Athleticism dominates Dodgers selections in Rounds 11-25 of MLB Draft

Josh McLain

The Dodgers definitely have a type, and it’s athletic. That’s what they focused on with their draft picks in Rounds 11 through 25.

Every pick from Round 11 through 40 can be signed for up to $100,00 without it counting against their bonus pool ($5,794,200; $6,083,910 with the 5 percent tax). Anything more than $100,000 will count. If a guy signs for $300,000, that means $200,000 goes toward the bonus pool. This also counts for undrafted free agents who might sign later in the summer.

Let’s take a look at the Dodger draftees from Rounds 11-25, first in list form.

11(340). SS Jacob Amaya, South Hills HS (Calif.)
12(370). RHP Andre Jackson, Utah
13(400). RHP Marshall Kasowski, West Texas A&M
14(430). OF Josh McLain, North Carolina State
15(460). 2B Marcus Chiu, Marin Community College
16(490). RHP Evy Ruibal, Notre Dame
17(520). RHP Nathan Witt, Michigan State
18(550). RHP Max Gamboa, Pepperdine
19(580). RHP Zach Willeman, Kent State
20(610). OF Donovan Casey, Boston College
21(640). SS Joshua Rivera, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy
22(670). LHP Justin Hoyt, Jacksonville State
23(700). SS Connor Heady, Kentucky
24(730). SS Preston Grand Pre, California
25(760). RHP Mark Washington, Lehigh

——

Round 11, Pick 340 (overall): SS Jacob Amaya, South Hills HS (Calif.)

The Dodgers have made some 11th-round splashes in the past. They tend to go over slot to sign guys who have fallen out of the Top 10 rounds. Some past splashes include A.J. Alexy (2016), Imani Abdullah (2015), Spencer Navin (2013) and Joc Pederson (2010). This year, it looks like Amaya is that guy.

He was ranked as the 243rd-best prospect by Baseball America and 367 by Perfect Game. Here’s what Baseball America had to say about Amaya:

“The 6-foot, 195 pound shortstop made highlight-reel plays in the hole, showed off impressive arm strength, and lined the ball hard to all fields at the plate. Amaya demonstrates excellent barrel control and enough bat speed to catch up to high velocity. He has a chance to be an above-average hitter, but his power is fringe-average and is not expected to increase because he lacks physical projection. Defensively he is solid across the board at shortstop. Amaya has talent but lacks a carrying tool, which some evaluators believe will stall him at higher levels. His focus and work ethic off the field have also been questioned.”

And Perfect Game:

“Amaya has been a well known prospect in Southern California as an older player who physically matured early and who has advanced skills offensively and defensively. His draft stock has improved significantly this spring as he worked hard during the off-season to firm up his body and remake his athleticism. The result has been a player who looks and plays like a middle infielder instead of a player that many scouts predicted would eventually end up behind the plate defensively. Amaya has also improved by a solid grade with his running speed and regularly turns in big league average times from home to first in addition to his increased range in the middle infield.”

Vitals
5’10, 165 pounds
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Sept. 3, 1998
Commitment: CSU Fullerton

Video

Natural actions at shortstop and a quick bat at the plate. Pair that with athleticism and a some projection left and you have an over-slot prospect. He’s committed to a baseball powerhouse in CSU Fullerton, so it’ll take a substantial bonus to get him out of it.

Round 12, Pick 370 (overall): RHP Andre Jackson, University of Utah

Jackson is a right-handed pitcher from the University of Utah who missed all of 2017 after Tommy John surgery. He was ranked No. 403 by Perfect Game. Here’s the write-up:

“Jackson redshirted in ’17 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, definitely giving him the profile of a significantly deep sleeper. He’s a two-way player for the Utes, though he profiles more as a pitcher long term in the eyes of scouts. When healthy, Jackson is a hyper-athletic righthanded pitcher with a good deal of the components that scouts look for in pitching prospects; even with the injury. He’s got plus arm speed with a fastball that has been into the mid-90’s; and his athleticism allow scouts to project a quality command profile long term. He’s a very deep sleeper at this point; but a team could most certainly take a chance on him on Day 3.”

