Think Blue

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

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MLB Draft - Day 1 Review

And just like that, the first day of the 2009 draft has come and gone. A year of research and anticipation gives way to cautious optimism and Monday-morning quarterbacking. Let's take a look at who the Dodgers drafted.

Pick 1: Aaron Miller, LHP (Baylor)

Scouting Report: Seen as an outfielder coming out of high school and in his first 2 years of college ball, injuries decimated Baylor's pitching staff and forced Miller into the starting rotation. In spite of ugly numbers on the surface (5.12 ERA), his stuff took a big step forward. With a fastball that sits in the low 90s, touching 95, and the makings of a nasty slider, Aaron could have 2 plus pitches in his future repertoire. He needs to work on his command and develop his changeup, and while he's already 21, he's new to pitching full time and relatively very raw.

Analysis: At first, I wasn't impressed with the pick. Scouting publications are mixed on him: BA has him as the 21st best prospect in the draft, PGCC has him at 49 and Keith Law ranked him as #100. However, after reading more, I've become more optimistic about the pick. He reminds me of Scott Elbert: very athletic, 2 knockout pitches, command problems, strong build. He'll have the chance to start in the minors and develop a respectable changeup. If that doesn't happen, a relief role will probably be his ultimate destination.

Pick 2: Blake Smith, OF (Cal-Berkeley)

Scouting Report
: Also viewed as a pitching prospect, Smith has a plus-plus arm in RF and plenty of power potential. He does strikeout a lot (59 times in 53 games), so he'll need to work on shortening his swing in pro ball. Blake was relegated to DH duties after straining a lat muscle early in the season. The injury wasn't considered serious.

Analysis: I actually like him more as a pitching prospect, but apparently he blew the Dodgers away during a pre-draft workout, in which he hit a ball that nearly left the stadium. He's much like last year's 3rd round pick Kyle Russell, in that he'll walk, strikeout and homer a lot. And if his career as a hitter doesn't pan out, there's always that mid 90s fastball that could land him back on the mound.

Pick 3: Garrett Gould, RHP (Kansas HS)

Scouting Report: Gould burst onto the prospect scene this spring when his fastball jumped to the low 90s, touching 94mph. His curveball is regarded as one of the best in the class, something often found in Logan White draft picks. Garrett needs to work on his changeup and fine tune his delivery. While his arm works well, he often launches himself off to first base, which hinders his control and could pose potential injury risks down the road.

Analysis: Yes, I took Gould with my first pick in's Mock Draft this past Saturday. I'm waiting on that job offer, Logan. Anywho, obviously I'm a fan of the pick and Gould has plenty of upside. He definitely needs to work on his direction to the plate and on developing his changeup.

Pick 4: Brett Wallach, RHP (Orange Coast JC)

Scouting Report
: The son of a former major leaguer (it seems like I say that every year), Wallach won Southern California JC Player of the Year honors this spring for his contributions at the plate and on the mound. A closer last season, Brett moved into the rotation and dominated. His fastball sits around 90 and he spots it well. He also throws a reliable slurvy slider and a changeup that is often his best pitch. He's athletic and projectable, with an easy delivery.

Analysis: Wallach shouldn't have a hard time moving through the lower minors, being able to throw 3 quality pitches for strikes. His fastball could become plus down the road as his 6'2 185 lbs frame fills out. While the Dodgers love them some arm-strength guys, Brett is a pitcher first who could develop plus velocity in the future. Even if his velocity doesn't improve, he could reach the majors as a back end starter.

Overall: The draft is heavy on pitching and the Dodgers took advantage. It's the first time in Logan White's tenure that he's used his first 2 picks on college players. Miller and Smith are raw with plenty of upside, while Gould has the plus curve and Wallach the plus changeup. It'll be interesting to see how the Dodgers begin tomorrow's activities, and whether they continue the pitching trend or turn their focus to position players. A few prep hitters I really like and hope to see drafted by LA are SS/2B David Nick and C Josh Leyland.


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