Best Dodgers draft picks of the 2010s

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The 2010s featured two very different Dodger organizations — both split into 5-year chunks. This includes both on-the-field play and when it comes to the draft.

With that, let’s look back at some of the best draft picks of the past decade. This won’t strictly be which player has the best WAR, but it will be considered, as will draft position and signing bonus, relative to draft position. Unsigned draftees won’t be included, but they will be noted.

Position Players

Cody Bellinger

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning BonusfWAR
20134124$700,00015.4

Bellinger was a James Loney clone when the Dodgers popped him out of an Hamilton High School in Arizona. Then-scouting director Logan White saw the potential in Bellinger, and damn if he hasn’t panned out. Considering where he was drafted and with an NL Rookie of the Year, NLCS MVP and NL MVP in his trophy case, he takes the top spot for me, despite having a slightly lower WAR than Seager.

Corey Seager

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus2010s fWAR
2012118$2.35 million18.2

Despite being a no-brainer selection when he fell to the Dodgers in 2012, Seager still was one of the best draft picks of the 2010s for any team, let alone the Dodgers. His 18.2 WAR would be higher had he not missed most of the 2018 season after Tommy John surgery. I think a lot of people think just how good Seager was when he was healthy, and here’s hoping he’s back to full strength for the 2020 campaign.

Joc Pederson

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning BonusfWAR
201011352$600,00013.1

Pederson was all set to go to USC before the Dodgers came to him with mid-2nd-round money to get him to forego his commitment to be a Trojan. If not for the strong commitment, he would have been drafted a lot higher (slot amounts didn’t exist back then). That has paid off well for the Dodgers, as Pederson was one of the best hitters of the decade for them.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Beaty, Edwin Rios, Scott Schebler, Will Smith, Alex Verdugo

Beaty (2015 12th round) was the Texas League MVP in 2017 and has the bat-to-ball skills to succeed in the majors. Rios (2015 6th round) has massive power and a strong hit tool. As long as he can make enough contact and not be a complete liability on defense, he could have a solid MLB career. Schebler (2010 26th round) made a nice first impression with the Dodgers before the Reds got him in a 3-team deal. He has a 30-home run season under his belt. Smith (2016 1st round supplemental) was a late-riser on draft day and could end up being the Dodgers’ primary catcher for the foreseeable future. Verdugo (2014 2nd round) was viewed by many as a pitcher, but he wanted to hit and the Dodgers let him. I think that was the correct choice.

Pitchers

Walker Buehler

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning BonusfWAR
2015124$1.78 million7.9

Buehler would have been a likely Top 5 pick if he had been draft-eligible after his sophomore year at Vanderbilt. He had just finished a great College World Series run. He didn’t have as good a junior season, but he was still plenty good to be considered by most a Top 15 pick. He fell to No. 24 because of injury concerns that ended up being accurate. He had Tommy John surgery and was actually better after it. If he had this kind of stuff before the surgery, there’s no way — even with the injury concern — he would have fallen to the Dodgers that year.

Ross Stripling

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning BonusfWAR
20125176$130,0005.4

The 2012 could end up being one of the Dodgers’ best in the last 20 years. Snagging Stripling in the fifth round just adds to it. He was also a Tommy John recipient who recovered to be a quality MLB pitcher. He has an All-Star appearance on his ledger and could be getting more significant time int he rotation this season.

Dustin May

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning BonusfWAR
20163101$1 million0.9

May was paid like a 2nd-rounder to turn pro, and while the MLB track record isn’t yet there, it’s looking like he’s going to be one of the better value picks of the 2010s for the Dodgers. He may not be a Buehler-like ace, but he has all the tools to be a strong No. 2 starter, if he continues improving. He should see significant time in LA this season.

Honorable Mentions: Caleb Ferguson, Tony Gonsolin, Paco Rodriguez, Devin Smeltzer, Shawn Tolleson

Ferguson (39th round, 2014) had TJ surgery that caused him to slip that far, but the fact the Dodgers got any value out of a 39th-rounder is something else. Gonsolin (9th round, 2016) was a late-bloomer and could be the biggest value of anyone in this article seeing as he signed for $2,500. Rodriguez (2012 2nd round) was the first player from the 2012 class to reach the majors. He was good in his rookie season before injuries got him. Smeltzer has defied the scouting reports and stuck in as a starting pitcher so far. He was traded (along with Luke Raley) to get Brian Dozier at the 2018 trade deadline. Tolleson looked like a possible long-term setup man before — you guessed it — the injury bug got him.

Notable Unsigned Draftees

2010: Kevin Gausman, 6th round
2011: Austin Slater, 44th round
2013: Justin Dunn, 37th round
2015: Kyle Funkhouser, 1st round supplemental
2018: JT Ginn, 1st round
2019: Brennan Milone, 28th round

Next Up: Worst draft picks of the 2010s

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 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 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.