Thanks to the Freddie Freeman signing, the Dodgers’ first selection of the 2022 MLB Draft moved from No. 30 to No. 40. Despite that, they still came away with a solid prospect in Louisville catcher Dalton Rushing.
The Athletic: 70
Baseball America: 44
CBS Sports: NR
MLB Pipeline: 50
Perfect Game: 40
Prospects Live: 31
My initial reaction is: Meh. It isn’t anything against Rushing, he’s just not the most exciting prospect for me. Perhaps he’s going to be a little bit of a cheaper sign because the Dodgers don’t have a ton of money in this draft to take chances on players in the later rounds.
From the Dodgers:
‘Dalton was one of our primary targets of our draft,’ said Dodger Vice President, Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino.’
‘We think he has outstanding talent. Catchers that hit with power that can control the zone and hit left-handed are rare commodities in the draft.’”
And here’s what the experts say about Rushing.
Now, just because they drafted a catcher doesn’t mean you should read anything into Will Smith or Diego Cartaya‘s future. The Dodgers are betting on the bat. And there are legitimate questions as to whether he’ll stick behind the plate. If he has to move, first base or DH seem the most likely. He isn’t athletic like Smith (who might, eventually, go to third base if Cartaya forces the issue), but the Dodgers think the bat will be similar.
If the Dodgers can save some money on Rushing, perhaps they can use the savings to land a guy like Malcolm Moore, to whom they’ve been linked throughout the process. And as a junior, he probably wouldn’t risk a 7-figure payday to go back to school.
Overall, a solid pick. Not super exciting or high ceiling, but we’ve seen what the Dodgers have done with hitters in their system, even if their recent history with early round college bats (Jeren Kendall, Kody Hoese).
The Dodgers’ next selection is at the end of the third round, No. 105 overall.