Dodgers focus on bullpen arms, college OFs in Rounds 26-40 of 2017 MLB Draft

Photo: Logan White, Jr.

Every pick from Round 11 through 40 can be signed for up to $125,00 without it counting against their bonus pool ($5,794,200; $6,083,910 with the 5 percent tax). If a guy signs for $325,000, that means $200,000 goes toward the bonus pool. This also counts for undrafted free agents who might sign later in the summer.

First, the selections in list form.

26(790). LHP Devin Hemmerich, Norfolk State
27(820). SS Jeremy Arocho, Old Mill Senior HS (Md.)
28(850). LHP Justin Lewis, Cornell University
29(880). 2B Deacon Liput, Florida
30(910). CF Chris Roller, McLennan Community College
31(940). OF Hunter Mercardo-Hood, San Diego
32(970). OF Tyler Adkison, San Diego State
33(1000). RHP Brett De Geus, Cabrillo College
34(1030). RHP Dan Jagiello, LIU Post
35(1060). RHP Colby Nealy, Washington State
36(1090). RHP Riley Richert, Howard College
37(1120). RHP Corey Merrill, Tulane
38(1150). OF Preston White, Birmingham Southern College
39(1180). C Logan White, Jr., Mount Pointe HS (Ariz.)
40(1210). LHP Clayton Andrews, Cabrillo College

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Round 26, Pick 790 (overall): LHP Devin Hemmerich, Norfolk State

Not a ton of intel on the Dodgers’ 26th-round pick. He started 43 games for Norfolk State (60 games overall) and had a career 2.87 ERA and a sparkling 5.0 K/BB ratio. He threw 105 1/3 innings in 2017 and struck out 118 — both of which led the Mid-East Atlantic Conference.

Vitals
6’1, 195 pounds
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Left
DOB: July 11, 1995
Year: Senior

Video

Definitely some funk in the delivery, 3/4 release point, hides ball well, some deception. Slurvy breaking pitch, fringy fastball velo. Looks like a LOOGY upside here.

Round 27, Pick 820 (overall): SS Jeremy Arocho, Old Mill Senior HS (Md.)

The Dodgers drafted two switch-hitters in this draft — one was a pitcher, one was Arocho. He was the captain of the Old Mill Senior High squad. He was once committed to the University of Maryland but had to switch to Northwest Florida State College due to falling grades.

Baseball America had a little blurb about him back in July before the Area Code games.

“Jeremy Arocho has shown some of the best infield hands in the class, though it remains a question whether or not he has the arm strength for shortstop.”

Vitals
5’10, 160 pounds
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
DOB: Oct. 6, 1998
Commitment: Northwest Florida State College (JUCO)

Video

Arocho’s swing looks more natural and powerful from the right side, but the fact he’s a switch-hitter gives him a leg up. He’s definitely not done filling out. He’s athletic enough for shortstop, but as the BA blurb said, his arm strength is questionable for the position. He has utility player upside who might benefit from a year or two at the JUCO level. He’d be a nice project if the Dodgers can sign him.

Round 28, Pick 850 (overall): LHP Justin Lewis, Cornell

Definitely the smartest player the Dodgers drafted, Lewis threw a total of 59 innings in three seasons for Ivy League Cornell University. In 2017, he threw just 4 1/3 innings. He struck out 10 hitters in those innings, but control appears to be a big issue for him, as he had a career 5.03 BB/9 for the Big Red.

Vitals
6’2, 210 pounds
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Bats: Switch
Throws: Left
DOB: Oct. 12, 1996
Year: Junior

Video

Up to 91 MPH on the fastball and breaking ball looks like it needs work, changeup could be promising. Like Hemmerich, Lewis has LOOGY upside.

Round 29, Pick 880 (overall): 2B Deacon Liput, Florida

One of the best names the Dodgers acquired during the draft, Liput has played in 64 games (with the College World Series remaining) and has a .225/.316/.307 triple slash as the Gators’ second baseman. He was a preseason All-American Third Team selection and was ranked as the 174th-best prospect available in the draft, according to Perfect Game.

