Dodgers may change Draft form
Club has chosen pitcher first five of last six times
LOS ANGELES -- For those who follow Logan White's history of Dodgers Drafts (taking pitchers first in five of the last six years), the words were like a sea change.
"What's different about this Draft," said White, assistant general manager for scouting, "is that now we're in position where we have to look, at No. 15, at going in a different direction than before and looking at need a little closer now."
Which doesn't mean that White won't start this year's Draft by taking a pitcher first and making it six out of seven years. But now that the Dodgers appear loaded with young pitchers and lacking in impact hitters, need could enter the equation when the Dodgers draft 15th in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Day 1 coverage begins at 11 a.m. PT with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively at MLB.com, with live analysis on site from MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo.
Several of the top amateur prospects are expected to be in attendance in Orlando for Day 1 of the Draft, and each of the 30 Major League Clubs will be represented by front office executives and baseball luminaries. Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission to The Milk House is free, with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis.
Day 2 will get under way at 8:30 a.m. and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.
White, a former pitcher whose career was cut short by injuries, said he hoards pitchers because they break down a lot.
"Generally, you can miss on a pitcher or position player by mis-evaluating, but with pitchers, you can get the evaluation right, then get wiped out because they get hurt," he said. "That's why I take a lot of pitchers."
In addition to starting pitching, the Dodgers are deep in corner infielders and catchers. If they have needs, it would be power-hitting outfielders and middle infielders, particularly with second baseman Jeff Kent recently turning 40.
Here's a glance at what the Dodgers have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words: White said this year's Draft is deep in corner infielders, which the Dodgers don't need. He said there also appears to be plenty of college pitchers, particularly relievers. White generally prefers tapping the high school pool, which he grades as just "OK." Ultimately, White prescribes to the "best athlete available" theory of drafting and, in his mind, it usually is the "best pitcher available." He likes 'em hard-throwing, 6-3, 200 pounds and larger.
The scoop: "I'm confident we'll get a good player at 15. The reason I'm confident, a lot of it has to do with my belief in our staff and the track record of those guys." -- White on his club's Draft chances
First-round buzz: In the six Dodgers drafts that White has overseen, he's taken a pitcher first five times. Draw your own conclusions.
Shopping list: Aside from the usual refrain of never having enough pitching, the Dodgers clearly could use more hitters, particularly in the outfield and middle infield.
Trend watch: White's draft history shows a predominance of pitchers and high school players.
Recent top picks:
Chris Withrow, 2007 -- Where Clayton Kershaw is on the fast track, Withrow is on the slow track. He pitched only nine innings of Rookie ball last year and started this year at low Class A.
Clayton Kershaw, 2006 -- He's the best and most anticipated home-grown pitching prospect since Ramon Martinez.
Luke Hochevar, 2005 -- He's already made an impact, unfortunately with Kansas City after he was unable to reach a contract agreement with the Dodgers.
Rising fast: Obviously it's Kershaw, who's only 20 and being counted on to make an impact in a pennant race.
Cinderella story: Right-handed pitcher Tim Sexton was a 25th-round pick last year who was impressive at Great Lakes last year and he's pitched evenly at Inland Empire this year.
In The Show: Hochevar has made the Major Leagues, but not with the Dodgers. Jon Meloan, fifth round of 2005, pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Dodgers in a September callup last year and had an 11.05 ERA.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.