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Dodgers Prospects: The Incredible 2016 Draft In Retrospect

It could end up being historic.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 23: Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a walk-off two run homerun, for a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies, during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

In some of the latest Dodgers news there have been some prominent names mentioned from the 2016 draft. This article will take a look at some of the key players from that draft and what their status is in terms of being with the Dodgers.

Draft Overview

The Dodgers ended up with 20th pick in the first round after factoring in teams losing their own first round picks due to free agent compensation rules. The Dodgers were awarded the 32nd pick in the draft as compensation for losing Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks as a free agent. They were also awarded the 36th pick since they did not sign Kyle Funkhowser in 2015.

The Complete List

Player Pos B/T Rnd Pick Where Are They Now?
Gavin Lux
SS L / R 1 20 The number 1 prospect for the Dodgers – in AAA
Will Smith C R / R 1 32 The starting catcher with the Dodgers and a top 4 prospect
Jordan Sheffield P R / R CBA 36 In AA as a relief pitcher
Mitchell White P R / R 2 65 In AAA as a starting pitcher
Dustin May P R / R 3 101 Debut in 2019 and a top 3 prospect
DJ Peters OF R / R 4 131 In AAA mostly in center field and a top 15 prospect
Devin Smeltzer P R / L 5 161 Traded to Twins in Brian Dozier trade July ’18
Errol Robinson SS R / R 6 191 Both AA and AAA in 2019 as 2B and SS
Luke Raley OF L / R 7 221 Traded to Twins in Brian Dozier trade July ’18
Andre Scrubb P R / R 8 251 Traded to Astros for Tyler White in July ’19
Tony Gonsolin P R / R 9 281 Debut in 2019 and a top 6 prospect
Kevin Lachance SS R / R 10 311 Released in 2018
A.J. Alexy P R / R 11 341 Part of the Yu Darvish trade in July ’17
Graham Ashcraft P L / R 12 371 Did not sign
Cody Thomas OF L / R 13 401 In AA as an outfielder and a top 35 prospect
Dean Kremer P R / R 14 431 Traded to Orioles in Machado in July ’18
Brayan Morales OF R / L 15 461 In High-A as an outfielder
Darien Tubbs OF R / L 16 491 Released in 2017
Dillon Persinger 2B R / R 17 521 Did not sign
Cole Freeman 2B R / R 18 551 Did not sign
Chris Mathewson P L / R 19 581 In High-A as a pitcher, recovering from Tommy John
Brock Carpenter 3B R / R 20 611 Released in 2019
James Carter P R / R 21 641 Released in 2018
Jeff Paschke P R / R 22 671 Released in 2018
Bailey Ober P R / R 23 701 Did not sign
Saige Jenco CF L / L 24 731 Released in 2018
Chandler Eden P R / R 25 761 Did not sign
Brandon Montgomery 2B R / R 26 791 In High-A as a two-way player
Austin French P R / L 27 821 Released in 2017
Jake Perkins P R / R 28 851 Retired in 2016
Will Kincanon P L / R 29 881 Did not sign
Ramon Rodriguez C R / R 30 911 Catcher in lower minors
Stevie Berman C R / R 31 941 Catcher in AA
Conor Costello P R / R 32 971 Released in 2017
Zach McKinstry SS L / R 33 1001 In AA as an infielder
Joel Toribio P R / R 34 1031 Released in 2017
Nick Yarnall LF L / L 35 1061 Released in 2019
Cal Stevenson CF L / L 36 1091 Did not sign
Enrique Zamora P R / R 37 1121 Did not sign
Kevin Malisheski P R / R 38 1151 Pitcher in low minors
Ryan Watson P R / R 39 1181 Did not sign
Zachary Taglieri P R / R 40 1211 Did not sign

Data from MLB.

Notables

Gavin Lux

Gavin Lux at Spring Training on March 3, 2019 (Photo Credit: Tim Rogers)

Lux was not on many of the big-time publications lists as someone who would go as high as the 20th pick. MLB Pipeline had him as the 33rd ranked player available. His debut season in 2016 saw him slash .296/.375/.399 (AVG/OBP/SLG) across two teams. He did not hit a home run. His second season saw a decent size drop-off as he slashed just .244/.331/.362 and ended up with 7 home runs. After the 2017 season he was still ranked at the Dodgers’ #9 prospect but some were wondering if it was a mistake to draft him so high.

