06/08/05 10:13 PM ET
Pitchers, bloodlines big for Dodgers
LA picks sons of ex-Major Leaguers, bullpen coach's nephew
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"This was one of the most interesting, most frustrating and, hopefully, one of the most rewarding Drafts we've had since I got here," White said.
Bucking a reputation for preferring high-ceiling high school talent, White made University of Tennessee right-handed pitcher Luke Hochevar the unexpected first Dodgers choice (40th overall), then tapped into productive bloodlines with the selection of three sons of former Major Leaguers.
White drafted pitchers with seven of his first 10 picks and 26 of 51. High school players accounted for 28, college players 23. White said he expects to initially sign only 15 of the players chosen, reserving the rest as draft-and-follows.
"That's by design," he said. "Top to bottom, I didn't think it was a very strong draft and in our system we have quite a few good young players who need playing time."
As has become his custom, White went with some familiar surnames, drafting the sons of former Dodger Ivan DeJesus and big league outfielder Andy Van Slyke. He also took the nephew of Dodger bullpen coach Jon Debus.
In previous years, White has selected the sons of manager Jim Tracy, coach Jim Riggleman, former Major Leaguers Dave LaRoche and Dann Bilardello and the brother of Mike Piazza.
"Considering the strength of the draft this year, we're thrilled that we were able to select a great mix of players with big-league potential at various positions," said White.
White is familiar with Hochevar and the signability cloud responsible for dropping him out of the first round. White drafted -- and failed to sign -- Hochevar out of high school three years ago as a 39th-round pick.
This time, he used a sandwich pick received as partial compensation for the loss of free agent Adrian Beltre. And this time, he's optimistic Hochevar will sign, which will go a long way in determining the value of this year's Dodgers draft.General manager Paul DePodesta said he was confident he could work a deal with Hochevar's agent, Scott Boras, as he has for Boras' free-agent clients J.D. Drew and Derek Lowe. "I think this was meant to be," said DePodesta. "We're excited. We think we had a great day." With Seattle's second-round pick as further compensation for Beltre, the Dodgers drafted switch-hitting shortstop Ivan DeJesus Jr., the son of the former Dodgers infielder. DeJesus was taken out of Puerto Rico Military Academy, where he hit .365. He is 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds. With his second-round pick, White took Josh Wall, a right-handed pitcher from Central Private High School in Walker, La. He's 6-foot-6, 190 pounds, went 14-1 with a 0.93 ERA and had 138 strikeouts in 83 innings.
In the third round, the Dodgers selected Cal State Fullerton outfielder Sergio Pedroza. He's a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder who bats left and throws right. He hit .330 with 15 home runs, 54 RBIs and a .462 on-base percentage. His ninth-inning home run and game-saving catch Sunday helped Fullerton avoid elimination in the NCAA regional playoffs.
Third baseman Joshua Bell was the Dodgers' pick in the fourth round. He is a switch-hitter with power from Santaluces (Fla.) High School, 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, who will be moved from his natural position of shortstop, White said.In the fifth round, the pick was right-handed pitcher Jonathan Meloan from the University of Arizona. He had a 20-strikeout no-hitter in high school in Texas. He has gone 18-1 over the last two years at Arizona. He's 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. Left-handed relief pitcher Brent Leach was the sixth-round choice out of Delta State in Mississippi. He's 6-foot-5, 205 pounds and had a 1.74 ERA in 24 appearances coming off Tommy John elbow reconstruction. In the seventh round, the Dodgers took right-handed pitcher Christopher Hobdy from Monterey (Texas) High School. He is 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, and was compared by White to a young Dave Stewart. The Dodgers' eighth-round choice was David Horlacher, a right-handed pitcher from BYU, who is 6-foot-3, 180 pounds. He was 6-2 with a 3.80 ERA this year after missing two years while serving a religious mission, according to White. Michael Davitt was the club's pick in the ninth round. He is a 6-foot-5, 190-pound right-handed pitcher from Davidson (Ala.) High School that White said reminds him of Hochevar when he came out of high school. And with their 10th-round pick, the Dodgers took outfielder Trayvon Robinson from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. He's 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds and a speedster. Dodgers picks in rounds 11-18 were: Adam Godwin, a speedy outfielder from Troy State; Kristopher Krise, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound sinkerball pitcher from Chico State; Steven Johnson, a right-handed high school pitcher from Maryland committed to Boston College; Scott Van Slyke, an outfielder like his father who has committed to the University of Mississippi; Wilfredo Diaz, a curveball-throwing left-handed high school pitcher and the second Dodgers pick from Puerto Rico; George McDonald, an athletic switch-hitting high school catcher from the Los Angeles area; Kyle Henson, another athletic catcher from Texas who committed to the University of Arkansas; and Kevin Carby, a switch-hitting high school shortstop from Oklahoma with good running speed, who also is committed to Arkansas and is being recruited as a football cornerback.
The second-day Dodgers picks were: outfielder Andrew Locke from Boston College; left-handed pitcher Schuyer Tripp from Davis County (Ia.) High School; shortstop Shane Justis from Towson State,a leadoff type who also played second base; outfielder Travis DeBondt from Oral Roberts University, a left-handed power hitter similar to Austin Kearns; outfielder Jayson Whitehouse from Spartanburg Methodist; left-handed pitcher Jonathan Dutton from Rancho Bernardo (Ca.) High School; left-handed pitcher Kyle Foster from Lower Columbia College; shortstop Jordy Mercer, of Taloga (Ok.) School, who has committed to Oklahoma State; right-handed pitcher Matthew Coburn from Humble (Texas) High School, who is compared to Jason Jennings of Colorado; left-handed pitcher Timothy Segelke from Green River (Ca.) CC; right-handed pitcher Kent Williamson from Hayden (Ks.) High School; outfielder Kyle Morgan from Bakersfield College; Jonathan Forest, a right-handed pitcher from the University of British Columbia with a frame compared to Curt Schilling; left-handed pitcher Nathan Hammons from Fort Cobb Broxton (Ok.) High School; left-handed pitcher Chris Lemay from Kwantien College; right-handed pitcher Shawn Loglisci from College of Southern Idaho; first baseman Rick Taloa from Santa Ana College; right-handed pitcher Andrew Marquardt from Saint Francis (Ca.) High School; left-handed pitcher Justin Wilson from Buchanan (Ca.) High School; catcher Stephen Hermann from Penn-Trafford (Pa.) High School; left-handed pitcher Jake Debus from Victor Andrew (Ill.) High School; first baseman Jason Mooneyham from Chapman University; right-handed pitcher Christopher Johnson from John A. Logan College; catcher Arnoldi Cruz from Okaloosa Walton (Fla.) CC; catcher Brandon Rocha from Los Alamitos (Ca.) High School; shortstop Chase D'Arnaud, also from Los Alamitos High School; third baseman Brian Mathews from Newton County (Ga.) High School; third baseman Anthony Benner from Eastlake (Ca.) High School; third baseman Mark Sunga from Notre Dame (Ca.) High School; catcher Paul Wourms from Thompson River University; right-handed pitcher Garet Hill from Biola University; and right-handed pitcher Gerald Posey from Lee County (Ga.) High School, a David Cone lookalike; and left-handed pitcher Mitchell Houck from Cypress Bay (Fla.) High School.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.