LADugout Will Again Cover MLB Draft

The First-Year Player Draft will be spread over three days this year, June 9-11, with the 32 first-round selections starting at 6 p.m. on the Major League Network live from it's studio. MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire round and you can get each Dodgers selection as it is made on LADugout.com

Then, starting with the 33rd selection, coverage will switch to MLB.com, on-air coverage from the remaining rounds will shift exclusively to MLB.com, where host Vinny Micucci will be joined by MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo and Major League Scouting Bureau director Frank Marcos.

Once the first night is completed, the Draft will continue with rounds 4-30, via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York, at noon on June 10. Rounds 31-50 will be on June 11, starting at 11:30 a.m.

As has been the case in the past, LADugout will cover each Dodger selection as it is made.

Dodgers Scouting Guru and his staff will be making their selections in Los Angeles and Vice President Tom Lasorda will announce each pick starting with the the first choice of the Dodgers and the 36th player selected.

Dodgers Assistant General Manager, Scouting White is not discouraged at picking low, considering it a challenge.

He pointed out that after Stephen Strasberg, the consensus first pick from San Diego State is taken, presumably by Washington who has the first selection, the rest of rounds should be a scramble. "There's a good chance you get the same guy at 36 as you would at 20," he said.

And remember, Steve Sax was chosen in the eighth round, Russell Martin and Orel Hershiser in the 17th round and Mike Piazza was almost the last man standing when he finally got a call from the Dodgers in the 61st round, well after many clubs had packed their briefcases and had gone home.

The Dodgers have an ace in the hole in Logan White, who is in his eighth season with the Dodgers and third as the Assistant General Manager, scouting. His success has been unparalleled over his first six drafts and the 2003 and 2004 classes were rated first by Baseball America.

He is responsible for draft selections or signings of players who have seen action just over the last two seasons is remarkable and includes Tony Abreu, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Blake DeWitt, Scott Elbert, A.J. Ellis, Jamie Hoffmann, Chin-Lung Hu, Eric Hull, Clayton Kershaw, Brent Leach, Russell Martin, James McDonald, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Xavier Paul, Eric Stults, Cory Wade and Delwyn Young.

?White has leaned toward high school players in general, pitchers in particular, because normally the Dodgers draft well down toward the bottom of the list each year.

It's always been White's philosophy to take the best player available. Over the last seven drafts, only the selection of James Loney interrupted naming a pitcher first, and Loney was also an accomplished pitcher.

In fact, a number of "experts" were certain that Loney's selection was not only too high, but at the wrong position. The young first baseman's performance has squelched that sort of muttering and he now leads the National League in runs batted in.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com outlined the most recent top picks:

?2008: Ethan Martin tore knee cartilage in a post-Draft workout and didn't appear in a game last year, but he's more than caught up this year. The word White uses to describe the way he feels about Martin this year is "ecstatic" and holds to his Draft-day prediction that Martin can be a front-line starter along the lines of Chad Billingsley. He was scouted and signed by Lon Joyce, who must know what he's doing, having also found Jonathan Broxton.

?2007: Chris Withrow had everybody in the organization nervous last year when he couldn't throw a strike to save his life. But whatever he had last year is gone this year. He recently had a start with 10 strikeouts and no walks, something unthinkable a year ago. He's still got some catching up to do, having pitched only 13 innings in his first two professional seasons and a current ERA above 5.00. But he throws even harder than Martin, which is why White says he can be "special."

?2006: Clayton Kershaw is only 21 and he already has 32 Major League starts. No matter what the organization says, yes, he's been rushed. But if he isn't a Doc Gooden or Fernando Valenzuela phenom, he's got the aptitude and toughness to gradually improve personally while making regular starts for the best team in baseball. That's pretty good. And imagine what he'll be when he's actually ready. ?

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