This is the first version of my MLB Draft Big Board. That’s right, we’re less than a month from the draft.
Now, there won’t be any players included who have no chance to make it to the Dodgers at No. 25 (or 31). So, no Adley Rutschman, Andrew Vaughn, Bobby Witt Jr., or any other surefire Top 10 picks.
Billy Gasparino‘s first draft was with the Padres in 2013. Let’s look at his first-round trends in his six drafts as a scouting director with the Pads and Dodgers.
- 2013: Hunter Renfroe
- 2014: Trea Turner
- 2015: Walker Buehler, Kyle Funkhouser*
- 2016: Gavin Lux, Will Smith*, Jordan Sheffield*
- 2017: Jeren Kendall
- 2018: JT Ginn*
*Funkhouser & Ginn (didn’t sign); Smith and Sheffield were all supplemental 1st-round picks.
The tally: Four college bats, three college pitchers, one high school bat and one high school pitcher. Stark contrast to what Logan White used to do when he ran the Dodgers’ drafts.
With pitching and high-end talent a bit more scarce this year and the Dodgers having an extra first round pick, I’m expecting (hoping?) them to take a big swing with one of their first two picks. Perhaps they’ll be in on a signabiity guy or a guy who is falling because of that. We shall see.
My Big Board, v 1.0
1. OF Maurice Hampton, Memphis University HS (Tenn.)
2. 3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (Calif.)
3. RHP Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy (Ga.)
4. RHP George Kirby, Elon
5. OF Kameron Misner, Missouri
6. 3B/C Tyler Callihan, Providence HS (Fla.)
7. RHP Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove HS (Ill.)
8. SS Matthew Lugo, Carlos Beltran Academy (P.R.)
9. 2B/IF Breden Shewmake, Texas A&M
10. SS Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy HS (Ala.)
11. C Shea Langeliers, Baylor
12. OF Sammy Siani, Penn Charter HS (Pa.)
13. 3B/OF Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
14. RHP Carter Stewart, Eastern Florida State College
15. 2B Chase Strumpf, UCLA
Hampton could be a signability guy as he’s committed to play baseball cornerback at LSU. But he’s completely tooled out.
Cavaco has been a bit of a pop-up guy this spring and has solidified himself as a Top 50 prospect. The kid can hit.
Espino might have the most arm talent of anyone in the class, but he’s another signability guy and the fact he hasn’t been great this spring could push him down some draft boards.
Kirby is a small-school performer who would be a nice get at either 25 or 31 in a draft that’s a bit light on quality early round arms.
Based on tools alone, Misner is a Top 5 pick. But he has also struggled this spring and that has caused some teams to re-evaluate him. He’s still a first-round talent and the Dodgers are pretty good at developing hitters (Kendall notwithstanding).
There isn’t much question about Callihan’s bat — he can really hit. But his ultimate defensive home is a bit question mark. The fact he has catcher in his defensive profile is sure to intrigue the Dodgers.
Priester is another prep arm, something Gasparino hasn’t selected with his first pick in any draft aside from last year (and even Ginn was a little older for a high schooler). But with the lack of quality pitching available early, he might be worth a look.
Lugo is a toolsy shortstop who has performed well since last summer. His advanced approach at the plate — especially for his age — is something that should catch the Dodgers’ eye.
Shewmake, aside from having a great name, is a versatile infielder, who might fit better at second- or third base than shortstop, and is a high-contact hitter who can work the count.
Henderson has improved physically this spring and has a good chance to stick at shortstop. The Dodgers like their athletic prep players.
Siani, who’s brother Michael was drafted last year, is an athletic outfielder who has a sweet swing from the left side.
Baty is a bit old for the class, but the left-handed swinging third baseman could be a monster at the plate.
Stewart was the Braves’ first-round pick last year but failed to sign. His stock has fallen and could be a bit more signable now after a year in junior college. He does seem like the kind of guy the Dodgers’ player development staff could fix.
Strumpf is a bit like Shewmake in that he’s a guy who will control the strike zone with his bat. He may not hit for a ton of power, but he’s the kind of hitter every lineup needs. He might be a second baseman-only defensively.
The first of the draft profiles should be rolling out this week. Expect them to begin with Mr. Hampton.