Think Blue

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

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Draft - Day 2 Review

Well, the first day of the draft left me feeling underwhelmed, so let's see what they second day had in store.

Round 7 - Pick 217

Dodgers select: Cole St Clair, LHP (Rice University)

Now this is a pick I like. St Clair looked like a sure-fire first rounder heading into 2007 before a shoulder injury cost him some time and velocity. He was selected in the 7th round by the Indians a year ago but didn't sign. His fastball was in the upper 80s instead of the low 90s this spring and his curveball wasn't as tight. But hopefully with more intensive training and another year removed from his injury will allow his stuff to return. It's really all about signability with him. Although he's a college senior who's exhausted his eligibility and earned his degree, he's still seen as a difficult sign. The Dodgers spent an extra hundred grand on Tim Sexton last year, and St Clair would be an ideal candidate to get above-slot money this time. Losing out on him wouldn't be as bad as not signing Kyle Blair, but the Dodgers need to show that they are capable of taking high risk guys and getting them in the system.

Round 8 - Pick 247

Dodgers select: Nick Buss, OF (University of Southern California)

Another pick I like, and not just because he's another local kid. For me, he's a Steve Finley / Eric Byrnes type. He has good speed that he uses to his advantage in CF and on the basepaths. His arm is good enough for CF or LF. The question is how much he'll hit. He led the Alaska League last summer with a .369 average and stole 29 bases. However, this spring he only hit .289 but he did hit 7 HR. Hopefully he just hits better with wood. It's worth noting that Buss was drafted by the Dodgers in the 35th round of the 2006 draft.

Round 9 - Pick 277

Dodgers select: Steven Caseras, 1B/OF (James Madison University)

To be honest, I didn't know who he was prior to the draft. But once I saw video, I immediately liked this pick. Caseras is a big kid (6'4 215) with lots of left-handed power. He smashed 20 Doubles and 21 HR this spring while batting .342. He also drew 39 walks but did strike out 53 times. He can catch up to good fastballs, evidenced by taking supplemental first rounder Brad Holt deep during a game this season. He's limited defensively, but he's not a liability at 1B. All in all, if he signs, Caseras could be one of the best power hitters in the Dodgers' system.

Round 10 - Pick 307

Dodgers select: Chris Joyce, LHP (Dos Pueblos HS, CA)

Joyce doesn't have to ideal pitcher's frame at a thick 6'0 200 lbs, but he knows how to pitch. He was sitting at 92mph earlier this spring before a muscle strain sidelined him and he returned with less velocity, sitting at 88. Chris has 3 secondary pitches: a hard slider, a curve and a changeup and he can command all of them when he's on. He doesn't have a high ceiling but he's the type of kid who could move through the minors quickly. Joyce probably wouldn't sign for 10th round money and could wind up at UCSB.

Others of Note:

-Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (11th round)
is coming off of TJ surgery and was throwing 92-93 late in the season. However, he hasn't been able to throw his breaking ball and he won't sign for 11th round money. Unless the Dodgers go well over slot, he'll end up at Texas.

-Clay Calfee, 1B (14th round) is similar to Caseras in that he's a big guy (6'6 220) and projects to hit for plenty of power. He's smooth around first and has the speed/arm to play a corner OF spot. He's already 22 and could be looking to sign.

-Kyle Conley, OF (16th round) suffered a freak injury to his left (non-dominant) shoulder last year, earning himself a medical red-shirt and an extra year of eligibility. It looked like he needed it early this spring before breaking out and smashing 19 HR. He's a big guy (6'3 220) and has enormous power potential, but he figures to be a difficult sign.

-Danny Coulombe, LHP (17th round) is eerily similar to last year's 27th round Rob Rasmussen: he's a southwest kid with a small frame, mediocre fastball and excellent curveball. While Rasmussen ended up at UCLA, Coulombe is committed to rival USC. He's another guy who would need a considerable bonus to stay out of college.

-Zach Cox, 3B (20th round) was projected to go much higher, but his commitment to Arkansas apparently scared most clubs off. Cox has the hitting tools to be an exciting bat in the minors, but he's another kid who will go to college if he isn't blown away by a bonus.

-Jerry Sands, OF (25th round) is another big guy (6'4 210) with power to spare. His speed and arm strength are considered average tools. Level of competition is a question, as he played in division II and struggled last year in the Coastal Plain League.

-Matt Magill, RHP (31st round) doesn't blow you away with his present velocity, but high 80s could turn into low 90s as his 6'3 185 frame fills out. He also throws a good slider and a reliable changeup. If he doesn't sign, he'll head to Cal Poly.

-Melvin Ray, OF (33rd round) is an extremely raw player who will likely honor his football scholarship to play WR for Alabama. He has plus running speed, an average arm and projectable raw power. The most interesting fact about him is that he's a distant relative of Jackie Robinson.

-Adam Westmoreland, LHP (35th round) looks like the southpaw version of Jon Broxton. At 6'4 280 lbs, scouts rightfully worry about his durability and health down the road. But as a pitcher, he works around 90mph along with a usable breaking ball and a changeup. He'll likely end up at South Carolina.


The second day showed some promise for the Dodgers. The first three picks all have potential to pay off, but St Clair isn't guaranteed to sign. The Dodgers again took some prep guys with signability issues and it'll be interesting to see how much they'll go over slot to bring them in. If the Dodgers could get about half of the guys I mentioned signed (including the first 3), then I'd be satisfied.


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