Rounds 11-20 for the Dodgers saw some interesting players with upside come off the board. A perfect 5-5 split between pitchers and position players, including one local kid.
Since none of these were in the first 10 rounds, they don’t have an assigned slot recommendation. Instead, the Dodgers can give each of these players signing bonuses up to $125,000. If they need to go over that to sign someone, it’ll count against their $5,288,200 bonus pool.
11(355). RHP Stephen Kolek, Texas A&M
12(374). C Hunter Feduccia, LSU
13(404). 1B Dillon Paulson, University of Southern California
14(434). RHP Brandon White, William F. West HS (Was.)
15(464). LHP Julian Smith, Catawba Valley CC (N.C.)
16(494). RHP Trey Dillard, San Jacinto College North
17(524). OF Aldrich De Jongh, Hillsborough CC (Fla.)
18(554). OF Niko Hulsizer, Morehead State
19(584). OF Sam McWilliams, Meridian CC (Miss.)
20(614). RHP Caleb Sampen, Wright State
Round 11, Pick 335 (overall): RHP Stephen Kolek, Texas A&M
6’3, 220 pounds
DOB: April. 18, 1997
Kolek should have the pedigree, as his brother Tyler Kolek was the No. 2 pick of the 2014 MLB Draft. That pick hasn’t panned out very well, as Tyler still hasn’t pitched above Single-A due to injuries and general ineffectiveness, and now finds himself as the 27th-ranked prospect in the Miami Marlins’ system.
Kolek began the season as the Aggies’ Friday night starter, but struggled and lost that role. He still made 14 starts this season, but posted a 5-6 record and 4.58 ERA in 78 2/3 innings. It’s not a given that he’ll sign, as his junior year was clearly a step down from his previous two seasons. Here’s what Baseball America, which ranked him 372nd, has to say.
“The brother of Marlins 2015 first-round pick Tyler Kolek, Stephen’s fastball has never matched Tyler’s triple digit radar gun readings, but he’d shown the potential to have three average or better pitches and average control coming into the 2018 season. But his 91-94 mph fastball has backed up this season. There have been outings where he’s dipped to pitching in the high 80s. Kolek’s slider gives him a chance to survive even with less arm speed. The pitch has less bite at lower velocities and has been more fringe-average than above-average this year. His changeup also has taken a step back this year and he mixes in a get-me-over curveball early in counts. Kolek has shown the ability to be a No. 4 starter at his best, but scouts have only seen that in glimpses this year. His 5-6, 4.58 season isn’t making a strong draft case, but there’s still something there.
Round 12, Pick 374 (overall): C Hunter Feduccia, Louisiana State University
6’2, 183 pounds
DOB: June 5, 1997
Was starting to be concerned that the Dodgers wouldn’t take a catcher in the draft. They’re not shy about drafting backstops, using their third round pick last year on Connor Wong and a supplemental pick in 2016 on Will Smith. Feduccia wasn’t as highly-regarded as those two, but he could still be a sneaky pick.
Feduccia is already a #TrueDodger, as he broke both of his hands this year at LSU. He broke his left hand before the season and his right hand in April, but still played in 56 games for the Tigers. He wasn’t great at the plate, with a .233/.375/.377 triple slash, but he walked as many times as he struck out (34) and clearly showed toughness in being out there despite the injuries. Baseball America has him as their 330th-ranked prospect.
Scouts in Louisiana haven’t gotten a chance to see everything Feduccia can do this spring, even though he’s been a fixture in the middle of Louisiana State’s lineup and behind the plate. Feduccia broke his left hand right before the season began and then broke his right hand in mid-April. He barely missed time with either injury, but the pair of fractures have affected his hitting as he was hitting .248/.386/.401 at the end of the regular season. Feduccia has a solid batting eye and gap-to-gap power when he’s healthy. Defensively, Feduccia has an average arm and the tools to be an average receiver. He’s got a chance to be a well-rounded catching prospect, but while the injuries this season have proven his toughness, they haven’t given scouts a chance to fully evaluate his tools.
I’m not sure what Fedducia’s real triple slash was. My numbers came from LSU’s stats page.