Athletic you say? That seems to be the Dodgers’ calling card since the new regime has taken over.

Vitals
6’2, 190 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: May 1, 1996
Year: Redshirt Junior

Video

Some like him as a hitter, the Dodgers obviously liked him as a pitcher, despite his missing the entire 2017 after Tommy John surgery. The only video I could find was of him hitting. Since he redshirtted this season, he might be a bit of a tougher sign than other college juniors.

Round 13, Pick 400 (overall): RHP Marshall Kasowski, West Texas A&M

Kasowski might have the most interesting background of any of these Day 3 selections. He was ranked No. 312 by Perfect Game and 371 by Baseball America.

From BA:

“His 92-95 mph fastball has gained a tick as he’s regained his strength and his dedication to the weight room post-injury has paid off in increased stamina and arm speed. His curveball is an average offering but he shows feel for locating it. Kasowski’s delivery is somewhat self-taught. It’s not pretty but it does an excellent job of hiding the ball until late in his delivery making his already firm fastball play up even more.”

From PG:

“Kasowski has had people buzzing all season, not even so much in terms of his stock as a prospect, but by the numbers he’s posting. Kasowski was very good by any measure this season; going 9-5 across 93.1 innings with a 2.22 ERA; but what really jumps out is the fact that he’s struck out a ridiculous 165 (!!!) hitters in those innings. Kasowski is especially deceptive in that he throws from a directly overtop slot; hiding the ball extremely well up until release and allowing his already above average velocity (he’s usually 91-94 mph) to play up a good bit. He also works in a solid-average curveball with power depth that can miss bats.”

The folks at Lookout Landing (Mariners’ SB Nation blog) and Kate Preusser, specifically, wrote him up as well.

“In December of 2015, the car Marshall Kasowski was driving was struck by a driver doing 100 mph and thrown across the highway on impact. His car came to a rest facing oncoming traffic. He describes the experience of sitting on the highway, dazed, waiting for another car to hit and kill him him in a powerful video here. After this harrowing experience and missing most of 2016 with an injury, Kasowski has rebounded in a tremendous way this year. He was electric for the Buffs, striking out 165 batters in 93.1 innings. 165. Not a typo. He allowed 50 BBs, just four doubles and seven homers, for an ERA of 2.22. His 165 strikeouts is a new Lone Star conference record and passes Placido Torres (drafted by the Mets last year and 2016’s Brett Tomko Award winner) for 10th-highest in DII baseball history. Kasowski, also a finalist for this year’s Tomko award, was the only DII player selected to the midseason Golden Spikes watch list. He reminds me of a taller Altavilla—he’s 6’2” and 220, with a strong, muscular frame, and a shift to the bullpen might help his stuff play up.”

BA also wrote about his journey.

Vitals
6’3, 215 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
DOB: March 10, 1995
Year: Junior

Video

Honestly, he doesn’t have much reason to sign if he doesn’t get what he wants. But he’d be a solid get for the Dodgers in the 13th round.

Round 14, Pick 430 (overall): OF Josh McLain, North Carolina State

McLain was a college performer who hit in the middle of the NC State lineup but profiles more as a top- or bottom-of-the-order bat in professional ball. He was ranked No. 245 by BA and 300 by PG. From BA:

“He earns 70 or 80 speed grades depending on the scout, and likely will steal more bases in pro ball than he has for the Wolfpack (23 SB in 28 attempts the last two season). For one, the Wolfpack don’t run much; for another, his early season production led the Pack to move him to the No. 3 spot in the lineup despite his below-average power. He legs out doubles on line drives to the gaps but also can ambush a fastball from time to time. He needs to draw more walks to fit a leadoff profile. McLain has good range and solid center-field instincts with a below-average arm.”

