I don’t normally do a full draft review, but with #content lacking and there being only five rounds, I’m going to give my overall thoughts on the picks, and I’ll even grade them.
The grading is absolutely an exercise in futility, but I’m sure you’re at least somewhat curious. I’ll be grading them not only on the quality of the player at the respective selection, but also based on value and what it means for the rest of the Dodgers’ draft.
There will be a separate post for signing updates.
Round 1, Pick 29: RHP Bobby Miller Louisville University
Miller slotted in about where most thought he would (he was the No. 9 on my board on the day), and the Dodgers took the hulking right-hander at the end of the first round. He has a legitimate mid-90s fastball that touches the high-90s and a wipeout slider in the low-80s. He was more of a 2-seam guy in college, but the Dodgers, obviously, like the idea of getting him to throw a 4-seamer more and work up in the strike zone with. He also has an underrated changeup that could take a step forward in this system. There’s reliever risk because of fringy present command/control, but he’ll get every chance to start.
Round 2, Pick 60: RHP Landon Knack, East Tennessee University
This one was a bit of a surprise, but when you factor in the fact he’s 23 years old (old for a draftee) and a 5th-year senior, the Dodgers are going to save a lot of money against the pool, which should make it a lot easier to land their next two picks. Knack saw his stuff improve from last year and is now legitimately in the mid-90s with a nasty slider. There could be even more velo to come, believe it or not. He also has a solid curveball and should get every chance to go out as a starter.
Of note, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs said a source told him, “the Dodgers ended up drafting all three pitchers they were considering at pick 29…” which, wow. I’m not convinced they would have had the stones to pop Knack at 29, but them taking him at 60 makes more sense with that bit of information.
Round 2, Pick 66 (CB): RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech University
I’m a bit biased on this one because Beeter was my favorite pitcher in the class and I can’t believe he made to the Dodgers’ pick at No. 66. He has a mid-90s fastball (a theme is developing) and a ridiculously high-spin curveball that most agree is the best in the class. He, like Miller, also has an underrated changeup. The track record of success is short and there is injury history, but if the Dodgers can get him to stick in the rotation and he stays healthy, the sky’s the limit for the powerful right-hander.
Round 3, Pick 100: OF Jake Vogel, Huntington Beach HS (Calif.)
Vogel isn’t the typical hitter the Dodgers target in the early rounds. He doesn’t even average power (and may never get there), but he could be a plus-hitter with legit double-plus speed and a plus-arm. There’s no doubt he’ll stick in center field, but with a different offensive profile than we’re used to seeing in the system. If they can get him out of his UCLA commitment, the thought is the Dodgers’ PD could get Vogel to the next level with his bat.
Round 4, Pick 130: C Carson Taylor, Virginia Tech
The Dodgers just had to take a catcher in the draft, and Taylor is an interesting one. He’s versatile, so he’s not just a catcher, but he also has good bat-to-ball skills and is a decent athlete. He has the frame of a guy who can have average power, but he doesn’t at present. However, he makes a lot of contact and, honestly, his offensive profile is not that dissimilar to that of Keibert Ruiz‘s. As a draft-eligible sophomore, he’s the youngest non-Vogel draftee the Dodgers selected.
Round 5, Pick 159: RHP Gavin Stone, Central Arkansas
Stone, who has reportedly signed, is a bit undersized (6’1, 175 pounds), but the stuff took a step forward this year. He’s athletic and his advanced metrics are extremely promising. For the penultimate pick in the draft, the Dodgers’ scouting department may have found a pretty nice gem.
Overall Grade: A-
This might be my favorite draft (at the time of said draft) of the Billy Gasparino era. All four pitchers have reliever risk, but two of them (Miller, Beeter) have No. 2 upside, one (Knack) has No. 2/3 upside and one (Stone) has No. 4/5 upside. The bats aren’t powerful, but the offensive profiles are intriguing, and we’ve seen what the Dodgers can do with not just prospects, but reclamation projects.
The 2016 class (Gavin Lux, Will Smith, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin) is going to be tough to beat, and the 2015 class produced Walker Buehler (and Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty), but considering the Dodgers had only five rounds and came away with these six players, I’m really excited for the class … you know, if we ever get to see baseball ever again.