certainly not the worst.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

One Response to “Minor League Report – Draft Review”

  1. Bobby says:

    damn that was depressing to read

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