From PG:

McLain has been one of the main catalysts in Head Coach Elliott Avent’s lineup each of the last two season, both with the bat and defensively in center field. Though he’s not a physical presence at 6-foot, 165-pounds and has spent time in the middle of the order this spring, McLain is a consistent bat with a direct swing and solid barrel skills at the plate. When you consider his easy above average speed, McLain shows the requisite tools to hit atop the lineup at the next level while playing an above average defense in center field with solid closing speed. The North Carolina native is having his best statistical season yet, hitting .314-6-31 with 20 doubles and eleven stolen bags.

He has a legitimate center field profile defensive and should be a threat on the base paths.

Vitals
6’1, 170 pounds
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Sept. 23, 1996
Year: Junior

Video

Wide stance, quiet load, compact swing. He should perform in the minors and with some instruction, could be a legit prospect. It might take more than $100k to get him signed.

Round 15, Pick 460 (overall): 2B Marcus Chiu, College of Marin

The Dodgers took their first dip into the junior college ranks by popping infielder Marcus Chiu. He played mostly third base at College of Marin, but was announced as a second baseman. He wasn’t ranked by either Baseball America or Perfect Game. He hit .311/.416/.496 in his sophomore season at Marin.

Vitals
6’1, 190 pounds
Position: Second base
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Jan. 13, 1997
Year: Junior
Commitment: University of Nevada, Reno

Video

That’s about it in terms of video on the JUCO infielder. He’s slated to go to UNR and it wouldn’t be surprising if honors that commitment.

Round 16, Pick 490 (overall): RHP Evy Ruibal, Notre Dame

Ruibal must have been selected because of his scouting profile, because his numbers after three years at Notre Dame have been … not good. In 40 games (59 innings), he had a 4.73 ERA and walked almost as many hitters (33) as he struck out (40). He wasn’t ranked by BA or PG. At the PG National Showcase in 2013, he sat in the high-80s and touched 91 MPH with his fastball. Here’s a part of the write-up:

Low hand delivery, full deep arm action, 3/4’s arm slot, some effort at release. Primary fastball pitcher, upper 80’s fastball that topped out at 91 mph, mostly straight, will need to learn to pitch down in zone better with fastball. Slider best off speed pitch, good late biting action, should throw more. Tends to slow arm on curveball, developing change up.

The breaking ball — whichever one it may be — gives him a shot at being a middle relief option, but upside here is limited.

Vitals
6’4, 205 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Sept. 29, 1995
Year: Junior

Video

This is the only video of Ruibal pitching, and it’s five years old. Take from it what you will. He has a good pitcher’s frame and one would think he has added velocity since appearing in the PG Showcase.

Round 17, Pick 520 (overall): RHP Nathan Witt, Michigan State

This pick was clearly made by Magic Johnson (MSU alumnus). Witt is a physical right-hander who gets up to the mid-90s with his fastball. He struck out 19 batters in 22 2/3 innings for the Spartans in 2017. He was ranked No. 271 by PG, and here’s what it had to say:

“A redshirt sophomore who often played the role of fireman for the Spartans out of the bullpen this spring, Witt is somewhat of a deep sleeper that some scouts are particularly interested in. Witt’s numbers this spring aren’t especially impressive, as the righthander posted a 4.37 ERA across 22.2 innings, striking out 19 in the process. He’s still quite raw on the mound from essentially any perspective, but the XL-framed righthander worked up to 95-96 mph with his fastball in most outings this spring; with good life to the pitch as well. Some scouts believe that as he continues to gain consistency with his delivery and more experience on the mound; Witt might end up throwing even harder than he does now, especially in short bursts out of the bullpen. Michigan State does a tremendous job of developing pitchers; so either way, Witt is likely to take another step forward in 2018.”

The performance doesn’t match the scouting profile, and it’s easy to see why some scouts think Witt is a deep sleeper.