In 2018 everything changed for Gavin Lux. First off, it just seems that he filled out to begin his 20 year old season so there looked to be more physical strength. I saw him hit a leadoff homer in July and it was a dead center shot. He ended up getting promoted to AA during the season and finished off with a slash across two teams .324/.399/.514 with 15 home runs. This brought him into the top prospect realm.

2019 has seen a continued growth with Lux as he started in AA. He ended up dominating AA while slashing .313/.375/.521 and was promoted to AAA in late June. Since then he has made AAA look like a joke. As of this writing he is slashing .457/.537/.876 – yes, those are video game numbers. He is now ranked as the #1 prospect for the Dodgers and should be with the Dodgers by September at the latest.

Will Smith

Many things have been written about the new starting catcher for the Dodgers. He was the 32nd pick in the draft after MLB Pipeline had him as the 110th ranked pick.

Will Smith transitioned to catching from being an infielder in college. However, he still played a bit of 3rd base during his minor league career. He went through three levels in his first professional season and made it to AA by the end of 2017. In 2018 he played a lot of the season in AA before a late season promotion to AAA. It was in AAA that he struggled a lot as he batted only .138, which prompted some doubts.

Going into 2019 there weren’t many questions about his defense but the end of the 2018 season his offense was in question. He answered those questions resoundingly in 2019 as he crushed 20 home runs in AAA with a slash of .269/.381/.605. With those numbers he earned a couple of promotions to fill in for some injuries. He was finally brought up to stay on July 26th and is now the number one catcher.

Dustin May

Dustin May against Diamondbacks on March 2, 2019 (Photo Credit: Tim Rogers)

The Dodgers did draft Dustin May with the 101st pick while MLB Pipeline had him as the 166 best prospect. He was a risky draft pick in the 3rd round as it looked like he would go to school. Instead the Dodgers were able to give him the signing bonus he wanted and snagged him. When he started with the Dodgers he threw in the low 90s with great control. However, he was 6′ 6″ and was listed at 180 pounds as an 18 year old. That leaves a lot of room for improved velocity.

Each season his velocity has crept up while he has maintained his control. He primarily throws three pitches very well; fastball, curveball and cutter along with a decent changeup. Now his fastball can reach 98 MPH. Every year he keeps making improvements and people notice. First, he was thought of as a lower end starter, then a third or fourth starter and now he is thought of as an elite prospect. The incremental growth has led him to make his Major League debut on August 2nd.

Other Notables

  • Jordan Sheffield – He has had some control issues and is now in the bullpen. He is currently in AA and is one of the better relievers. He could be a future closer for the Dodgers.
  • Mitchell White – White has great “stuff” but has struggled quite a bit in AAA. He is still highly regarded.
  • DJ Peters – He is a very large man who is an excellent athlete. Even in AAA he still plays an excellent center field. His major issues has been making consistently contact. Since his promotion to AAA his strikeouts have come down a lot and could lead to a promotion in September.
  • Tony Gonsolin – For his first two professional seasons he was a reliever and most had never heard of him. He wasn’t a top prospect at all. In the spring of 2018 he turned into a starter and became dominant. He is now a consensus top 4-6 prospect with the Dodgers and has already made his Major League debut.
  • Cody Thomas – We interviewed him last season while he was with the High-A Quakes. He is starting to get noticed more as he has been having a good season in AA.
  • Brayan Morales – The fastest player in the organization, he is still in High-A. He is one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen.
  • Brandon Montgomery – He is an infielder and is now learning to pitch to be a two-way player. With the way rosters are going he told me it could give him a better chance at moving forward.
  • Steve Berman – Berman has had some injury issues that have held him back but he can hit. He is currently in AA.

Final Thoughts

After this weekend, the 2016 draft will have produced 3 Major Leaguers already with more knocking on the door. There is an excellent chance that players such as Will Smith, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Gavin Lux and maybe DJ Peters could factor into the post-season. Smith is already turning into a “LEGEND” and Gonsolin looked great in his last 4 inning relief appearance. May is getting an audition over the next few weeks and Lux could be promoted at any time. This draft class could be historic.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

6 Comments

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  1. Dodgers please stop playing dead weight players Kiki and Pederson. They have peaked at a 230 average are only average yet overrated at defense and clearly not as good as the players on the farm.

  2. Watching Will Smith’s breakout is amazing…. I know it’s way too early…. but Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella… This is gonna be fun ! Plus he handles the pitchers and defense way beyond his years. And the kicker is, he looks like Jimmy Olson, cub reporter at the Daily Planet ! Hah !

  3. With just this class alone, we have a lot to look forward to and everyone out there should know we are not going away anytime soon. The future is very bright

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