LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced their first two selections in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, picking Brandon High School (MS) right-handed pitcher J.T. Ginn with their first pick (30th overall) and West Virginia University right-handed pitcher Michael Grove with their second selection in the second round (68th overall).
This season, Ginn appeared in eight games (seven starts), going 5-1 with a 0.36 ERA (2 ER/39.1 IP) and striking out 78 batters against just nine walks, while holding the opposition to a .073 average. In seven starts, he fired three complete games and two shutouts including a no-hitter. Ginn, who was also a two-way player, batted .419 (31-for-74) with six doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 27 RBI for Brandon High School this year. Following the 2018 campaign, he was voted the Gatorade Player of the Year out of Mississippi.
“We have seen Ginn over the course of last year with a premium velocity that goes with a lot of movement,” said Dodger Director, Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino. “We think he has one of the best fastball qualities in the draft and he also has a power breaking ball that he can throw for strikes. The stuff has always been there, but we have seen him develop a better delivery as the spring went along. We believe that he is a potential starter and can be one of those power, six-foot righties that really has premium stuff.”
Ginn, who was scouted by Dodgers’ area scout Benny Latino, combined for a 15-2 record with a 1.02 ERA (16 ER/110.0 IP) and threw three complete games in his last three years of high school. The 19-year-old also batted .415 (112-for-270) with 28 home runs, 22 doubles, three triples and 120 RBI in four seasons for the Bulldogs and finished second nationally among high school players with 16 home runs in 2017. This marks the first time the Dodgers have selected a pitcher with their first overall pick since 2015, when they selected right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler out of Vanderbilt University (24th overall). Los Angeles has drafted a pitcher with their first overall selection of the draft in seven of the last 10 picks.
In the second round, Los Angeles selected West Virginia University right-handed pitcher Michael Grove. The Wheeling, West Virginia native missed the 2018 season, but prior to missing his junior campaign he went 5-5 with a 3.13 ERA (32 ER/92.0 IP) in 25 collegiate games (16 starts), while also holding the opposition to a .220 batting average. As a sophomore in 2017, he made nine starts, going 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA and striking out 61 batters against 15 walks in 47.0 innings before sustaining a season-ending arm injury. As a freshman in 2016, he went 2-4 with a 3.40 ERA and collected one save in 16 games (seven starts) for the Mountaineers. Grove was also named to the 2016 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention team and the 2017 All-Big 12 Second Team. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound pitcher was scouted by Dodgers’ scout Jonah Rosenthal.
“Grove is a little bit of a unique case. A lot of credit goes to our area scout, Jonah Rosenthal, as he was able to see him both freshman and sophomore year at West Virginia and was able to gain some familiarity with his physical ability. We felt like Grove’s talent level matched that pick and our comfort level of where he was with his post Tommy John surgery, it made sense for us” said Gasparino.
The 2018 First-Year Player Draft will continue tomorrow with rounds 3-10 starting at 10:00 a.m. (PST) and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday starting at 9:00 a.m. (PST).