Vitals
6’4, 210 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: April 19, 1996
Year: Redshirt Sophomore

Video

None Available

As a redshirt sophomore, the Dodgers are probably going to need to offer him more than the $100,000 to get him to sign.

Round 18, Pick 550 (overall): RHP Max Gamboa, Pepperdine

The Dodgers went local in the 18th round to grab righty Gamboa from Pepperdine. He ranked No. 481 by Baseball America. He struck out almost a batter per inning in 2017 at Pepperdine (52 K in 53 IP) and had a 3.74 ERA out of the Waves’ bullpen. From BA:

“Gamboa is the owner of one of the most electric arms on the west coast, with a 94-96 mph fastball and the ability to blow it past good hitters. He stands a projectable 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, leaving some to dream he can throw even harder. Despite his velocity, Gamboa’s ERA got worse every year at Peppedine, capped by a 5.05 ERA in a junior season shortened by arm tenderness. Gamboa is seen as a major injury risk because of his delivery. He has a stand-up finish with an arm recoil, and his arm is not in proper position at foot strike. He also struggles with wildness. Gamboa profiles purely as a reliever due to his control struggles and injury risk, but his frame and big velocity make him intriguing to some.”

Vitals
6’4, 180 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Nov. 22, 1995
Year: Junior

Video

Long, lanky, some arm drag, good run on his fastball and a cutter-like slider. Decent relief profile. If he signs, the Dodgers will probably develop him as just that.

Round 19, Pick 580 (overall): RHP Zach Willeman, Kent State

Kent State is turning into a solid baseball program in the Midwest, and the Dodgers nabbed one of their starting pitchers in Willeman in the 19th round. He went from the bullpen in 2015-16 to the rotation in 2017. His performance wasn’t great — 4.91 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 — but he only allowed two home runs in 66 innings. He was ranked No. 330 by BA and 450 by PG. Here’s what BA had to say:

“Willeman’s 90-95 mph fastball has plenty of sink and he can run it in on the hands of righthanded hitters. His curveball was a little loopier and slower this spring than it was last summer in the Cape Cod League, grading out more as a 40-45 pitch this spring. Some scouts believe he’ll end up back in the pen as he has a deep stab in his arm action, but he showed fringe-average control this year as a starter.”

And PG:

“Willeman transitioned to the Kent State weekend rotation this spring after being a highly-successful closer over his first two seasons–a relief role he’s likely destined for again in professional baseball. Willeman did not find the success that many had envisioned as a starter; but he did show stuff that still entices scouts. He usually worked in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball, generating solid arm side run; and while the curveball was erratic it still flashed as an above average pitch.”

Classic reliever profile. If the Dodgers can help him refine his curveball, he might have a decent future.

Vitals
6’3, 215 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: March 27, 1996
Year: Junior

Video

He has the option of going back to school for his senior season, and that might ultimately be best for him. But the Dodgers will try to sign him.

Round 20, Pick 610 (overall): OF Donovan Casey, Boston College

Casey is the best prospect the Dodgers drafted on Day 3. At Boston College, he didn’t hit for a ton of power, but his tools are present. He hit .273/.348/.364 in 36 games for the Eagles. On the mound, he had a 1.17 ERA in 7 2/3 innings, but also had five walks and three strikeouts in those innings. MLB.com ranked him at No. 128, BA at 141 and PG at 157.

From BA:

“Casey has plus arm strength and has touched as high as 95 mph on the mound but primarily sits in the low-90s. His breaking ball has potential, but it needs tightening. As a position player, Casey boasts dynamic raw tools with his plus arm, plus speed and plus athleticism. However, while he can show plus raw power in batting practice, he’s shown very little power in games—slugging just .371 and homering just four times in 482 career at-bats. Scouts aren’t convinced Casey has the hit tool or strike-zone awareness to project as a hitter at the next level. But a team that loves Casey’s tools could give him a chance to hit with pitching as a solid backup plan.”

