06/11/09 5:13 PM ET
Dodgers shore up battery in Draft
Majority of club's picks come from college ranks
By David Ely / MLB.com
The team was already reaping the benefits from its decision to forgo its first-round pick (No. 16 overall) to Arizona as compensation for signing Orlando Hudson, a Type-A free agent.
"It all started in the spring when Ned [Colletti] was able to sign Orlando Hudson," White said Wednesday. "We feel like he was as good a first-rounder as we could sign."
Not too mention the impact that Hudson's had so far, the second baseman is currently batting .308 and has scored 40 runs.
"We didn't feel there was anybody where we would have been picking that [we] would have been able to get and [who] could come up and have the impact with the Major League [club] that Orlando's had," White said. "So to me it was a no-brainer."
But even without its first-round pick, the Dodgers were pleased how the Draft played itself out and the team needs White felt they addressed.
Two of those needs: pitching and an influx of youth at catcher.
In the first 30 rounds, the Dodgers drafted a total of 14 pitchers and took a catcher in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Highlighting the pitching prospects is Miller and second-round selection Garrett Gould, who White admitted might be a difficult sign. Gould, a right-hander from Maize High School in Kansas, was a projected first-round pick but dropped with a commitment to Wichita State.
"We tried to get more pitching in the organization and I think we certainly addressed that with some quality pitching arms," White said. "[Gould] with a Wichita State scholarship will be tough, and Wichita State is a good program. We just hope we can get it done."
And though the Dodgers seem to have a long-term starter at catcher in Russell Martin, Los Angeles ensured that the club has depth at the position. The Dodgers selected Big 12 Player of the Year Jeremy Wise, and Puerto Rico Baseball Academy product Jan Vazquez.
"Russell Martin's doing a great job up here, but we're going to need someone to back him up at some point in time," White said.
Another trend that became apparent after two days of drafting was the number of position player with power that now find themselves a part of the Dodgers organization.
Dodgers -- Top five selections
|36||LHP||Aaron Miller||Baylor U|
|56||RF||Blake Smith||UC Berkeley|
|65||RHP||Garrett Gould||Maize HS|
|96||RHP||Brett Wallach||Orange Coast Col|
|127||CF||Mario Songco||Loyola Marymount U|
|Complete Dodgers Draft results >|
Notable selections were University of California product Blake Smith 10 home runs in 2009) Mario Songco (15) from Loyola Marymount University in the fourth round and Mississippi State's Connor Powers (19) in the 11th.
"With Songco and Smith," White said, "we certainly felt that we add him to the kid we drafted last year, [Kyle] Russell, and [Andrew] Lambo, who's in Double-A, we certainly should have some power bats coming through the system."
In order to fill these organizational needs, the Dodgers went away from past Draft philosophies and primarily selected from the college ranks.
22 of their picks from the first 30 rounds were players from college.
White said that the Dodgers did not head into the Draft with the intention of mainly focusing on college players. It just happened that other clubs took a lot of high schoolers leaving plenty of available college players for the Dodgers.
"Our philosophy has always been to take the best available player, and then we focus in on our club needs second," White said.
"But that's just kind of the way it plays. Now you have teams like Toronto and St. Louis taking high school players when back I want to say '02-'03, they didn't draft as much from the high school ranks as they are now. So it kind of gives us the mix of the college guys."
David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.