An Overview of the Draft

"You can't have too much pitching" is a maxim heard around the game and one that certainly was echoed in the Dodger draft room on Thursday and Friday. They started with righthander Chris Withrow, a high schooler from Texas, as their first choice and before they were done they had chosen 16 more righthanders and added four lefthanders to the mix.

That's over half the 40 players the club wound up drafting as the new rules setting a cutoff day for signing, thus disallowing draft-and-follows as of yore, caused L.A. to tap out after 39 rounds. Remember, they had a pick in the supplemental round.

Naturally, they used that on a pitcher- in this case, a lefthander, James Adkins from the University of Tennessee. They waited until the third round before choosing a position player, third baseman Austin Gallagher, a Pennsylvania high schooler.

In all the Dodgers selected seven outfielders, five infielders, four catchers and three first basemen to go with all that pitching. Of those chosen, exactly half-20- came from the high school ranks. Fourteen were taken from senior colleges and six from the junior college ranks.

Several of those chosen in the later rounds were high-end types that had fallen down because of signability concerns. Of those, scouting director Logan White says, "We'll be looking at them between now and Aug. 15 (the signing deadline) to see what might develop."

Here's a quick overview of the players now under Dodger control:

PITCHING
Best fastball-- There was no upper-90's type selected but Taylor Cole (26), Devin Fuller (14), Sean Koecheler (20) and Kyle Blair (5) have all touched 95 at various times.

Best breaking Pitch-- Adkins throws both a strong curve and a devastating slider. Rob Rasmussen (27) has a 12-6 yacker and Paul Koss (11) closed for USC with a wicked slider.

Best Command-- Adkins and Bobby Blevins (13) are consistent strike throwers with all their pitches.

Highest ceiling-- Withrow's development was impressive and he's just getting started. Justin Miller (6) hasn't pitched all that much but has a strong upside.

HITTING
Best for Average-- Eric Kanaby (1) hit .406 for Lamar this spring and set an overall school career record of .381. On the high school side, Andrew Lambo (4) has a sweet lefthanded swing And Gabriell Casanova (37) was a hitting machine at Barry U.

Most power-- Gallagher worked out in Dodger Stadium prior to the draft and spent the day hitting the ball into the far seats.

Most speed- Jeris Bert (19) is only 5-9 but he can fly, stealing 42 bases this spring.

Highest Ceiling-- Gallagher if he can harness that power potential.

OVERALL
Best Late Pick- Taylor Cole (26). He's going to be a tough person to sign but he has all kinds of possibilities if they can get it done. Rasmussen at 27 is another like that.

Most intriguing- Has to be Bert. How many people play baseball in France? Four? Five? Actually, they do have a national team and he played on it before coming over to Frank Phillips College in Texas, a school with strong international ties. He's the first Frenchman ever drafted. Then, of course, there's Tim Wallach's son, Matt, (22) a catcher from Cal State-Fullerton, the school where his dad got started. If he's anything like dad as a hitter, he's a keeper.

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