White chats up Dodgers' draft
Scouting Director answers questions from fans online
Los Angeles Dodgers scouting director Logan White chatted with fans online about the Dodgers' picks in the 2005 draft. White talked about the top pick, pitcher Luke Hochevar, as well as subsequent picks and players in the Dodgers farm system.
oxndodger: Are there any other promotions to some of the top prospects besides Andy Laroche?
Logan White: I'm sure there are some coming, but that's more up to Terry Collins and his staff.
sweeney: Do you think you got the steal of the draft by taking Luke Hochevar with the 40th overall pick?
White: I think we got a great kid. But I think there were a lot of good players taken in the draft. I'm certainly excited about getting Luke.
Base_Ball_2: Do you fully expect to sign Hochevar and how much money do you feel it will take?
White: Knowing the type of competitor Luke is, he'll want to become a Dodger at some point. As far as money is concerned, we'll certainly be fair, but I wouldn't want to guess at how much it would take to get it done.
Base_Ball: Kudos, Logan. Great job, terrific draft, but who can we sign? Love the Hochevar pick. Please say something about Josh Wall and Scott Van Slyke, who I find most intriguing and hope they are considered "must signs."
White: Thanks a lot. Josh Wall is a high ceiling, projectable pitcher that has an above average fastball with a chance at an above average curveball. His delivery needs refining and work, but once we get him in the system, I'm sure we'll iron out all of those issues. As for Van Slyke, Scott is a tremendous kid with bloodlines. He can run, throw and has a chance to hit down the road. If we can convince him to sign instead of going to Ole Miss, it would be great.
1434387: How close is Hochevar from the Majors? Are you higher on him now than you were three years ago?
White: I certainly think he's improved since high school or we wouldn't have drafted him higher. But we did love him out of high school. As I've mentioned before, I think he fits in nicely with Justin Orenduff, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Charles Tiffany and that class of pitchers.
acsb: Roy Smith claimed you were prepared to take Ivan De Jesus at 40 until Hochevar fell, yet some think that he was a reach at 51. Did you feel he was underrated being from Puerto Rico, or was this just the result of a thin draft class?
White: Actually, I was prepared to take Beau Jones, a left-handed pitcher from Louisiana that Atlanta drafted right after our pick. But obviously we like Ivan and believe he's going to be a very good Major League player. As far as the draft class goes, I think the overall depth was thin, but I certainly don't want to belittle any of the players drafted, because there are going to be some quality Major League players coming out of this draft.
acsb: Who is Trayvon Robinson, and what kind of professional player do you see him becoming?
White: Trayvon is an alumnus of the RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities). He's a young man with very good tools and he's an outstanding runner with a chance to hit.
revere419: Mr. White, how do you feel about trying to draft a player that the team has already spent one pick on three years ago?
White: Obviously I wish we would have signed him three years ago, but I think it speak volumes for our staff for identifying him three years ago.
davisdodgerfan: Have there been any conflicts between you and Paul DePodesta in your drafting philosophies? I guess I'm asking if you've experienced a difference of opinion between the "Moneyball" approach to drafting a player and the traditional approach.
White: We certainly have differences in style, personality and occasionally in philosophy. Like any two people that work closely together, you are going to have some differences. But overall, I think as people have seen in the past two years, we've managed to make it a great fit.
kevin_jackson: Your 11th-round pick Adam Godwin has speed. I think as a organization, the Dodgers have a lot of speed. Did you want to get more speed in this draft?
White: That's a great question and yes, we did. This is why we drafted Trayvon and Godwin.
Douglas_Fearing: Thank you for answering our questions. Which late-round picks are you most excited about as draft-and-follows? I'd like to know who we should keep tabs on next year.
White: That's a tough one because I don't want to tip my hand. But, I do think we have a few interesting players that we grabbed in the late rounds.
Douglas_Fearing: A lot of our prospective talent seems to be bunched up at the Double-A level, and around 21-22 years old. How does this affect your draft strategy going in?
White: To keep taking the best available player. If you look, we have young talent in Columbus in Blake Johnson, Elbert, DeWitt and eventually they'll be bunched up in Double-A and the other kids will be in the big leagues. It's like a cycle and you just keep the cycle going.
fafalita: Congratulations on restocking our farm system. Are there any prospects, besides the obvious, that you think are dark horses to make the big club? Are there any that you take a particular pride in for selecting after seeing their development to this point?
