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 (30thoverall) and West Virginia University right-handed pitcher Michael Grove with their second selection in the second round (68thoverall).

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 (24thoverall). 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).

This article has 41 Comments

  1. The Dodgers pick right-hander J T Ginn and right-hander Michael Grove with their first two picks ( 30 and 68 ) Ginn looks like a solid pick and Grove looks like a gamble pick.

    1. You should be neither impressed or unimpressed. These are prospects with a ceiling and a floor. Some of the most hyped draft picks have fizzled and then you have guys like Mike Piazza. I see what FAZ is doing. They rolled the dice with Buehler and it paid off. It would be incredibly lucky if both Ginn and Grove hit their ceilings. The last Dodgers top draft pick I was impressed with was Clayton Kershaw! You just “Knew” with him. I did not “Know” with Buehler, but I am impressed now. In most cases, to be impressed or depressed at the time of the draft is a testament to whether you are a glass half full person, a glass half empty person or just a cynic.

      1. The word I used was unimpressed. I was expressing an opinion. You express them all the time. Sorry if that offended you. Lighten up.

        1. I am not offended. No offense was taken. I am just giving my opinion that I am neither impresed or unimpressed. I’m from Missouri!

  2. Grove has had Tommy John surgery already. That is a plus. It seems like every pitcher will have or has had surgery sometime during their career. The two best starting pitchers we have now are Stripling and Beuhler and they both had TJ surgery.

  3. Did Logan White sneak back into the Dodger draft room? Dodgers always seem to favor drafting pitchers over hitters. Both picks have promise. The second pick seems like one that a team takes if they have deep and strong scouting instead of relying on the shared reports.

  4. Certainly the three college pitchers taken right after JT Ginn, (Shane McClanahan, Jackson Kowar, and Daniel Lynch) are closer to MLB than Ginn is. But high leverage reliever is where all three are headed. They are all primarily two pitch pitchers who throw hard. Ginn throws harder and has a plus power curve as a high schooler. I think he has time to hopefully develop a consistent changeup. He hides the ball well which hopefully will aid in that development. I think the ceiling is a little higher for Ginn than the three pitchers taken after him. Ethan Hankins (Indians pick at 35) could be a good pick, but he has negatives as well. Ginn is in this group, and if he gets the change, he will be the better pick. I do not expect Ginn to convert to a position player, but his offensive skills do indicate that he is a superior athlete, not just pitcher. That bodes well for him to aid in his development.
    I guess the Dodgers felt they could find a bat equivalent to Steele Walker later in the draft. I was not overly impressed with Jameson Hannah. Those were the only two college bats still out there as a possible #1 pick. HS bat, Parker Meadows would have been reach. The Dodgers were not going to risk picking a HS OF bat not named Connor Scott or Jarred Kelenic at #30. However, I will be watching the Rays selection of Nick Schnell, taken right after Ginn.

    As far as Grove, I am perplexed. Yes, they could catch lightning in a bottle as they have with Buehler, White, or Ferguson. But they could also get another Jordan Sheffield. If Grove was a Supplemental, I would say absolutely give him a shot. But he is a 2nd round pick with nothing for another 36 picks. These picks were supposed to be high floor safe picks. High ceiling was a plus but not a necessity. He was rated #271 by Baseball America. He probably would have been around for Round 3.
    This pick could have been for Tanner Dodson, another two way player out of Cal. Dodson could have been on a fast track, something the Dodgers need. This pick could have been for Missouri State SS/3B/2B Jeremy Eierman who was considered a top ten player somewhat late in the process. He dropped quite a bit, but he was a plus hitter as a sophomore, changed his mechanics, and did not hit as well. Either he switches back to what worked, or he just needed more time to get comfortable with his new mechanics. Grove may end up a better pick, but both Dodson and Eierman would have been safer.
    This pick will either make area scout Jonah Rosenthal a hero, or looking for employment. Rosenthal is staking his career on this pick.
    For those disappointed in the 1st two picks, there was not going to be any Casey Mize’s, Joey Bart’s, Alec Bohm’s, Brady Singer’s , or Matt Liberatore’s, at pick #30. The way they are playing this year, they will be a top 20 pick next year. By the way, the Rays stole Liberatore at 16 overall.

    1. prudent reaction would seem to be excitement over Ginn & uncertainty over Grove. money and signability always play a role. add ’em to the system and see what happens. should be some more intriguing picks later in the draft.

  5. Both Dodger DSL teams lost yesterday, but that was not the news for me. Dodgers #26 prospect, 19 year old SS Ronny Brito, has surfaced in the DR. He was the DH in the leadoff role for DSL Dodgers Robinson. Brito is a potential GG at SS if he can ever hit. He is getting competitive ABs in the DR, but I would expect to see Brito come to Ogden once their season starts June 19, or soon thereafter.
    The second player watch is 19 year old RHP 6’4″ 175 pound Joan Valdez. Valdez mostly dominated the DSL last year as a reliever. In 32.2 IP he had a 1.10 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and .192 batting average against. Yesterday he started and went 4 scoreless/hitless innings. He allowed 2 walks and registered 3 K’s. I also expect to see Valdez come to the US this summer either for Ogden or AZL (probably). He is going to need to develop a good strike out pitch, but he is someone to keep an eye.

  6. I don’t know what to think about these selections. As with any draft, only time will tell. And let’s not forget that as important as any draft is, it will be followed by the international signing period that begins July 2nd, and continues through June 15, 2019. Those two events combined will give the Dodgers the opportunity to re-stock their farm system. The international signing period is interesting, because the Dodgers have the option this year to break the bank again like they did in 2015, or not.

    I also wonder how much the talent acquired via the draft and international signings plays a role in how willing the Dodgers are to part with some of their current prospects to strengthen the team via trade. I’ve even begun to think that a Manny Machado deal might not be out of the question, depending of course on the ultimate cost of such a deal. Do the Dodgers roll the dice and go all out for a championship this year, and then hope that they can re-sign Machado long term. If they feel that they’ve replenished the system substantially, they may well be willing to surrender some talent for a rental that could bring a championship now.

  7. What I found interesting in the MLB coverage of the selection process was the reaction of Greg Amzinger and Harold Reynolds, neither one Dodger supporters, on the selection of Ginn. They couldn’t understand the pick and yet the guys that have studied them… Carlos Collazo, Jonathan Mayo, and Jim Callis loved the upside. “Best high school fastball/slider combination in the country.” The fastball is fun to watch.” Callis & O’Dowd kept telling them the Dodgers were going to develop him and lengthen his game, give him more innings. The high leverage reliever is Ginn’s floor, not his ceiling. Amzinger and Reynolds are TV personalities (and that’s kind), nothing more. And the next compliment Reynolds gives the Dodgers will be his first.
    JT Ginn went exactly where Carlos Collazo (Baseball America) said he would. Callis was at 32, and Mayo said he belonged in that group. On MLB Pipeline Top 200 (Callis & Mayo collaborative picks), Ginn was 33. Here is their scouting report (which I am sure that Amzinger and Reynolds never read).
    “Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
    While Ginn finished second nationally among high schoolers with 16 homers last year — only Angels first-rounder Jo Adell had more — teams covet his right arm more than his bat. He has one of the best power arsenals in the high school ranks and a history of dominating on the showcase circuit and with Team USA. He has the stuff to go in the first round, though quibbles about his size and delivery may knock him down to the second.
    Ginn had the highest fastball velocity at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars last summer at 94.6 mph, sat at 95-97 mph at the Under Armour All-America Game and has reached 99 mph this spring. His heater has late life and he can command it to both sides of the plate. If hitters try to sit on his fastball, they can look silly because he also has a wipeout slider in the mid-80s.
    Ginn also shows feel for a changeup with some running action, so he has enough pitches to start. His listed height of 6-foot-2 may be charitable and he works with considerable effort, leading to questions about whether his future may be in the bullpen, though his athleticism helps him repeat his delivery and throw strikes. He’s old for his Draft class and will be eligible as a 21-year-old sophomore in 2020 should he attend Mississippi State.”
    What the scouting report did not mention is that Ginn has worked on his mechanics/delivery making him much more fluid. Ginn is a legit #30 selection. He will undoubtedly make the Dodgers Top 30, but he probably will not make the overall Top 100. But if he develops his change to be a 55, that changes the dynamics.
    On to rounds 3-10.

    1. Harold is by far the dumbest analyst on MLB Network. Amzinger was put on the program so we can have someone with a full head of hair.

  8. Nice information you guys. I love reading what you guys have to say. AC-good job.

  9. For the most part I think I understand the 20-80 scouting scale. But please educate me on how Fastball: 70, Slider: 60, Changeup: 50, and Control: 50, workout to Overall: 50

    And anytime I hear that a pitcher might be too short I think of Pedro Martinez. And there have been others.

  10. most reports I’ve seen say JT Ginn is 6’2. Can anyone tell me on what planet that is considered “too short???” It’s not like he’s trying to play center in the nba for crying out loud. Hell, he’s taller than Julio Urias and Urias is our eventual #2 starter.

