Dodgers News: Recapping LA’s 2020 Draft Picks and Predicting their Arrival Date
The Dodgers have often found success from the MLB Draft in recent years under Andrew Friedman and Director of Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino. They’ve been able to draft players like Walker Buehler, Will Smith, Dustin May, Gavin Lux, the list goes on. While Friedman has gotten a lot of criticism from fans about being too stingy with prospects, although not true at all, he has helped to transform the Dodgers into a perennial contender while also maintaining one of the best farm systems across Major League Baseball.
The duo set out to continue that trend and replenish a farm system that has either traded away players or have seen them be promoted to the big league club. A big believer in not having too much pitching, Friedman and the Dodgers selected four college arms and two position players. With the shutdown on a minor league season and abrupt ending of collegiate baseball, each player lost a year to develop so we tacked on an extra year before they arrive in the big leagues if they are to sign with the team.
1st round, 29th Overall: Bobby Miller RHP, Louisville
The Dodgers have had a lot of success in developing their pitchers and don’t usually shy away from projects to work on. With that, it wasn’t a surprise that they took right-hander Bobby Miller, who many analysts said had the best upside in the draft, out of Louisville after he impressed the College baseball world by almost throwing a no-hitter in the 2019 Super Regionals against East Carolina. Even with that performance and his production at Louisville, he doesn’t quite have smooth mechanics which questions his ability to become a starter but the Dodgers have the depth and time to allow Miller to prove to them he’s the real deal.
2nd round, 60th Overall: Landon Knack RHP, East Tennesse
Their second pick, right-hander Landon Knack didn’t play in a big baseball conference like Bobby Miller but that shouldn’t be a Knack (pun intended) on his talent. He has a career 2.29 ERA in 122 innings of college ball under his belt and led all of Division I this year with 51 strikeouts and wait for it, only one walk. While Knack doesn’t have electric stuff like Miller, it can still miss bats thanks in part to his great command. If Knack can translate that to professional ball he could move up rather quickly.
Competitive Balance Round 66th Overall: Clayton Beeter RHP, Texas Tech
I thought there was only room for one Clayton in this organization, clearly, I was wrong. Clayton Beeter has had a journey that saw him come back from Tommy John, to be used as an effective closer his freshman year, to Texas Tech’s No. 1 starter armed with a solid three plus pitches that can be hard for hitters to read out of his hand. Many believed Beeter could have easily gone in the first round but having already undergone multiple elbow surgeries his stock fell. The Dodgers didn’t shy away from the risk as the last one they took worked out pretty well since they have an ace in the making with Walker Buehler. LA might take it easy with Beeter which should slow down his arrival time.
3rd round, 100th Overall: Jake Vogel OF, Huntington Beach High School
While many players don’t get the chance to be drafted by their hometown teams, that seemed to happen for Jake Vogel after being drafted 100th overall in the third round. The Huntington Beach native is one of, if not the fastest guy in the draft who has been graded high run times. Although undersized at 5’11, his smooth right-handed swing accompanied by some pop has convinced most that he can hit at the next level. The Dodgers haven’t been known to steal many bases over the past couple of years and could use a player like Vogel. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in center field, let’s also hope it allows him to give the club an eventual threat on the bases.
4th round, 130th Overall: Carson Taylor C, Virginia Tech
The switch-hitting catcher received a big chunk of playing time as a freshman in 2019 putting up a decent stat line of .290/.389/.413 in 138 at-bats (37 games). However, this year he came out swinging at hot bat hitting over .400 while matching his home run total (2) and exceeding his RBI total in only 16 games. Taylor has a good feel for the strike zone that has allowed him to walk (32) more than he strikes out (26). The Dodgers have loaded up on catching prospects that past couple of years already promoting one in Will Smith with another fellow switch hitter in Keibert Ruiz in Triple A. Taylor’s arm and receiving skills haven’t been graded well so it’s questionable as to why Dodgers drafted him. Then again they have a knack (pun number 2) for seeing the upside in players.
5th round: 159th Overall: Gavin Stone RHP, Central Arkansas
Seems like the Dodgers were following a trend here by not only nabbing college arms but pitchers with high strikeout-to-walk-ratios. With 2 1/2 years of college ball under his belt, Stone didn’t start off his first year well after posting a 5.33 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. The 6’1 pitcher is armed with three average pitches that include a low 90s fastball, changeup, and a breaking ball. He improved in 2019 with a 1.52 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. Most notably he finished out his shortened 2020 season by throwing a no-hitter against Southeastern Louisiana.