In the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected right-hander Grant Holmes with their 22nd pick. For the Dodgers, it was the first time they drafted a prep pitcher in the first round since taking Zach Lee in 2010.
With the pick, the organization reverted back to their history of taking high school pitcher in the first round of the draft; doing so in all but one year from 2003-2008. Holmes is considered a power arm who also has an effective breaking ball and command. Dodgers’ vice president of amateur scouting, Logan White, offered more explanation as to why the Dodgers selected the 18-year-old, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
We did not expect to get a pitcher of this caliber where we got him. He’s more than a high school pitcher. He’s an advanced high school pitcher.”
According to Plunkett, White likened Holmes to two Dodgers pitchers and San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain:
White compared Holmes to Billingsley and Giants right-hander Matt Cain (though with more velocity than they had at a similar age) while saying he possessed the same kind of athleticism as Zack Greinke.
While Holmes may have power similar to that of other pitchers in the drat, White sees value in the right-hander’s breaking ball:
“When you’re looking at pitchers, we see a lot of velocity,” White said. “The separator is when you see a guy with a plus-breaking ball and I think his is outstanding.
Chad Billingsley, currently attempting to make his way back from Tommy John surgery, was drafted by the Dodgers in 2003 and made his Major League debut in 2006. Now 29, Billingsley won a career-high 16 games in 2008 and has posted double-digit win seasons in six of his seven years with the Dodgers — 2013 not withstanding as an eighth season with the club due to the right-hander only making two starts before being shut down.
Zack Greinke’s career accomplishments speak for themselves. Greinke leads the Dodgers with eight wins this season and was instrumental in anchoring the fort while Clayton Kershaw was on the disabled list.
Holmes has a long way to go before he can cement his place among established MLB pitchers such as Billingsley and Greinke. However, should he be talented enough to do so, the Dodgers may have gotten a steal with the pick.
Dodgers Update: Don Mattingly Uses Expletive To Describe Team’s Play