Round 13, Pick 404 (overall): 1B Dillon Paulson, University of Southern California
6’3, 215 pounds
Position: First Base
DOB: June. 10, 1997
Paulson is no stranger to southern California, as he grew up in Encinitas and went to school at USC. He’s also no stranger to Dodger Stadium, as he hit a home run there during this years’ College Baseball Classic.
SEE YA! @USC_Baseball's Dillon Paulson hits a solo homer to tie this game up.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 11, 2018
Paulson wasn’t ranked on Baseball America’s Top 500, but showed some good signs for the Trojans. He led the team with 10 home runs, and despite his power he still walked more than he struck out this season. He doesn’t come without controversy, however.
Five years ago, a young baseball player wrote a tweet that used a gay slur against Yasiel Puig. Today, that player was drafted by the Dodgers. "It’s embarrassing," said a repentant Dillon Paulson. "Being young and dumb is not an excuse." https://t.co/lqJVlN8Vdd pic.twitter.com/oFHCqssmhE
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) June 7, 2018
Credit to Paulson for owning it and not claiming he was hacked. Remember. Never tweet.
Round 14, Pick 434 (overall): RHP Brandon White, William F. West HS (Was.)
6’8, 190 pounds
DOB: Nov. 26, 1999
Commitment: Washington State
The good news for White is that if baseball doesn’t pan out, the Lakers could use a power forward if they lose Julius Randle. It’s tough to find a lot on White, as he’s not on Baseball America’s Top 500 and Brandon White is a pretty common name (there were two Brandon White’s drafted today).
Dodgers draft W.F. West pitcher Brandon White in the 14th round. White was the 2A EvCo co-MVP this year. Went 7-2 with 0.64 ERA and 92 K in 55 innings. WSU commit. https://t.co/gGhc45Ex4Q
— Lauren Smith (@smithlm12) June 6, 2018
White also threw a no-hitter this season (H/T Eric Stephen).
Round 15, Pick 464 (overall): LHP Julian Smith, Catwaba Valley CC
6’4, 192 pounds
DOB: June 6, 1997
Commitment: North Carolina State
Julian Smith is another #TrueDodger, as he missed the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Smith returned in a strong way, with a 2.51 ERA in 14 starts and a school-record 130 strikeouts. Baseball America had Smith as their 424th-best prospect.
Smith missed the 2017 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the skinny 6-foot-4 lefthander has shown no ill effects from the surgery this year, as he’s sat 90-93 mph in his best outings and has touched 95. His breaking ball is a power curve that sits in the upper 70s at its best, but there are other times it gets bigger, loopier and less effective as a mid-70s slower curve. He has worked on a still immature changeup as well.
Here’s a well-written profile from the Hickory Record on Smith, who became the first-ever draftee from Catwaba Valley CC. It remains to be seen whether he’ll honor his commitment to NC State.
Round 16, Pick 494 (overall): RHP Trey Dillard, San Jacinto College North
6’2, 215 pounds
DOB: Nov. 15, 1998
Dillard sticks out on Baseball America. He was the 494th pick of the Draft, but BA ranked him as their 121st-best prospect. He’s regarded as one of the best JuCo players in this draft, even if he’s strictly a reliever.
He might be tough to sign, as the 16th round was seen as a bit of a fall for him. If he does choose to sign, the Dodgers may have gotten a really interesting piece here. He has a plus fastball and a plus power curve, making him a very intriguing option as a late-inning guy. His command needs work, but if he signs, Dillard could be a name to know for Dodger fans moving forward.
Trey Dillard is a fun pick. Almost assuredly a reliever but two plus pitches and big strikeout potential. #83 on my board.
— David Hood (@davidchood) June 6, 2018
And from BA.
Very few junior college relievers get drafted and even fewer will get popped early on day two of the draft, but Dillard is the exception thanks to his pair of plus pitches. Dillard’s 92-97 mph fastball is excellent with some arm-side run and modest plane, but it’s actually less impressive than his low-80s hammer of a 12-to-6 curveball. The curveball earns easy plus grades. He has plenty of arm speed and a strong frame. Dillard didn’t work all that much this year at San Jacinto, throwing only 15.2 innings in 16 appearances as of mid-May. He was dominant, however, going 1-0, 1.72 with 7 saves and 15.5 K/9. His control will need to improve. He’s generally around the zone, but he did walk 6.3 batters per nine innings this year.
