Family connection led Dodgers to draft Goldy
LA scout knew D-backs' future All-Star would opt for college
LOS ANGELES -- Scan down the Dodgers' 2006 Draft pick list, 48 rounds after they took Clayton Kershaw, and there's a name recognizable for all the wrong reasons: Paul Goldschmidt.
Arizona took the future All-Star in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft out of Texas State University, but the Dodgers were on him three years earlier, when Goldschmidt was a lightly recruited third baseman for The Woodlands.
How did Goldschmidt hit the Dodgers' radar, and why did they let him get away and become a Dodger killer?
Goldschmidt wasn't going to sign coming out of high school that year and the Dodgers knew it. But they called his name as a nod to Dodgers scout Chris Smith, whose son, Derek, was another of Goldschmidt's teammates.
"Chris Smith's son and I played high school ball together and his other son played with my brother so he had seen me play for a long time," said Goldschmidt. "That's why I knew there was some interest, because it wasn't just a random guy calling, it was a friend of the family that had seen me play.
"We were still in playoffs so I was hitting after practice and my dad showed up, and I remember wondering what he was doing there. He said, 'The Dodgers just drafted you.' And I was like, 'Cool, can you throw me batting practice?' So, we just kept hitting.
"I don't even remember talking to anyone before the Draft. It's not like it was in college, when I pretty much knew I was going to get picked. In high school no one had really called before the Draft and I'm not even sure if I talked to the Dodgers."
Phillies first-round pick Kyle Drabek, a high school teammate, remembers being with Goldschmidt when Dad delivered the news.
"We just kind of laughed about it because we knew he was going to go to college," Drabek said.
Logan White, now a San Diego Padres executive, but then the Dodgers' scouting director, said the main reason the Dodgers picked Goldschmidt in 2006 was the scout's persistence, even though signing wasn't expected.
"We never really got close on that," White said.
White grouped the selection of Goldschmidt with his pick of other unsigned future stars like David Price and Mark Melancon in later rounds, knowing they wouldn't sign.
"It was during the Frank McCourt years and we weren't allowed to offer over slot [MLB-suggested bonus amounts]," said White. "But what I tried to do was always take the quality talent, with the hope that we would bolster our reputation for the day that something might change and we'd be allowed to go over slot.
White said he believes that "track record" led new ownership to pay over slot for players like Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger (2013, 4th round).
All that said, White doesn't give himself a total pass on Goldschmidt, who has 30 homers and 96 RBIs in 123 games against Los Angeles.
"If I have any regrets, it's missing Goldschmidt coming out of college," White said. "We dropped the ball. Chris Smith still liked him, had a real good feeling about him because he knew the kid so well and had followed him so long. Looking back, we should have taken him in the seventh round that year."