Here’s PG’s report:

“A draft-eligible sophomore, Liput has drawn praise from scouts for his natural bat-to-ball skills, his speed, and his potential defensive versatility–though he might be a plus defender at 2nd base. The profile does feature some in the way of raw pop, as he hit several home runs during fall play and did show some pop with wood bats on the Cape last summer; but it hasn’t quite shown up in game action in Gainesville yet. The profile of the player is a sound one with a lot of good components; but the lack of performance this spring–potentially spurred on by several swing adjustments throughout his time at Florida–will likely push him down the board a bit from where his true talent lies.”

Interesting note: Coming out of high school (2014), he was clocked as having the 4th-fastest 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National behind Garrett Zech (Dodgers’ 15th-round pick last season; did not sign) and Lucius Fox, Jr. (Dodgers rumored to have had a deal with him before he signed with the Giants as an international amateur free agent).

Vitals
5’10, 185 pounds
Position: Second base
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
DOB: June 27, 1996
Year: Redshirt Sophomore

Video

Check out that stance. It may have changed in the year-plus since that video has been posted — and the PG write-up said he has been through several swing adjustments — so that’s something to monitor. He might be a nice late-round pick if the Dodgers can get him to sign.

Round 30, Pick 910 (overall): OF Chris Roller, McLennan Community College

The Dodgers’ second junior college selection was an athletic outfielder in Roller. He hit .414/.515/.712 at the JUCO level as McLennan’s best player.

Vitals
6’0, 186 pounds
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Oct. 8, 1996
Year: Junior
Commitment: Unknown

Video

He has a nice swing and definitely some plus speed. He could be a really deep sleeper in this draft. He had a past commitment to the University of Texas at San Antonio, but he went back to McLennan for a second season instead of going to UTSA.

Round 31, Pick 940 (overall): OF Hunter Mercado-Hood, San Diego

Mercado-Hood played four years at the University of San Diego, including the last two years as a starter. He had his best season in 2017 by hitting .314/.404/.536 with nine home runs. He had one home run in 424 plate appearances coming into the season. He attributed the power surge to slowing his hands down and improving his balance.

Vitals
6’0, 180 pounds
Position: Outfield
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
DOB: Feb. 16, 1995
Year: Senior

Video

Quiet stance and load, wide base, some length to the swing. He should be an easy sign as a senior draftee.

Round 32, Pick 970 (overall): OF Tyler Adkison, San Diego State

Adkison, a 3-year starter with San Diego State, had his best season in 2017. He was the Aztecs’ best hitter, slashing .337/.445/.648 with 15 home runs and almost a 1:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Baseball America ranked the 22-year-old as the 478th-best prospect available in this draft.

“Adkison redshirted 2015 after getting hit in the face by a pitch and was solid but unspectacular upon his return in 2016. In 2017 he elevated himself into draft consideration with a monster redshirt junior year, hitting .349 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in the regular season. Adkison is undersized at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds but utilizes a short, quick swing to generate significant leverage and hit monstrous home runs, including a shot off the batters eye at San Diego scouts talked about for weeks after. He is a below-average runner despite his size and is a below-average defender in left field with a below-average arm. Adkison’s profile is unconventional as an undersized player who can’t run or defend and packs big power, but evaluators believe an analytically-inclined organization could take him as high as the 10th round because of his impact bat.”

Vitals
5’10, 185 pounds
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: May 8, 1995
Year: Senior

Video

Crouched stance, big load/leg kick, choppy runner. He’s probably just org depth at this point and should sign easily.

Round 33, Pick 1000 (overall): RHP Brett De Geus, Cabrillo College

The first of two Cabrillo College draftees, De Geus appeared in 15 games (14 starts) for the Seahawks and posted a 2.48 ERA and struck out 74 hitters in 84 innings. He has been described as having a “power arm” and able to throw “three or four pitches.”

Vitals
6’1, 190 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Nov. 4, 1997
Year: Junior
Commitment: Lewis-Clark State

Video

Description in the video says he has an 88-92 MPH fastball, 74-75 curveball and a 79-84 slider. So there’s that.

Round 34, Pick 1030 (overall): RHP Dan Jagiello, LIU Post

The Dodgers went into the Northeast for their 34th-round pick and popped a right-hander from Long Island University Post, which is apparently a real school. He logged 66 2/3 innings and pitched to a 3.64 ERA. He also struck out 70 hitters and walked 24.

Vitals
6’3, 180 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: May 23, 1995
Year: Senior

Video

Looks like a 3-pitch mix (fastball, curveball, changeup). Fastball looks like it has good velo and some arm-side run. The curve has a an 11-5/12-6 shape to it from an almost over-the-top arm slot. Decent relief profile here. As a senior, he should be an easy sign.

