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Dodgers 2002 Draft Overview

By Bill Ballew
May 18, 2002

Scouting Director: Logan White (first year: 2002).

2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 17th)
1. Ben Diggins, rhp, Arizona.
2. Joe Hanrahan, rhp, Norwalk (Iowa) Community HS.
3. Jeff Tibbs, rhp, Davis HS, Farmington, Utah.

2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 24th)
1. (Choice to Braves as compensation for free agent Andy Ashby).
2. Brian Pilkington, rhp, Santiago HS, Garden Grove, Calif.
3. David Taylor, rhp, Southlake HS, Clermont, Fla.

2002 Draft
Dodgers pick 19th in rotation.

Overview
Since taking over last fall, new Dodgers general manager Dan Evans has emphasized the Dodgers' renewed emphasis on scouting and player development.

After spending time familiarizing himself with the talent on board by traveling to the organization's minor league clubs, Evans hired a host of respected evaluators and coaches over the winter, among them senior adviser John Boles, farm director Bill Bavasi and minor league field coordinator Terry Collins.

Evans also hired Logan White to handle the amateur scouting after departed scouting director Ed Creech guided the last three drafts. Evans and White, who had been Western crosschecker for the Orioles, are determined to build on the momentum gained from three solid drafts and several expensive international signings.

Recent drafts have focused more on need than anything else. The Dodgers drafts in 1997 and '98 were among the worst in draft history, crippling the farm system's depth. So Creech's first effort focused on adding high school athletes, with such position players as Jason Repko, Brennan King and Reggie Abercrombie. Pitching was the focal point in 2000, headed by righthanders Ben Diggins, Joel Hanrahan and Jeff Tibbs.

Having lost their first-round pick last year after signing free agent Andy Ashby, the Dodgers gambled in two ways, taking high school pitchers with their first six selections, followed by a couple of two-sport athletes. They took Cedric Benson, a raw outfielder with outstanding power, in the 12th round, but his future appears to be on the gridiron after an impressive freshman season as a running back at Texas. Ninth-rounder Sean Pierce, an outfielder and wide receiver at San Diego State, has devoted himself to baseball full-time and shows great promise.

The result of several bad drafts followed by a couple of good ones is a farm system with talent in the lower levels, especially in pitching, but only a few potential contributors, such as outfielder Chin-Feng Chen, in the upper levels.

With the Dodgers still rebuilding depth in the organization, White's first draft figures to center even more on athletes and young pitchers. With the first pick, though, the Dodgers are focusing on a bat.

With college position players so down this year, a high school player seems a likely choice, but it's hard to say who will be available in this spot. Several Dodgers officials did check out Prince Fielder during spring training, but other possibilities will depend on what other teams do.

Also watch for White in the later rounds, when he could go for a few players who fall because of their bonus demands or college commitments. With the Dodgers' money, some of those gambles could pay off.

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