From MLB.com:

“Casey’s best tool is his speed, which should serve him well on the basepaths and in the outfield. He’s among the best runners in the Draft with the most consistent home-to-first run times in the Northeast, including New York prepster Quentin Holmes. His speed allows him to be at least an above-average defender, but his bat has been a bit light throughout his college career, hitting a lot of ground balls. There is some raw power in there, but it remains unclear if he’ll be able to tap into it. Casey’s other plus tool is his arm in the outfield, one that fires fastball’s up to 94 mph as BC’s closer.”

From PG:

“Tool for tool, pound for pound, there aren’t many in college baseball that can rival the overall pure athleticism possessed by Boston College’s Donovan Casey. Physical yet loose at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, Casey is a consistent plus runner down the line and seem to do so with little effort. That speed and ease have some scouts saying Casey will move to center field at the next level from right field, where he shows another plus tool in his right arm. The arm strength shows in the outfield but also on the mound as Casey shows intriguing potential as a pitcher as he’ll sit in the 90-94 mph with relatively low effort. Casey’s tools continue to earn praise as he uses his physical strength to generate plus bat speed, though the question is whether he’ll refine his approach at the plate to fully unlock his raw power and break out with the stick. The overall tools are far too hard to ignore and the athleticism is certainly there for Casey to continue to make strides.”

He was announced as an outfielder, and his tools and athletic ability are exactly what the Dodgers look for in these kinds of prospects. The fact he has a strong arm gives him an added dimension of versatility — if the Dodgers are willing to try him as a 2-way player (they probably won’t).

Vitals
6’3, 220 pounds
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Feb. 23, 1996
Year: Junior

Video

You can see the athleticism in both the swing and delivery. The swing is a little long at times, but the bat speed is impressive. The delivery is a little cross-body and could use some clean-up in the pros. He’s definitely going to be an over-slot signing.

Round 21, Pick 640 (overall): SS Joshua Rivera, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy

The Dodgers dipped into the Puerto Rico draft pool for their 21st-round selection. They popped the athletic Rivera, which continues a theme for them in this draft. He wasn’t ranked in the Top 500 by BA or PG. Here’s a write-up from PG from the 2016 National Showcase:

“Joshua Rivera is a 2017 SS/2B with a 5-11 168 lb. frame from Carolina, PR who attends Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. Slender young build, lots of room to get stronger. 6.59 runner, lots of quick twitch actions and bounce on defense, fields the ball out front well with soft hands, athletic balance in his lower half, some effort throwing but has lots of raw arm strength. Right handed hitter, simple swing mechanics, hits from a wide base and gets to his front side early, upper body hands generated swing, line drive swing plane, hits the ball out front, contact approach at present. Good athlete with middle infield tools.”

Quick-twitch actions. That’s similar to the Dodgers’ 1st-rounder Jeren Kendall and 11th-rounder Amaya. Players at up-the-middle positions usually have that profile. Sounds like the swing is a work in progress, but the defensive actions appear to be present to stick at shortstop.

Vitals
5’11, 188 pounds
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Jan. 30, 1999
Commitment: None

Video

Good speed, good actions defensively, strong arm, swing a little long/rotational, but has a quick load and decent bat speed. Seeing as he isn’t committed to a university (that I could find), the Dodgers might be able to snag him for $100,000 or less.

Round 22, Pick 670 (overall): LHP Justin Hoyt, Jacksonville State

After 669 picks and 21 of their own, the Dodgers finally drafted a southpaw. He was a 3-year reliever with the Gamecocks and performed relatively well. In 2017, he had a 2.82 ERA, 12.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 as JSU’s closer. He was not ranked by BA or PG.

Vitals
6’0, 210 pounds
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
DOB: April 30, 1995
Year: Redshirt Junior

Video

Not much to see here. He’s a redshirt junior, so his going back to school wouldn’t be surprising.

