Draft Reviews: Los Angeles Dodgers

2008 Draft Slot: 15th overall
Top Pick: Ethan Martin, RHP, Georgia high school
Best Pick: Ethan Martin
Keep an Eye On: Devaris Gordon, SS, Florida community college (4th round)
Notes: The club nabbed a number of interesting names outside of the first round including RHP Josh Lindblom (2nd), OF Kyle Russell (3rd), Tom Gordon’s son SS Devaris Gordon (4th), IF Tony Delmonico (6th) and LHP Cole St. Clair (7th). Lindblom is already in double-A despite a slow start to the season. Russell has some mammoth raw power but he strikes out a lot (more than 30% in pro ball). He’s maintained a good average so far thanks to very high (and unsustainable) BABIP rates. Gordon has a career .300 average and has already stolen 29 bases so far this season in low-A ball. He’s not showing enough patience at the plate, but his ceiling is looking higher than many thought it would be. Delmonico is hitting well in pro ball, but his development has been slowed with a move behind the plate. At one point, St. Clair was a potential No. 1 draft pick but he’s a pitcher that attended Rice University… In other words, he’s hurt a lot. Martin is struggling with his control in low-A ball, but he’s putting up some nice numbers for a recent pick that was a two-way player in high school.

2007 Draft Slot: 20th overall
Top Pick: Chris Withrow, RHP, Texas high school
Best Pick: Andrew Lambo, OF/1B, California high school (4th round)
Worst Pick: James Adkins, LHP, University of Tennessee (Supplemental first round)
Notes: There were some concerns with Andrew Lambo’s makeup, but his bat has done most of his talking in pro ball and the outfielder is already in double-A at the age of 20. RHP Kyle Blair slipped in the draft due to signability and he went to the University of San Diego, where he’s developing nicely and could be a 2010 first round pick if the upward trend continues. Chris Withrow has been slowed by some injuries, as well as some control issues. James Adkins has been a disappointment to this point due mostly to too many hits allowed (9.9 H/9 in his pro career) and too few strikeouts (4.31 K/9 in 2009 at double-A).

2006 Draft Slot: 7th overall
Top Pick: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Texas high school
Best Pick: Clayton Kershaw
Worst Pick: Preston Mattingly, SS, Indiana high school (Supplemental first round)
Notes: It’s hard to argue with Clayton Kershaw being the best Dodger pick in this draft. The high school draftee is already taking a regular turn in the club’s rotation. The organization’s second first-round pick, Bryan Morris, was sent to Boston for Manny Ramirez. After two lackluster low-A seasons, Preston Mattingly (Supplemental first round) is showing some signs of life in high-A. He is, though, not walking enough (2.8 BB%) and striking out too much (35 K%). He might develop into a utility player. The Dodgers’ activity in the free agent market led to the loss of the club’s second and third round selections. Unsigned 14th round pick RHP Alex White (North Carolina high school) could be a first rounder in 2009.

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2009 Draft Slot: 36th overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): Prep players, often pitchers
MLB Club Need: Relief pitching
Organizational Need: Left-handed pitching, Left field, Second base
Organizational Strength: Shortstop, Third base
Notes: The Dodgers organization gave up its first round pick to the Arizona Diamondbacks for signing free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson. The club probably does not regret the decision one bit. The Dodgers picked up a supplemental first round pick (36th overall) for losing Derek Lowe to Atlanta. The organization also has two picks in the second round – its original selection (65th), plus the Braves’ second round pick (56th) for the Lowe signing). The organization loves to grab prep players – especially pitchers.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Brendan Scolari

Good article, although I do have a couple disageements.

Josh Lindblom’s start has been slow only if you are solely looking at ERA. He has a 37/7 K/BB ratio and has only allowed 2 home runs. His FIP is 2.92 but his ERA is above 4 thanks to a 53% LOB%. I think he’s pitching etremely well considering he’s in AA and this is his first full professional season. Really the whole 2008 draft looks incredible for the Dodgers so far, the system should be really restocked in a year or two.

The other thing is our team needs. I don’t think the Dodgers need relievers right now, seeing as they’ve got Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso, Cory Wade, and this year’s find Ronald Belisario all under team control for at least three years. On top of that there’s James McDonald, Scott Elbert, and Josh Lindblom in the minors who could potentially help this year. I wouldn’t put it past Colletti to trade for relief help, but there’s really not much of a need for it.

For organizational needs, I can see why you said left handed pitching, Kershaw and Elbert (plus Kuo if you count relievers) are the only really good lefties in the organization. But I don’t think either left field or second base are needs. Obviously, Manny is in left for ths year (and probably at least 2010 too), and Juan Pierre can play there if Manny is hurt/gone. If neither of those two are capable, Andrew Lambo should be ready by 2011 to provide help. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier will be in center and right field for the forseeable future plus the club has a couple lesser outfield prospects in Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffman, so there’s really no available spots in the outfield for quite a while in my opinion.

As for second base, Orlando Hudson is there this year and even assuming he doesn’t re-sign after 2009, Blake Dewitt is waiting in the wings. On top of him they also have Ivan Dejesus Jr., who could play shortstop but is probably a better fit at second base. Regardless, I think the organization is well stocked there.

The biggest need is probably 1st base. James Loney still isn’t hitting enough and as he starts to get more expensive it would be ideal if the Dodgers could find an inexpensive bat to replace him. There really aren’t a lot of sluggers in the system so apart from Kyle Russell (if he can cut down on the K’s, as you mentioned) I’m not sure who that would be. Catcher could be considered a long-term need because after trading away Carlos Santana, Tony Delmonico is the only long-term possible starter. Russell Martin has been a cornerstone but with his declining power I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t last as a catcher that much longer. Other than that, the organization is pretty stacked for a while, there shouldn’t be too many other needs. I guess everyone always wants more pitching.

Keep up the good work, I really enjoy this series.