I listened to the Kyle Glazer (BA) podcast on the state of the Dodger prospects a couple of times last week. Besides some excellent information on few of the Dodger prospects (Lux, Ruiz, Smith, May, Verdugo…), he had some commentary on the 2016 draft by LAD. Recognizing where the Dodgers drafted he was more than complimentary on the draft and stated that it may be one of the very best organizational drafts in several years. While nothing will compare to the historic 1968 Dodgers draft, the 2016 is shaping up to be quite good.
It is estimated that somewhere around 12% of players drafted ever get to the ML much less contribute.
In 2016, the Dodgers drafted 42 players, including a supplemental 1stround and a compensatory pick for not signing Kyle Funkhouser in the 2015 draft. Of the 42, 9 did not sign. Since 2016, of those that signed 8 have been released:
- Kevin Lachance (Round 10)
- Darrien Tubbs (Round 16)
- James Carter (Round 21)
- Jeff Paschke (Round 22)
- Saige Jenco (Round 24)
- Austin French (Round 27)
- Conor Costello (Round 32)
- Joel Toribio (Round 34)
In addition, one player signed but never pitched professionally (Chandler Eden – Round 25), and one pitched 1 inning in 1 game and then retired (Jake Perkins – Round 28).
The hope is for your drafted prospects to someday make your ML roster or be very helpful in acquiring ML players in a trade. The 2016 draft produced four such players:
- AJ Alexy (Round 11) traded to Rangers in Yu Darvish trade
- Dean Kremer (Round 14) traded to Orioles in Manny Machado trade
- Devin Smeltzer (Round 5) traded to Twins in Brian Dozier trade
- Luke Raley (Round 7) traded to Twins in Brian Dozier trade
Three of those four are on their new team’s top 30 prospects:
- Dean Kremer #16 Orioles prospect
- Luke Raley #19 Twins prospect
- AJ Alexy #20 Rangers prospect
That leaves 19 young men drafted by LAD in 2016 who are still in the organization. Five players were drafted in rounds 30 to 38.
- Ramon Rodriguez– 20 (C) (Round 30) – Ramon, a RHH catcher, looked to be on a fast track after finding some success at Ogden as an 18-year-old in 2017. He started 2018 as a 19-year-old in full season A ball at Great Lakes but had some problems. After 33 games and a slash line of .209/.269/.273/.542, Ramon was assigned back to Ogden. He was not as productive at Ogden as he was the year before, but being sent down undoubtedly shook his confidence. He should get another shot at full season A ball at Great Lakes in 2019.
- Steve Berman– 24 (C) Round 31 – Steve is one of DC’s favorites. The RHH catcher started the year at RC and remained with the Quakes for all of 2018. He was placed on the DL 4 times last year and only participated in 33 games and 96 AB. But in that short sample size, Berman slashed .302/.442/.500/.942. 10 of his 29 hits were for extra bases. He is considered a very cerebral catcher. He should start back at RC again in 2019. Where Connor Wong starts out will dictate how much playing time Berman will get. Hunter Feduccia is not far behind and will push Berman for playing time this year.
- Zach McKinstry– 24 (2B) (Round 33) – Started season in Great Lakes. On May 31, Zach was promoted to RC, and then to Tulsa on July 24. He was fairly productive at both Great Lakes and RC but seemed at bit overwhelmed at Tulsa. He should start out at Tulsa as he has proven himself at Rancho.
- Nick Yarnall– 24 (1B) (round 35) – The left hand hitting 1B started at Great Lakes and was promoted to RC on May 10. He had two different stints on the DL while at RC. In 42 games and 141 AB, Nick hit .241/.327/.461/.788, with 7 HR and 48K. Those are fairly pedestrian numbers but should get Nick a start back at RC.
- Kevin Malisheski– 21 (RHP) (Round 38) – Kevin signed for $248,500 out of Wauconda High School (IL). He is being brought along slowly. Last year at Rookie level Ogden, he pitched 64.1 innings after pitching 14 innings (2016) and 37.2 innings (2017). The Dodgers still have faith in him and will probably start him out at Great Lakes where DC will watch over him.
TheDodgers still have two of the players drafted in rounds 20-29.
- Brock Carpenter– 23 (3B/1B) (Round 20) – Brock spent all season at Great Lakes where he slashed .244/.321/.420/.742. That is a relatively pedestrian slash line for a 23-year-old RHH corner infielder at low A ball. RC should have a number of quality 1B to start the season, so Brock could very well start back at Great Lakes, but needs to show improvement for a mid-season promotion to RC to keep his climb up the organizational ladder alive.
- Brandon Montgomery– 23 (2B) (Round 26) – Brandon is a favorite of mine, more on the round that he was drafted than any other reason. But I do look to see what Brandon did each day and hope for the best. Brandon held his own at Great Lakes where he started the year but performed very well at RC after his August 1 promotion. In 23 games and 85 AB’s, Brandon slashed .318/.362/.588/.950. What was encouraging was that Brandon hit 13 HRs at his two stops. Not bad for a 6’0” 180-pound 2B. He should start off back at RC, but if he continues to hit, he could get the promotion to AA sometime next summer. I will be pulling for Brandon to someday make his MLB debut.
The Dodgers have three players remaining in theorganization from draft rounds 10-19.
- Cody Thomas– 24 (RF) (Round 13) – Cody is a LHH RF who has also played a fair amount in CF. Cody hit a rather productive run producing season at RC. He slashed .285/.355/.497/.852 in 12 games and 558 PA. Cody was rewarded with a slot in the AFL. Unfortunately, Cody has a problem with making consistent contact. In his 558 PA he struck out 163 times (29+%). Combined with Jeren Kendall’s nearly 32% K rate, the RC OF had a problem making contact on their way to the California League championship.
