Dodgers select C Will Smith and RHP Jordan Sheffield at No. 32 and 36

With their two picks in the 30s, the Dodgers selected Louisville catcher Will Smith and Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield.

One of these picks is not sexy, while one of them is. But I like both of them, even if Smith may have been a tad overdrafted.

Will Smith

Smith was the on-field leader for Louisville team in the strong ACC. He was a late-riser, something Keith Law pointed out a few days ago.

He’s a college performer (12 strikeouts in 191 plate appearances?!) with a great chance to stick behind the plate. He’s basically the (college) catcher version of 1st-round pick Gavin Lux. The pick isn’t sexy by any means, but it’s a nice value pick.

Smith is athletic, has great bat-to-ball skills, great plate discipline, is an above-average runner (for a catcher), has a strong arm with good pop times (1.9 seconds) and is (presumably) adept at framing. Guess what? The Dodgers may have very well drafted a younger Austin Barnes.

David Hood at True Blue LA has some more information on Smith.

“Still, Smith’s average isn’t entirely empty, and his plate discipline and barrel control should make him attractive to teams.  If I had to grade him out for the big board, I would likely give him a 50 grade for overall, risk, and ceiling, putting his ranking between fifty and sixty on the board.  He has starting potential but probably not star potential.  If you’re a huge believer in Smith, than you probably see a Jeff Kendall type career, but I see someone similar to Austin Barnes but less power, and Barnes’ receiving ability is already a known quality.”

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Jordan Sheffield

Sheffield was the top-rated college pitcher on my Big Board, and I’m really excited the Dodgers were able to land him at No. 36.

I wrote up Sheffield eight days ago.

“Sheffield isn’t a prototypical starting pitcher, as you can see from his 6’0, 185-pound frame. But he gets the most out of his smallish stature, and when he’s on, he’s one of the better pitchers in the country.

Armed with elite fastball velocity, Sheffield does a lot of damage with his heater. It sits in the 94-96 MPH range and has touched 98 in the past. He can sink it and cut it a bit, so it isn’t just a straight 4-seamer that is much easier for MLB hitters to track. He also has a slider/curveball concoction that has flashed above-average and sits in the low-80s. It isn’t sure what kind of pitch it is just yet, but it has swing-and-miss potential. He also has a changeup that has glimpses of being at least a solid-average pitch. If he’s to remain in a big-league rotation, he’ll need all three of his pitches.

Sheffield has an odd delivery. He stands with his right foot on the third-base side of the rubber pointed toward the third base dugout. He then closes his front side while bringing his left foot parallel with his right. From there, he begins his delivery. He has a high leg lift and is quick to go through his motion. He has elite arm speed that whips through his body and toward the plate. Sheffield delivers from a high three-quarters slot that allows him to get movement on his pitches. It’s not a max effort delivery, but there’s plenty of effort in it that it could be hard to repeat at times. It’s rather impressive how much velocity he’s able to generate without a typical starter’s size.”

Sheffield, easily, has the highest ceiling of any of the Dodgers’ 1st-rounders. He also has, easily, the most risk.

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Smith is a guy you want on your team. He wasn’t the 32nd-best prospect in the draft, but he’s more likely to have a Major League career than some guys who were drafted in front of him. Sheffield is a boom or bust guy. If he booms, he’s a No. 2/3 starter. If he busts, he never sees the majors. He also has a chance to end up in the bullpen, which wouldn’t be ideal, but he’d still give the Dodgers some value.

Both of these guys should come in around slot-recommended value — maybe a few hundred thousand bucks above or below.

The first round went pretty decently for the Dodgers. They got two solid prospects in Lux and Smith and a lottery ticket in Sheffield. All in all, I’m pleased with the first round. Where the scouts are really going to make their money are in rounds 3-10 and if they peg later-round picks who end up signing.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.