Some may say it's too early to truly evaluate a draft class that's existed for just two months. While that's partly true, I believe decisions should be judged based on what went into making them, not simply the results. So, without waxing philosophical any further, here's a look at the Dodgers top 10 draft picks from this year's draft.
Round 1 - Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
Early in the spring, Anderson looked like a potential top 10 pick, showing three quality pitches and a strong, durable frame. However, as the college season wore on, Chris wore down due to overuse by his coaching staff and his draft value dropped.
In his pro debut, Anderson has shown why he was once considered a top 10 talent. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90s, touching the high 90s and showcases good life. His slider is short with late, hard bite and already leads to plenty of swings and misses. Even his changeup rates as at least above average, giving him a third legitimate weapon.
Anderson's mechanics are solid and there are no major red flags. However, he does need to work on his command and control. Thru his first 31 pro innings, he's walked 17 batters, though 14 of them have come against lefties. This leads me to believe his control issues are more mental and approach-oriented rather than a mechanical issue and should be fixable.
He wasn't atop my board, but the Dodgers get a potential #2 starter (if he can improve his command) or, at worst, a late-inning reliever. He's young for the class, as he turned 21 in late July. Despite coming out of college, this looks like a quintessential Logan White pick.
Round 2 - Tom Windle, LHP, Minnesota
The Dodgers went back to back with college arms for the first time ever in 2013, popping a pair of Minnesota natives. While Anderson took his talents to Jacksonville, Windle stayed home and pitched for the Gophers.
Windle got mixed reviews this spring but still looked like he belonged in the top three rounds. The 6'4 lefty has a fastball that sits in the low 90s at its best and a wipeout slider, giving him two legitimate weapons. His changeup has some promise as well.
Looking at video of him earlier in the year, his arm action was rough in the back, though the Dodgers have focused on smoothing it out. He's shown the ability to keep the ball in the park in his debut and has thrown enough strikes, though his control could improve.
Some feel that Windle could be a #3 or #4 starter when all is said and done, while others believe he's destined for a big league bullpen. Either way, he should move quickly.
Round 3 - Brandon Dixon, 3B, Arizona
Yet another college pick, with the club popping Dixon out of the University of Arizona. Dixon was a late bloomer, just starting to hit in his junior year in college. He also showed good baserunning skills, swiping 30 bases this spring.
There are some questions about his defense at third and his ultimate offensive potential, though he has strength and bat speed. Brandon has struggled to hit in his debut but California native should be given time to adjust to pro ball.
Round 4 - Cody Bellinger, 1B, Arizona HS
The son of a former major leaguer, filling the Dodgers' quota, Cody is a big, lanky first baseman with some present power and plenty of room to add more.
The 6'4 southpaw is another pick who is young for his class, only turning 18 in July. He's posting reverse-platoon splits, hitting lefties better than righties, which is unique for a young hitter. There's some definite swing and miss in his game, as he's got long levers, but he's also drawing walks at an impressive rate. He's likely the Dodgers' best first base prospect not named O'Koyea Dickson.
Round 5 - J.D. Underwood, RHP, Florida JC
Underwood was a two-way star for his JuCo team this spring and would have been Miami's best hitter and pitcher had he gone to the Canes next year. However, he decided to sign and has the potential for three quality offerings as he develops.
Development is key, since he's new to pitching full time. He's gotten lit up in Ogden so far and needs to show that he's capable of missing bats. However, still 20, J.D. has time to develop.
Round 6 - Jacob Rhame, RHP, Texas JC
Another JuCo arm, Rhame opened the season as Ogden's closer and has relished the role. He uses his heavy, sinking fastball that sits in the mid 90s out of the pen and a slider to overwhelm hitters. He's not the biggest guy, but the stuff plays and he could be the first 2013 draftee to reach the majors.
Round 7 - Brandon Trinkwon, SS
A local boy, from Tustin, Brandon made waves with a strong 2012 season, his sophomore campaign. However, he struggled at the plate and his value dropped, though he still managed to be a top 10 round pick.
Trinkwon offers some offensive upside from the middle of the diamond. He plays shortstop right now but may eventually move to second, a position where the Dodgers could use some depth.
The UC Santa Barbara alum hit the ground running with Ogden, batting .362 in 33 games before a promotion to Great Lakes. His offense has stalled in A ball, though I believe he'll be able to handle the low minors over the next year or two.
Round 8 - Kyle Farmer, C
A shortstop in college, the Dodgers decided to move the former Georgia Bulldog behind the plate where his arm, athleticism and frame (6', 200 lbs) would be best suited. Growing pains are to be expected, as Farmer has never played the position before.
Kyle hasn't skipped a beat at the plate, hitting .319/.372/.504 thru his first 29 games. Behind it, he's surrendered 11 passed balls but also thrown out a respectable 38% of attempted basestealers. A senior sign, he'll take longer to develop due to the position change but has the tools to provide some value down the road.
Round 9 - Adam Law, 3B/OF
The first of a pair of signability picks, Law was a 23 year old senior out of BYU. Thru 41 games with the AZL Dodgers and the Ogden Raptors, Adam has hit .356 and played six different defensive positions. However, he's only played third base with Ogden, which seems to be where the Dodgers plan on developing him.
Round 10 - Nick Keener, RHP
The "Who?" pick of the Dodgers' draft, Keener was a relief pitcher out of Mansfield University. The Dodgers signed him for a few grand and sent him to the Arizona League where he's posted a 6.75 ERA in 9 games.
Anderson in the first was a bit of a surprise to me, but I've quickly warmed to the selection. It's apparent that he has a very good chance of having an impactful major league career, be it in the rotation or the bullpen. His future command, which is currently below average, will determine his ceiling.
Windle is another guy with a good shot at making the majors. A lefty with a low 90s fastball and a wipeout slider is something any club would crave. The development of his changeup and his health will control his destiny.
The rest of the top 10 is somewhat lackluster. The 2012 crop had lots of upside (Garcia, Chigbogu, Curletta, Alexander, Bird) as well as college guys who could move quickly (Paco, Stripling, Griggs). This year? Not so much.
The highest upside. outside of the top two picks, probably belongs to Bellinger, though high school first basemen are narrowly defined by their offensive skillsets and he's not a sure thing to hit. Rhame could move quickly, though the Dodgers aren't exactly short on power relief arms. Trinkwon is a personal pick to click, but his regression in his junior campaign is troubling.
Overall, after a draft class in 2012 that saw eight players rank in the following year's organizational top 20, I only see two (Anderson and Windle) cracking the list next time around. Hopefully, some of these guys and later round picks which I'll discuss in the near future, will prove me wrong.
Dodgers 2013 Draft Review: Part 1
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