Jun 06

Dodgers draft pitcher Chris Anderson with top pick

With the 18th overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft, the Los Angeleez Dodgers have selected  6-foot-4 righthanded pitcher Chris Anderson from Jacksonvile University.

From Baseball America:

CHRIS ANDERSON, RHP, JACKSONVILLE (@SeeAyy)

PICK ANALYSIS: We were light on Chris Anderson, ranking him at No. 45 in the BA 500, but it’s not a reach here. I’ve been writing for weeks that after the first half of the first round, things really spread out.

SCOUTING REPORT: Big and physical at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Anderson should give Jacksonville its first-ever first-round pick. Like the Dolphins’ third-round product of 2012, outfielder Adam Brett Walker, Anderson is a Minnesota prep product, and he’s evolved from the team’s closer as a freshman to its Friday ace as a junior. His performance has improved significantly through his college career, as he has boosted his strikeouts, cut his walks and become more consistent across the board. Early in the season, under a heavy workload, Anderson showed scouts a front-of-the-rotation fastball, pitching downhill and touching 96 mph. He’s usually in the 90-94 mph range, holds his velocity and throws strikes. He got strikeouts early both with the fastball and slider, which flashed plus. He also throws a much-improved changeup. Anderson generates velocity more from strength than arm speed, and most scouts see him as an innings-eater in the middle of a rotation. His timing helps, as a consensus starter in a year short on college arms.

WHERE HE FITS: With Hyun-Jin Ryu and Yasiel Puig graduating, Anderson will rank in the top three in the Dodgers’ system.

From MLB.com:

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/6 | Curve: 5/6 | Slider: 5/5 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/6

There might not have been another college arm who shot up draft boards more than this Jacksonville University ace during the spring. His rise slowed a bit with some struggles, perhaps caused by fatigue, in April. But he still has the size, stuff and command to potentially be a frontline starter at the highest level.

Anderson’s fastball will touch 97 mph and is consistently at least above average with good sink. He throws a nasty slider, and his changeup projects to be a legitimate weapon as well.

Anderson has above-average control and command and the ideal athletic frame scouts love to see in a pitcher. There’s room for gaining strength, which gives him a high ceiling as well.

More via SB Nation:

Keith Law, ESPN: ”Anderson has the size, roughly the fastball velocity and the potential out pitch in that slider to profile as a No. 2 starter.”

John Sickels, Minor League Ball: ”Strongly built at 6-4, 225, Anderson showed sharpened command this spring of a plus fastball/plus slider combination. His change-up has also improved, and he profiles as an inning-chewing mid-rotation starter.”

Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com: ”Anderson was a hot commodity early, but recent struggles have led to a fade. He could be this year’s Michael Wacha, who was in early 1-1 conversations last year but fell to St. Louis at No. 19.”

 * * *

Braves at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.

Yasiel Puig, RF
Nick Punto, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Tim Federowicz, C
Skip Schumaker, 2B
Luis Cruz, 3B
Zack Greinke, P

Mar 08

Capuano deguanoed

Dodgers 7, A’s 2

Highlights:

  • Chris Capuano struck out three in two shutout innings, allowing two singles.
  • Alex Castellanos hit his first home run in a Dodger uniform, off ex-Dodger Travis Schlichting.
  • Dee Gordon started things with the first of two walks on the day and then stole second. A double by Mark Ellis and a single by Matt Kemp then brought home two runs.
  • Andre Ethier capped a four-run Dodger sixth with a two-run double. Ethier also drew one of the Dodgers’ seven walks.
  • Josh Fields singled, making him 4 for 5 this spring.
  • Adam Kennedy went 2 for 2.
  • Tim Federowicz reached base twice, on a hit-by-pitch and a walk.
  • Todd Coffey struck out two in a perfect inning.
  • John Grabow, who had been nursing a sore calf, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, also pitched a perfect inning.
  • In his glowing review of the day, Steve Dilbeck of Dodgers Now notes that Kemp tagged from second to third on a foul-out to the first baseman.

Lowlights:

  • Days at the O-fer Inn: Trent Oeltjen, Tony Gwynn Jr., Juan Rivera, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Josh Bard, Lance Zawadzki.
  • Stephen Fife and Wil Ledezma each allowed late-inning runs.

