White recaps Dodgers' draft during chat
Scouting director discusses 2006 selections with fans
Scouting director Logan White chatted online about the strengths of the Dodgers' first three picks of this year's draft -- Clayton Kershaw, Bryan Morris and Preston Mattingly -- and the rest of the Dodgers 2006 amateur class. He also answered questions about what he looks for in a player and who has made the biggest strides in the organization.
Logan White: I want to thank all of you great Dodgers fans for taking part in these draft questions. Let's get started.
Bone_Porterfield: Logan, which of this year's draft picks would you vote as most likely to succeed?
White: I have high expectations for all of our draft picks. I'm certainly pleased with Clayton Kershaw, Bryan Morris and Preston Mattingly, but as you all know, some players drafted down the line also have high ceilings. For example, Russell Martin and Matt Kemp, two of our young players I'm really proud of, were a sixth rounder and a 17th rounder, respectively.
fawnkyjunk: Hi Logan. How does it feel to see these young guys you drafted perform the way they have? And is there a guy in the farm that is flying under the radar that you are excited about?
White: I compare it to a proud parent watching their child blossom. You realize that there are lots of ups and downs and there are a lot of people involved in helping those people achieve their goals. Of course, I think we have a lot of guys flying under the radar such as Jesus Castillo, who will be in Ogden, and Andrew Locke, who has done great.
Base_Ball_2: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into scouting?
White: Don't. Just kidding. If you like a brutal travel schedule, no sleep and a bad diet, scouting is for you! Seriously, the best way is to hopefully make inroads with somebody who is involved in the game and follow up by sending your resume to every Major League club.
natedogge7: Can you describe your thoughts on Morris' mechanics and delivery? I've heard everything from throwing across his body to unorthodox. Will the Dodgers need to rework his delivery?
White: No, we won't. Pitchers throwing across their body isn't much of a red flag for me, as long as the arm works good and they're loose and easy. It's usually a minor adjustment. As for Bryan, I think he has a very good front side, outstanding arm action, good balance, a tremendously quick arm and he has great extension and good finish to all his pitches.
gulb: Which draftees have the potential to be a power hitter?
White: I would say Kyle Orr (4th) and Andrew D'Alessio (10th).
Base_Ball_3: I attend the University of Hawaii, where your 25th round pick, catcher Esteban Lopez, played his college ball. What did you get in scouting reports about Lopez that you liked?
White: That he's an outstanding receiver and will be able to handle our young pitchers that we'll have at our rookie ballclubs.
Base_Ball_2: Do you believe Mattingly profiles as an offensive-minded second baseman, or will he end up in a corner outfield spot?
White: At this time, it's too premature to say he won't play shortstop, but he would certainly make a great offensive second baseman.
Base_Ball_3: Logan, what did you see in Kershaw that made you confident he can be an ace one day?
White: First and foremost, he's like a lot of our past picks. He has outstanding makeup, a great heart and he's a fierce competitor on the mound. Now for his physical ability, he's big, strong, athletic and has a power pitcher's frame with a fastball from the 92-96 mph range and a good overhand curveball.
gizmocosmo: How many of the 50 drafted players do you expect will sign? I notice that rarely do any of the last 25 sign.
White: I'd say about 15-20 with the remaining ones either being tougher signs or potential draft-and-follows. A draft and follow is a player whose rights we retain until the next draft if they attend a junior college. Provided they've improved to the level that we hope, at that time we can sign them.
dodgerfandamnit: How does it feel being probably the best scout in baseball?
White: Thanks for the compliment. However, I don't think I'm the best scout in baseball, but I do feel that I have one of the best scouting staffs in baseball.
Joey_Buttafingers: In your opinion, what have been the biggest innovations in scouting in the past 20-30 years, both in terms of technology and the old fashion way of evaluating amateur talent?
White: The biggest innovations in scouting over the past 20 to 30 years would have to be the computer, like any industry. It makes information more readily available. Players from remote areas in the past might have only been scouted by two or three teams, but via the Internet, web sites, etc., players have much greater exposure.
Base_Ball_2: What do you look for in a hitting prospect?
White: I look for athleticism, size, strength, bat speed, strong forearms, quick hands, a hitter that has the ability to stay inside the baseball and utilize the whole field. I don't like hitters that collapse and lift but may have raw power. I like hitters that have good plate coverage and discipline at the plate.
natedogge7: How does Morris' curveball compare to, lets say, Chad Billingsley's? It is that much of a true hammer?
White: They're different types of breaking balls. Morris' has more lateral tilt and is harder. Both are plus pitches. I'd give the edge to Morris' curveball, but Chad has an outstanding fastball and a great slider and we hope that Bryan can achieve what Chad has done so far in the organization.
Base_Ball_2: What do you look for in a pitching prospect?
White: I work off the ideal. I look for big, strong, physical, power-pitcher bodies that have well above-average fastballs with plus secondary pitches, whether it be a curveball or a slider. I'm big on their arm action and delivery. It has to be clean and easy. Makeup's important and how they compete. Having said that, there are so many variables that I look for, it would take a while to explain, but I'd like to think we wouldn't miss Greg Maddux or a Pedro Martinez due to size and stature because of everything else they do, from their delivery to their arm action to their feel to pitch is Hall of Fame.
fartfuldodger: Which member of the organization do you expect to make the most strides this year?
White: We've had so many make big strides, from Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton and James Loney, I'd hate to single anyone out, but I do think that young Billingsley is going to be one of our next up and coming players.
fartfuldodger: How was this draft different than last year's in terms of working under a different general manager?
White: I've been fortunate in all of my years as a scouting director to have been able to do what I needed to do as a scouting director. But I will say, this is one of my most fun years of being a scouting director. Ned Colletti has been awesome. We both want the best for the players and the Dodgers organization.
dodgerfandamnit: How do you deal with the fact that the Dodgers farm system is one of the best, if not the best, in baseball and rarely do we hear of the scouts hard work?
White: I view the scouting and development departments like the mother and the father. In a great parental relationship, both are key. We're fortunate here in LA that the people that count realize that one couldn't build a nice house with shoddy material.
Matthew_cherniss: Do you ever target a draft based on the current Major League needs of the team, or is it based solely on the best athletes available regardless of position?
White: We take the best available player with the highest ceiling. However, I do take the organizational needs into account and try to mix and match in the draft. I think past history shows we've put players in the farm system at various positions such as Billingsley, Broxton, Martin, Kemp, to name a few.
leah1: When will these new players start showing up on the Dodgers Major League team?
White: I promised Grady and Ned September...just kidding. Realistically, the timetable is 3-5 years. We all know it's exceptional for a player like Kemp to be playing at the Major League level with only two and a half years of Minor League experience. It's possible that a pitcher such as Morris or White might be able to meet those expectations. But it's not about how fast they get here. We always try to put the players' best interest first.
White: For those of you who follow the draft and these chats, I know you're true, dedicated fans and on behalf of myself and my scouting staff, thank you for taking such interest. I wish I had more time, but I'm looking forward to talking to you again next year.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.