There are so many rounds in the MLB First Year Player Draft that it’s hard to fathom a kid from a little high school or junior college in the middle of nowhere, picked on the third day, sticking in a big league organization. But that’s the chance teams take in the first few rounds. It is a science that is much a gamble as it is a formula.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, however, at least stuck to the basics and went with the odds, picking 21 pitchers in the 40 rounds. The first name they called, Chris Anderson, a big right-hander out of Jacksonville University, has a shot at pitching in Chavez Ravine within two years.
Their second choice, a wild-card type of lefty named Tom Windle out of Minnesota, isn’t as sure of a thing, but has that upside that could make Dodger scouts look like geniuses.
Before the blue crew went back to loading up on arms, they addressed a farm system need at third base by drafting Brandon Dixon out of Arizona. Then in the fourth, they surprised a bit by grabbing a lanky left-handed first baseman out of high school named Cody Bellinger.
Both players are advanced defensively so if they can quickly increase their power and keep up with the higher levels of pitching, both could find themselves on the top prospects lists within a year.
The Dodgers drafted only four outfielders overall, feeling the crop wasn’t that strong. They picked seven other infielders after Dixon and Bellinger, but made no secret of their need to find some catching.
They nabbed senior Kyle Farmer out of Georgia in the eighth round, but perhaps their best prospect behind the plate in this draft is Spencer Navin out of Vanderbilt. Both are above-average defensive catchers but need to come around with their bats.
The majority of other picks by the Dodgers were a variety of pitchers mostly with some college level experience. They did lean heavily on left-handers, snaring southpaws in the 13th, 14th and 15th rounds consecutively.
Overall, Los Angeles did a good job addressing the holes left by the huge trade that sent five top pitching prospects out of SoCal in exchange for ready-made big leaguers Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett.
As with any college or first year player draft, only time will tell, but at least the Dodgers remained committed to replenishing their thin farm system.