Round 35, Pick 1060 (overall): RHP Colby Nealy, Washington State

The Dodgers dipped into the Pac-12 for the third time in this draft by grabbing the Washington State reliever. He had a rough 2017 season for the Cougars, posting a 6.44 ERA while allowing 36 hits, 27 runs and 21 earned runs in 29 1/3 innings. Those results didn’t come with a high strikeout rate, as he whiffed just 12 in those innings (and had an equal number of walks).

Vitals
6’5, 185 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: March 8, 1996
Year: Junior

Video

Looks like a fastball-slider combo from a 3/4 arm slot. Also has a changeup that is used sparingly. Profiles as a middle relief-type.

Round 36, Pick 1090 (overall): RHP Riley Richert, Howard College

The penultimate JUCO player the Dodgers drafted was a hard-throwing reliever from Howard College. Richert had a rough go in 2017, posting a 9.17 ERA and walked 24 hitters in 17 2/3 innings. He struck out 20 hitters and Perfect Game had a quick note about him from their Dodger draft recap:

“Watch out for 36th rounder Riley Richert from Howard College as well. He has some things to straighten out but is capable of producing mid-90s fastballs with heavy sink.”

Vitals
6’3, 200 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Jan. 28, 1997
Year: Redshirt Freshman

Video

The only video I could find of him is two years old. As a redshirt freshman, he could easily go back to school if he chooses, but the Dodgers might do well to get him to sign.

Round 37, Pick 1120 (overall): RHP Corey Merrill, Tulane

This was a pick scouting director Billy Gasparino let Andrew Friedman make, as he chose a player from his alma mater. The Green Waves’ starting pitcher had a nice career, posting a 3.23 ERA and struck out 244 hitters over 2915 career innings. He was a little wild (4.12 BB/9), but there’s a little potential in his profile.

Vitals
6’4, 240 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Oct. 11, 1994
Year: Junior

Video

Big, physical righty who is probably a reliever in the pros, but could begin as a starter. He has a year eligibility remaining, so his signing isn’t guaranteed.

Round 38, Pick 1150 (overall): OF Preston White, Birmingham Southern College

The Dodgers tabbed a D-III player for their 1150th selection. White is a tall, lanky outfielder who hit .311/.391/.596. He also had some time on the mound. In 17 innings, he struck out 17 hitters, walked three hitters and had just a 1.59 ERA.

Vitals
6’6, 200 pounds
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: July 29, 1996
Year: Sophomore

Video

None available

As a draft-eligible sophomore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go back to school. If they get him to sign, he’s a decent long-term project.

Round 39, Pick 1180 (overall): C Logan White, Jr., Mountain Pointe HS (Ariz.)

Yes, that’s exactly who you think it is. The Dodgers drafted Logan White’s son. White, as you’ll remember, was the Dodgers’ vice president of amateur scouting from 2002 through 2014. His son is an athletic catcher from a Phoenix-area high school.

Vitals
6’0, 170 pounds
Position: Catcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
DOB: June 4, 1998
Commitment: Coastal Carolina Univeristy

Video

White, Jr., has a strong commitment to Coastal Carolina, so he’s almost a near-lock to go to school. The Dodgers have some history of getting late-round prep players to sign (Caleb Ferguson, 2014; Kevin Malesheski, 2016), so there’s at least a slight chance they could get him to sign. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

Round 40, Pick 1210 (overall): LHP Clayton Andrews, Cabrillo College

The Dodgers closed their draft with the shortest player they selected in a lefty specialist from Cabrillo College. He was De Geus’ (31st-rounder) teammate for the Seahawks. Andrews starred on both sides of the ball, but it seems the Dodgers are going to initially send him out as a pitcher. He had a 0.91 ERA and struck out 69 hitters in 39 2/3 innings. He also walked just two hitters.

5’6, 160 pounds
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
DOB: March 11, 1996
Year: Junior
Commitment: Long Beach State

Video

Here’s some video of him hitting because I couldn’t find any of him pitching. He’s committed to baseball powerhouse Long Beach State, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make it to campus.

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That’s it for the 2017 MLB Draft. I’ll have a supplemental article or two about the draft, and we’ll have the signing updates as they become available.

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.