Round 23, Pick 700 (overall): SS Connor Heady, Kentucky

Oh look, another shortstop. But this one is different because Heady is a senior and should be an easy sign. Heady hit .276/.399/.419 in 268 plate appearances for the Wildcats this season. According to his official bio, “Coaches rave about his natural baseball instincts.” That screams “gritty.” He wasn’t ranked by BA or PG.

Vitals
6’0, 175 pounds
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: July 3, 1994
Year: Senior

Video

Not the quickest bat, level swing, gap pop — about what you’d expect from a guy like this. As I said earlier, he should be an easy sign as a senior.

Round 24, Pick 730 (overall): SS Preston Grand Pre, California

First of all, that name. Grand Pre hit .325/.400/.425 in 24 games after missing the first half of the season with a broken hand. He might be the most projectable player the Dodgers drafted. He was unranked by BA and PG. This is from Bear Territory, the Scout.com Cal Bears site.

“A line-drive hitter who crowds the plate, GrandPre hit into just 6 double plays in 464 at-bats over three seasons (132 games), with 16 doubles, 6 triples and 2 home runs. A long, rangy infielder who has the height and length to play first base in a pinch, GrandPre was drafted as a shortstop by the Dodgers. He’s got plus hands, and while he has a strong arm, he can get a bit wild on throws to first. His length helps his range, and he doesn’t get tangled up in his own legs and feet nearly as often as would be expected. In fact, his footwork is one of his strong points. GrandPre has a short, compact stroke that’s quick to the ball, allowing him to spray the ball to all fields. What power he has (and there’s not much at this point) is to the pull side. He has a narrower frame, and he’d need to add weight — two facts that generally don’t mesh well together — but he’s put on nearly 20 pounds since arriving on campus, and continues to fill out.”

It looks like he’s going to sign.

Vitals
6’4, 175 pounds
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: July 15, 1995
Year: Junior

Video

Decent swing and actions at shortstop. As he fills out, he’ll have to move off the position as, even in that video, he doesn’t have the best range.

Round 25, Pick 760 (overall): RHP Mark Washington, Lehigh

Washington is the tallest player drafted by the Dodgers, as he’s reminiscent in that regard to Brandon McCarthy. Unfortunately, he doesn’t pitch anything like McCarthy. He was ranked No. 439 by PG and 450 by BA. First up, from PG:

“I can promise that you won’t miss Washington as he toes the rubber standing at 6-foot-7 and what he’s able to produce on the mound makes certain to retain your attention. Limited to just 16 innings this spring, looks were limited and his statistics don’t jump off the page, but if you flip back to his sophomore season there’s a lot to like. During his second season on campus Washington logged 45 innings, went 6-1 with a mere 1.80 ERA though his command was scattered a bit, walking three more than he struck out. Jump to the summer season and Washington continued to make strides with his command and overall arsenal, showing a smooth and repeatable delivery which produced a fastball that worked into the low-90s, and touched mid-90s, while flashing potential with his breaking ball. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out given his limited role this spring, but being a highly projectable righthander with a sound delivery and arm strength is certainly intriguing.”

And now BA:

“Washington is a 6-foot-7 righthander with a quick arm and some scouts believe he could develop upper 90s velocity with professional instruction. He’s a long way off, but could be an intriguing project for a team to take a shot on, or he could return to Lehigh and try to right the ship.”

Vitals
6’7, 205 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: March 22, 1996
Year: Junior

Video

None Available

As a junior, he has the option of returning to Lehigh for his senior season. Seeing as he’s coming off a poor season, he might want to do that.

——

It looks like the Dodgers’ 5th-round pick Riley Ottesen has signed.

He had a slot-recommended value of $299,300. I thought he might get close to that, but the amount is not yet known.

Also, this article says the Dodgers’ 2nd-round pick Morgan Cooper should sign “within the next few days.

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 does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and 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 one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.