Dodger Chatter: School is Out

During the 2017 First-Year Player Draft the Dodgers selected five players from the high school ranks. FAZ has shown they are not afraid to select a high school player with their first overall pick having chosen  shortstop Gavin Lux in the 2016 June Draft.

They also have an interesting high school history with their 11th round picks.

  •            2015   right-hander Iman Abdullah
  •            2016   right-hander A.J Alexy
  •            2017   shortstop Jacob Amaya

Back to the five high school selections in 2017. Catcher Logan White (Jr.) and shortstop Joshua Rivera did not sign. White was a 38th round pick while Rivera was selected in the 21st round. White was more of a respect selection in deference to his father Logan, who worked diligently for the Dodgers over a number of years. If he had signed it would have been a bonus but it was not expected he would.

Three of the 2017 high school selections did sign.

James Marinan

Right-hander James Marinan, out of Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Florida,  was selected  in the fourth round. He is the youngest of the three by four days.

He is 6’5”/220 pounds and not lacking in motivation. First, motivated by his desire to play baseball at the highest level and secondly because he fell to a lower spot in the draft than he expected. Marinan had rocketed up the charts during his 2017 senior high school season and was ranked as the No. 59 prospect  in the draft by  Baseball America.

When asked if that provided additional motivation for him, his answer was simple: “Absolutely,” he said, “It definitely does motivate me.”

Marinan was a two-way star for the Park Vista Cobras in 2017 hitting .311 with a pair of home runs while going 8-1 with a 0.84 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 50 innings. He added several miles per hour to his fastball during his senior year throwing in the mid-to-high 90’s.

Scouting report:“Straight four-seamer with some late run when thrown to arm side. Great downward plane on fastball when thrown to lower third of the zone from 6’5″ frame. Curveball 11-to-5 break; loose, with some sweeping action. Gets around the ball at times; will back up on him. Slurve-like right now, needs to decide if it’s a curve or a slider. Changeup relatively flat, straight change. Moderate arm-side run with little sink. Generally commanded to the bottom third of the zone. Life can improve some when down and off the plate arm-side. Struggles to keep speed deferential; sometimes throws it too hard and needs to develop more nuanced feel if he’s to use it.  Control ahead of command, both well below-average now with potential to reach average through mechanical refinement.”

Marinan debuted with Arizona League Dodgers on July 19 and made nine appearances during the 2017 season, six of them starts. He posted a 1.59 ERA over 17 innings. He struck out 14  and walked 14.

Jacob Amaya

Amaya was one of those aforementioned 11th round selections. He is a graduate of South Hills High School in West Covina, California.

The prep shortstop was a  Cal State Fullerton commit  but one that the Dodgers felt they could sign even from the 11th round.

“We just think he’s a really good player,” said Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino. “Ability to play short, we like his bat, played on a successful team. We think he’s tough. We think he’s competitive. Really excited to have a shot at signing him.”

Amaya’s grandfather played in the Dodgers Minor League system and the 6’0”/220-pound grandson is on a special route following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

“Getting drafted by the Dodgers is very special because I am  a local boy”, Amalya said. ”It’s extra special because I’m going through the same process that he [grandfather] did. Hopefully I get the same number as he did.”

Scouting report:“Very polished defensively, very quick hands with a very quick transfer, gets rid of the ball right now, advanced footwork coming through the ball, can throw from multiple slots with arm strength and accuracy, has the tools to play shortstop but would be fun to watch turning double plays at second base. Right handed hitter, busy hand load, open stance, short swing with an inside hand path, simple shift into contact, line drive approach and hits the ball out front, can use more lower half to generate more raw bat speed. Mature player with skills.”

Amalya debuted with the Arizona League Dodgers on July 17 and during the 2017 season in 34 games he hit .254 along with a .364 OBP. After a slow start in July, he hit .303 in his last 26 games with a .417 OBP along with 20 strikeouts and 16 walks.

Jeremy Arocho

Arocho  was selected by the Dodgers in the 27th round of the most recent draft out of Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland.

He is a 5’10”/160-pound switch hitter who played center field before moving to shortstop in his sophomore year at Old Mill. Upon being drafted by the Dodgers, Old Mill athletic director Jeff Martin spoke to the drafting.

“Jeremy is a phenomenal talent and has all the tools to succeed at the next level,” said Old Mill athletic director Jeff Martin, who coached Arocho for three seasons.”He’s a very athletic kid who knows how to play the game and is solid both offensively and defensively. He’s got a lot of potential,”

On his part, Arocho was pleased to be selected by the Dodgers.

“I’m very happy about getting drafted. It’s a dream come true,” Arocho said. “I went to a workout with the Dodgers and they seemed to like me a lot. My advisor told me they were very interested.”

Scouting report:“ Arocho is a premier defender at a premium position (SS). Has a very confident first step and lighting fast hands as he fields and gets rid of the ball. Throws have carry across the diamond and are accurate.  A switch-hitter offensively, Arocho still has room to develop at the plate. A typical top of the order type hitter, Arocho handles the barrel and does an excellent job of placing bunts down and utilitizing his quickness to get on base. Has quick hands at the plate with an aggressive swing. Lower half gets him in trouble at times. Arocho should be considered as one of the top defensive infielders in the country with his athleticism and agility in the middle of the field. “

He debuted with the Arizona League Dodgers on June 24 and hit .254 on the season with a .333 OBP. Like his teammate, Jeremy Amalya, Arocho hit much better as the season progressed. In his final 22 games he hit .298 with a .352 OBP.  Of note, he played 24 games at second base with the AZL Dodgers.

