FanPost

Draft Preview - Los Angeles Dodgers

Here is the second part in my series, this time focusing on the Los Angeles Dodgers and their scouting director Logan White.

Owner: Frank McCourt, bought club in 2004
General Manager: Ned Colletti, first season was 2006
Scouting Director: Logan White, first draft was 2002

Looking Back

2002 Draft: Unknown Budget

1. James Loney, 1B, Elkins HS (TX), #19 overall: Loney was widely considered an overdraft, maybe even by a full round.  Quite a few teams preferred Loney as a pitcher, but White tabbed Loney as a first baseman.  The Dodgers were forced to pay good money to sign Loney away from a Baylor scholarship.  All in all, a little strange first overall pick by Logan White.  Signing bonus: $1.5 million.
2. Greg Miller, LHP, Esperanza HS (CA), #31 overall: Miller was one of the those prep lefties that always sneaks up on teams during his senior year.  This is right about the slot people expected Miller to go, and this was considered a solid pick by White.  Tall, projectable lefties are nice, and Miller was signed away from a commitment to Cal.  Signing bonus: $1.2 million.
3. Zach Hammes, RHP, Iowa City HS (IA), #51 overall: Hammes, a 6'7'', 230 lb. prep righty was considered one of the most projectable arms in the entire 2002 draft.  Before the draft, he was considered in the same talent range as both Loney and Miller, meaning White was using a good mix and getting the players he wanted.  They signed him away from an Iowa commitment.  Signing bonus: $750,000.
4. Jonathan Broxton, RHP, Burke County HS (GA), #60 overall: In case you're wondering, Jon Broxton profiled as a closer even back in 2002 when he was drafted.  Scouts had concerns about his body, as he weighed 260 pounds his senior year.  However, he was still a nice prospect, and White signed him away from a Georgia Southern commitment.  Signing bonus: $685,000.
5. Mike Nixon, C, Sunnyslope HS (AZ), #91 overall: Sorry if this upsets people, but this ranks up there as one of Logan White's worst picks.  Nixon was considered possibly the most athletic catcher in the 2002 class, but was also only ranked the 25th-best catcher by BA coming into the draft.  Huge overdraft.  Nixon was commited to play football at UCLA, signed with the Dodgers, retired after 2005, then played linebacker at Arizona State.  Nice pick.  Signing bonus: $1 million.
Other Notable Picks: 2B Delwyn Young (4th), Santa Barbara CC (CA); RHP James McDonald (11th), Poly HS (CA), draft and follow, $150K bonus; LHP Eric Stults (15th), Bethel HS (IN); 3B Russell Martin (17th), Chipola College (FL), $40K bonus

 

2003 Draft: $3.4 Million Budget

1. Chad Billingsley, RHP, Defiance HS (OH), #24 overall: Billingsley was a second straight overdraft in the first round.  As you can see, that doesn't mean the player won't turn into a solid Major League option.  Billingsley was one of the best Ohio prep players ever, but was expected to be a supplemental or early second round pick.  They signed him away from a South Carolina commitment.  Signing bonus: $1.375 million.
2. Chuck Tiffany, LHP, Charter Oak HS (CA), #61 overall: Tiffany was rated more highly in most draft previews than Billingsley leading up to the draft.  However, Logan White was able to nab Tiffany 37 picks after Billingsley.  As you can see, White was showing nice skill at reading who would be available.  This was a solid pick at the time.  Tiffany was commited to Cal State Fullerton.  Signing bonus: $1.1 million.
3. Cory Van Allen, LHP, Clements School (TX), #91 overall: This was about where most expected Van Allen to go.  He was a pitchability lefty, meaning most teams weren't expecting him to turn into a top of the rotation option.  However, his Baylor commitment was going to require a nice bonus.  He didn't sign.  Bad pick.
4. Xavier Paul, OF, Slidell HS (LA), #121 overall: This was a fairly nice pick by the Dodgers, as Paul was considered a borderline second/third round talent.  A couple years before the draft, most thought he'd be a first rounder.  However, he fell, and the Dodgers signed him away from a Tulane commitment.  Signing bonus: $270,000.
5. Jordan Pratt, RHP, Central (OR), #151 overall: Pratt was another player that was projected to go about a round higher.  He was conisidered one of the most projectable arms in the 2003 draft, some saying he would be a first rounder in 2006 if he honored his Washington State commitment.  However, the Dodgers signed him.  Quality fifth round pick.  Signing bonus: $175,000.
Other Notable Picks: OF Matt Kemp (6th), Midwest City HS (OK), $130K bonus; LHP Wesley Wright (7th), Goshen HS (AL), $120K bonus; C Lucas May (8th), Parkway West HS (MO), $100K bonus; C AJ Ellis (18th), Austin Peay; SS Andy LaRoche (39th), Grayson CC (TX), draft and follow, $1 million bonus

