Dodgers draft high school OF Kendall George with No. 36 pick

July 10th, 2023

As the MLB Draft unfolded, had a pretty good idea he was going to end the night as a member of the Dodgers organization.

The Dodgers had given George all indications they were planning on taking him with their second-round selection at pick No. 60. But with all other targets off the board, the Dodgers chose to make George’s dream a reality a little bit earlier.

On Sunday night, the Dodgers took George, an outfielder from Atascocita High School in Texas, with the 36th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. The 18-year-old outfielder is the No. 65 ranked-prospect in MLB Pipeline’s Top 250.

“It felt amazing,” George said on getting drafted. “It was a dream come true. Just from a young age, I’ve always wanted to be a professional baseball player and it’s just a dream not many people can live out. It’s a great feeling. It’s almost unexplainable.”

During his senior season, George posted impressive numbers and really boosted his Draft stock, hitting .455 with three homers and 34 RBIs. He also had a .581 on-base percentage and a 1.296 OPS. But perhaps most impressively, he swiped 32 bags and only struck out eight times all season.

“I think his contact skills are elite,” said Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino. “His performance this summer was super impressive. He faced the best arms all summer and he hit and hit and hit and he didn’t miss and on top of that he can steal bases and play center field. It’s definitely the fastest runner we’ve drafted since I've been here and we think with the way the game is evolving, his ability to collect hits and steal bases will play very well.”

George, who is currently committed to the University of Arkansas, said he will “100 percent” be signing with the Dodgers and not attending college. The Dodgers, who picked 36th, 10 spots lower than scheduled because they went at least $40 million over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold last season, will have $2,362,700 to work with on their first selection.

The 18-year-old measures at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, and has an 80-grade when it comes to his running ability. He also has a plus hit tool with a 55-grade and is an above-average defender with a 60-grade in fielding ability. He has already been working on adding weight, putting on close to 10 pounds before last season.

“It’s just game-changing speed,” George said. “I’m just kind of like a spark plug, top of the order kind of guy. Definitely a great asset to have and I take pride in being such a great runner. But I do have a lot more to my game than just my legs. I use it as an asset and just try to work off what works best for me and just use them to the best of my ability.”

Part of George’s development included participating in MLB’s Breakthrough series. In that program, George said, he learned a lot from former Major League Rajai Davis, who possessed a similar skillset.

While picking George this early was a bit of a surprise, the young outfielder is ready to prove he was the right pick for the Dodgers.

“I feel like everything will work out the way it’s supposed to,” George said. “I’m not gonna go out there and be somebody that I’m not. If I go out there and play my game, those tools will show up regardless.”

With their second pick of the night, the Dodgers went the college route, selecting , a third baseman from the University of Virginia, with the 60th overall pick. Gelof is the 35th-ranked prospect in MLB Pipeline’s Top 250.

Earlier this season, Gelof became Virginia’s all-time home run leader with his 38th career home run. He also holds the school record with 90 RBIs this season. He was one of the 25 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award.

“He loves to play. You notice that right off the bat,” Gasparino said. “He was one of our scouts’ favorites. We kind of identified him early in the year as one of our favorite college bats, and he produced and performed and kind of made it easy for us.”