Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Dustin May

So, you want the Dodgers
to stop messing around …

Adam Hagy/MLB.com

Being open to new and risky ideas has brought the Dodgers to the top of the National League and the brink of two World Series titles, with eyes again on the promised land in 2019. 

If you’re going to make the argument that they would have already won the World Series this decade if they didn’t experiment so much, understand that they wouldn’t have reached the World Series if they had experimented any less. 

You don’t like some of the results? That comes with the territory. If there weren’t risk involved, it wouldn’t be an experiment. It would be adherence to the status quo, which gets you nowhere. 

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Here are my feelings #Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

I’ve long since surrendered the notion that the way I feel about the Dodgers has any widespread resonance.

At my peak, I had a niche. There’s definitely a segment of readers who tend to relate to me. But if my writing about the team had been any more transcendent than that, I genuinely think I would still be writing about the Dodgers full time. Failing to crack the mainstream wasn’t the reason I shifted gears — it was more about my desire to prioritize other things — but being a more popular voice might have affected those priorities, or at least their timetable. 

That’s a long-winded preface for me to say that I wanted to write about my reaction to the absence of a blockbuster move at the trade deadline by the Dodgers, but without the expectation that most people would share my view. I’m not writing to convince you of anything. I’m just expressing myself.  If you like, read it as you would the work of an alien.

Here’s what I think. 

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The Dodgers’ take on Day 2 of the 2016 draft

Eighth-round draft pick Andre Scrubb of High Point University (High Point Athletics)

Eighth-round draft pick Andre Scrubb of High Point University (High Point Athletics)

By Jon Weisman

As the Dodgers completed the first 10 rounds of the 2016 MLB draft, some fans scratched their heads over the selection of three shortstops, considering that the team has a 22-year-old future All-Star at the position.

But in discussing the Dodgers’ selections today, director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino explained the thinking — and no, it’s not that the Dodgers have forgotten about Corey Seager.

“The theory is that looking throughout the history of the draft and how athletes develop and age, when they’re athletic enough to play shortstop, it’s a pretty good recipe — as they age and get older and their skills develop and their bodies go forward or backwards — they can usually play other positions,” Gasparino said. “So many players today who are left fielders or right fielders, third basemen, second basemen, started out as shortstops. If you can start there, it’s a lot easier to transition to other places on the field, and gives you more avenues of versatility that way.”

In other words, this isn’t the NBA. With development such a long, protracted process in baseball — and almost no such thing as a quick fix — the overwhelming tendency is to take the player with the greatest potential, regardless of what the current Major League roster looks like. If the worst-case scenario is the Dodgers have multiple quality shortstops, they’ll live with that.

Gasparino also said that the drafting of several players from smaller four-year or community colleges illustrates an attempt to find value within a draft landscape where so few rocks go unturned.

“The depth of the draft is a priority and something we preach,” he said, “so in many ways it leads you to go look for those players, and you kind of think you have value there, whereas (for example) the junior center fielder from the University of Georgia has been well seen.”

Though players at different levels — or even at the same level but from different regions — obviously don’t face the same level of competition, the Dodgers are confident in their ability to translate performance.

“That’s why we have the tool grades, and you just look at the physical tools,” Gasparino said. “And I think our analytical staff does a very good job of analyzing the numbers and trying to correlate different levels of competition with a lot of different factors. And just our scouts’ experience: We have a lot of experience on the staff, and they seem to have a very good knack of trying to cipher through that stuff and figure out who the better players are.”

Gasparino said that advanced scouting stats such as exit velocity and spin rate have migrated to the Division I colleges and high-school summer showcases, further enhancing their ability to evaluate.

And with that, here are quick thoughts from Gasparino on each of the Dodgers’ draft picks today:

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Dodgers draft high school RHP Dustin May in third round

[mlbvideo id=”741801983″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Kicking off their selections in today’s second day of the MLB Draft, the Dodgers used their third-round pick (101st overall) on right-handed pitcher Dustin May from Northwest High School in Justin, Texas.

May, who turns 19 in September, checks in at 6-foot-6, 180 pounds. Here’s the MLB.com scouting report on him:

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