After selecting 8 position players and 9 pitchers in the first 15 rounds, the Dodgers closed out their 2023 MLB Draft by selecting four pitchers and a triple threat — a quarterback/righthanded pitcher/outfielder.
Round 16, No. 490 overall, LHP Javen Coleman, Louisiana State University (LA)
The Dodgers went to the LSU well on back to back picks, following up the 15th round Jordan Thompson selection by nabbing another likely overslot collegiate player in 21-year-old southpaw Javen Coleman. Listed at 6’2, 205 lbs, Coleman’s junior year was marked by a bit of triumph, as he made it back to the mound after undergoing Tommy John surgery in Spring of 2022. Unfortunately, command is typically the last thing to return after the procedure, and that was the case with the Sherman, TX native, as he issued 16 walks in his 14.0 IP in his redshirt sophomore campaign. That, however, was also accompanied by 21 strikeouts, which leads us to what interested the Dodgers in the first place.
Coleman operates at the top of the zone with a four seam fastball that sits in the low 90s (though he was reportedly up to 96 in bullpen work), and it’s a pitch that shows some significant carry/ride to it. He’ll complement the heater with a big mid-70s curve, and a solid changeup, so he is able to attack both lefties and righties.
Just a guess on my part, but due to Coleman’s quick post-op return to action (just 16 months), should he sign, I imagine the Dodgers will be rather cautious with his workload for the rest of the Summer, perhaps even opting to just add strength in preparation for some Fall Instructs work. But, the Dodger front office is about as watertight as a bullfrog’s ass, so only time will tell.
Round 17, No. 520 overall, LHP Luke Fox, Duke University (NC)
The Dodgers selected another Tommy John recipient in the 17th round in 21-year-old Luke Fox. A native of Milwaukee, WI, Fox underwent the procedure in the Fall of 2022. During his sophomore campaign with the Blue Devils, the southpaw was a little wild and dinger-prone, as he allowed 7 longballs in 52.1 IP, with 5.5 walks per 9, though he struck out 11.4 per 9. He got his whiffs with a quality three pitch mix that was trending upwards at the time of his injury:
Though he’s out for the ‘23 season, Luke Fox (@DukeBASE) could be a steal come draft time. Really impressed this fall; FB up to 95 with his CH and SL each profiling as pot. plus pitches. Throws from low 3/4 slot and ball explodes out of the hand.— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) February 8, 2023
Starter profile at the pro level pic.twitter.com/qL9LWdMEH6
It appears there is more velo in the tank as well, as his lower half usage could be ramped up a bit — there’s room for more depth in the hip hinge, leading to a more aggressive drive down the hill. That’s for a little bit farther in the future, however, as Fox will surely continue to rehab with a target of taking the mound in the 2024 season.
Round 18, No. 550 overall, LHP Sterling Patick, South Hills High School (CA)
With their 18th round pick the Dodger tabbed another local product in Sterling Patick, who attended the same West Covina high school as former Dodger prospect Jacob Amaya. The UC Santa Barbara commit put together a monster senior season for the Huskies, posting a ridiculous ERA of 0.37 in 76.2 IP, with a K/BB of 113/21.
Patick, who turned 18 just about a month ago, is a big time projection guy, as he is listed at 6’1, and a rail thin 155 lbs. He attacks hitters out of his crossfire delivery with a four seam fastball in the low 90s, a big curve, and a changeup that shows a bit of fade and sink:
There’s a lot to dream on here, and as was the case with last year’s 17th rounder, Payton Martin, if the clubs signs Patick, and gets him pick to add 20-30 lbs by next Spring, a whole lot of folks will be scratching their heads, wondering how a kid like this slipped all the way to the back end of the draft.
Round 19, No. 580 overall, RHP Spencer Green, Richland High School (WA)
The Dodgers targeted another loud high school arm with their 19th rounder in Oregon State commit Spencer Green. Standing 6’4, 190 lbs, Green features a fastball that has reached the mid-90s, and a power slider with big time downward action:
Green will likely require a significant overslot bonus to forgo his commitment to the Beavers, but that’s the name of the game in the draft when you are targeting potentially difficult signs — oftentimes one is an insurance policy for another, to ensure that all of the bonus pool money gets used, and that the club inks at least some of their projectable athletes. The Dodgers landing both their 18th and 19th round picks would be a coup, but this feels like more of an either/or proposition.
Round 20, No. 610 overall, TWP D.J. Uiagalelei, Oregon State University (OR)
With their last pick of the draft, the Dodgers tossed a Hail Mary in selecting former Clemson and current Oregon State quarterback, D.J. Uiagalelei, and listing him as a two-way player, to boot(leg). A native of Riverside, California, the 22-year-old hasn’t played since his junior year of high school, during which he showed a fastball in the low to mid 90s, along with a slider and a curve:
Color me crazy, but there looks to be a little Kenley Jansen in that over the top arm action.
He also showed tremendous pop out of a relatively short stroke from someone so huge:
Currently listed at 6’5, 250 lbs (and absolutely jacked), there’s zero physical projection left, but that’s besides the point. Uiagalelei is an incredible athlete, and this is a just-in-case pick; if for whatever reason football ends up not working out, and he opts for a sport change, the Dodgers have his rights reserved. Additionally, the fact that the Dodgers chose to invest a pick in this particular way is an indicator that their bonus pool is all but spoken for, and all that’s left is seeing who’s getting what.
Now that the draft is complete, clubs have a scant two weeks to sign their players, with the deadline being 2:00 PM Pacific on July 25th, and the trade deadline is just a week later, on August 1st. So saddle up, boys girls, because it’s going to be a hectic few weeks.
Enjoy your Wednesday, folks.