 

2004 Draft: $5.6 Million Budget

1. Scott Elbert, LHP, Seneca HS (MO), #17 overall: Unlike his first two drafts, White went after a consenus first rounder in Elbert in the 2004 draft.  The best prep lefty in the entire class, Elbert dominated his senior year, making him questionable to even fall to the Dodgers at seventeenth.  However, he did fall, and the Dodgers signed him.  Great pick.  Signing bonus: $1.575 million.
2. Blake DeWitt, SS, Sikeston HS (MO), #28 overall: DeWitt was much more of an overdraft for the Dodgers at #28.  Considered a fairly polished prep hitter, most teams didn't expect him to hit for much power in the pros.  However, he was a highly-regarded prospect, just not a true first rounder.  It's worked out quite well, though.  Signing bonus: $1.2 million.
3. Justin Orenduff, RHP, Virginia Commonwealth, #33 overall: Orenduff's polish and arsenal made him a first round possibility coming in, and he fell to the Dodgers in the supplemental first round.  This was going against White's known modus operandi at the time, but was a fairly unquestioned pick.  I personally witnessed one of the many injuries he's had.  Started the game at 90-91, ended around 78.  No joke.  Signing bonus: $1 million.
4. Blake Johnson, RHP, Parkview Baptist HS (LA), #58 overall: This was considered a solid second round pick by most of the industry experts, as Johnson was mixing it up with Matt Walker for the best prep pitcher in the state of Louisiana.  The Dodgers had to sign him away from an LSU commitment.  Signing bonus: $600,000.
5. Cory Dunlap, 1B, Contra Costa JC (CA), #88 overall: This was a huge, huge overdraft by Logan White in the third round.  Dunlap was a solid JUCO hitter from Northern California, but was considered mid-round material coming into the draft.  This was simply a bad pick.  Signing bonus: $430,000.
Other Notable Picks: RHP Cory Wade (10th), Kentucky Wesleyan College, $45K bonus; OF Justin Ruggiano (25th), Texas A&M

 

2005 Draft: $2.2 Million Budget

1. Luke Hochevar, RHP, Tennessee, #40 overall: Hochevar was considered by the Diamondbacks for the top pick before they picked Justin Upton.  His Scott Boras connection caused him to fall this far, and Logan White gambled by taking him.  He didn't sign with the Dodgers, opting for Indy Ball, and he became the #1 overall pick in 2006.  Reasonable gamble, bad result.
2. Ivan DeJesus, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #51 overall: DeJesus was considered a solid pick here, a very signable alternative to their first pick Hochevar.  He was the top prospect period in Puerto Rico in the 2005 class, and he hasn't disappointed in the pros.  Interesting, solid pick by White.  Signing bonus: $675,000.
3. Josh Wall, RHP, Central Private HS (LA), #74 overall: Another Louisiana draftee, Wall was once again considered one of the most projectable prep arms in the 2005 class.  He garnered first round consideration for awhile, showing that White got good value with this pick.  Signing bonus: $480,000.
4. Sergio Pedroza, OF, Cal State Fullerton, #106 overall: Pedroza was considered a bit of a reach at this slot, as his lack of size and projectability meant most teams thought he was a mid-round pick.  However, considering they knew Hochevar would take nice chunk of change to sign, this is minorly defensible.  Signing bonus: $325,000.
5. Josh Bell, 3B, Santaluces HS (FL), #136 overall: One of two Josh Bells in the 2005 draft class, this Bell was the prep version who profiled to have plus power with time.  He was a disappointment as a senior in high school, dropping to the Dodgers here in the fourth round.  He was signed away from Florida Atlantic.  Signing bonus: $212,000.
Other Notable Picks: RHP Jon Meloan (5th), Arizona, $155K bonus