Sidelights:

  • From differing perspectives, Maury Wills and Don Mattingly reflect on the effect of long-term contracts in this Gurnick piece.
  • Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com chronicles the visit of Cory Hahn, the former Southern California prep baseball player who was paralyzed in his first game for Arizona State.
  • Jackson said that non-roster invitee Scott Rice won the team’s annual “Dodgers Idol” competition with an original song about Kenley Jansen.
  • In a post that’s interesting if only for its detail about the baseball’s new draft salary structure, Conor Glassey of Baseball America looks deeper at who might end up with injured Harvard-Westlake righty Lucas Giolito. You might file this one away until June.
Nov 30

Changes in the draft and other owner-player agreement links

Major League Baseball’s newest collective bargaining agreement with players was ratified last week while I was on vacation, with some major implications on the game in general and on the draft in particular. In case your attention was elsewhere as well, here are some key points:

  • Teams will pay a penalty tax if they spend more than a specified amount to sign picks taken in the first 10 rounds. (With this kind of rule in place, the Dodgers would almost definitely not have signed Zach Lee in 2010, for example — unless the allotted funds were unexpectedly high.)
  • No draft pick compensation for free agents unless they spent the entire season with your team.
  • Compensation picks will be awarded if a team offered the departing free agent “a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid players from the prior season.” No more Type A and Type B free agents.
  • The signing deadline will be moved “to a date between July 12 and July 18 depending on the date of the All-Star Game.”

Many of you have already delved into this, but here are some handy links if you haven’t:

  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has a worthwhile Q&A with union chief Michael Weiner.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN.com says there are real questions of how the new deal will affect competitive balance.
  • Chad Moriyama breaks down the changes in the new CBA — I cribbed from his piece to give you the bullet points up top.
  • Matt Swartz of Fangraphs analyzes the impact of the draft compensation changes.
  • Thirteen teams will be in a lottery to earn one of six extra draft picks in the 2013 draft, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (via MLB Trade Rumors).
Aug 15

Dodgers sign O’Sullivan to round out agreements with top nine draftees

The Dodgers have signed their top nine draft picks with this news from Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

The Dodgers reached agreement on Monday with former Oklahoma City University right-hander Ryan O’Sullivan, their fourth-round selection in this year’s amateur draft. The agreement came hours before the deadline for signing this year’s picks and just four days after the club finalized an agreement with first-rounder Chris Reed, a pitcher out of Stanford University.

O’Sullivan, who will turn 21 next month, is the brother of former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Sean O’Sullivan, now with the Kansas City Royals. He never actually pitched at Oklahoma City, redshirting there this season after transferring from San Diego State, where he went 4-4 with a 6.71 ERA in two seasons. He was drafted out of high school three years ago by the San Francisco Giants, in the 10th round, but opted to attend college instead.


Aug 11

Signing of first-round pick Reed imminent

Chris Reed is expected to make his first official appearance at Dodger Stadium before Friday’s game, coinciding with the announcement that the first-round pick has signed with the Dodgers. From Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

Reed accepted a signing bonus of a little less than $1.6 million just four days before Monday’s deadline for signing this year’s draft picks.

The deal is expected to be announced on Friday. The agreement became official after Reed passed a physical examination on Thursday.

The Dodgers now have signed nine of their first 10 picks, the exception being fourth-rounder Ryan O’Sullivan, a right-hander out of Oklahoma City University.

Reed will attend Friday night’s game at Dodger Stadium between the Dodgers and Houston Astros and is expected to be made available to the media either before or during that game. Shortly thereafter, he will report to the team’s advanced Class A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, two levels higher than where collegiate draft picks usually begin their careers. …

Reed won’t attend the Dodgers’ Instructional League camp in Arizona after the season because, as part of the agreement, he will be allowed to return to Stanford in the fall to continue working toward his college degree. …

Jun 23

Chris-cross: Comparing top draft picks for the Dodgers and Angels

As the Dodgers and Angels prepare to battle on the field for the first time this season, we can revisit an earlier pseudo-faceoff between the two clubs – the MLB draft.

Los Angeles and Los Angeles* drafted in succession, with the Dodgers using the 16th pick overall and the Angels the 17th. Both teams picked college juniors: Stanford pitcher Chris Reed to Chavez Ravine, Utah first baseman C.J. Cron to Anaheim.

The question of the day is this: Why did the Dodgers, an organization that needs offensive help, take the pitcher – a reliever at that – instead of the hitter. Cron certainly has his bona fides.

“A 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-handed slugger who can drive the ball but also sprays it to all fields and makes consistent contact, Cron from the beginning was in the bull’s-eye of Los Angeles scouting director Rik Wilson,” wrote Tom Singer and Jordan Garretson of MLB.com.

In 49 games, the first-team All-American had a .517 on-base percentage and .803 slugging percentage, with 15 walks and 31 walks compared to 21 strikeouts in 198 at-bats. The twist with Cron: Do the words “torn right labrum” scare you off?

“I played through it, because the doctor said I couldn’t do any more damage,” Cron told MLB.com. “It’s pretty painful when I throw, so something will have to be done eventually.”

Said Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com: “Cron possesses perhaps the best power tool among college bats in the entire class. A natural catcher, Cron played first base this season due to a shoulder injury, but that is likely where he ends up as a pro. He makes a lot of contact, too, but doesn’t generally work the count all that much. He generates leverage and loft consistently and is believed to have a strong enough ability to hit for average that he’ll skate through the minors in a couple of seasons. The Halos need bats, and Cron gives them one.”

And this from Baseball America: “He doesn’t move well at first base and is a bottom-of-the-scale runner, but that’s all right because he’s the best all-around hitter in the country and should have no problem producing the numbers teams expect from a first baseman. Cron has the unique combination of pure hitting ability and power. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has legitimate 80 raw power on the 20-80 scale that translates into at least above-average usable power. He has great hand-eye coordination and the strength in his hands to drive good pitches for singles and doubles. He uses a good approach at the plate and makes adjustments well, so he should move quickly through a team’s system.”

However much they might or might not have been tempted by Cron, the Dodgers went with Reed, the reliever whom they project as a starting pitcher.

“Reed is listed at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds,” said Baseball America, “but scouts say he has grown and gained strength from last year to this year. His fastball varies from 89-91 mph some nights to 92-94 on others, and he has touched 96. He’ll show a power slider and above-average changeup, but all of his stuff needs more consistency. That should come with experience. Reed has totaled just 68 innings at Stanford and has started only one game. His size, athleticism and three-pitch mix will tempt teams to give him a shot as a starter in pro ball.”

The Cleveland High grad finished his season with 52 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings, while allowing 39 hits (one home run) and walking 17.

“There’s big league ability here and his changeup and slider are his two best pitches,” Churchill said, “but this was a pick to make sure they landed a player with probability and signability, rather than upside.”

However, the final judge was Dodger assistant general manager of scouting Logan White, and don’t try telling White that Reed doesn’t have upside.

“I think this guy definitely can start,” White told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I think we got fortunate that the kid was pitched out of the bullpen. We were on him a long time. He hasn’t been seen a lot (by other clubs). He throws 92-95 (mph). … He is big and strong, 6-feet-5 and 215 (pounds). He has a hard slider, 86-88, and a sharp changeup as well.”

If anything, the signability issue might loom larger in White’s mind, with Reed being a Scott Boras client, but the man who lassoed Zach Lee a year ago isn’t lacking confidence.

“I would never say it’s a slam dunk, but I’m fairly confident about it,” White told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “I think the kid really wants to play; he’s given us every indication that he wants to go play. He wants to start.

“Scott and I get along fine. I’ve had fine dialogue with the Boras Corp. I don’t have resentment from that standpoint. There’s always some concern. Like last year, I felt we would sign (Lee), but I couldn’t say 100 percent. This is the same way.”

White’s bias toward drafting pitchers in the first round is hard to ignore – this is the ninth time in the past 10 Dodger drafts that a pitcher has been the team’s first pick. It hasn’t always been successful, but Cron did not persuade White to break from the formula. Best-case scenario: Reed is competing with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Rubby De La Rosa, Zach Lee, Garrett Gould, Nathan Eovaldi, Allen Webster and more for a spot in the Dodger rotation.

Jun 10

Oh, and just for kicks … Matt Kemp, Triple Crown candidate

NL Batting Average
.336 Joey Votto, CIN
.335 Andre Ethier, LAD
.335 Jose Reyes, NYM
.331 Lance Berkman, STL
.329 Matt Kemp, LAD

NL Home Runs
18 Matt Kemp, LAD
17 Prince Fielder, MIL
17 Jay Bruce, CIN
15 Lance Berkman, STL
14 Albert Pujols, STL

NL Runs Batted In
55 Prince Fielder, MIL
53 Matt Kemp, LAD
48 Ryan Howard, PHI
47 Jay Bruce, CIN
45 Lance Berkman, STL

The odds are slim – he’s at his hottest and still only leading in one category. But still, pretty impressive.

