Dodgers reload system with 21 pitchers
Club's Draft class addresses last season's trade departures
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers used the majority of their 40 selections in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on pitching, and with good reason.
Last year, the Dodgers made trades to acquire Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino.
As a tradeoff for the infusion of All-Star talent, the Dodgers depleted their pitching depth, parting ways with Rubby De La Rosa, Nathan Eovaldi, Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin and Allen Webster. All of those hurlers have either reached the Majors are on the cusp of arriving.
With that in mind, the Dodgers drafted 14 right-handers and seven left-handers. The organization changed its course from recent Drafts and selected 17 pitchers form the collegiate ranks in an attempt to replenish their system with more polished arms.
"We got good arms throughout," said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White. "We're as excited as we can be about this Draft."
The Dodgers went with a pair of college pitchers in the first two rounds. With the 18th-overall selection, Los Angeles chose right-hander Chris Anderson from Jacksonville University.
"I'm ecstatic," White said. "The key to making you happy is how that first one goes, and getting Chris Anderson certainly made this Draft exciting for us."
White compares Anderson to Roger Clemens and Brad Penny. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Anderson's fastball can reach 96 mph, with a plus curveball and plus slider.
"He's a big, physical guy that has a durable body and an outstanding delivery," White said. "He's got a chance to be a front-line starter and log 200-plus innings. We have a horse, front-line starter there. We've just got to refine and get his command better. He'll be outstanding."
In the second round, the Dodgers selected left-hander Tom Windle out of the University of Minnesota.
Last year's second-round pick, lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez, was the first player from that Draft to reach the Majors. The Dodgers likely won't rush Windle to the big leagues, though. He'll have a chance to prove himself as a starter in the Minors.
"I don't think we intend to fast track him as quickly as we did Paco last year, but we could certainly do that if we wanted to out of the bullpen," White said. "But right now, we're going to leave him as a starter."
In addition to their haul of pitching prospects, the Dodgers drafted nine infielders, six catchers and four outfielders.
While the organization believed this year's crop lacked the same talent as previous Drafts, the Dodgers said they were pleased with their additions.
"I thought the Draft was kind of down compared to some years, but it depends how it falls," White said. "I think this Draft, we were probably as fortunate as we've been with how players fell. We've had some really good picks. We've had some good pitching and depth and position guys."
Of course, it all comes down to signing players.
The Dodgers have $5,211,700 to spend on their first 10 picks, ranking 25th in MLB, with $2,109,900 designated for the first-round pick. If the Dodgers spend more than their allotted amount, they would incur penalties. While the team can afford to surpass its allotted pool, it will not hit the penalty threshold to lose a first-round pick.
"Now is always the tough part," White said. "We feel good about it, we always have. There's a lot of work that goes into the process. We've talked to the players and feel we have a pretty good relationship with all of them. We feel that we're in a good position to get them all signed. That's our goal."
In the pipeline
The Dodgers drafted five players with baseball bloodlines: first baseman Cody Bellinger, middle infielders Adam Law and Tyger Pederson, and right-handers J.D. Underwood and Greg Harris.
That strategy has worked well for the Dodgers in recent years, with outfielder Scott Van Slyke and shortstop Dee Gordon the most notable contributors from baseball families to come through their system.
The Dodgers also drafted high school shortstop Blake Hennessey, whose father, Scott, scouted both Rodriguez and Anderson. Another son of a Dodgers scout, high school catcher Jake Sidwell, was the club's selection in the 39th round. His father, Rob, scouted last year's sandwich pick, shortstop Jesmuel Valentin.
Pederson's younger brother, Joc, is an outfielder with Double-A Chattanooga and is the organization's No. 3 prospect. The Dodgers' pick in the 20th round, catcher Michael Ahmed, has an older brother, Nick, in the D-backs' system.