Though the Dodgers have the financial means to compete for some of the best free agents on the market, a huge reason for their organizational success has been their ability to draft and develop players within their own system.
Due to the remarkable history, it’s basically impossible to make a list that doesn’t leave out some all-time greats and leave things open for debate. But that’s part of the fun. This time, we’ll try to rank the Top 5 players in Dodgers history who were drafted by the organization. A player before the Draft era or who was acquired via trade will not be eligible for this list.
1. Clayton Kershaw
First round, seventh overall, 2006
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw has finally accomplished it all with the Dodgers. After taking home three National League Cy Young Awards, an MVP trophy, a pitching Triple Crown and five ERA titles -- plus a no-hitter in 2014 -- Kershaw finally got his World Series ring in '20.
An eight-time All-Star, Kershaw is one of the most dominant pitchers in Dodgers history and arguably the best pitcher of his generation. It remains to be seen just how much more Kershaw has to give after 13 seasons with the Dodgers, but he’ll surely be the last No. 22 in franchise history and he has a first-class ticket waiting for him to Cooperstown.
2. Mike Piazza
62nd round, 1988
While Mike Piazza’s most memorable moments might’ve come as a member of the New York Mets, the Hall of Fame catcher did plenty of spectacular things during his time with the Dodgers from 1992-98.
Piazza was drafted as a favor to family friend, Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. Piazza's breakout season happened in 1993 with 35 home runs, 112 RBIs and a .318 batting average to earn him unanimous selection for NL Rookie of the Year. Piazza made five All-Star appearances with the Dodgers and won five Silver Slugger Awards.
3. Ron Cey, 1971-82
3rd round in the 1968 Draft
Cey is arguably the best third baseman in franchise history, and that’s saying a lot. He helped the Dodgers win the ‘81 World Series, earning MVP of the Fall Classic in the process. The six-time All-Star hit 316 home runs and finished with a career .799 OPS. He also had one of the most impressive months by any player, setting a Major League record at the time with 29 RBIs in April of 1977.
“Penguin” was as durable as it gets, playing in at least 150 games in eight of his nine full seasons in Los Angeles.
4. Orel Hershiser
17th round, 1979
Right-hander Orel Hershiser started and finished with the Dodgers, from 1983-94 and 2000. In '88, Hershiser led the NL in wins (23), shutouts (eight) and innings pitched (267) while setting the Major League record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings. He was named the NL Cy Young Award winner that season and led the Dodgers to a World Series title, earning both NL Championship Series and World Series MVP.
During his time with the Dodgers, Hershiser had four Top 5 finishes in NL Cy Young Award voting. He also finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1984. Had it not been for a shoulder injury, Hershiser might’ve had a chance at the Hall of Fame, given the start of his career.
5. Steve Garvey
First round, 13th overall, 1968 (secondary phase)
It’s difficult to find someone more consistent than Steve Garvey was for the Dodgers in the 1970s. Garvey made his debut in '69, a year after he was drafted, and he remained with the Dodgers through '82. From '74-80, Garvey didn’t finish with a batting average below .297 and never finished lower than 14th in MVP voting, winning the prize in '74. The first baseman was also incredibly durable, playing in 1,307 consecutive games, an NL record.