 

2006 Draft: $5.5 Million Budget

1. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Highland Park HS (TX), #7 overall: Kershaw was the best prep lefty in the 2006 class without a doubt, and the Tigers were supposedly in on him for the #6 pick before going with Andrew Miller.  This was obviously one of the best picks in the entire draft.  Signing bonus: $2.3 million.
2. Bryan Morris, RHP, Motlow State CC (TN), #26 overall: After failing to sign with the Rays out of high school, reportedly due to new Rays management not following through on a $1 million bonus promise, Morris climbed into a solid first rounder.  This was a solid pick by White and was right in line with where he was expected to go.  Signing bonus: $1.325 million bonus.
3. Preston Mattingly, SS, Evansville Central HS (IN), #31 overall: This has got to be one of the worst stains on White's draft record.  Mattingly surprised a lot of teams by jumping up draft boards late, but this was still considered an overdraft.  He was more of a 3-5 round guy.  He has proved why.  Signing bonus: $1 million.
4. Kyle Orr, 1B, Lambrick Park HS (BC), #113 overall: After 3 quick picks, the Dodgers didn't have a pick in the second and third rounds.  However, their fourth round pick was a beauty by most standards.  Orr was considered the best Canadian prospect and possibly a first rounder entering June.  White tabbed him with great skill, knowing he would fall.  He hasn't panned out, but this is great draft strategy.  Signing bonus: $435,000.
5. Kyle Smit, RHP, Spanish Springs (NV), #143 overall: Smit was one of the better Nevada prospects in the 2006 class, and he flashed plus stuff during his senior season.  He wasn't commited to any college, so he was a signable prep option.  Signing bonus: $175,000.
Other Notable Picks: None.

 

2007 Draft: $3.3 Million Budget

1. Chris Withrow, RHP, Midland HS (TX), #20 overall: Withrow was a bit of an overdraft, a throwback to White's earliest drafts.  However, no one doubted Withrow's potential as a top of the rotation starter.  This was a prototypical Logan White pick.  Withrow was commited to Baylor.  Signing bonus: $1.35 million.
2. James Adkins, LHP, Tennessee, #39 overall: BA thought of Adkins as a second or third round pick and labeled him as a potential 5th starter leading up to the draft.  However, White popped the college starter in the supplemental first round, again bucking popular consensus.  This was maybe a signability pick.  Signing bonus: $787,500.
3. Michael Watt, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS (CA), #86 overall: 2009 draft prospect Tyler Matzek pitched with Watt at Capistrano Valley, where Watt was considered a fairly raw lefty.  Committed to Long Beach State, the Dodgers took him and signed him away.  This was a questionable pick, being an overdraft, but it's Logan White's style.  Signing bonus: $389,000.
4. Austin Gallagher, 3B, Manheim Township HS (PA), #116 overall: Another slight overdraft by Logan White, Gallagher was considered a fairly raw hitter entering the draft.  He had a fairly strong South Carolina commitment, but the Dodgers made sure to tab him in a round where he'd sign for slot.  Signing bonus: $252,000.
5. Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF, Newbury Park HS (CA), #146 overall: A solid pick for his talent, this pick was questioned a little due to Lambo's makeup problems in high school.  Getting kicked out of a high school tends to do that.  However, White took a chance on Lambo that is looking smarter every day.  Signing bonus: $164, 250.
Other Notable Picks: RHP Justin Miller (6th), Johnson CC (KS), $120K bonus; RHP Danny Danielson (7th), Russell County HS (AL), $119,500 bonus

