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Dodgers Add Well-Rounded Jonny DeLuca To 40-Man



The Dodgers added four players to their 40-man roster on Nov. 15 to shield them from Rule 5 draft selection.

The names Diego Cartaya, Michael Busch and Andy Pages were familiar, the fourth—24-year-old outfielder Jonny DeLuca—not as much.

“A good power-and-zone-control combo," Dodgers farm director Will Rhymes said. "Really good defense. And he’s one of the fastest guys in our system.

“So it’s a really well-rounded game. He does a lot of things really well . . . We’re really excited about him. He’s a heckuva player.”

In college at Oregon, DeLuca set the freshman program record with six home runs, then played all 56 games in center field as a sophomore.

The Dodgers drafted him in the 25th round in 2019. He debuted with 26 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League and then—like so many minor league players—disappeared until 2021.

DeLuca split 2021 between Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and High-A Great Lakes, combining to hit 22 home runs with 20 stolen bases in 101 games. In 2022, he was limited to 98 games by an oblique injury but still hit 25 home runs and batted .260/.347/.541 for Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa.

“He’s slugged over .500 both of the last two seasons and his OPS has been almost .900 both years, while only striking out less than 20%,” Rhymes said of the statistics that jump out with Deluca. “I think it’s a combination of power and low (strikeouts), while taking his walks that do jump out."

DeLuca’s ability to control the strike zone was one his most attractive assets coming out of college. He has maintained that as a pro with a 10% walk rate and strikeout rate just shy of 17%.

A switch-hitter in college, DeLuca has batted strictly righthanded since signing with the Dodgers, leading to some unfavorable splits against same-handed pitchers. But Rhymes sees that evening out with more at-bats.

“He killed lefties,” Rhymes said. “We think there’s a really well-balanced hitter in there if he smooths some things out against righthanded pitching.”

LA CONFIDENTIAL

— The Dodgers claimed outfielder/third baseman Luke Williams on waivers from the Marlins, then non-tendered him a week later. Through 13 games in the Dominican League, Williams went 12-for-41 (.293) start (.293) and could re-sign with the Dodgers on a minor league deal.

— Shortstop Jacob Amaya had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, batting .333 in 54 at-bats with three home runs and three doubles in 19 games. The Dodgers already consider Amaya’s defensive game ready for the major leagues.

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2017 MLB Draft Position Rankings: Outfielders

The outfield class is deep and talented for 2017, as usual.

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