* * *

  • The saga of Vin Scully’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame continues. As Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News reports, Southern California native Glenn Mingay is leading an effort to raise $2,500 needed to restore Scully’s star to proper condition at Save Vin Scully’s Star.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball reviewed the Dodger draft. Summary: “You can see the money limits here, but this isn’t a total disaster. Reed, Maynard, and O’Sullivan are all interesting, and there’s a mixture of solid college performers and high-upside, high-risk bets as well. It could have been a lot worse. But it wasn’t good, and the development staff has a lot of work to do with these raw guys.”
  • Hong-Chih Kuo and Kenley Jansen had encouraging rehab assignment debuts, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, but the forecast looks much more grim for Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland. “Padilla has a bulging disk in his neck, a recurrence of a condition that limited him to one start in six weeks last year,” reports Gurnick. “Garland has what has been described as shoulder inflammation, but sounds a lot more like a labrum or rotator cuff tear.”
  • Bill Plaschke of the Times talked to Kuo after his appearance and writes admiringly of the pitcher’s efforts, but says he still seems unsettled.
  • Juan Castro and Jay Gibbons have cleared waivers and been outrighted to Albuquerque, but they have the right to refuse the assignments and become free agents (or retire, which some have speculated Castro will do). This makes moot the confusion over why the Dodgers designated Gibbons for assignment three days before optioning Jerry Sands, but the fact remains that the Dodgers no longer believe in Gibbons. “Gibby wasn’t giving us enough to basically have a guy that’s pretty much one-dimensional,” Don Mattingly told Dylan Hernandez of the Times. “He’s not going to steal a bag for you. You have to defend for him.”
  • Dee Gordon’s speed is the real deal, but the little guy is still going to need to improve his ability to hit line drives to succeed, argues Bill Petti of Beyond the Box Score.
  • Tough realities: The Times is killing my favorite blog of theirs, historical chronicle Daily Mirror, because of low readership (criminally low readership, I’d say). That site was a pure treasure trove, with the latest treat being a series of reprints of Jim Murray columns in this, the 50th anniversary of his Times debut. Larry Harnisch and Keith Thursby put huge amounts of time and energy into the Daily Mirror, and I just want to thank them.
Jun 08

Dodgers draft Jarrin’s grandson

Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A. has a summary of the Dodgers’ top 30 picks from this year’s amateur draft.

In addition, as Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com notes, the Dodgers picked East Los Angeles College second baseman Stefan Jarrin, grandson of legendary Dodger broadcaster Jaime Jarrin and son of Jorge, with a 40th-round pick.

And then there’s 31st-round pick Mickey McConnell, who as Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com writes, has been hoopin’ it up at St. Mary’s the past four years.

Update: Here’s a link to all of the 2011 Dodger draft picks.

Jun 07

Third pick: catcher Pratt Maynard

North Carolina State catcher Pratt Maynard is the Dodgers’ third-round pick in the draft. The 6-footer has a .414 on-base percentage and .474 slugging percentage in 2011. He also has pitched in the past, but did not do so for North Carolina State this year.

Here’s a profile on Maynard from Caulton Tudor of (Charlotte) Newsobserver.com:

When Pratt Maynard left South Granville High in 2008 to join N.C. State’s baseball team, he had never played a game as a catcher.

That changed fast.

Entering what might be the final game of his college career today, Maynard could be a catcher for many years to come. ….

… College programs have started creating catchers as much as trying to find them in recruiting.

“It’s really changed,” Avent said. “Pratt is the first guy we’ve tried it with, but a lot of programs have been doing it for years. Catcher is such an important position that you almost have to look at all possibilities.

“We were planning do it with Russell Martin [then a junior college infielder in 2002] and converting him, but the Los Angeles Dodgers had the same idea.”

Originally a pitcher-third baseman, Maynard made a smooth adjustment to the demanding catching tasks. And as a left-handed batter with power, he emerged as one of the best in the nation. …

That’ll be it for round-by-round draft updates for the time being. We’ll catch up on the Dodger draft later today, but in the meantime, you can track selections here.

Jun 07

Dodgers select third baseman Santana in second round of draft

The Dodgers selected 6-foot-4, 200-pound third baseman Alex Santana from Mariner HS in Florida in the second round of the MLB amateur draft. He is the son of former major-league infielder Rafael Santana, who hit 13 career home runs but listed at 6-1, 165.

Here’s a profile of the new draftee from Annabelle Tometich of the Fort Myers (Fla.) News Press:

Speaking on a static-riddled cellphone from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, fresh from a workout with the Seattle Mariners and on his way to another workout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mariner High senior Alex Santana found a few minutes for an interview.

The Triton baseball player knows a thing or two about timing.

After what Santana called a so-so high school season (he only hit a team-best .402 with four home runs and 29 RBI), the 6-foot-4, 200-pound third baseman launched a grand slam to dig his team out of a three-run deficit at the Florida Athletic Coaches Association’s All-Star Baseball Classic championship game in Sebring last weekend.

The four-run shot, which glanced off the roof of a building behind left-center field, capped off Santana’s 3-for-4 performance the day before. He was named the Classic’s MVP.

“I’m not the guy who’s going to hit a ton of home runs, but when I connect I’d say they go a ways,” Santana said.

“I could see it on some of the scouts’ faces. It further proved my point, that I can perform with the best in the nation.”

He hopes major league teams agree. …

Santana would reportedly play at Florida Atlantic if he doesn’t sign with the Dodgers.

Santana has also pitched, as this Perfect Game profile notes:

Excellent athletic build, loose and strong. 6.97 runner, easy defensive actions, very good arm strength, throws carry, soft hands. Tall stance, easy low effort swing, very good extension, drives through the ball, good leverage at contact, can hit it hard to the opposite field, could be more aggressive. Also pitched, may have higher ceiling as RHP. Steady 88-89 mph fastball, have seen 91 mph in the past, smooth and easy arm action, good run/sink on fastball, repeats delivery very well, curveball flashed hard spin and bite, very good depth. Must be followed both ways. Good student, signed with Florida Atlantic.

Jun 06

Dodgers choose Stanford lefty Reed with No. 1 pick

The Dodgers have gone to my alma mater for their first pick in the 2011 amateur draft, taking 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher Chris Reed from Stanford. Reports say that Reed was something of an unknown quantity entering the year — a reliever who will get a look as a starter, but might end up staying in the bullpen. It’s a surprising enough selection that it definitely asks you to put your faith in Dodger assistant general manager Logan White (or at least understand the financial constraints he’s probably working under).

Reed has 48 strikeouts against 54 baserunners in 49 2/3 innings this season for Stanford, which advanced to the Super Regional round of the NCAA baseball tournament this past weekend. Here’s the ESPN.com scouting report:

The genius of college coaches: Chris Reed, a 6-foot-4 left-hander who sits 92-94 as a reliever with two off-speed pitches that will at least flash above-average, has made exactly one start this year for Stanford, instead working out of the pen where he’s been successful but wasted.

Reed adds a sharp, short slider in the 82-84 mph range to that fastball and will show a very hard-fading changeup in the upper 70s, throwing strikes with all three pitches but not yet showing the fastball command he’ll need to start in the big leagues. He comes from a slot just under three-quarters and repeats his delivery well enough to start, although he could stay upright longer and get more downhill plane on the fastball.

Many scouts like Reed as a potential starter, and we know he can pitch in the bullpen if that doesn’t work out, but I like his chances to end up a No. 2 or 3 starter once he’s stretched out.

Reed was born in London but went to Cleveland HS in the San Fernando Valley.

Jun 06

Draft day dope

The MLB draft begins today at 4 p.m. Three things we can be confident of with the Dodgers, who will have the 16th pick in the first round:

1) However unlikely it was that the Dodgers would spend more than $5 million to sign last year’s No. 1 pick, Zach Lee – and sure enough, they did it – multiply that by a factor of oodles this year.

2) However apparent the Dodgers’ needs are on the position player side, they’ll choose the best player available, which could very likely be a pitcher.

3) However much we make of the first pick, lower-round guys can definitely make a difference. It’s a wait-and-see proposition all around.

