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Los Angeles Dodgers 2015 Draft Preview: Plenty Of Picks And Options

Allen J. Schaben-Los Angeles Times
Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

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It’s that time of year again. June will soon be upon us, and with it comes the annual Rule 4 Draft. Scouts and evaluators will congregate to select players to aid their franchises’ future. So who should the Dodgers pick in order to secure the 2020 World Series? What follows is my Top 10 list for their first round pick, at No. 24.

I am not a scout, though I have followed the draft for more than a decade and read more mock drafts than any sane person should. I try to gather as much information as possible, including scouting reports, stats, and video.

Not a lot is known about the Dodgers’ intentions in the first round. New scouting director Billy Gasparino only has two drafts under his belt, which isn’t enough to show trends or patterns. I’ll also note that my favorite player in the draft, Tyler Stephenson, has seen his stock skyrocket past the Dodgers’ pick and he likely won’t fall further than the Braves at 14.

This would be the second time the Braves would take a favorite draft prospect of mine at 14 since 2007, when they selected Jason Heyward six picks ahead of the Dodgers. This is not a perfect process and intended for entertainment purposes only. Now, onto the players.

10. Drew Finley, RHP (Rancho Bernardo HS, CA)

Seen by some evaluators as a second-to-third round talent, Finley could fit into the Dodgers’ plans since his father is the club’s vice president of amateur and international scouting.

While his fastball sits around 90 mph and he shows an occasional changeup, it’s his curveball that will get him drafted. It grades as one of the best in the class and he can throw it for strikes or as a chase pitch. Although there’s a chance he could go in the first, the Dodgers would probably prefer to take him with one of their second round picks.

9. Brady Aiken, LHP (IMG Academy)

What a long, strange trip it’s been for Aiken. From a prep prospect to the No. 1 overall pick to a top prospect to a Tommy John survivor. Despite going under the knife, he is a potential first-rounder this year, as teams are more and more likely to take injured players and rehab them.

Prior to the injury, Aiken showed off three potential plus pitches with potential plus control, the recipe for an ace. However, concerns over his elbow from last year are even more potent now. He’s one of the highest risk/reward players in the draft and the Dodgers, who own five of the top 101 picks, have the resources to gamble on him.

8. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (Concordia Lutheran HS, TX)

The son of former major league Charlie Hayes, Ke’Bryan figures to go higher than his father did as a fourth-rounder in 1983. One of the youngest players in the draft, Hayes turned 17 in January but has a mature frame already.

Despite his thick lower half, he moves well at third base and is a good defender there. With the bat, Hayes has a good idea at the plate with power projection. Rumor has it that the Dodgers plan on taking him at No. 24 or No. 35 and we should learn more as we get closer to the draft.

7. James Kaprielian, RHP (UCLA)

A pitcher from my favorite college program, Kaprielian has steadily improved during his college career and came into the spring as a borderline first rounder. His stock has risen recently with strong performances, highlighted by nine no-hit innings against Arizona on May 15.

Kaprielian’s velocity has trended up, sitting more consistently in the low 90s, touching the mid 90s, while still flashing an advanced changeup and a pair of breaking balls with promise. At worst, he should end up in a Major-League bullpen, with mid-rotation upside.

6. Chris Betts, C (Wilson HS, CA)

Betts has been on the scene for a while, playing for a program that’s produced a number of big leaguers. He figures to go in the first round as a bat-first catcher, with some questioning his ability to stay behind the plate long-term.

Betts shows a mature approach at the plate with enough strength to hit the ball out anywhere. On defense, he offers plenty of arm strength, but he’s already got a stocky build and will have to work hard to not end up at first base.

CONTINUE READING: Top Five Players The Dodgers Should Consider

Written by Jared Massey

Jared formerly covered prospects and wrote editorials for Dodgers Nation. You can find Jared on Twitter @JaredJMassey

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