White: Yes, Chris Malone in Columbus is a dark horse that we signed after the draft last year out of the Alaskan League as an undrafted free agent. I give credit to national crosschecker Tim Hallgren, who scouted him. A guy like Eric Stults, he's a down the line guy that we took in the 15th round in 2002 and he's having a good season after coming off Tommy John surgery.
rainestx: How is Greg Miller progressing in his rehab with the shoulder?
White: He's thrown off the mound in simulated games three times and in his first outing, he was throwing 90-94 mph. He's on a path to hopefully be back pitching full-time sometime this summer. It's just a matter of if he can maintain that for a long period of time.
acsb: Will David Horlacher be pushed harder than most prospects given his age, or do you see him advancing at a more moderate pace?
White: Obviously we would like to move him faster because he is a little older, but we'll push him to the point that his abilities will allow.
meloco912: Do you think Joel Guzman and Andy Laroche could be ready for the Major League squad next season?
White: There are so many variables, that could be difficult to answer. But I think they certainly have the ability to be able to do that.
natedogge7: Labled as the most polished pitcher entering the draft, does Hochevar have front-line ace material for the Majors? How does he compare to the top three college pitchers that were drafted last year in Justin Verlander, Philip Humber and Jeff Niemann?
White: At this stage of the game, I would hate to put any labels on Luke or comparisons because some of the so-called elite players in a draft, I may not like as much as other teams. I've never been one to really fall in line with publications' rankings of how they see players.
fawnkyjunk_2: Are there any prospects out in the farm system that aren't well-known but have sparked your interest of late?
White: An additional name would be Matt Kemp in the Florida State League for Single-A Vero Beach. Another guy would be Jamie Hoffman, the center fielder at Columbus who we signed as a non-drafted free agent. Hoffman was a hockey player and kudos go to Jeff Schugel, now a pro scout with the Angels, who was our international scout at the time and scouted him.
kevin_jackson: You made a very interesting pick in the fourth round with Josh Bell, a high school shortstop drafted as a third baseman. We are loaded at third base, why did you draft him?
White: I never believe that you can have too much of a good thing. Josh Bell has one thing that I think any system needs and that's power.
fafalita: I imagine you have a staff of people working for you. How would you describe your leadership style?
White: That's a good question. First off, I have an outstanding staff and any time you read that we do anything well in scouting, it's more a result of the people around me than myself. I believe I'm a person that has high expectations for myself and my staff. I never ask anything of them that I wouldn't ask of myself. But I believe in hiring good people, putting your trust in them and allowing them to do the job you hired them to do. I certainly don't micro-manage them. Last but not least, communication, especially among scouting, is huge and I'd like to think I'm a good communicator. I also believe in hiring experience. We have three former scouting directors on staff -- Gary Nickels, John Barr and Tim Hallgren. But my special advisor, Gib Bodet, is a tireless worker. I don't want to give his age away, but he's been in the game a long time and any success we've had here is a direct reflection of Gib Bodet.
semperfi20: Was it difficult to narrow down the players you thought might be available by the time the 40th pick came around?
White: No, by the time the draft rolls around, my staff and I have prepared so well, we feel we're ready for almost any scenario that could come up.
vtadave: Logan, what sort of timetable is there for promoting Joel Guzman to the Majors? What big leaguer, past or present, would you compare him to?
White: The timetable depends on again, many variables that are out of my control pertaining to the Major League team. I don't want to put any unrealistic expectations on Joel, because I think it's tough for young players to live up to those expectations sometimes and that's unfair. But he does have incredible power, an outstanding arm, he can run, he's athletic, he's a tall, rangy player, who with time and some strength gain, will still get better.
Base_Ball_4: Can you could give us an approximation of the number of scouts employed by the Dodgers?
White: We've got 17 area scouts within the U.S. and Canada, three regional supervisors, two national crosscheckers and myself. Then, we've got three full-time international scouts and 17 part-time international guys.
Eric_Enders: Typically, how many of the 40-something players the Dodgers draft have you seen play personally each year before the draft?
White: Sometimes it's as high as 20 guys that I'll see, but probably more realistically, 12-15.
White: Thank you all for taking part in this chat. I really thank you for your in-depth questions. I really think Dodgers fans are well schooled, their questions are well thought out and they genuinely care. On behalf of myself and all the Dodgers staff, we certainly appreciate your interest. We look forward to doing it again next year after the draft, so keep watching these guys as try to they make their way to Dodger Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.