A sampling of Dodger draft picks of the past 10 years, with the round they were drafted in (via Baseball-Reference.com):

1 – James Loney (2002)
1 – Chad Billingsley (2003)
1 – Scott Elbert (2004)
1 – Blake DeWitt (2004)
1 – Luke Hochevar (2005)
1 – Clayton Kershaw (2006)
1 – Zach Lee (2010)

2 – Jonathan Broxton (2002)
2 – Ivan De Jesus, Jr. (2005)
2 – Josh Lindblom (2008)
2 – Garrett Gould (2009)

4 – Delwyn Young (2002)
4 – Xavier Paul (2003)
4 – Javy Guerra (2004)
4 – Josh Bell (2005)
4 – Dee Gordon (2008)

5 – Jon Meloan (2005)

6 – Edwin Jackson (2001)
6 – Matt Kemp (2003)
6 – Brent Leach (2005)

10 – Cory Wade (2004)
10 – Trayvon Robinson (2005)

11 – James McDonald (2002)
11 – Nathan Eovaldi (2008)

15 – Eric Stults (2002)
15 – Russ Mitchell (2003)

17 – Russell Martin (2002)

18 – A.J. Ellis (2003)
18 – Allen Webster (2008)

19 – David Price (2004)

24 – Andy LaRoche (2003)

25 – Jerry Sands (2008)

30 – Shawn Tolleson (2010)

Aug 18

Dodgers get Zach Lee … will they lose Logan White?

Larry Goren/Icon SMI
Logan White has supervised Dodger drafts since 2002.

Pretty nice 28 hours that Logan White just had.

Monday evening, White 2003 draftee Chad Billingsley finished his sixth consecutive quality start, with an ERA of 1.33 in that span.

Tuesday evening, White 2006 draftee Clayton Kershaw threw seven shutout innings in the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory over Colorado and moved up to third in the National League in strikeouts.

And in between, White converted his bold first-round selection of Zach Lee into what might be the coup of the 2010 draft.

Lee’s reported $5.25 million deal was more than twice the size of Kershaw’s draft-year signing, in part because of the leverage that college football provided Lee, but it also reflects the belief that Lee could make the kind of remarkable impact for the Dodgers that Kershaw already has.

We might not get to see all three of these pitchers in the same Dodger rotation – Billingsley becomes eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, while it might be a rush to get the teenage Lee to the bigs by then – but there is that tantalizing possibility. And even if it doesn’t happen, you can be pretty sure the past two nights haven’t gone unnoticed inside baseball.

Put another way, even if there comes a weekend series in the September 2012 stretch run with Kershaw, Billingsley and Lee on the mound for the Dodgers, will White be around to see it?

White has long been an attractive candidate for other front offices in baseball, certainly from a scouting viewpoint but also in terms of general manager openings.  Getting Lee to the Dodgers – convincing both parties to get on board – when almost no one thought he could, adds a new layer of appeal.

The signing arguably turned around a year in which, aside from Kershaw and Billingsley, things went a little south for White’s other prodigies. There was Blake DeWitt’s and James Loney’s lack of home-run power, Russell Martin’s ongoing fade and Matt Kemp’s backward steps. There was James McDonald once more not seizing the day (though he seems to be thriving in Pittsburgh), and Scott Elbert’s disappearing act. And there was a mixed bag of results on the development front in the low minors – some remarkable advances like that of Jerry Sands, some retreats by others.

But Kershaw, Billingsley and Lee serve as a reminder that betting on White is about as safe a gamble as you can make in – this can’t be over-emphasized – an inherently risky field. I have no idea what specific interest other teams will show in White, but as the Dodgers make their lengthy to-do list for the 2010-11 offseason, one item that needs to be on it is “Keep Logan White happy.” Unless you subscribe to the philosophy of, “If you love someone, set him free.”

Aug 16

Dodgers get their pony: Zach Lee signs

First the Dodgers Joc the world, and now they shock the world.

Confounding skeptics from coast to baseball coast, the Dodgers made good on their word and successfully delivered an offer to first-round draft choice Zach Lee reportedly at $5.25 million over five years, luring him from Louisiana State, where he had been about to embark on a quarterbacking career. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details.

Back in October, I suggested that the divorce might bring about “a time when you buy the kids a nice pony to take their mind off the ugliness.” It took a while, but Lee is that pony, at least for the hardcore Dodger fan. It’s a remarkable turn of events and expectations.

Aug 16

Dodgers rock around the clock with Joc

It appears he Dodgers will record at least one deadline signing, even if they don’t get Zach Lee. Eleventh-round draft pick Joc Pederson, son of 1980s cup-of-coffee Dodger Stu, has agreed to terms with the Dodgers, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The report is attributed to multiple sources, albeit anonymous. Pederson, whose salary demands caused his drop from the draft’s highest rounds to the double-digits, reportedly would get a $600,000 signing bonus, higher than any 2010 Dodger draft signee to date.

Here’s a draft-day report on Pederson from Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone.