The Dodgers‘ day started with selecting high school outfielder Kendall George with the 36th pick of the 2023 MLB Draft, and their last pick of the first day is University Of Virginia third baseman Jake Gelof with the 60th pick.
This seems more in line with the typically expected range for this pick, and he’s actually rated higher than their first pick.
From The Athletic:
Gelof became the Cavaliers’ career leader in homers midway through this spring, his junior year, with 70 power that should translate fine to the wood bat. The younger brother of Oakland prospect Zack, who also went to UVA, Jake has a very rotational swing and makes hard contact when he squares it up, but he’s had a lot of trouble with velocity up in or above the zone. He’s a thick-bodied player for third base and is more likely to end up in an outfield corner, probably right field since he has a plus arm. He could be a lower-average high-power guy who plays every day for most clubs but whose swing-and-miss issues turn a few teams away.
From Baseball America:
Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
Age At Draft: 21.4
Tools: Hit: 50. Power: 60. Run: 40. Field: 45. Arm: 50.
Gelof is the younger brother of former Virginia third baseman and current A’s prospect, Zack Gelof. Now following in his elder brother’s footsteps, Jake has been one of the best power hitters in program history. After setting a program record with five multi-homer games in 2022, Gelof became Virginia’s all-time home run leader in 2023, when he hit his 38th home run on April 11. After his second 20-plus homer season, Gelof is a career .329/.429/.684 hitter with 48 home runs and 46 doubles in 161 career games. Gelof is powerfully built at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and pairs both strength and bat speed with an offensive operation that features a bit of pre-pitch bat wiggle, a moderate leg kick and a front side that tends to open up to the pull side. He’s a pull-happy hitter in general, and that’s where most of his in-game power production has gone, though he has more than enough raw power to homer to the opposite field, with a 91 mph average and 107 mph 90th-percentile exit velocity in 2023. Gelof is a power-over-hit offensive profile who will expand the zone and swing-and-miss at a sizable clip. He has an 18.9% career strikeout rate and also struggled with whiffs in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA’s trials roster in 2022. Gelof is a below-average runner and workman-like defender at third base, though he has average arm strength and has done a nice job on in-between plays and throwing on the run on difficult slow rollers.
Gelof is much easier to appreciate on first look: he has a pull and lift approach with plus raw power, so he’s often peppering the left-field wall. Scouts wonder if he’ll have to slide over to first base and if his swing/approach will work against better stuff.
From MLB Pipeline:
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
If Gelof needs advice from anyone about how to handle going from the University of Virginia to the pro game, he can ask his older brother, Zack, a 2021 second-round pick and a top prospect of the A’s. The younger Gelof broke out in 2022 with a 1.241 OPS, 21 homers and a team-record 81 RBIs. He played briefly on the Cape and tried out for the U.S. Collegiate National Team over the summer and continued to build his case as one of the top power bats in the college game with a strong junior season.
A right-handed-hitting corner infielder, Gelof does not get cheated at the plate. He has an aggressive approach, looking to do damage and tap into his huge raw power, especially to the pull side. Gelof takes big swings, but he showed an ability to get to his power in 2022, limit strikeouts, draw walks and make adjustments, even if some think he’ll be power-over-hit when all is said and done.
The jury is out over where Gelof will play defensively long-term. He has more than enough arm to stay at third and some feel he moves well enough to stick there, but he has seen time at first and some see a move across the infield in his future. Either way, it’s that power bat that gives him the chance to be an early pick in July.
The reactions to the pick.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have selected Virginia IF Jake Gelof. .329 career hitter with 46 2B and 48 HR across 161 career games. Swing tailored to get the ball in the air with authority. Plus raw power. pic.twitter.com/9WYur6J7ML— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) July 10, 2023
2-60. Dodgers: Jake Gelof, 3B, Virginia — corner IF who is daddy hacks club member, RHH w/ rhythm keeping avg hit tool entact and limits s/m, strength-based swing w/ violence allows him tap into plus raw power, aggressive approach, actions w/ abv-avg arm for 3B w/ 1B fallback— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) July 10, 2023
60. LA Dodgers: Jake Gelof, 3B, Virginia— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) July 10, 2023
Huge performer at UVA, unorthodox swing with big RH power, does do a fair job limiting K’s, good arm at 3B with projection to stay there, power over hit 3B type. #PGDraft #HereToPlay
And video of him at work.
The slot value here is $1,336,900, and he seems like about a slot signing, so with a projected underslot first pick, the Dodgers will likely use the rest of their $7.27 million on some overslot guys in later rounds.
Should be interesting.