LA stocks up on position players, including 2 local kids, on Day 2

July 19th, 2022

After taking Louisville catcher Dalton Rushing with their only pick Sunday on Day 1 of the Draft, the Dodgers spent Monday stocking up on college position players, drafting polished bats with their first three and five of their eight picks on Draft Day 2.

In fact, six of the Dodgers' eight picks on Day 2 were position players, after the club drafted pitchers with its first 14 picks and 17 of 19 overall in 2021. Six of their seven Day 2 position player picks this time around came from the college ranks. The one notable exception was sixth-round pick Logan Wagner (No. 195 overall), a prep shortstop from P27 Academy in South Carolina, who was ranked as the Draft’s No. 133 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. That discrepancy is notable.

The Dodgers’ $4,221,400 bonus pool is the smallest in this year’s Draft and it stands to reason it influenced their college-heavy approach, which included three senior (one fifth-year senior) picks. The working theory is they will attempt to use those savings to make a big swing at Wagner, who will probably require an overslot bonus to be lured away from his commitment to Louisville.

The 195st pick is valued at $253,200, while Los Angeles’ first pick is valued at $1,950,900. Meaning if Rushing receives full slot value, the club would have only $2,270,500 left in its pool to sign Wagner and the rest of its Day 2 and 3 picks. The last time the Dodgers spent more than $253,200 on their sixth-round pick was 2013, when they signed right-hander Jacob Rhame for $300,000.

Here is the rundown on all the players the Dodgers took on Day 2 of the Draft, which covered Rounds 3-10.

Alex Freeland, SS, Central Florida
Round 3, No. 105 overall

Notable skill: Freeland is a switch-hitting shortstop with excellent plate discipline, who drew 70 walks in 102 games over his first two seasons for the Knights. He improved on that skill as a sophomore, slashing his strikeout rate to walk (30) nearly as many times as he struck out (32), good for a .419 on-base-percentage in 42 games.

Fun fact: Freeland homered from both sides of the plate in the Knights’ AAC Tournament semifinal elimination game against Houston. He has also been a standout in the Cape Cod League the past two summers, winning a championship with Brewster in 2021 and earning a league All-Star selection in '22.

Nick Biddison, OF, Virginia Tech
Round 4, No. 135

Notable skill: Versatility. Biddison appeared at seven defensive positions in his four years at Virginia Tech, including 28 games behind the plate as a freshman in 2019. He was the Hokies’ regular right fielder as a senior this spring, but also appeared at all three outfield positions and first base while hitting .351 with 14 homers and 21 stolen bases.

Fun fact: Biddison comes from an athletic family. His mother, Tris, played volleyball at Clemson, where she was an All-ACC performer and was on the ACC Academic Honor Roll.

Quotable: “This is a really interesting college sign. Really good tools. He can really run, really hit. He’s played really everywhere on the diamond, and is a Nick Madrigal-type of slash hitter.” -- MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo

Sean McLain, SS, Arizona State
Round 5, No. 165

Notable skill: McLain is a solid college performer who can do a little bit of everything, with four at least average tools and above-average speed. He is a pure hitter who hit .328 with a .430 OBP in his college career, but his calling card is that strong all-around toolset.

Fun fact: This is the second consecutive year a McLain brother has been drafted. Sean’s older brother, Matt, was the Reds' first-round pick in 2021, and his younger brother, Nick, is a rising prospect who recently transferred to ASU from UCLA. Matt McLain, who is also a shortstop, was the 17th overall pick in 2021 and is Cincinnati’s third-ranked prospect (No. 59 overall).

Quotable: “He comes from a baseball family. … He had a much more inconsistent season this year. He has a chance to hit, and runs pretty well. I think he probably ends up as a second baseman.” -- Mayo

Logan Wagner, SS, P27 Academy (South Carolina)
Round 6, No. 195

Notable skill: Wagner has plus raw power potential from both sides of the plate. His calling card is his bat, which produced 100-plus-mph exit velocity readings on the showcase circuit and drew pre-Draft comparisons to No. 77 overall pick Tucker Toman, who went to Toronto with a second round compensation pick. Wagner shows more polish from the right side, but his strength and bat speed from both sides give him a chance to eventually hit for average and power at the highest level.

Fun fact: The Dodgers love their Louisville prospects, from starting catcher Will Smith to 2020 first-round pick (and No. 2 prospect) Bobby Miller to 2022 second-round pick Rushing. They’d prefer if Wagner never makes it on campus, but they will need to convince him to forgo his Louisville commitment to sign the sixth-rounder.

Quotable: “Illinois kid who transferred down to play at the P27 Academy. He had a really nice spring and performed well in Jupiter in October. He barrels balls, he’s strong, he’s got bat speed. There is plus raw power, a strong arm, and maybe a chance to play second, more likely third base or corner outfielder. But you’re getting a really interesting high school switch-hitting bat here.” -- MLB Pipeline analyst Jim Callis

Christopher Campos, RHP, St. Mary’s
Round 7, No. 225

Notable skill: Campos was a two-way player at St. Mary’s, but the Dodgers like the upside in his right arm and drafted him as a pitcher. He's a reliever who uses a dynamic delivery to run his fastball up to 96 mph, and has the chance to have an above-average breaking ball.

Fun fact: The Hacienda Heights, Calif., native grew up a Dodgers fan.

Taylor Young, 2B, Louisiana Tech
Round 8, No. 255

Notable skill: Young has been one of the more prolific offensive players in college baseball for a while now. A first-team All-American, Young led Division 1 in runs scored in 2021 and as a fifth-year senior in '22, while also ranking ninth among DI hitters in on-base percentage this spring.

Fun fact: Young was one of only two Division 1 players this year to finish in the top 100 in OBP, slugging and stolen bases.

Quotable: “He has bat-to-ball skills. He has on-base skills. He has plus speed. He has range. He has instincts [defensively]. If we were to rank the best fifth-year senior values in this Draft, he would have been near the top of the list.” -- Callis

Brandon Neeck, LHP, Virginia
Round 9, No. 285

Notable skill: One of the top prep pitchers coming out of high school, Neeck honored his commitment to Virginia and battled arm injuries for several years in Charlottesville. But his stuff ticked up in a swingman role this spring, and the results were electric. Neeck’s fastball jumped from 87-90 mph to the 92-96 mph range, and his strikeout numbers skyrocketed (32 in 18 1/3 innings in relief).

Fun fact: A graduate of Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y., Neeck pitched against 2021 top overall pick Henry Davis as a teenager on the Hudson Valley prep circuit.

Quotable: “[He’s] letting it go and it’s electric,” Virginia pitching coach Drew Dickinson told The Daily Progress this spring. “It’s shutdown and it’s strikeouts. It’s all of those things against both lefties and righties.”

Simon Reid, C, Westmont College
Round 10, No. 315

Notable skill: A left-handed-hitting catcher with strong makeup behind the plate, Reid helped lead Westmont to its first NAIA World Series appearance this spring. He comes with some power potential, having launched 12 homers in 58 games as a junior.

Fun fact: Reid’s older brother, Bailey, is a reliever in the Cubs’ system. Simon Reid also grew up a Dodgers fan, like seventh-round pick Campos.