    1. I think people are questioning his 6’2″. Some say he is closer to 6’0″.

  11. Bobby,

    According to what AC posted above, Ginn’s “listed height of 6-foot-2 may be charitable”. So what is he, 6 ft. 0 in.? That’s still taller than Urias, Martinez, and countless other very successful pitchers. I don’t care how tall he is if he throws 99 mph with movement, and has a wipeout slider. I think Sandy Koufax was 6’1″. But he also had humongous hands that enabled him to throw a great curveball. But chances are Ginn’s too short to be successful, as is Jose Altuve at 2B. 🙂

  12. I find it hard to believe Wood is not on the DL yet. Something is wrong with him. He was throwing batting practice on Sunday. Our starting five could be Stripling. Beuhler, Santana, Ferguson and Stewart. Urias waiting in the wings. No wonder the first four draft picks were pitchers.

    1. I still like Stewart in the rotation but his agonizingly number of minutes between getting the ball and pitching it got to me. His fastball has good movement so maybe he is taking a few mph off it to put it where he wants it. Hope he isn’t hurting.
      Wood, Madea, Hill would strengthen the bullpen. Could move Baez and Fields with those starters in the bullpen.

  13. The interesting thing is that the Dodgers’ picks thus far have all been considered “stretch” picks. The 2nd rounder wasn’t supposed to go this early. Same with the 3rd and 4th rounders. I wonder what the Braintrust knows that no one else does?

  14. When I read that a pitcher has a 70 fastball, a 60 slider, is already showing an evolving change up, and needs help with his mechanics, I think that sounds really good. Dodgers are good at cleaning up mechanics. What can a pitcher like Ginn do with good mechanics.

  15. Tuesday 6/5 7:05pm
    Ross Stripling (R)
    @ Pirates – Joe Musgrove (R)
    1. Chris Taylor (R) SS
    2. Max Muncy (L) 3B
    3. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
    4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
    5. Joc Pederson (L) CF
    6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
    7. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
    8. Logan Forsythe (R) 2B
    9. Ross Stripling (R) P
    Given Turner needs a rest, I like this lineup. Tomorrow, maybe Muncy plays second. Is Muncy defensively = Murphy?

    1. Musgrove was one of the players the Pirates got for Gerrit Cole. He just got healthy and has been pitching really good!

      Plus, I finally got ahold of a scout friend of mine who told me that he believes Michael Grove will be better than Buehler and said he would not be surprised if he was in the Dodgers’ rotation next year. He’s a risk, but there’s a nice reward.

      You never how scouts rate a player…

        1. Yes to some degree, but he’s wrong like everyone. He liked the Buehler pick too. He’s the one who said that Andrew Toles was a great pickup when FAZ signed him. He has strong opinion, but he’s not infallible.

      1. I think the pirates got a lot when they picked up musgrove. He has nasty stuff in which I am hoping takes a night off. Moran is off to a good start and Cole is not surprisingly pitching great for the world champs. For those who think the pirates didn’t get anything,I hope that is correct tonight, but in the long run the pirates will probably like their return. I think Cole wanted out of Pittsburgh due to salary disputes.

    2. I agree, best looking lineup in awhile. All the top hitters are in there except Cody and he’s dropped to 7th. The defense should not hurt them either today.

      Madbum goes for the Giants who are looking to make a move. Rockies on the road in Cincy, the Dodgers need to take care of business today, no telling what they get from the starters the next 2 days. I am optimistic however as sometimes a pitcher hitters have never seen can cause some problems.

      Dodgers had top ranked bullpen for the week and deserve a lot of credit along with the bats for the sweep in Coors.

  16. Interesting 9th and 10th round selections.
    9th – Josh McLain – CF NC State – Sr. – Drafted last year by Dodgers in 14th Round
    10th – Deacon Liput – 2B Florida Jr. – Drafted last year by Dodgers in 29th Round
    Don’t get them one year, get them the next.
    8th -10th round selections should be well below slot.
    I am looking forward to #11 tomorrow. It will be a HS player they will try to buy out of his college commitment with money saved in 8th – 10th.
    I am off to see the OKC Dodgers against the Sacramento River Cats tonight.

  17. What a fantastic job by Strip in that inning. I just gained that much more trust in him after that!

    1. Bobby

      The fact Stripling was a reliever that long, has made him even better, in situations like that.

      Puig’s exit velocity on his HR was 101, and Joc’s was 103, and Cody’s was 108, and boy that was loud off the bat!

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