Dodgers' 2004 Draft Ranked First in N.L.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' 2004 First-Year Player Draft was ranked as the best in the National League and second-best in the Majors behind Minnesota in the Baseball America Draft Report Card issue, dated Nov. 8-21. Each year in its annual Report Card issue, Baseball America polls scouting directors, scouts and farm directors to break down the draft for all 30 Major League teams.

For the third consecutive season, the Dodgers' draft, under the direction of Logan White, Director of Amateur Scouting, has been ranked among the best in baseball. In White's three seasons, the Dodgers draft was ranked fourth in 2002, first in 2003 and second this season. The Dodgers are the only team to have their draft rated in the top five in each of the last three years and only one other organization (Toronto) has been named in the top five twice.

"Any honor such as this is always the product of a number of different people, from ownership to the front office all they way down to the field," said White. "But when it is all said and done, it comes down to our scouts and we have some of the best."

First baseman Cory Dunlap, the Dodgers' third-round selection in the June 2004 First-Year Player Draft, was rated as having the top season by a junior college player from the draft after his All-Star season playing for Rookie-level Ogden in the Pioneer League. The left-handed batter led the league in on-base percentage (.492) and walks (68) and finished second in the league with a .351 batting average. Dunlap also topped Ogden in hits (86) and RBI (53). He played high school baseball with Florida Marlins' pitcher Dontrelle Willis and led California community colleges with a .523 average at Contra Costa College in the spring.

Third baseman Blake DeWitt, the Dodgers' second first-round selection and 28th overall pick of the draft, was rated by Baseball America as having the fourth-best season by a 2004 high school draft pick. DeWitt, who played shortstop for Sikeston H.S in Missouri, made a smooth transition to third base as a professional and batted .284 with 19 doubles, 12 home runs, 47 RBI and a team-leading 61 runs scored for Ogden.

Other players from the Dodgers' 2004 First-Year Player Draft that enjoyed strong first seasons include fourth-round selection Javier Guerra who went 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA pitching for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Dodgers and was named the Dodgers' Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August, sixth-round selection Daniel Batz, who batted .335 for Ogden, 11th-round selection Chris Westervelt, who batted .341 for Ogden, and 40th-round pick Brandon Carter, who hit .386 in 25 games for Ogden.

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