Dodgers Focus On Pitching In 2021 Draft
Every time scouting director Billy Gasparino looked at the Dodgers' board during this year's draft, his eyes were drawn to the same place.
The Dodgers took pitchers with 17 of their 19 picks, including the first 14 in a row.
"It really surprised us here a little bit," Gasparino said. "There definitely wasn't any intent. It just kind of kept happening and happening and happening. And you look up at the total and you're like, 'Oh my God. We took all pitchers.'
"It does show you just how talent-focused we are. The position and need just doesn't really factor at all."
Gasparino said the position players the Dodgers had rated highly on their board were gone by the time the Dodgers' pick came around and that "the middle-ground position player group just wasn't really attractive to us."
There were a couple factors playing into that. For one, Gasparino said, the Dodgers feel very good about the position players in their most recent group of international signings. And projecting hitters for success in an era of dominant pitching is a challenge.
"Hitting is really hard right now," Gasparino said. "So there's a little bit of subconscious—you understand the degree of difficulty it takes, and then trying to match guys who can do it sometimes is a tough combination. So I think that's a bigger element just realizing the bar for hitting at the major league level is so high."
Among the pitchers the Dodgers drafted are first-round Alabama high school lefthander Maddux Bruns, third-round Maryland prep righthander Peter Heubeck and Oklahoma State lefty Justin Wrobleski, taken in the 11th round despite having Tommy John surgery in May.
"From a talent standpoint, he's an athletic lefty up to 95 (mph) with a plus curveball," Gasparino said. "We thought he was maybe in the top five-rounds talent range that we were able to get in the 11th round.
— High-A Great Lakes pitched the first no-hitter in the franchise's 15-year history against Lake County in July. The no-hitter was a combined effort of four pitchers. The Dodgers' second-round pick in 2020, Clayton Beeter, walked one and struck out three in the first two innings. Their first-round pick in 2020, Bobby Miller, followed with five hitless innings, walking one and striking out seven. Jake Cantleberry and Cameron Gibbens finished off the final two innings.
— Catcher Keibert Ruiz was one of the hottest hitters in Triple-A West in July. Ruiz had a three-homer game in which he just missed a fourth home run and settled for a double instead. In a six-game stretch, he hit .444 with four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs.