Jan 16

Unsigned Dodger draftees poised to be top picks in 2012

Today, I happened across a list that Baseball America put out a few weeks ago of the top 100 college players for the 2012 draft. Four of the top 15, it turns out, were previously drafted by the Dodgers:

5) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Louisiana State — 2010 round six
6) Brian Johnson, LHP/1B, Florida — 2009 round 27
13) Richie Shaffer, 1B, Clemson — 2009 round 25
14) Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford — 2009 round 45

Gausman, the highest-rated of the four, was taken five rounds after the Dodgers picked Zach Lee, whom they stole away from the same school, LSU. (Third-round draft pick Leon Landry was also an LSU player.)

From Gausman’s LSU bio:

Regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in the country … has a tall, slender build and is very athletic for his size … smooth and easy delivery with a fastball that usually sits in the low to mid 90s range; his fastball has been clocked up to 100 mph …

Freshman season (2011)
Started 14 games, posting a 5-6 mark and a 3.51 ERA in 89.2 innings with 23 walks and 86 strikeouts … 3-1 record with a 1.17 ERA in his final four starts of the year, recording five walks and 32 strikeouts in 30.2 innings …

As for the others in 2011, Johnson struck out 72 in 79 2/3 innings with a 3.62 ERA and had an .845 OPS at the plate, Shaffer had a 1.015 OPS and Piscotty had an .894 OPS.

Not aiming for anything profound with this post — I have no idea whether these guys turned down the Dodgers because of money or because they had no intention of skipping college, nor do I have any idea how they will do as pros.  All I can say is that it would be fun to have them in the Dodger farm system now.

Lee, Baseball America notes in the same issue, remains the Dodgers’ top prospect. He could get a first callup before the 2012 season ends, and with Rubby De La Rosa and Clayton Kershaw could give the Dodgers three exciting starting pitchers age 25-or-under in 2013.

Jun 09

Controversy remains over Dodger draft

The controversy over the Dodgers’ top draft choice continued Tuesday.

Dodger assistant general manager Logan White insists that the Dodgers think they can sign Zach Lee, writes Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com, despite speculation that the Dodgers purposely chose a player whose salary demands would be unreachable, in order to save money.

Louisiana State football coach Les Miles said Tuesday that he met with Lee and his parents and that Lee intends to go to college to play football and baseball. White addressed that statement directly.

“He might go to school,” White said. “That is always a possibility. We certainly knew that was a possibility when we drafted him.”

Even so, White adamantly denied that the Dodgers would ever draft a player knowing they couldn’t sign him.

“I can understand why people might think that,” he said. “But that is one of those things where people create what they want to create, and it is just so far from the truth. I certainly want to sign Zach Lee, as much as any player I have ever drafted.”

White also dismissed a suggestion that he was under orders from McCourt to tank this year’s first-round pick.

A similar (though perhaps less intense) drama brewed around the Dodgers’ sixth-round pick, pitcher Kevin Gausman, who is also an LSU recruit. Writes Evan Drellich of MLB.com:

Gausman told The Denver Post he too was leaning toward going to college.

“Because of the amount of money that I want, they are going to follow me and see if I’m actually worth that,” Gausman told The Post.

“Being drafted in the sixth round, I think I have a chance to next year come out and really be a big influence at LSU and maybe even be their No. 1 guy on the mound,” Gausman said. “As of right now, I’m set on [LSU].”

White called Gausman’s statement “a normal part of the process.”

“He would’ve been a potential late first-round sandwich pick, but he’s got significant signing demands as well,” White said. “And he may not sign. We’ll see what happens.”

If Lee doesn’t sign with the Dodgers, the team will get a compensatory pick in the 2011 draft. Some believe this might be a smart move, because that draft is expected to be deeper in talent – so that even if the Dodgers acknowledge (to themselves, if no one else) that Lee isn’t coming, it doesn’t mean that they are avoiding paying amateur talent. We’ll see.

On a brighter note, Drellich writes that second-round pick Ralston Cash said he is interested in signing with the Dodgers despite having a scholarship to Georgia. Cash flew out last weekend for a last-minute workout with the Dodgers, and he and White bonded.

* * *

  • Vicente Padilla went 4 2/3 innings with one run allowed in a rehab start for Inland Empire on Tuesday. Padilla gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four.
  • Kyle Russell singled and tripled in his AA debut for Chattanooga on Tuesday, while Chris Withrow threw seven innings without allowing an earned run, striking out six.
  • Elisaul Pimentel allowed one run over six innings in Great Lakes’ victory. Brian Cavazos-Galvez had three hits.

* * *

Stat of the Day has a fun list of pitchers who have thrown at least five consecutive starts of eight innings or more, without allowing more than one run – fun because the list of course includes the Orel Hershiser and Don Drysdale scoreless inning streaks, as well as Fernando Valenzuela’s beginning to the 1981 season. You’ll also find Don Sutton and Don Newcombe there.