This is the third installment of four Big Boards leading up to the MLB Draft (June 8). While some names have stayed, there are some changes and new additions.
My Big Board, v 3.0
1. LHP Kolby Allard, San Clemente HS (Calif.)
2. C Chris Betts, Wilson HS (Calif.)
3. RHP James Kaprielian, UCLA
4. RHP Michael Matuella, Duke
5. RHP Ashe Russell, Cathedral HS (Ind.)
6. OF Garrett Whitley, Niskayuna HS (N.Y.)
7. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes, Concordia Lutheran HS (Texas)
8. RHP Austin Smith, Park Vista HS (Fla.)
9. OF Ian Happ, Cincinnati
10. SS/3B Cornelius Randolph, Griffin HS (Ga.)
11. RHP Donny Everett, Clarksville HS (Tenn.)
12. RHP Dakota Chalmers, North Forsyth HS (Ga.)
13. RHP Beau Burrows, Weatherford HS (Texas)
14. RHP Drew Finley, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
15. RHP Cody Ponce, Cal Poly
The Top 4 on my board remain unchanged because they are four of my favorite prospects in the draft (whom the Dodgers could, realistically, select). I still think Kolby Allard has a chance of going in the teens, and there’s scuttlebutt that James Kaprielian could also go in the teens. That would be unfortunate, but if Chris Betts or Michael Matuella are still available come pick 24, I’d be quite pleased with that scenario.
Ashe Russell jumps into the Top 5 because of his electric stuff, projectability and overall potential. He might not make it to No. 24, but if he does, I’d hope the Dodgers give him strong consideration.
Austin Smith could be a late-riser for me, as his fastball is one of the best among high schoolers. He’s more filled out than Russell, but he could end up being just as good.
Ian Happ falls a bit because he’s probably a corner outfielder without a ton of power (but a good overall hitter) and the fact he probably will go in the Top 20 (and as high as the Top 10).
Donny Everett could be a helium guy not just for me, but in the draft in general. While high school arms fell a little bit last year, they might be more attractive due to the lack of quality college pitchers available — at least, those who aren’t injured.
Beau Burrows is another prep arm and is making his debut on the board. He doesn’t have a ton of projectability left at 6’1/200, but he has a good fastball-curveball combination. He’ll need to develop his changeup further to remain in the rotation.
Cody Ponce is a guy Jared Massey likes a lot more than me. He’s a big dude (6’5, 235), but “only” throws in the 91-94 MPH range. Not bad, but you’d expect more from a big guy like that.
And I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I’ve dropped Brady Aiken from my board completely. There’s just too much uncertainty and risk involved with his Tommy John surgery. I’ve also 86’d Justin Hooper, as he has a potential reliever profile and a huge price tag (reportedly $4 million).
The draft is six days from today. I’ll do one more board on the day, and probably have the game thread that day be a write-up of the Dodgers’ first pick (and maybe second, depending on time). While this draft isn’t particularly strong, I’m very interested to see what happens.
The Dodgers could maneuver and manipulate the picks and the bonus amounts to acquire more prospects, or they can pay a guy over slot and have to save elsewhere. This isn’t a time when the Dodgers can say to hell with the rules and blow out their budget. The penalties for going way over in the draft are more significant than if (when) they do in the international signing period. There will be some strategy, and I’m eager to see how the front office handles its first draft.