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Los Angeles Dodgers Draft Report Card

By David Rawnsley

Best Debut: SS Jason Repko (1) showed power and speed as a Rookie-level Pioneer League all-star. He almost reached double figures in doubles (9), triples (9), home runs (8) and stolen bases (12).

Best Athlete: OF Shane Victorino (6) was a Hawaii state high school sprint champion who had scholarship offers in football and soccer.

Best Hitter: 3B Brennan King (2) still must fill out his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame, but he has a smooth, level stroke. He hit .291-2-30 at Great Falls.

Best Power: OF Lamont Matthews (10) has a long swing, as evidenced by his 94 strikeouts this summer for short-season Yakima. But the lefthanded hitter also slammed 30 home runs for Oklahoma State and tied for the Northwest League lead with 17.

Fastest Runner: The Dodgers unquestionably had the fastest group of players in this year’s draft as they make a major push to add athleticism to their organization. Victorino and OF Chris Snow (21) were both high school sprint champions who run the 60 in 6.4 seconds. Repko is a click slower but is also sub-4.0 seconds to first base.

Best Defensive Player: King was a shortstop in high school but is expected to grow out of the middle infield. He has a plus arm and above-average range at third base. SS Joe Thurston (4) is a skilled defensive middle infielder.

Best Fastball: With all the attention the Dodgers paid to athletes, they didn’t find many hard-throwing pitchers. They found one in RHP Jonathan Berry (9), who can touch 92-93 mph.

Most Intriguing Background: Just after signing, C Jon Hale (13) broke his neck while swimming, but he suffered no neurological damage and should be completely healthy by spring training.

Closest to the Majors: Six-foot, 170-pound LHP Phil Devey (5) doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but throws a quality curveball for strikes.

The One That Got Away: Jack-of-all-trades Drew Meyer (2) will play shortstop as a freshman at South Carolina after playing center field and second base in leading Team USA to the World Junior Championship this summer.

Best Non-Draft Sign: OF Chin-Feng Chen, signed in January, was more than a novelty sign. He was the first Taiwanese player in the minors in nearly a quarter-century and already is one of the best hitting prospects in baseball. Los Angeles also signed prized Taiwanese LHP Hong-Chih Kuo this summer.

Summary: By signing free agents last offseason, the Dodgers gave up three premium picks. They also went for younger talent and the short-term result was predictable as the organization’s two short-season clubs finished last in their respective leagues. But they still were able to address some of the organization’s many needs.

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