Dodgers focus on athleticism, versatility to close 2020 MLB Draft

Jake Vogel

To finish the 2020 MLB Draft, the Dodgers selected three players: prep outfielder Jake Vogel, college catcher Carson Taylor and college pitcher Gavin Stone.

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Round 3, No. 100 – OF Jake Vogel, Huntington Beach HS (Calif.)

Baseball America, Ranked 89th

“Vogel has had scouts watching him for years at high-profile Huntington Beach (Calif.) High. Previously a toolsy athlete with a questionable swing, Vogel began hitting this spring and raised his stock dramatically before the season shut down. Vogel is undersized at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds but has plenty of tools. He’s a plus-plus runner, is a plus defender in center field and has an average arm. Though he’s small, Vogel has a feel for the barrel and produces loud contact when he connects, driving the ball to all fields and showing sneaky power to his pull-side. Scouts are still divided on Vogel’s hitting potential. Some see the athleticism and barrel control to project an average hitter, while others see a loopy, uppercut swing that produces too many swings and misses.”

MLB Pipeline, Ranked 82nd

“Compact and strong, Vogel is one of the fastest guys in the Draft class, occasionally recording 80 run times. Most believe he’s going to hit at the next level, with a really simple swing from the right side of the plate that allows him to barrel up the baseball on a consistent basis. Though he’s undersized, there is some pop there, and he’s shown the ability to drive the ball. His plus speed allows him to be a serious basestealing threat. Vogel’s speed allows him to cover a ton of ground in center field and he has an above-average arm from the outfield as well.”

Perfect Game, Ranked 132nd

“He’s an easy double-plus runner as evidenced by his 6.15 in the 60-yard dash at the PG National where he also showed quality arm strength, topping out at 95 mph with his best throw. Listed at 5-11, 165 pounds, Vogel has the requisite speed and overall athleticism to remain in center field at the next level with clean actions and sound overall footwork, all of which have helped him shine defensively. There’s a lot to like to his offensive profile as well, staying compact and direct to the baseball while exhibiting fast hands and plenty of bat speed through the zone, all of which yields rising line drive contact around the yard.”

Vogel is the highest the Dodgers have taken a prep hitter since drafting Gavin Lux at No. 20 in 2016 (H/T: FutureDodgers). He’s committed to UCLA, so he’s going to take an overslot bonus to get out of his commitment with the Bruins.

Round 4, No. 130 – C Carson Taylor, Virginia Tech

Baseball America, Ranked 219th

“The 6-foot-2, 205-pound switch-hitting catcher led the Hokies in most offensive categories and managed a .431/.541/.690 line with 12 walks and five strikeouts. He recorded multiple hits in 7 out of 16 games, and had scouts intrigued as a 6-7 round talent in a typical draft. It will be interesting to see what teams do with Taylor now that the 2020 draft is just five rounds; his eligible-sophomore status could give him more leverage, and his summer track record doesn’t quite stand up to his performance with Virginia Tech. After a strong freshman campaign (.290/.389/.413), Taylor played in 12 games in the Cape Cod League, where he hit just .152/.243/.333. Taylor has more power from the left side and has always shown good plate discipline—he has 32 career walks to 26 strikeouts. Coaches have praised his work behind the dish.”

MLB Pipeline, Ranked 194th

“Taylor has considerable bat speed from both sides of the plate. He’s shown a good feel for the strike zone and has walked more than he’s struck out in his college career. While there’s a lot of raw power to tap into, Taylor gets pull-happy and out front on his swing too often to get to it consistently. He can make hard contact, but pitches on the outer third of the plate gave him trouble. While he does have an average arm behind the plate, his overall receiving skills are below average, leading to some concerns about his ability to stick there. But there could be teams interested in seeing if that will work and buying the bat, perhaps looking at a move to first base or left field, or at least splitting time among positions in the future.”

Perfect Game, Ranked 149th

“He’s a switch-hitter who scouts like from both sides, but who has a bit more raw power from the left side. Regardless, there’s the upside of both an average hit tool and average power here with a solid track record of limiting strikeouts as well. He’s seen as having a nonzero chance to stick behind the plate, but more likely to be a first baseman long term. Scouts are intrigued by his offensive upside and potential behind the plate…”

https://twitter.com/HokiesBaseball/status/1251903619584208901

Sounds like an interesting prospect — as interesting as one can be in the second-to-last round of the draft. Positional versatility, switch-hitting and some potential from a draft-eligible sophomore. He’ll probably get a decent bonus.

Round 5, No. 160 – RHP Gavin Stone, Central Arkansas

Baseball America, Ranked 303rd

“Stone’s final start of the abbreviated 2020 season was one to finish on. He struck out a career-high 13 batters while throwing the third no-hitter in Central Arkansas history. Stone spent most of his first two seasons at Central Arkansas in the bullpen, but he ascended to the Friday starter role this season and handled it well. Stone doesn’t have a true plus pitch, but he has three average offerings including a 90-92 mph fastball. He locates his changeup and breaking ball well, with his above-average control proving to be his best asset.”

Perfect Game, Ranked 197th

“Stone is one of the better mid-major arms this year and he got off to a scorching hot start before the season got cancelled and that included a no-hitter versus Southeastern Louisiana. Stone is a lean, projectable athlete with a simple delivery and a strong fastball that works in the 90-95 mph range. He has an out pitch at present with the slider and he does a good job at filling up the strike zone. Stone was kind of a middleman last year and his transition to the rotation full time was going swimmingly.”

Sounds like he could go out as a stater, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up as a reliever. He should save the Dodgers a little money against the pool.

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Now we see just how many prospects the Dodgers will be able to sign as undrafted free agents. The Dodgers got six players during the draft, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they end up signing 20-30 UDFAs, seeing as they usually end up with about 32 new draftees a year (under Billy Gasparino). It’ll probably be a decent number, but it remains to be seen if any of them pan out. Even though $20,000 sounds like a lot, it isn’t when you’re talking about signing bonuses. UDFAs can’t sign until Sunday at the earliest.

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.