Dodgers Draft Report
Dodgers draft goes according to plan
LOS ANGELES--The Dodgers, who had three of the first 31 picks in the draft, used their first one on high school lefthander Clayton Kershaw
out of Highland Park, Texas.
Unlike last year, when the club entered a prolonged negotiation with top pick Luke Hochevar
that ultimately led the club nowhere and Hochevar into this year’s top overall pick by Kansas City, the Dodgers are expected to sign Kershaw quickly to a bonus of somewhere between $2.1-$2.4 million.
"My reaction is that I am unbelievably excited,” Kershaw said. "It's a thrill to be part of the Dodgers organization. As far as completing (negotiations), it won’t take too long."
Kershaw, whom the Dodgers took with the seventh overall pick, has a scholarship offer from Texas A&M and is being advised by agent J.D. Smart
The club used the 26th overall pick on Bryan Morris
, a righty who spent this season as a freshman at Motlow (Tenn.) Community College after failing to sign with Tampa Bay, which drafted him in the third round last season. The Dodgers then took Preston Mattingly
, a high school shortstop out of Evansville, Ind., and the son of New York Yankees legend Don Mattingly
, with the 31st pick.
Morris is expected to get between $1.1-$1.4 million, and Mattingly between $900,000 and $1.1 million. Together, those three picks shouldn’t cost the Dodgers much more than the amount that had been sought by Hochevar, who spurned a $2.98 million offer last September.
"I feel as good as I have in any of the drafts since I have been here," said White, who has overseen the Dodgers’ past five drafts. "I don’t want to say we got every player we wanted, but we hoped we would get the combination of Kershaw, Morris and Mattingly. This was the best-case scenario going into it, and we got it."
Kershaw, whom Baseball America rated as the sixth-best overall prospect and top high school pitcher in the draft, is Highland Park’s all-time leader in victories and went 12-0, 0.77 as a senior, striking out 139 batters in 64 innings while allowing only 52 to reach base.
During his lone season at Motlow State, Morris led all junior college pitchers with a 0.91 ERA, striking out 108 batters in 79 innings.
"He reminds me of John Smoltz," White said. "He's a great competitor with a plus fastball and a late power curveball."
Mattingly will begin his professional career at second base, but White didn’t rule out the possibility he could play short or third. A basketball player who received Division I scholarship offers, Mattingly is said to be more athletic than his father.
"The major difference is I'm a lot faster than my dad was,” said Mattingly, who unlike his father is a righthanded hitter. "I'm a lot bigger, too, maybe three or four inches. We're kind of similar in the way we hit. We obviously hit from different sides of the plate, but we get our hands to the ball the same way."DODGER BLUES
• The Dodgers took a 14th-round flier on righthander Alex White
, who has a scholarship offer from his home state school of North Carolina and who White admitted probably won’t sign.
• The first Canadian off the board, outfielder Kyle Orr
, went to the Dodgers in the fourth round.