‘Worst’ Dodgers draft picks of the 2010s

Photo: Dustin Nosler

I selected the best Dodgers draft picks of the decade on Monday, so this is the follow-up to that post. “Worst” is in quotation marks because it’s honestly hard to label someone who is good enough to play professional baseball as a “worst” anything.

The decisions below will take into account draft position, signing bonus and performance, and are ordered alphabetically. We’ll also do some revisionist history and see who the Dodgers could have taken instead (within an appropriate number of picks).

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Chris Anderson

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus
2013118$2.1099 million

Anderson was the second college pitcher the Dodgers selected in three years (whom you’ll see below) and, despite some concerns, got off to a good start in his career. He fizzled out after not being able to throw enough strikes. The Dodgers released him after the 2016 season. He signed with the Twins, but lasted just 10 innings with their High-A club. He’s out of baseball now.

Other possible selections: Marco Gonzalez (No. 19), Aaron Judge (No. 32), Sean Manaea (No. 34)

Morgan Cooper

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus
2017262$870,000

The 2017 draft is easily Billy Gasparino’s worst to date. Since being drafted, Cooper and I have thrown the same number of pitches in a professional game. He has yet to see the mound and, as Kyle Glasser of Baseball America said in his Dodgers’ prospect chat yesterday, Cooper underwent a second procedure on his shoulder. This investment doesn’t look like it’s going to pay off.

Other possible selections: Hans Crouse (No. 66), Daulton Varsho (No. 68)

Jeren Kendall

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus
2017123$2.9 million

Kendall was viewed as a potential 1-1 option following his 2016 season at Vanderbilt. In the weeks leading up to the draft, coupled with a subpar performance in his final season, he began to slip down the draft boards. Farhan Zaidi was on him and the Dodgers nabbed him. Given the player development department’s prowess with hitters, Kendall could have ended up being an absolute steal. But here we are after 2 1/2 seasons and Kendall has yet to make it out of A-ball and his swing is just as messy as it was when he was drafted. It’s too bad because he has all the other tools to not only be a major leaguer, but an impact one. But if he can’t hit enough to get on the field, all that doesn’t really matter.

Other possible options: Nate Pearson (No. 28), Jeter Downs (No. 32), Griffin Canning (No. 47)

Zach Lee

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus
2010128$5.25 million

The biggest and most unlikely signing of the Frank McCourt era, Lee opted to take the Dodgers’ offer (spread out of over five years, in cheap McCourt fashion) instead of heading to LSU to play quarterback. He was a projectable right-handed prep pitcher — a Logan White favorite — but that projection never came. His velocity never jumped as expected, his stuff ended up not playing very well at the upper levels of the minors and he’s logged just 12 2/3 innings (8.53 ERA) in the majors. Lee was famously traded for Chris Taylor, in one of Andrew Friedman‘s best deals in his time as Dodgers’ president of baseball ops. He has gone from the Dodgers to the Padres, Mets, Ray and recently signed with the A’s.

Other possible selections: Aaron Sanchez (No. 34), Noah Syndergaard (No. 38), Taijuan Walker (No. 43), Nicholas Castellanos (No. 44)

James Marinan

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus
20174130$825,000

Marinan didn’t stay long in the Dodgers’ organization. He was traded to the Reds during the 2018 season that brought Dylan Floro back to the Dodgers. He was given an over-slot signing bonus, but hasn’t really gone onto do much with the Reds. He posted a 5.56 ERA in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League last season.

Other possible options: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Chris Reed

Draft YearRoundNo. overallSigning Bonus
2011115$1.589 million

Hello, old friend. Reed was long since a “favorite” of mine and a prime example of why McCourt’s lack of investment in amateur scouting hurt the Dodgers so much. Reed was predominately a reliever in college, yet the Dodgers took him and tried to make him a starter. That went about as expected. He went to the Futures Game in 2012, but that might be the highlight of his career. He was traded for Grant Dayton back in 2015 and threw just four MLB innings that same year. He’s still playing in the Independent League, but the command/control issues that derailed his pro career haven’t gone away.

(Dis)honorable mentions: Imani Abdullah, James Baldwin, Ralston Cash, Mitchell Hansen, Alex Santana

Abdullah (11th round, 2015) was convinced to sign for $650,000 with the Dodgers after receiving a phone call from Magic Johnson. A strong 2017 season had him on the cusp of a breakout. But he suddenly and unexpected retired in 2018, possibly because of the yips. Baldwin (4th round, 2010) drew Matt Kemp comparisons that never came to be. He went to the White Sox after the 2014 season and lasted just 22 games at Double-A. He’s now playing college football. He was also, allegedly, involved in the lightly investigated sexual assault incident linked to the Dodgers, Gabe Kapler and such from 2015. Cash (2nd round, 2010) had one of the weirdest Twitter feeds (long since deactivated), but he never really lived up to the promise that comes with a 2nd-rounder. He last pitched in 2018 with the Angels organization. Hansen (2nd round, 2015) has since retired, but he could never get on track after hitting well in Ogden in 2015. He signed with the Yankees after the Dodgers released him in 2018, but he OPS’d just .597 in 72 games. Santana (2nd round, 2011) was seen as an overdraft at the time, and that proved to be true. Drafted as a third baseman, he moved to the outfield, but that didn’t help his bat at all. He hasn’t played since the 2015 season.

Thank goodness for Paco Rodriguez and Alex Verdugo. Otherwise, the 2nd round of the draft would’ve been a real sore spot for the Dodgers in 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.