First Round Pick Clayton Kershaw Signs

The Dodgers agreed in principle with right-hander Clayton Kershaw less than two weeks after selecting him with their first pick, seventh overall, in this year's amateur draft. Terms were not disclosed, but Kershaw, a left-hander out of Highland Park High School in suburban Dallas, is believed to have agreed on a $2.3 million signing bonus spred over two years.

Kershaw was the seventh player taken in the June 6 amateur draft and turned down a scholarship to Texas A&M to begin his pro career. He was considered the top high school pitcher in the draft and was the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

The 18-year-old is 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, with a 92-mph fastball and a legitimate curveball. He suffered a strained oblique muscle in his regular-season finale. To that point, he was 9-0 with a 0.45 ERA, 109 strikeouts and 22 walks in 46 innings.

Baseball America rated Kershaw as the No. 6 player available overall, the No. 5 pitcher and the high school pitcher with the best fastball.

"I try to pattern myself after Johan Santana of the Twins," said Kershaw. "He's as close to a left-handed power pitcher as you can get."

"I'm excited for Clayton and his family that he is ready to sign and get his career started," Dodgers scouting director Logan White said. "I compare him to Dave Righetti. He throws from a high angle, has a power fastball, a good curveball and a feel for a changeup. He's got a natural delivery and he's a great makeup kid."

"He reminds me a lot of Chad Billingsley's situation a few years ago. Hopefully, Clayton will take a similar path to Chad's.

"It's amazing how fast these kids can actually get to the big leagues and contribute out of high school if their hearts are set on becoming major-league ballplayers."

The first time White watched the 6-foot-4 Kershaw pitch, he struck out all 15 batters he faced May 19. Kershaw was 12-0 with 139 strikeouts in 64 innings, throwing a fastball 96 mph and utilizing a hard slider.

Billingsley, the Dodgers' first- round pick in 2003, made his major-league debut Thursday at San Diego, pitching 5.1 strong innings.

Kershaw is scheduled to report to the Dodgers' Gulf Coast League affiliate in Vero Beach. But first, he will visit Dodger Stadium for Tuesday night's game with Seattle, along with first-round sandwich pick Preston Mattingly, a shortstop from Evansville Central High who signed last week for $1 million. Mattingly is the son of Yankees hitting instructor Don Mattingly, the 1985 American League MVP.

The Dodgers now have signed six of their top seven picks at a total cost of $4.025 million. Hochevar, who demanded $4 million from the Dodgers and who re-entered the draft and was the first overall selection by Kansas City, still hasn't signed with the Royals.

2B Tommy Giles, Miami, and 1B Andy D'Alesio, Clemson, and their teams are playing in the College World Series.
Dodger Draft Class of 2006

Round  Player  Position  School  State    
 1  *Clayton Kershaw  lhp  Highland HS, Dallas  TX        
 2  *Bryan Morris  rhp  Motlow State CC  TN    
 3  *Preston Mattingly  ss  Evansville HS  IN    
 4  *Kyle Orr  1b  Lambrick Park, Victoria, B.C.  
 5  *Kyle Smit  rhp  Spanish Springs HS, Sparks NV    
 6  *Garrett White  lhp  Mississippi  MI    
 7  *Jamie Ortiz  1b  San Alfonso HS, Guayama PR    
 8  Tommy Giles  of  Miami  FL    
 9  Bridger Hunt  3b  Central Missouri State  MO    
10  Andy D'Alessio  1b  Clemson  SC    
11  *Justin Fuller  ss  Lewis-Clark St College  ID    
12  Paul Coleman  lhp  Pepperdine  CA    
13  Nicholas Akins  ss  Los Angeles HS  CA    
14  Alex White  rhp  Conley HS, Greenville NC    
15  Gorman Erickson  c  Westview HS, San Diego  CA    
16  Justin Coats  ss  Texas HS, Texarkana TX    
17  *Michael Rivera  2b  Tennessee  TN    
18  *Joe Jones  rhp  Portland  OR    
19  Martin Beno  rhp  Gulf Coast JC  MS    
20  *Billy Bullock  rhp  Riverview HS  FL    
21  *Matthew Berezay  of  Pacific  CA    
22  *Chris Jensen  of  UCLA  CA    
23  Eric Thompson  rhp  Roseburg  HS  OR    
24  *John Martin  c  Emporia State  KS    
25  *Esteban Lopez  c  Hawaii  HI    
26  Kody Kaiser  2b  Oklahoma  OK    
27  A.J. Casario  c  Overbrook HS, Pine Hill NJ    
28  Taylor Lewis  rhp  Canyon HS, Oro Valley AZ    
29  Roberto Perez  c  Eugenio de Hostos HS  PR    
30  Alex Burkard  lhp  Milton HS, Alpharetta GA    
31  Jonathan Wilson  3b  St. Charles HS  MO    
32  Jordan Kopycinski  c  St.Thomas HS, Houston TX    
33  Kurt Bradley  2b  Northern Iowa  IA    
34  Luke Yoder  of  Liberty HS, Bakersfield CA    
35  Nick Buss  of  San Diego Mesa JC  CA    
36  Robert Taylor  c  Laredo (Texas) CC  TX    
37  Anthony Benner  3b  Southwestern JC  CA    
38  Kameron Forte  c  Texas HS, Texarkana, TX    
39  Jake Debus  lhp  Moraine Valley (Ill.) CC  IL    
40  Chris Jones  ss  Redan HS, Stone Mountain GA    
41  Todd McCraw  c  St James HS, Myrtle Beach SC    
42  Joe Dispensa  of  St. Rita HS, Chicago  IL    
43  Jordan Chambless  rhp  Texas A&M  TX    
44  Aaron Barrett  rhp  Evansville HS,   IN    
45  Greg Hendrix  lhp  North Atlanta HS  GA    
46  Ryan Aguayo  2b  Servite HS, Anaheim  CA    
47  Brett Sowers  3b Cherry Creek HS, Englewood CO    
48  Tanner Biagini  3b  Conley HS, Greenville NC    
49  Paul Goldschmidt  1b  The Woodlands HS  TX    
50  Kurt Benton  of  West Stanly HS, Oakboro, N.C.