2016 Draft Report Card: Los Angeles Dodgers
Best Pure Hitter: SS Gavin Lux (1), the Dodgers’ top pick, has a pretty swing from the left side and showed enough speed, barrel awareness and pop to project as an above-average hitter. The Wisconsin prep product have to continue to show he can handle advanced pitching.
Best Power: OFs D.J. Peters (4) and Cody Thomas (13) both flirt with 70-grade power. Peters’ track record is much longer, as Thomas has played a lot of football as an amateur, and they combined for 29 homers with Rookie-level Ogden this summer.
Fastest Runner: Speed was a feature of this draft class, with OF Bryan Morales (15) the fastest of a group of 70 runners that includes SS Kevin Lachance (10) and OFs Saige Jenco (24) and Darien Tubbs (16).
Best Defensive Player: The Dodgers thought highly of C Will Smith (1) for his job handling Louisville’s high-octane, diverse staff in the spring, but Smith still impressed them after signing with both his receiving and throwing. He’s a plus athlete and above-average runner, rare for a catcher.
Best Fastball: While RHP Jordan Sheffield (1s) throws hard, up to 97-98, RHP Mitchell White (2) has the better fastball. It sits 91-96, with spikes of 97, with excellent finish and life. White locates his fastball well and has a chance to pitch with a 70 fastball as a starter.
Best Secondary Pitch: RHP Dustin May (3) stands out for his long reddish hair and plus slider. When he repeats his delivery, it’s a consistent swing-and-mis pitch. White has flashed plus with both his curveball and cutter-like slider, with the curve the better pitch as a pro so far. He throws both breaking balls with power.
Best Pro Debut: White roared out of the gate with 30 strikeouts in 22 innings without giving up an earned run over three stops, finishing at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Thomas hit 19 homers overall in two Rookie-ball stops, batting .297/.382/.621 in 232 at-bats, though he struck out 87 times.
Best Athlete: Drafted twice before this year, Peters moves well and has power-speed potential at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds.
Background: LHP Devin Smeltzer (5) survived a bout with cancer in his abdomen when he was just 9, though he’s been in remission since 2012. He remains active in cancer charities. Thomas played in 10 games as an Oklahoma quarterback, accounting for nearly 500 total yards and throwing two touchdown passes. Sheffield’s brother Justus pitches for the Yankees after being traded for Andrew Miller.
Closest To The Majors: White signed for a below-slot bonus, giving the Dodgers flexibility, but has jumped on the fast track.
Best Late-Round Pick: Thomas edges out 2B/3B Brandon Montgomery (26), a scrappy but athletic infielder who hit .329/.377/.636 with Ogden.
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The One Who Got Away: RHP Graham Ashcraft (12) has hit 99 mph and led the state of Alabama with 16 homers as a prep junior. His raw tools could make him a first-rounder after three seasons at Mississippi State.