- Brayan Morales– 23 (CF) Round 15 – Brayan is a fleet footed RHH CF. Like Kendall, Morales is a superb defensive OF and very good baserunner. Brayan slashed .273/.338/.383/.721 with a full year at Great Lakes. He stole 46 bases (15 caught stealing). But just like with Kendall, you cannot steal 1B. Morales struck out at a near 29% rate in 367 PA. That is not productive for a 23 year old at low A ball. He should start at RC, but he is going to need to show significant improvement in the hitter friendly California League to continue his quest up the ladder.
- Chris Mathewson– 23 (RHP) (Round 19) – Chris spent more time on the DL last year than he did on the RC roster. He totaled 20.1 innings pitched and did not show much at the A+ level. Chris should get another shot at RC this year, but at 23, he is going to have a short leash and show that he belongs.
The Dodgers still have 9 players drafted in rounds 1 through 9, including a supplemental and compensatory pick. Not only do they have 9 players remaining, at least 7 have a legit shot at producing at the ML level, and some maybe at an All-Star level. We have discussed in great length about many of these players but here are the 9 players in that 1-9 group:
- Round 9 –Tony Gonsolin– 24-year-old RHSP – I am very high on Tony, but I do not agree with Mark that he will have an impact in 2019. I still see him starting at AA and getting a mid-season promotion to AAA. He does have good chance at getting a September callup, but I do not see one before then. LAD has more than enough pitchers ahead of Tony that we can be patient and let him continue to succeed at MiLB for one more year.
- Round 8 –Andre Scrubb– 24-year-old RHRP – Like Tony Gonsolin, Andre started at Great Lakes last year, and found his way to AA. He was not very good at GL but was unhittable at RC. He pitched well enough at Tulsa to get a coveted slot in the AFL where he was seemingly over-matched. However, the experience was invaluable. Andre should start at AA and depending on how he pitches and how the AAA relievers pitch he may get a AAA promotion. I do not see any way where Andre gets a September call.
- Round 6 –Errol Robinson– 24-year-old RHH SS – Errol has spent the last nearly two years at AA and should get that promotion to AAA to start the 2019 season. Errol is an extremely gifted defensive SS. However, Errol has not distinguished himself as a productive offensive player. Errol is too gifted defensively to give up on, and he has been working some in CF. Errol should become the next super utility player in the organization, and should start out as the SS at AAA, or 2B if Daniel Castro starts at SS. They will both undoubtedly switch often to be ready if the call comes.
- Round 4 –DJ Peters– 23 year old RHH OF – DJ is an enigma to me. He has outstanding power and is very gifted defensively. But he has a real problem when it comes to making contact. He struck out more than 34% of the time at AA, and as more than one talent evaluator has said, “it doesn’t get any easier from there”. He has more than enough speed to turn hits in the gap into doubles if he were to make contact. Last year he made one of his goals to cut down on his strike outs, and I was watching from Game 1, because I so much wanted a power hitting RHH OF making his way to Dodger Stadium. But he did not cut down on his strike outs. In fact they increased from 32.2% at RC in 2017. DJ is good enough to start the year at OKC, but if he wants to be more than a power option on a ML bench, he is going to need to cut back on his Ks, even if that means a reduction in HRs.
Now we are down to the first five drafted in 2016. We have certainly talked in great lengths on all five of these guys:
- Round 3 – 21-year-old RHSP –Dustin May– Dustin will start in Tulsa but could find his way to OKC by June, and could find his way into the rotation in 2020. He has grown into an untouchable at this point as he is seen as a #2 or #3 SP. He still has some physical maturing into his 6’6” frame.
- Round 2 – 24-year-old RHSP –Mitchell White– Mitchell had somewhat of a setback last year, partially due to injury. But there is no mistaking his pitching ability. He has two plus pitches and potentially a third. He has top of the rotation ability, and hopefully this is the year that he makes it all come together. However, he is not the untouchable May is because of his inconsistent play. With 105.1 IP last year at AA, he should start the 2019 season at OKC.
- Compensation Pick for Kyle Funkhouser – 23-year-old RHP –Jordan Sheffield– Jordan has struggled mightily as a starting pitcher as a professional. But in his late season transition to relief, he became a pitcher to watch. He has three potentially plus pitches that could work well in a multiple inning relief role or a late inning high leverage role. He also earned one of the coveted relief roles in the AFL and performed very well. Jordan should start at Tulsa and could be on the move quickly.
- Supplemental 1stRound – Soon to be 24-year-old C –Will D. Smith– Will is a top-level defensive catcher prospect who is ML ready now as a catcher. He has potential pop but is lacking consistent bat to ball skills. His floor is a ML backup catcher and utility infielder. Most expect Will to make his ML debut sometime this summer.
- Round 1 – 21-year-old SS/2B –Gavin Lux– Lux has gone from potential bust to prospective starting 2B in 2020. Much has been written about Gavin, and I cannot wait to see what he does this ST. I still see him starting at Tulsa and getting a summer promotion to OKC. I see Gavin getting a September promotion so that he can experience a ML clubhouse. Corey Seager should go from being the student to the mentor.
The top 9 rounds of the 2016 draft may generate potentially 7 ML significant performers with potential multiple All Stars. That was a special draft. In addition, three draftees were included in trades that acquired needed help at the trade deadline. Billy Gasparino and crew deserve huge kudos for this. I look forward to monitoring 2017 and later drafts as well. I am hopeful that in the upcoming draft, a top bat can be uncovered. The Dodgers pick #25 in the June draft. Ten years ago a CF by the name of Mike Trout was the 25thoverall pick. Can lightning strike twice for pick #25?