After examining Georgia as a state the Los Angeles Dodgers could draft a prospect out of, we turn our attention to hotbed — North Carolina.
The Dodgers have drafted several notable prospects out of the state, such as Corey Seager, James Baldwin, Jerry Sands and Allen Webster. Thanks should go out to area scout Lon Joyce, who’s one of the best in the business.
Braxton Davidson, 1B, NC HS
Braxton Davidson fits the Dodgers’ mold to a T. He’s a left-handed hitter with a smooth swing, good power potential and a good eye. However, he’s not a great athlete and is likely limited to first base, but has plenty of bat for the position.
Frankly, I’m not crazy about taking first basemen early in the draft, but Davidson seems like a pretty safe bet to hit.
Trea Turner, SS, NCST
Coming into the year, Trea Turner was getting plenty of buzz along with teammate Carlos Rodon. However, Turner hasn’t hit as consistently as evaluators had hoped and has seen his stock drop, potentially out of the top half of the first round.
The skinny shortstop has some of the best speed in the draft; I timed him (on video) at 3.4 seconds from home to first on a bunt. Turner also has good actions at shortstop and figures to stay there as a pro. The questions revolve around his bat. Will he hit for average? He surely doesn’t profile to hit for much power.
In the end, my guess is that some team will gamble on the athleticism, speed and up the middle glove in the Top-15 picks and the Dodgers won’t have a chance to draft him. However, it’s still fun to think about the possibility of pairing him with Dee Gordon.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP, ECU
Jeff Hoffman made a name for himself in the Cape Cod League, showing off a tantalizing fastball/curveball combination that garnered some talk about him potentially challenging Rodon for the first overall pick.
Hoffman came out this spring and was more hittable early on than his stuff would indicate, but started putting it together as the draft approached. Unfortunately, that’s also when his elbow started barking and he joined the Tommy John club.
At his best, Hoffman works in the mid 90s with his fastball and a nasty curve, both earning at least 60 grades on the scouting scale. The right-hander also throws a changeup with promise and a slider that could be average. He’s tall and athletic, evoking Justin Verlander comparisons.
Hoffman is truly a wildcard, though the consensus feeling is he’ll be drafted in the first round by a team with multiple early picks. If he’s available when the Dodgers pick at No. 22, it will be interesting to see if they would gamble on him, knowing he won’t be back on the mound until next year.
Yasiel Puig’s Top Five Plays