Normally, the MLB Draft would have either happened or would be happening this week. However, MLB has pushed it to the All-Star break, which makes a lot of sense. So, for the fives of you waiting for draft coverage with bated breath, you’ve had to wait just a little longer.
The draft begins on Sunday, July 11 and ends on Tuesday, July 13. Unlike 2020 when it was just a 5-round affair, it will be a 20-round draft — which is still half of what it was just two years ago.
I plan to do at least five big boards and 10 individual player profiles. The Dodgers hold the 29th selection in the first round. They don’t have a 2nd-round pick, as they forfeited it when they signed Trevor Bauer.
Overall, the Dodgers have $4,646,700 to sign 2021 draftees. Here’s how it breaks down in the first 10 (nine) rounds.
If a player in the Top 10 rounds doesn’t sign, that amount is deducted from the team’s bonus pool. Conversely, teams can spend up to 5% (less $1) and not forfeit any future draft picks. They would have to pay a 75% tax on the overage. So, the Dodgers can spend $232,334 over their allotment, or $4,879,034. After the 10th round, any player who signs for more than $125,000 will have his bonus count against the pool. Undrafted players can sign for up to $20,000. It’s like last year, except there are 15 more rounds. The Dodgers ended up signing a few undrafted free agents last year.
This is Billy Gasparino‘s sixth draft as Dodgers’ scouting director. He had two with the Padres in 2013 and ’14. Here are his first round picks in those years.
- 2013: Hunter Renfroe
- 2014: Trea Turner
- 2015: Walker Buehler, Kyle Funkhouser*
- 2016: Gavin Lux, Will Smith**, Jordan Sheffield**
- 2017: Jeren Kendall
- 2018: JT Ginn*
- 2019: Kody Hoese, Michael Busch**
- 2020: Bobby Miller
**Supplemental 1st-round pick
He has gone heavy on collegiate players, with Lux and Ginn as the only prep draftees. The college bat crop this year is a bit weak and without a 2nd-rounder, they might be more inclined to go with a higher upside kid in the first round — perhaps one who falls a bit due to signability concerns. Of the 12 first-rounders listed above, I’d only classify Renfroe and Hoese as “safer” selections. Some of that might be hindsight (especially with Busch), but everyone else was either a risky pick or a pick with significant upside.
There won’t be any consensus Top 5-10 prospects on this list, as there’s almost no chance the Dodgers will get a chance to select them — no Henry Davis, Jack Leiter, Jordan Lawlar, Marcelo Mayer, or Kumar Rocker.
Big Board 1.0
- RHP Chase Petty, Mainland HS (N.J.)
- RHP Sam Bachman, Miami (Ohio)
- RHP Gunnar Hoglund, Mississippi
- OF Joshua Baez, Dexter Southfield HS (Mass.)
- RHP Jaden Hill, LSU
- RHP/SS Bubba Chandler, North Oconee HS (Ga.)
- 2B Peyton Stovall, Haughton HS (La.)
- RHP Andrew Painter, Cavalry Christian HS (Fla.)
- OF James Wood, IMG Academy (Fla.)
- RHP Michael McGreevy, UC Santa Barbara
- RHP Ryan Cusick, Wake Forest
- OF Jud Fabian, Florida
- LHP Maddux Bruns, UMS Wright HS (Ala.)
- SS Carson Williams, Torrey Pines HS (Calif.)
- RHP Thatcher Hurd, Mira Costa HS (Calif.)
Petty is no. 1 on my board to start the process. He doesn’t have prototypical size (Buehler-esque), but he has premium stuff and even logged an 18-strikeout no-hitter this year.
Bachman is the collegiate version of Petty — on the smaller side, but big-time stuff. His fastball is among the best in the class in terms of velocity and movement.
Hoglund normally wouldn’t have been on this board, but Tommy John surgery has tanked his stock and there’s a decent chance he makes it to No. 29. Before the injury, he had seen his stuff take a significant step forward.
Baez is a large adult son with some of the best power on the prep side. But like a lot of power hitters, swing-and-miss could be a concern.
Hill is another player who wouldn’t have been here if not for TJ surgery. He’s a big kid (6’4, 234) who could handle the rigors of a starting rotation, assuming he makes it back from his injury.
Chandler is the first legitimate 2-way player on this board. There’s not a consensus on his best position, but he’s one of the most athletic players in the draft, and we know the Dodgers dig their athletic prospects.
Stovall has a lot of helium leading up to draft day, and he has been tied to the Dodgers. A lot. He’s definitely a bat-first second baseman.
Painter might not make it to No. 29, but of the prep pitchers who could, he’s one of the most projectable. He kinda reminds me of Jimmy Lewis.
Wood is another powerful prep prospect from a baseball hotbed. With the Dodgers’ ability to develop hitters, he could thrive in LA’s system.
McGreevy is a local(ish) kid who is the ace of the Santa Barbara staff. And he’s on the younger side for a college player.
Cusick has a big-time fastball and the size to be a starter. The Dodgers were linked to Wake Forest’s Jared Shuster in last year’s draft, so it makes sense that they’d ne in on Cusick.
Fabian was a surefire Top 10 pick before the NCAA season began, but he has struggled a bit and could fall down boards. It wouldn’t be dissimilar to the Kendall situation from 2017, but that also gives me a little pause.
Bruns (not Boo-urns) is an interesting prep lefty who has premium velocity and a wipeout slider. Command/control is his biggest problem area.
Williams is a late-riser who, despite being on the younger side, has a solid approach and some untapped power.
Hurd is a raw, projectable prep righty who could have some untapped velocity in his arm.
Draft profiles should begin in the next week or so.