Rounds 6-10 for the Dodgers saw them draft a few interesting prospects, including a couple guys they drafted just last year. Somewhat surprisingly, they only drafted one pitcher after taking four in their first five picks. Oh, and they may have taken the eventual best player in the draft. I’ll let you figure out who that might be.
Here are the picks in list form, with the slot-recommended bonus amounts as well.
6(194). LHP Bryan Warzek, University of New Orleans — $233,800
7(224). OF James Outman, Sacramento State — $184,200
8(254). 2B Luke Heyer, Kentucky — $155,300
9(284). OF Josh McLain, North Carolina State — $143,600
10(314). 2B Deacon Liput, Florida — $136,800
Onto the write-ups.
Round 6, Pick 194 (overall): LHP Bryan Warzek, University of New Orleans
6’0, 205 pounds
DOB: Jan. 17, 1997
First, who knew there was a “University of New Orleans”? Second, the Dodgers drafted another left-handed pitcher! Warzek posted great numbers in the Southland Conference, as he had a 2.82 ERA in 95 2/3 innings. He also struck out 11.9 batters per nine innings and had a 7.1 H/9. His biggest issue was walks, as he had close to a 4.0 BB/9. Baseball America had him as the 488th-best player available in the draft.
“Warzek has been one of the most dominating pitchers in the Southland Conference this year. His 124 strikeouts ranked first in the Southland and 11th in Division I as of May 26. Scouts generally believe that Warzek’s pro future will end up being in the bullpen. His delivery has some effort to it and he’s a 6-foot lefty who works hard to generate 91-95 mph fastballs. He has a breaking ball that flashes above-average at its best, but has too much inconsistency to be deemed a reliable pitch just yet.”
He should be a relatively cheap sign. He could go back to school (he’s a junior), but he isn’t likely to increase his draft stock much more than this. He kind of reminds me of Devin Smeltzer if for no other reason than they have similar career paths. Smeltzer is still starting, but he seems destined for the bullpen at some point. Warzek could go out the same way and, ultimately, end up in the same situation.
Round 7, Pick 224 (overall): OF James Outman, Sacramento State University
6’3, 213 pounds
This might be the steal of the draft. It turns out the Dodgers floated out enough rumors to get Outman to fall to No. 224, because he was clearly good enough to go 1-1. And this has nothing to do with he’s from my alma mater of Sacramento State.
The junior hit .253/.363/.489 with 11 home runs and 12 stolen bases for the Hornets. He also had a nearly 14 percent walk rate against a 22 percent strikeout rate. He didn’t rank in the BA Top 500, but he was ranked at the 32nd-best prospect in Northern California, for what it’s worth. Here are some tweets/videos about him.
— WACsports (@WACsports) June 5, 2018
— WACsports (@WACsports) May 25, 2018
He could go back to school, but I’m assuming he’ll be a relatively easy sign. The Dodgers can’t afford to miss on any of these Top 10-round guys because of the limited bonus pool.
Round 8, Pick 254 (overall): 2B Luke Heyer, University of Kentucky
6’0, 200 pounds
Position: Second base/Third base/Outfield
DOB: Sept. 26, 1996
The Dodgers have developed a bit of a pipeline with the Wildcats. They drafted three players last year from Kentucky — RHP Zach Pop (7th round), OF/1B Zach Reks (10th) and IF Connor Heady (23rd). They also traded for LHP Logan Salow earlier this season, and he was drafted in the 6th round last year. They went back to the well with Heyer, and he might be the most impressive bat — statistically — they’ve drafted so far. Heyer hit .348/.440/.691 with 18 home runs and an 11.5 percent walk rate. No matter if he’s a senior, that’s an impressive batting line in the SEC. He was announced as a second baseman, but Baseball America has him listed as an outfielder/third baseman, so he has something the Dodgers covet: defensive versatility. Here’s what Baseball America had to say about its 302nd-best draft prospect:
“After an excellent stint at Central Florida JC, Heyer was a versatile reserve for Kentucky in 2017 as a junior. He stepped up into a much larger role this year as he became the Wildcats everyday third baseman and biggest power threat. Heyer hit a team-best 18 home runs and slugged a team-best .690 during the regular season. He generates power with leverage and strength, although scouts are more skeptical that he’ll be able to hit for average in pro ball, as his power comes with some swing-and-miss tendencies and a pitcher who can locate can stay a step ahead of Heyer. Defensively, he’s fringy at third base with a fringe-average arm. He’ll most likely slide back and forth between third base and left field (he’s a 40 runner) in pro ball. Heyer fits as a useful senior sign who could go in the sixth to 10th round.”
