06/01/12 10:00 AM ET
Draft deep in pitching, which suits Dodgers
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Now that the Dodgers have it, they can't spend it because of the new Draft rules, at least not without a hefty tax if the allotted bonus pool is exceeded.
For the Dodgers, who draft 18th in the first round, the bonus pool is $5,202,800 for their first 11 picks. The slot amount for the 18th pick is $1.95 million and for the 51st pick (compensation for Rod Barajas) is $984,700.
Assistant general manager and scouting director Logan White is excited about his first Draft for the new owners.
"It's a wonderful thing talking to Stan [Kasten, Dodgers president], and I'm unbelievably excited that he's a development-oriented person who wants us to be aggressive," said White. "I think where money will make an impact for us is internationally."
White made his reputation using high picks on hard throwers like Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton; snagging quality position players like Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and A.J. Ellis later; and rolling the dice on physical issues to come away with gems like Nathan Eovaldi.
First and foremost, however, is pitching.
"I'm such a believer that it's tough to find Major League pitching, and you have to draft a lot to come up with some because of the injury factor," White said. "I believe you're going to find position players later in the draft. Like always, we'll take the best available player. It's hard to look at your current club and draft for immediate need. You need to take a bigger picture."
White said this year's Draft is "atypical" of most years.
"It leans to high school-oriented position players," he said. "There aren't as many college position players as other years. It's a pitching-oriented Draft, with more high school position players."
Here's a glance at what the Dodgers have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Dodgers see this Draft as deep in power pitchers, an area they always focus on, and average in position players, an area in which they need to improve. Signability is no longer the issue it has been most years because of the new Draft bonus rules, as well as a solvent ownership.
According to MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo, as many as seven college pitchers are in serious consideration to be taken in the top part of the first round. It's a good list, but there isn't as much depth in terms of true quality as there has been in recent years, while middle infielders will be hard to find but high school outfielders will be available.
Look for the Dodgers to land a high school pitcher in the first round (No. 18 overall), because that's what they usually do. They also have a supplemental pick (No. 51 overall) for losing free agent Rod Barajas. The slot amount for those two picks is nearly $3 million of their allotted $5.2 million.
dodgers' bonus pool
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
It rarely matters what the system needs are, White drafts pitching on top. That said, the Dodgers are deep in catching but thin in hitting prospects, and could really use a college corner infielder who could reach the big leagues in a hurry.
Since taking over the Draft in 2002, White's first pick has been a pitcher nine of 10 times, and a high school pitcher six times. Two of those top high school picks -- Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw -- are currently in the Dodgers' rotation, so it's hard to argue with White's strategy that he can never draft enough pitching.
Dodgers' recent top picks
|2011||Chris Reed||LHP||Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga|
|2010||Zach Lee||RHP||Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga|
|2009||Aaron Miller||LHP||Double-A Chattanooga|
|2008||Ethan Martin||RHP||Double-A Chattanooga|
|2007||Chris Withrow||RHP||Double-A Chattanooga|
Recent Draft History
Shawn Tolleson, 30th round, 2010: When they were both Texas high school seniors, Tolleson was more touted than Kershaw. But he blew out his elbow that year -- needing Tommy John surgery -- and went to Baylor, where he started for three seasons. The Dodgers took a flyer on him, and he's become a lights-out reliever. He opened this season at Double-A Chattanooga with a 1.38 ERA in 11 games, with 19 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings. He was then promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he has allowed five earned runs in 8 1/3 innings, but has 13 strikeouts and only one walk. Combined, he has 32 strikeouts and five walks in 21 1/3 innings this year.
Elian Herrera wasn't a Draft pick, having been signed out of the Dominican Republic, but he's an example of perseverance, having played nine Minor League seasons before he finally got the call to the big leagues. He's delivered with quality at-bats and defensive versatility.
In The Show
Nathan Eovaldi, who threw seven strong innings in his season debut on Tuesday night, is an example of the Dodgers' high-ceiling, boom-or-bust Draft strategy. The Dodgers were able to select him in the 11th round of the 2008 Draft because he had Tommy John surgery in his junior year of high school, and bought him out of a scholarship to Texas A&M for a $250,000 bonus.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.