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Dodgers' Draft class heavy in college talent

Only 6 HS players among 40 picks; Roberts' godson taken in Round 39
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Fifty years ago, Al Campanis conducted the most productive Draft in the history of the Dodgers (if not the entire Major Leagues), selecting the nucleus of the club that would go to four World Series and win one in 1981.

Draft Tracker: Every Dodgers pick

LOS ANGELES -- Fifty years ago, Al Campanis conducted the most productive Draft in the history of the Dodgers (if not the entire Major Leagues), selecting the nucleus of the club that would go to four World Series and win one in 1981.

Draft Tracker: Every Dodgers pick

Thirty years ago, the Dodgers drafted the manager's godson in the waning rounds. He became Mike Piazza, a Hall of Fame catcher.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Billy Gasparino on Wednesday selected the current manager's godson just before completing his fourth Draft as the Dodgers' scouting director. That 1968 Draft is a high bar for any club to shoot for -- as is finding another Piazza among the leftovers. But Gasparino came away pleased.

"It's definitely what we would call an above-average outcome," Gasparino said. "We're really excited to hand them off to [Minor League director] Brandon Gomes."

Gasparino was well prepared when asked if he thought 39th-round pick Jordan Myrow, an outfielder at San Jacinto College in Texas, would turn out as well as the last player picked as a favor to the manager.

"I hope so," Gasparino said, knowing that Ben Wade picked Piazza as a favor to Tommy Lasorda, who grew up with Piazza's father, Vince.

Myrow's father, John, played with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts at UCLA. Jordan transferred to San Jacinto from UCLA.

As he has in each of his four Drafts with the Dodgers, Gasparino focused on college players.

"Money plays into it, but the underlying philosophy is that college players are probably a better asset," he said. "And they can get better. It gets understated, but they show up in the big leagues. We really believe in that play, and we go to it a lot."

But while 34 of the 40 picks were college players, two of the first four picks -- first-rounder J.T. Ginn and fourth-rounder Braydon Fisher -- were right-handed high school pitchers. In total, the Dodgers drafted 19 pitchers and 21 position players.

Ginn was the primary target. Gasparino compared him to Toronto's Marcus Stroman and Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. Ginn was named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Mississippi and has a commitment to attend Mississippi State University.

Gasparino rolled the dice with his second pick, right-hander Michael Grove from West Virginia University, who missed the 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Video: Draft 2018: Dodgers draft RHP Michael Grove No. 68

Gasparino used Walker Buehler as an example of the club's success in returning Tommy John patients to pre-surgery performance levels. Buehler had Tommy John surgery shortly after he was Gasparino's first pick out of Vanderbilt in 2015.

The Dodgers' top pick on Day 2 was John Rooney, a left-hander from Hofstra University, who figures to be fast-tracked as either a starter or reliever.

Video: Draft 2018: Dodgers draft LHP Rooney No. 104

Topping the Dodgers' Day 3 picks was 11th-rounder Stephen Kolek, a right-hander from Texas A&M (Ross Stripling's alma mater). Kolek's brother, Tyler, was the second overall player taken in the 2014 Draft by the Marlins. Gasparino sees him as a starter.

The 12th-rounder was catcher Hunter Feduccia from LSU, who has recovered from breaking both hands to be a plus receiver, Gasparino said.

Possibly the most intriguing pick on Wednesday was outfielder Jeremiah Vison from Golden West College in California. He's listed at 148 pounds and 5-foot-5, which Gasparino said "might be stretching it."

"But we think he's the fastest player in the Draft, and we just love the player and the energy he brings," Gasparino said.

Vison has a commitment to attend Abilene Christian.

Among other interesting Dodgers Day 3 draftees: 14th-round Washington high school pick Brandon White is 6-foot-8; 15th-round pitcher Julian Smith of Catawba Valley Community College had Tommy John surgery in 2014; 17th-round outfielder Aldrich De Jongh from Hillsborough Community College is a speedy outfielder from Curacao, also the home of Kenley Jansen; 18th-round outfielder Niko Hulsizer from Morehead State missed time this season with a broken hand; and 20th-round pitcher Caleb Sampen from Wright State is the son of former Major League pitcher Bill Sampen.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers