Latest Expert Predictions on Who Los Angeles Dodgers Will Draft
While most Los Angeles sports fans are still frustrated at the Lakers' fortunes in last week's NBA draft lottery, the hometown baseball team has its own draft coming up in less than two weeks.
Last year, the team chose right-handed pitcher Chris Anderson out of Jacksonville University with the 18th pick.
Los Angeles has always been a team that prides itself on pitching. Fifteen of the Dodgers' last 20 first-round picks have been pitchers, so it would not be surprising to see the trend continue.
Still, that doesn't mean the Dodgers will have a problem drafting a position player if the right opportunity presents itself.
Based on expert projections and various mock drafts, the following slides take a look at some players the Dodgers are likely to target come next week.
Honorable Mention: RHP Erick Fedde, UNLV
If the Dodgers are willing to take a risk in the first round, UNLV's Erick Fedde could be their guy.
A potential top-10 pick heading into May, Fedde's draft stock took a nosedive when Aaron Fitt of Baseball America confirmed the right-hander needed Tommy John surgery.
Before being shut down, Fedde was arguably one of the best pitchers in college baseball. He had struck out 82 batters while walking just 21 en route to a 1.76 ERA. The .209 batting average against was equally impressive.
Besides a plus fastball that can reach the mid-90s, Fedde throws a slider in the low 80s that also projects as a plus pitch to go along with a changeup.
The general track record of recovery from Tommy John surgery is encouraging, which means Fedde could end up as highway robbery for the Dodgers if he is available at No. 22 and all goes according to plan.
CF Derek Hill, Elk Grove HS (California)
Although Derek Hill is not a pitcher, he is a player the Dodgers may be interested in drafting.
The right-handed batter and thrower is the son of the Dodgers' northern California area scout Orsino Hill, who played 12 seasons in the minor leagues with seven different organizations.
Hill is considered to be one of the best pure center fielders in the draft, per Dodgers Digest's Dustin Nosler.
His elite defense and running ability are what has separated him from the pack. Hill's 6.44-second 60-yard dash was the eighth-fastest time for a 2014 draft-eligible high school player, per Perfect Game's Patrick Ebert.
Of course, speed can only get players so far if they can't hit, and Hill's bat remains the big question mark.
There's not much power in his 170-pound frame, but the Dodgers will hope to bulk Hill up if they do make him their first-round pick.
RHP Spencer Adams, White County HS (Georgia)
Another prep prospect linked to the Dodgers is right-hander Spencer Adams out of Georgia's White County High School.
Baseball America's John Manuel has Adams going to Los Angeles in his most recent mock draft, citing Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White's "affinity for athletic high school pitchers."
Another indication that the Dodgers might go with Adams may be a testament to the team's new national cross-checker, Roy Clark. The Dodgers hired Clark last November after his scouting success in the Atlanta area among other places.
Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel ranked the 6'5", 190-pound righty as the fifth-best draft prospect in the state of Georgia. Adams, armed with a low to mid-90s fastball and plus slider, has committed to play baseball at the University of Georgia.
As a three-sport star in high school, Adams has the necessary athleticism to thrive at the big league level. While his fastball rarely touches 95 miles per hour, his frame is such that he could add velocity as he fills out and further develops his mechanics in the minor leagues.
SS Jacob Gatewood, Clovis HS (California)
Just like the aforementioned Derek Hill, shortstop Jacob Gatewood is another high school position player from California who could end up in Los Angeles.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has the Dodgers taking the 6'4", 190-pound product out of Clovis High School at No. 22.
The 17-year-old, who has committed to play at USC, possesses what Mayo calls "electric bat speed."
Gatewood's potential was on full display at last August's Area Code Baseball Games, where he clobbered a home run to center field that traveled an estimated 430 feet, per Mayo.
The lanky shortstop has plenty of room to fill out his frame, but his quick hands and smooth swing have helped produce the plus bat speed to go along with the raw power, according to Baseball America's Clint Longenecker.
And like Hill, Gatewood has family ties to the Dodgers organization.
His father, Henry Gatewood, played four seasons as a catcher in the Dodgers system before being dealt to Minnesota in 1986. He reached as high as Double-A with the Twins a year later.
“He’s been my hitting coach, my defense coach, my everything,” said Gatewood of his father during an interview with Perfect Game's Sam Brazenas.
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