Heyer should be an easy sign as a senior. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him get something like the $40,000 Kyle Farmer got as an 8th-rounder back in 2013.
Round 9, Pick 284 (overall): OF Josh McLain, North Carolina State University
6’0, 167 pounds
DOB: Sept. 23, 1996
This is the first of back-to-back re-drafts for the Dodgers. McLain was their 14th-round selection last year. He, obviously, didn’t sign. Heading into the day, David Seifert of D1 Baseball and Prep Baseball said McLain was one of the top senior signs available in Rounds 3-10. He hit .337/.365/.447 for the Wolfpack. The discouraging part about his offensive profile is the lack of walks. He walked just 3.7 percent of the time in 2018, which was actually down from 4.5 percent last year. Still, the Dodgers, obviously, felt good enough about McLain’s skill set to re-draft him this year. He was ranked 430th by Baseball America (down from 245th last year). Here’s what it said about him:
“McLain is a speedy, athletic center fielder with the tools to stick and a strong track record of hitting in the ACC. He rivals teammate Brock Deatherage with 70 to 80 grades from scouts on his speed and he puts it to good use, playing shallow in the N.C State outfield, which also helps compensate for a below-average throwing arm. A righthanded hitter with below-average power, McLain shows great barrel control and led the Wolfpack in hitting this spring at .337/.365/.447. While he often hits leadoff for the N.C. State, McLain lacks the discerning eye most pro teams look for in that role, walking just 10 times this spring. He’s an aggressive hitter who looks for a fastball early and generally puts a solid swing on it. His defensive ability and elite speed give him a high floor as a fourth or fifth outfielder, but his lack of power and patience weaken his overall profile.”
Despite improving his draft stock, he was probably a better prospect last year. Despite that, he should be an easy, cheap signing that should allow the Dodgers to use some of that money to put toward someone on Day 3.
Round 10, Pick 314 (overall): 2B Deacon Liput, University of Florida
5’9, 190 pounds
Position: Second base/Shortstop
DOB: June 27, 1996
Year: Redshirt Junior
Liput was the Dodgers’ 29th-rounder out of Florida last year and when he was picked, he didn’t seem terribly likely to sign because he was a draft-eligible sophomore. Now, he’s a near-lock to begin his pro career as a Dodger.
He helped lead Florida to the national championship last summer after choosing to go back to school. He improved his stat line in his junior season by hitting .301/.384/.492 with 7 home runs and a solid 10.8 percent walk rate. He also struck out just 17.9 percent of the time. Baseball America ranked him as the 307th-best prospect available. Here’s the write-up:
“A three-year starter at Florida, Liput missed the first 14 games of the season after getting suspended from the team for undisclosed reasons during the fall. The suspension has raised some red flags for area scouts in Florida, but Liput has proven to be a capable defensive second baseman—he was named to the 2017 SEC All-Defensive team—and has taken his hitting to another level in a delayed junior campaign. Through 40 games, Liput hit .289/.365/.464 with six home runs and 11 doubles. Liput’s carrying tool is his speed, as a plus runner who stole double-digit bases in each of his first two seasons and stole his first seven this spring without being caught. Liput’s profile isn’t the strongest as a college second baseman without much power, a mediocre wood bat track record and issues with his suspension, but he could be elevated up boards in a down year for college hitters thanks to his performance this spring.”
He seems like a guy who could be tried at other positions in the pros. But his offensive profile is solid enough that he might end up being a better 10th-round pick than the Dodgers have made in the past. Reks has been solid so far and Logan Landon is still in the organization.
The Dodgers got some decent value picks on Day 2, and if Rooney and Fisher pan out, it could end up being very solid. Of course, it’s going to be hard to live up to the class of 2015 (Willie Calhoun, Brendon Davis, Edwin Rios, Andrew Sopko) and an even harder time living up to 2016 (Dustin May, DJ Peters, Smeltzer, Luke Raley, Tony Gonsolin).
Day 3 of the draft is underway. It’ll be interesting to see if they land any signability guys. Let’s just hope and pray they stay away from that Oregon State pitcher.