Photo Credit: Wells Dusenbury / Sun Sentinel

This article has 18 Comments

  1. marinan sounds huge. nice to have another large potential power arm in the system. even if he’s traded along the line he will have value. one to watch. what’s the latest on cooper? i never hear about him . . .

    1. Cooper was held out of competition by the Dodgers after drafting him. He had pitched 89 innings with the University of Texas in 2017 and was just two years removed from TJ surgery. Another big Texan – 6’5″/210-pound. I expect him to start with the Loons in 2018 but possibly after extended spring training.

      It has been suggested that Marinan will start and work his way up to Tulsa before becoming a high leverage reliever.

      1. thank you. if buehler/white/alvarez/Santana are the next wave of [potential] impact starting pitchers and guys like ferguson/adbullah/Sheffield/may are the second wave, maybe cooper/marinan are the third wave, even though they could conceivably reach the majors before some of the younger guys. I really hope Melvin jimenez busts out this season.

        1. I think Sheffield may well be suited better to relief in the long haul. May is one I am really watching and , as you, hoping Jimenez breaks out with the Loons.

  2. I would rather see the Dodgers leave Forsythe at second and give the first third base opportunity to Farmer, leave Hernandez and Utley in their fill in roles.
    I don’t see Thompson or Pederson giving the team more value then Toles. The Dodgers also have Hernandez, and Verdugo is at OKC, waiting for his chance. I wouldn’t waste any more time with Pederson, there are just too many prospects who have more potential. Counting on him coming off the bench to deliver a timely hit, I don’t think so.

    1. a lot of forsythe’s value is tied up in his ability to shift over to 3b and play it plus defensively while opening up 2b to a dangerous hitter like keekay. farmer’s fine for what he is–a back-up catcher with some defensive versatility–but let’s not anoint him our savior yet. we have guys who have actually done it before. farmer will be thrilled just to make the team.

  3. I think Sheffield may well be suited better to relief in the long haul. May is one I am really watching and , as you, hoping Jimenez breaks out with the Loons.

  4. If I knew how to post a video from my recent Alice Cooper show, I would add “Schools Out” for you.

      1. He’s one of the few that get me out any more. I’ve taken my son to see him 5 times now. My friend is friends with one of his guitarist so we got to hang out with the band and Alice’s daughter at a club last week and then saw Alice the next night. He has a young incredible band around him.

        1. Hawkeye

          I was never a big hard rock fan, but I guy asked me on a date, to this concert.

          And it was an all day concert with many bands, and Copper was the final act.

          I was surprised I knew more songs then Schools Out, for Summer.

          But of course I had fun, and we drink of course, and I loved watching Cooper perform on the back, of my date.

          It was a strange mix of bands.

          From the Tubes, to Sha Na Na.

          I older guy even did a belly flop into a kid’s wading pool, high off a platform.

          That was one crazy day, even while everyone was waiting in line, to get into Angel stadium.

  5. I have watched the #11 draft pick for the last three years. FAZ has tried to leave enough bonus dollars in the kitty to try and “buy” an 11th round high school player. Imani Abdullah (2015) is still highly regarded in the Dodger system as he is #19 prospect even after pitching a total of 12 innings in 2017. He will be watched very closely this year.
    AJ Alexy (2016) is now the #16 prospect in the Texas organization. Everybody remembers Willie Calhoun being traded for Yu Darvish, but Alexy was also a highly regarded prospect who was included, along with infielder Brendon Davis (Rangers #29 prospect).
    Jacob Amaya (2017) is one who I will be following closely this year. He is an LA kid who was bought out of his Cal St. Fullerton scholarship (I love that school). He is considered a defensive whiz with great soft hands and footwork. He has the arm to stay at SS but may be forced to move to 2B because the Dodgers have a kid named Corey Seager playing SS. If Jacob continues with his second half offense, he could jump to being on the cusp of the prospect list.
    HS pitchers are so hard to predict. James Marinan has the physical makeup and potential pitching repertoire to blossom with the proper tutelage. A pitcher like Dustin May exuded so much confidence when he came out of HS, and he is beginning to get the look of a near untouchable. James needs to embrace where he is in the Dodgers organization and show the confidence that he can be a frontline starter. Learn, believe, and let his ability take over. Morgan Cooper is easier to project because of his success at Texas and the Big 12 Conference. But Marinan may have the higher ceiling.

    1. agree about may. very exciting. someone else named him gingergaard but that’s probably too far. more like degrom? one level at a time prospect.

  6. “that school” makes me think Richard Nixon, who did it his way but with no hidden agenda, That makes me think of Gene Autry pal of Nixon’s who was one tough SOB. Then to Buck Owens who tried a scaled down version of Autry’s business in Bakersfield and then……Oops! Life of an old man with ADD……still!

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