Dodgers 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Los Angeles Keeps Striking Gold
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 RECORD: 106-56
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The Dodgers have become baseball’s model franchise as an annual World Series contender with a perennially loaded farm system. After graduating Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler in consecutive years, the Dodgers still have impact position players (Gavin Lux) and pitchers (Dustin May) at the top of their system and a bottomless well of depth below it, allowing them to call up difference-making rookies or swing blockbuster trades at will.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger (fourth round, 2013). The Dodgers have lots of options for best draft pick, but Bellinger stands above the rest. He’s won an MVP award, a Rookie of the Year award, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger all by age 24 and is one of baseball’s brightest stars. Seager, Buehler and Joc Pederson would represent the top pick of the decade for almost any other team.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Chris Anderson (first round, 2013). The Dodgers made Anderson the 18th overall pick in 2013, but he never mastered his control problems and topped out at Triple-A (where he allowed 14 hits and nine walks in 6.1 innings). The Dodgers released him prior to the 2017 season.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Catcher and righthanded pitcher. The Dodgers have one of baseball’s best young catchers in Will Smith, top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz waiting in Triple-A and lauded international signee Diego Cartaya on the cusp of his full-season debut at age 18. The long-term job is Smith’s to lose, but the Dodgers have options if he falters. May, Tony Gonsolin and Josiah Gray are three of baseball’s best righthanded pitching prospects and there are a large collection of high-octane arms behind them, headlined by Dennis Santana, Mitchell White, Andre Jackson and Gerardo Carrillo.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Lefthanded pitcher. The Dodgers have a storied history of lefthanded aces from Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Clayton Kershaw, but there aren’t many southpaws currently on the way. Julio Urias has yet to show he can stay healthy or manage a starter’s workload, while the farm system is short on potential impact lefthanders. Robinson Ortiz, John Rooney and Victor Gonzalez each have promise, but they project more as complimentary contributors.
DRAFT TRENDS: Seven of the Dodgers’ nine first-round picks under scouting director Billy Gasparino have been used to select college players. The organization’s preference for players from the Southeast predates even the current regime. Beginning with Corey Seager in 2012, 11 of the Dodgers’ last 12 first-round picks have come from southeastern states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana).