Think Blue

Obsessing over the Dodgers' minor league system so you don't have to.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And the results are in

The draft deadline has passed and we now know who will be part of the Dodgers' organization. I'll share my thoughts as to who was signed and who the Dodgers let get away.

First Day: 5 of 6 picks signed

The Dodgers quickly signed most of their early picks. I was lucky enough to attend the game at which first rounder Chris Withrow's signing was announced. Austin Gallagher got in the system quickly, as Andrew Lambo, James Adkins and Michael Watt all made their way to rookie ball shortly after. It should be noted that all of the Dodgers' first day draft picks signed for slot money, while guys like Watt and Gallagher were thought to be overdrafts. The Dodgers spent just under $3 million on their first day picks.

But the big story, and biggest disappointment, was the failure to sign Kyle Blair. Leading up to the draft, Blair was rated as the 50th best prospect as he posted a 0.38 ERA with 124 strikeouts and 11 walks in 74 innings during his senior campaign. He features a fastball that sits in the low 90s and an impressive curveball. His 6'3 200 lbs frame and athleticism are also assets. But Blair's perceived bonus demands, thought to be $1.5 million, scared clubs away and caused him to fall to the Dodgers in the 5th round. Now here's a couple questions: were the Dodgers aware of Blair's lofty price tag and, if so, why did they select him if they werent willing to pay it? It seems as though the Dodgers took a flier on him, hoping his demands would drop as the summer temps rose, but to no avail.

Are the purse strings tied? The last non first/supplemental first round pick to receive a seven figure bonus was Andy LaRoche in 2003, a year before McCourt took over. Is McCourt afraid to ruffle the feathers of the commissioners office? There's no penalty for going over slot, meaning paying more for a player than the commissioner's office recommends. As a matter of fact, during this year's college world series, the announcers mentioned that Alex White, the Dodgers' 14th round pick in 2006, turned down a bonus in excess of a million dollars from LA to play at North Carolina. But if that's the case, then why wasnt there enough to get Blair in the fold?

Who do we blame? Logan White has seemingly had bad luck with signing early draft picks in odd years. In 2003, third rounder Cory Van Allen chose Baylor over the Dodgers and was a fifth round pick by the Nationals in 2006. And I'm sure I dont have to rehash the Luke Hochevar fiasco of 2005. What troubled me was, from the beginning, White seemed to be very doubtful about his ability to sign Blair. Did the scouting department have the information about his bonus demands? Was it McCourt or Colletti who refused to sign off on the deal? Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever have the answers to these questions.

To conclude, it was my opinion in June that the Blair pick would make or break the draft. I'm not too high on Adkins or Watt, though Gallagher has been a pleasant surprise. Withrow seems like the prototypical Logan White pitcher and Lambo could be a steal if he keeps his head on straight. But Blair would have made this a much better take. Hopefully, some second day picks can make an impact.

Second Day: 17 of 34 picks signed

Again, the Dodgers selected several talents who fell due to bonus demands and failed to sign most of them. The one exception may be Tim Sexton, a Junior College freshman who was bought out of his scholarship to College of Charleston for $123,000. Sexton draws comparisons to Bronson Arroyo for his lanky frame and extreme drop-and-drive delivery. He wont blow hitters away, but he has a four pitch repetoire with obvious deception. He had a nice debut, striking out 6 while allowing just 2 hits in 5 scoreless for Great Lakes.

But now, to those who got away. Rob Rasmussen (Rd 25) is a petite southpaw with a marginal fastball, but he's dominated amateur competition with a plus curve that he'll take to UCLA. Taylor Cole (Rd 24) is an athletic righthander/infielder from Nevada who will likely play both ways at BYU. Devin Fuller (14) is a guy I compared to Jon Meloan. He's built like a linebacker and throws with a good amount of effort. Like Meloan, Fuller will likely end up in the pen. And to boot, both were drafted out of the state of Arizona. However, unlike Meloan, Fuller will be pitching for the Arizona State Sun Devils this fall. Nathan Carter (Rd 23), brother of D Back's farmhand Chris, is an athletic IF/OF with plus speed and surprising power. However, he'll fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot in the Air Force.

The Dodgers did manage to sign 13 of their first 14 second day picks (Hope that's not too confusing). Justin Miller (Rd 6) and Dan Danielson (Rd 7) are both projectible righthanders who figure to add velocity as they fill out their frames. Alex Garabedian (Rd 8) and Jessie Mier (Rd 12) add much needed catching depth to the system. Jaime Pedroza (Rd 9), brother of former Dodgers' and current D Ray's prospect Sergio, offers a similar amount of offensive potential. Joris Bert (Rd 19) will go down as the first French born player to sign a pro contract. His speed allows him to bat at the top of the order and play centerfield.

Signing some of the higher ceiling guys, especially Blair, would have made this draft much more palatable. Overall I'd say this wasnt one of Logan White's stronger efforts. Aside from 2005, this may be the least talent infused into the farm in a White directed draft. I hope I'm proven wrong, but based on what I have to go on, I'm not too impressed.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home