 

2008 Draft: $4.4 Million Budget

1. Ethan Martin, RHP, Stephens County HS (GA), #15 overall: Martin was a solid two-way prospect that was projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round.  Turns out he went right in the middle.  This was considered a good pick, and there's no reason to think otherwise right now.  Signing bonus: $1.73 million.
2. Josh Lindblom, RHP, Purdue, #61 overall: Lindblom was considered a second round prospect after becoming a reliever late in his junior season at Purdue.  Despite shying away from college pitchers in early rounds in his previous drafts, Logan White tabbed Lindblom, and the Dodgers have turned him into a starter.  Great pick.  Signing bonus: $663,000.
3. Kyle Russell, OF, Texas, #93 overall: Russell made a bad decision to return to school for his junior season after the Cardinals tabbed him as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2007.  However, the Dodgers reaped the reward, once again going against the usual convention to sign a college player.  Signing bonus: $410,000.
4. Devaris Gordon, SS, Seminole CC (FL), #127 overall: After being ineligible for his JUCO's spring slate, Gordon, Tom Gordon's son, impressed scouts in workouts leading up to the draft.  However, this was still a slight overdraft, as most teams shied away from the issues surrounding players that can't maintain eligibility at a junior college.  Gordon's had a nice pro debut.  Signing bonus: $250,000.
5. Jon Michael Redding, RHP, Florida CC-Jacksonville, #157 overall: Another possible overdraft, Redding was a strikethrower in junior college.  He was heading to LSU before the Dodgers signed him away.  This is yet another pick I would never have guessed.  Signing bonus: $178,000.
Other Notable Picks: SS Tony Delmonico (6th), Florida State, $150K bonus; 1B Steven Caseres (9th), James Madison, $250K bonus; RHP Nathan Eovaldi, Alvin HS (TX), $250K bonus

 

That's all seven drafts that Logan White has run since becoming the scouting director of the Dodgers.  I know it's a lot to take in, but take a few minutes to look at some trends.  Here's some I see:

Trend #1: High school pitchers are always a good bet.  Logan White loves a good mix of projectable pitchers and developed ones, usually from the more developed baseball states.  Louisiana is the exception, but they're no slouch in terms of baseball development.

Trend #2: Logan White's not afraid to draft players before they're expected to go.  That means projecting future picks is one tough chore.  He's gotten a bit more predictable in recent years, but there's still some curveballs thrown in.  At first I thought it was due to White's inexperience at the beginning, but the trend has continued.

Trend #3: With older age, White has developed more of a penchant for older players.  At the beginning, White was almost purely into high school players, but recently he's mixed in good numbers of JUCO and college players.  Last year's draft was the latest development.  Ethan Martin was the only high school player in the top five rounds.  You have no idea how hard that makes it for me in my mock drafts.

 

Money-wise, the Dodgers have been a little unpredictable, but it seems that White has whatever he needs to sign a good number of solid players.  He continually is unable to sign players who turn into top prospects at college programs, but I don't really think that is White's fault.  Most of the players have already decided to go to school, and White's just willing to pick them a round or two higher than other teams.  This year's draft will include righty Alex White and Maryland outfielder AJ Casario, both 2006 Dodger draft picks.  Just something to remember.

Finally, it's time for my predictions as to what direction White goes in the 2009 draft.  The Dodgers' first pick is at #36 overall in the supplemental first round, followed by the #56 pick, #65, #96, and #127.  The Dodgers pick every 30 picks from there.  For some reason, I think White takes advantage of the deep prep catching class and nabs a catcher sometime within the first 3 rounds.  I have Austin Maddox going to them in my current mock, though that will change this week.  In addition, I see a prep righty with one of the first 3 picks and a college player.  Don't be surprised to see a little-known JUCO player pop up, too.  I'll have some names of interest later on closer to the draft.

All bonus information came from BA, and writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG.  Go to their sites for draft coverage.  They're awesome.

What do you guys think?  What do the Dodgers do?