After taking Grant Holmes with their first pick, the Dodgers used seven of their next nine picks on college players, including five right-handed pitchers. Let’s take a look at how Los Angeles added talent to their minor league system after the first round.
Round 2 – Alex Verdugo, OF
The Dodgers’ second pick on the draft was a player who’d been tied to the team in the first round. Alex Verdugo was seen as one of the top two-way talents in the class, a player who could both pitch and hit were he to attend college. The industry consensus was that he was a better prospect on the mound, but Logan White had a different idea. He selected the 18 year old as an outfielder and even threw a Joc Pederson comp on him.
Verdugo is a good natural hitter with some pop and solid size at 6’0 and 200 pounds. He’s a lefty all the way and will start out in center field for the organization, though he has enough arm for right. And, if he ends up unable to hit, there’s always pitching to fall back on.
Round 3 – John Richy, RHP
In the third round, the Dodgers began a run of seven college players with their next eight picks. Richy was the first, a right-hander out of UNLV. The 21 year old Colorado native wasn’t much of a prospect coming out of high school, but has grown into a bulldog competitor during his three years with the Runnin’ Rebels.
With solid size, Richy attacks hitters with a sinker that sits around 90 with excellent movement. His curveball is another offering that he commands well, using it to rack up strikeouts. He can even through his changeup for strikes. He roomed with Erick Fedde, the Nationals’ first round pick, during the season. He profiles as a back-end starter who can eat innings and miss some bats.
Round 4 – Jeff Brigham, RHP
It wasn’t a surprise that two pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery this spring were drafted in the first round: the aforementioned Fedde and Jeff Hoffman, who went #9 overall to the Blue Jays. While both of them went under the knife within the last month, Brigham has fully recovered from his operation and was back on the mound this spring.
After missing 2013, Jeff came out of the gates this spring and touched 97mph with his fastball. As the season wore on, he settled in at 90-94. Despite the velocity and good movement he generates on the pitch, he struck out just 4.4 batters per 9 innings this spring. That’s likely due to the fact that his secondary offerings, a slider and a change, lag behind. With just modest size at 6’0 and 183 pounds, there’s a good chance the hard-thrower winds up in the bullpen.
Round 5 – Jared Walker, 3B
It was only a matter of time before the Dodgers and Roy Clark took a prep talent from Georgia. Evaluators predicted that the club would mine the Peach State for talent and they were right. This would be the third and final prep player the Dodgers would take through the first two days of the draft.
Walker has good size at 6’3 and 190 pounds, giving him power potential at the plate. He’s a solid hitter with a line drive approach at the moment. A high school shortstop, he has enough arm for third base and would move to a corner outfield spot if he can’t handle the hot corner. He’s committed to Kennesaw State but should sign for his slot amount, if not less.
Round 6 – Brock Stewart, RHP
After being drafted in the 40th round by the New York Mets, Stewart decided to take his talents to Illinois State, where he would begin his college career as a hitter. However, after suffering an injury in 2012, he would redshirt the rest of the season, earning another year of eligibility. He pitched just one inning in 2012 and would go back to hitting full time in 2013. This season, he would focus more on pitching, appearing in 11 games for the club.
Stewart pitched 26.2 innings for the Redbird, compiling an ERA of 2.36 with 30 strikeouts and eight walks while allowing just one home run and allowing a measly .180 opponent’s average. He batted just .238 in 45 games, so his future is definitely on the mound. His father, Jeff, is a scout for the Padres.
Round 7 – Trevor Oaks, RHP
The second pitcher drafted by the Dodgers who has previous undergone Tommy John surgery, Oaks is three years removed from his operation and resembles the team’s third round pick, John Richy, in terms of his stuff. He’s a big, physical pitcher but doesn’t have the power stuff you’d expect out of his frame.
Trevor works his sinking fastball around 90mph and gets plenty of groundballs with it. He mixes in a curveball, a slider and a changeup, though none of the pitches profile as plus. His command is inconsistent and will need to improve if he wants to get professional hitters out. Like Richy, Oaks profiles as a back of the rotation starter.
Round 8 – Hunter Redman, C
Catcher is definitely a position of need for the Dodgers, so it’s no wonder that the club dedicated a top ten pick to the position. Redman, a junior, will turn 22 in August.
With the Texas Tech Red Raiders this spring, he hit .252/.288/.275 in 44 games with three doubles and a stolen base. He also played in the Cape Cod League last summer, where he batted .258 in 12 games.
Round 9 – Matt Campbell, RHP
The second of three college seniors the Dodgers would draft, Campbell has had the best track record. Pitching for Clemson, he served as the team’s closer this spring and posted a sparkling 0.84 ERA in 32 innings. He also struck out 45 and walked 15, while holding opposing batters to a .144 average. He should move quickly through the Dodgers’ system.
Round 10 – Colin Hering, OF
As Day 2 of the draft wound down, the Dodgers spent their final pick on the left-handed outfielder Hering, out of Coastal Carolina. The 23 year old batted just .213 this spring but hit .297 last year. He redshirted his first year out of high school, explaining his age. He spent two years at Bellevue College in Washington. As an older player, he’ll have to make adjustments to return to his 2013 level of production and move quickly in order to establish himself as a prospect.
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