Signability is the key for rounds 6-10 of the draft. This is where the Dodgers will save some money to be able to pay kids who are expected to command over-slot deals.
Round 6, No. 191 overall – RHP Aaron Ochsenbein, Eastern Kentucky University
The first senior-sign draftee for the Dodgers. Ochsenbein (6’3, 225 pounds, age 23) was a 5th-year senior at Eastern Kentucky and served as the team’s closer.
Here’s what the experts have to say about Ochsenbein.
Baseball America (Rank: 282)
“Ochsenbein generally sits 93-95 mph with an above-average fastball and his splitter has quickly developed into an above-average pitch as well. His slider, which used to be his go-to secondary offering, is still an average pitch itself, although he doesn’t use it nearly as much. Ochsenbein has shown he can pitch on back-to-back days regularly without losing his stuff and he can also work three or four innings at a time if needed. He’s a talented senior sign who brings more to a team than just a below-slot signing bonus, which should ensure he goes off the board in the sixth to tenth round range.”
“Ochsenbein’s freshman year was cut short by Tommy John surgery, but that’s just about the only thing that’s slowed him down so far. The All-American compiled a microscopic 0.83 ERA while striking out 90 batters in just 54 1/3 innings for Eastern Kentucky, employing his high-90s fastball and high-80s splitter to hold opponents to a .143 average. Ochsenbein struck out Louisville first baseman Logan Wyatt, MLB Pipeline’s No. 58 overall Draft prospect, on three pitches in the Cape Cod League. The righty finished last summer pacing that premier wood bat league with a 16.4 strikeout-per-nine inning average.”
Perfect Game (Rank: 404)
“A fifth-year senior, Ochsenbein missed the entire 2016 season due to injury and then was somewhat limited in 2017, but has established himself as one of the better relievers in college baseball over the last couple years. This year alone was especially dominant, as Ochsenbein went 4-2 with a 0.58 ERA and 0.71 WHIP over 46 bullpen innings, picking up 77 strikeouts in the process. He sits in the 92-96 mph range with his fastball and the splitter will flash plus, giving him the potential for two plus pitches out of the bullpen.”
The rare fastball-splitter profile. Gotta think he’ll add something with a bend in pro ball.
Here’s some video of him in action.
Video courtesy of 2080 Baseball.
The slot-recommended amount for this pick is $249,000. I figure the Dodgers will save a significant amount of money here.
Round 7, No. 221 overall – RHP Nick Robertson, James Madison University
There really isn’t a ton on of information on Robertson, which means he’ll be an easy sign as a 7th-rounder.
This is from James Madison University Athletics.
“Robertson compiled a 5-1 record on the season for the Dukes, posting a 1.01 ERA and collecting 54 strikeouts. Throughout his time at JMU, Robertson has started one game in his 38 appearances, tallying a 5-2 record and posting an ERA of 1.38. He has collected 87 strikeouts and has only allowed nine earned runs in his 58 and 2/3 innings pitched. The right-hander has boasted a .153 batting average against for his career for the Dukes.”
And @FutureDodgers (great Twitter follow) dug this up.
Here’s some video on the right-hander.
Video courtesy of Erik Carlson.
Slot for this pick is $195,700. This could very well be another money-saving draftee. He’s a junior, so he has the tiniest bit of leverage, but I expect him to sign no problem.
Round 8, No. 251 overall – OF Ryan Ward, Bryant University
A small-school performer, Ward (5’11, 200 pounds, age 21) is a left field-only type who will need his bat to be great if he’s to make it through the minors. The left-handed hitter is reminiscent of former Dodger draftees in the back-half of the Top 10 rounds (Zach Reks, Luke Raley, Logan Landon).
Baseball America (Rank: 435)
“Ward has a long, wrapped bat path and scouts wonder how that will play against better competition, but he has good hand-eye coordination. A left fielder already, Bryant will probably be limited defensively, with more pressure on his bat.”
Perfect Game (Rank: 305)
“Imagine hitting just shy of .400 on the year and having that be a drop in average from the season before. Such is the case for Bryant’s Ryan Ward, the epitome of a true hitter who finished his redshirt freshman season hitting .409 and in the process rewrote the Bulldog’s record books. His lefthanded stroke is a direct one with extension out front and an innate ability to find the barrel, a swing that plays both with BBCOR and wood as he showed with his performance in the NECBL last summer. Ward’s approach has proven to be a key element to his success, walking more than he has struck out both years at Bryant as well as in the NECBL.”
And here’s some video of him.
Video courtesy of E Tyler Bullock.
Ward is a draft-eligible sophomore, so the $163,400 slot amount is in play for this pick. It may not take it all, but the Dodgers might not get a hefty discount, either.
Round 9, No. 281 overall – LHP Alec Gamboa, Fresno Community College
The Dodgers’ first pick from the junior college ranks, Gamboa (6’1, 205 pounds, age 22) — like Ochsenbein — is a former TJ recipient who is exclusively a reliever. He sounds like an interesting relief prospect.
Perfect Game (Rank: 605)
“In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Gamboa was excellent for Fresno City, going 8-1 with a 1.97 ERA across 64 innings, with 97 strikeouts and only 14 walks. A solidly-built, physical lefthander; Gamboa proved he was fully healthy and fully back to form, throwing a lot of strikes and challenging hitters consistently with a low-90s fastball and power breaking ball.”
Here’s some video of him in action.
Video courtesy of Baseball Census.
Here’s a little more detailed scouting report from someone who has seen him.
There was a nice story about him in the Fresno Bee, and — spoiler alert — he’s a Dodger fan!
As an older JC draftee, he should be plenty signable at this pick. Slot is $150,100, and I suspect the Dodgers will save a solid amount here.
Round 10, No. 311 overall – SS Zac Ching, Virginia Commonwealth University
The Dodgers close out the first 10 rounds with what could be their easiest senior sign. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of available information on Ching (5’9, 180 pounds, 22 years old).
The only bit of intel on him comes from the Commonwealth Times.
“Ching spent the day anxiously scrolling on Twitter, hoping to see his name during the second day of the draft. ‘I was really nervous, especially being a senior, there’s no guarantee about anything that can happen in the first 10 rounds,’ Ching said. ‘I was sitting there refreshing Twitter over and over every five seconds hoping to see my name get called.’ The Lubbock, Texas, native was surprised the Dodgers selected him after not talking to them much leading up to the draft. Ching said he knew the Dodgers were interested because they sent a pre-draft questionnaire at the beginning of the season. ‘It was kind of like a big shock at first because I saw my name pop up, and my phone blew up and the Dodgers guy instantly called me,’ Ching said. ‘Then I called coach Stiffler, the whole time I was on the phone — I guess the first 20 or 30 minutes — my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing,’ Ching said. Ching batted .310 this season for the Rams with a team-high 22 doubles, two triples and six home runs. He also had a team-high 31 walks and accounted for 42 RBI this season. ‘It was an anxious day, and after it finally happened it was great,’ Ching said. ‘A dream come true, honestly.'”
Here’s a brief video of Ching hitting a dong.
Video courtesy of VCU Athletics.
Seems like a light-hitting, good plate discipline, glove-first shortstop. As a senior, he’ll be an easy, cheap sign. Slot for this pick is $142,300.
Next up will be Day 3 of the draft, beginning with rounds 11-20.