Dodgers Draft Report Card

Analyzing Los Angeles' 2008 draft class




QUICK TAKE
Healthy again by instructional league, Ethan Martin could take the same quick development path as former Dodgers high school first-rounders Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. Lindblom could pay off quickly, while Russell, Gordon and Delmonico are intriguing position players.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: 2B Tony Delmonico's (6) polish showed when he batted .340/.443/.716 at Rookie-level Ogden. The Dodgers tried him at catcher in instructional league. SS Devaris Gordon (4) is much more raw, but he still managed to hit .331/.371/.430 at Ogden.  >>  BEST POWER HITTER: OF Kyle Russell (3) led NCAA Division I with a 28 homers in 2007 and set the Texas career mark with 57. He has a propensity for striking out, but he did go deep 11 times in his pro debut.  >>  FASTEST RUNNER: Gordon has top-of-the-line speed and stole 18 bases in 60 pro games. He flew under the radar of many clubs because he was academically ineligible during the spring at Seminole (Fla.) CC.  >>  BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Gordon, who has tremendous actions and range at shortstop.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: RHPs Ethan Martin (1), Josh Lindblom (2) and Nathan Eovaldi (11) all range from 90-96 mph. Lindblom has the best fastball life and command. Martin, the first high school pitcher taken in June, has yet to debut after tearing the meniscus in his right knee during a fielding drill in a postdraft minicamp.  >>  BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Martin has a power curveball that arrives at 80-81 mph with good depth and tilt.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Lindblom gets the nod over Delmonico and Gordon for reaching Double-A in his first summer. He posted a 2.12 ERA and a 37-5 K-BB ratio in 34 innings.  >>  BEST ATHLETE: Martin initially captured attention as an athletic, power-hitting third baseman. As a position player, he would have been drafted in the first two rounds.  >>  MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Gordon is the son of Phillies reliever Tom Gordon. Other draftees with big league relatives include 3B Austin Yount (12), whose father Larry made one appearance and whose uncle Robin is a Hall of Famer; 2B/OF Brian Ruggiano (23), whose brother Justin is a Rays outfielder; and LHP Jonathan Runnels (29), whose grandfather Pete won two American League batting titles.  >>  CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Though Lindblom had more success as a reliever at Purdue, the Dodgers plan on developing him as a starter. He'll still begin 2009 in Double-A and could reach the majors by the end of the season. LHP Cole St. Clair (7) hasn't regained the plus stuff he had before hurting his shoulder in 2007, but his still-solid arsenal and competitiveness could get him to the big league bullpen in a hurry.  >>  BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery in May 2007 but rushed back for his senior season. His signability was in question but the Dodgers got him for $250,000.  >>  THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Power-hitting 3B Zack Cox (20) was a top-two-rounds talent who was intent on attending Arkansas.