Round 17, Pick 524 (overall): OF Aldrich DeJongh, Hillsborough CC (Fl.)
5’7, 175 pounds
DOB: Sept. 1, 1998
Year: Draft-eligible Sophomore
DeJongh struggled last year as a freshman at Florida Atlantic, causing him to transfer to a junior college. He’s a great athlete with a carry tool (speed), and should be able to stick in center defensively. He still has room to grow, and probably needs to grow in order to gain some pop. He hasn’t committed anywhere, so he should be signable for the Dodgers. He was ranked 348th on Baseball America.
DeJongh is a plus-plus runner who has worked hard on his defense and has done a good job of turning himself into an average defender in center field. He hit .376/.425/.593 for Hillsborough this season with 33 steals in 40 attempts. At the plate, DeJongh has a small strike zone (he’s 5-foot-7, 175 pounds) but that same small stature limits his power potential. He has shown gap power and the lefthanded hitter has improved his pitch selection.
Round 18, Pick 554 (overall): OF Niko Hulsizer, Morehead State
6’2, 225 pounds
DOB: Feb. 1, 1997
Hulsizer could be a very intriguing mid-round pick. He’s got a ton of raw power, and showed it off at Morehead State. As a sophomore, Hulsizer hit 27 home runs in 59 games, good for the second-most in NCAA. He missed some time this season with a broken hand, but still hit 12 home runs in 40 games. His .629 slugging percentage as a junior was a step down from .775 as a sophomore, but Hulsizer cut hit strikeout percentage more than six percent and raised his walk rate. If he can cut down on strikeouts, Hulsizer should be a legitimate threat at the plate. Despite the power profile, he should be playable in the field and won’t clog the bases. He’s the 346th-ranked prospect on Baseball America.
Hamate injuries normally sap hitters’ power for months after they return to action. Hulsizer, the 2017 Division I home run champ with 27 home runs, has enough power that he could drive the ball out even with less than his full hand strength. Scouts throw 70 grades on his exceptional raw power and the 6-foot-2, 225 pound junior has shown a consistent ability to get that power to play in games. He was hitting .302/.440/.595 with nine home runs in 32 games heading into the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Hulsizer is an above-average runner who can play fringe-average defense in a corner outfield spot with an average arm. Hulsizer’s below-average hit tool is what will likely push him into day three of the draft. He has reduced his strikeout rate to 20 percent this season (down from 25 percent as a sophomore), but scouts continue to be concerned about his ability to make semi-consistent contact.
Round 19, Pick 584 (overall): OF Sam McWilliams, Meridian CC (Miss.)
6’0, 170 pounds
DOB: May 26, 1998
Somehow, McWilliams shares his name with a pitcher in the Rays’ organization. The outfielder from Meridan Community College wasn’t listed on BA’s top-500, but posted good numbers in his first year at Meridan (.399/.462/.578 triple slash with 28 steals in 31 opportunities). He was named a second-team All-State outfielder and doesn’t have a college commitment, so there’s a chance the Dodgers get a deal done with him.
Round 20, Pick 614 (overall): RHP Caleb Sampen, Wright State
6’2, 185 pounds
DOB: July 23, 1996
Class: RS Sophomore
The son of former Major Leaguer Bill Sampen, Caleb was named Horizon League freshman of the year and to the Louisville Slugger freshman team in 2016 with a 2.76 ERA in 14 starts. Sampen had a bit of a reduced role this season, with only seven starts and four appearances out of the bullpen. In those 47 innings, batters hit only .229 against him and he posted a 3.26 ERA with 33 strikeouts and only 14 walks.
#Dodgers RHP Caleb Sampen (Wright State)
– Lacks prototypical size/stature for a righty
– Smooth mechanics w/ solid drive from lower half & great extension
– Live arm from 3/4 slot, some deception in arm swing
– T-92 FB, 11/5 CB (fringy), no 3rd pitch
– Generated tons of GBs
— Michael Cuva (@MCuv2) June 6, 2018
We’ll have the write-ups on the final 20 picks soon. The Dodgers didn’t have a lot of money to work with (weird thing to say), but it seems like they got some really interesting pieces in the middle rounds. Signability concerns might ruin some of the fun, but there’s a few prospects to like here.