Many selected after the 30th round see only limited action and spend much of their first professional season working out under the eyes of a number of coaches. As it was for the final five players the Dodgers drafted.
No. 27 C Steve Cilladi, a 5-9, 82 pound catcher out of Kansas Wesleyan University. He played four years with the Coyotes and batted .267 with 76 hits in 121 career games. The team advanced to the Opening Round of the NAIA National Baseball Championships before losing to Campbellsville University.
Cilladi was the backup catcher for the Dodgers entry in the Arizona Rookie League and only played in 14 games, hitting .122 (5-for-41) with a triple and three runs batted in.
STEVE CILLADI 5-9 182 tr br Born- March 15, 1987 School- Kansas Western University team ave obp gm ab r h 2b 3b hr bi sb AZ Rook .122 .319 14 41 0 5 0 1 0 3 0No. 28. RHP Justin Dignelli, 6-4, 220-pound right-hander out of George Washington University in the District of Columbia, appeared in eight games for the Colonials and finished the season 0-2 with a 14.46 ERA after missing the entire 2007 season with an injury.
In high school he recorded 94 strikeouts in 54 innings as a senior and also led team in batting average, ERA and strikeouts as a junior.
Working in the Arizona Rookie League, he got into 11 games, all in relief, and finished 1-1 with a 7.71 earned run average and one save. He had one tough outing in which he allowed seven runs in 2/3 of an inning, which kicked his era from 4.06 to 7.71. pitched allowed 11 hits in 14 innings, while striking out 18. Although he did walk 11, it was not a bad first season.
JUSTIN DIGNELLIi 6-4 220 br tr Born- February 26, 1987 School- George Washington University, DC Team w-l era gm gs sv in h bb so ave AZ Rook 1-1 7.71 11 0 1 14.0 11 11 18 .21629. 2B David Iden, 5-9 and 170 pounds, was signed out of California Lutheran University. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico but resides in Thousand Oaks, California.
He played 32 games for Ogden and hit .239 with five runs batted in and five stolen bases.
DAVID IDEN 5-9 170 br tr Born- March 4, 1987 School- California Lutheran University team ave obp gm ab r h 2b 3b hr bi sb Ogden .239 .327 32 92 11 22 3 0 0 5 530. RHP Kevin Childs, a 6-3, 195-pound junior out of Culver-Stockton College in California, pitched out of the bullpen for the Wildcats. He appeared in nine games, striking out 10 in 8.1 innings and allowing a .194 average against him.
Like most of the others, he didn't see a great deal of action in the Arizona Rookie League, working in 11 games out of the bullpen and allowing a 6.14 ERA, although he allowed five of his 10 earned runs in one game and without that blip he would have had a 3.66 ERA. He allowed 17 hits in 14/2 innings and struck out 13.
KEVIN CHILDS 6-3 195 br tr Born- April 21, 1987 School- Culver-Stockton University, CA Team w-l era gm gs in h bb so ave AZ Rook 0-0 6.14 11 0 14.2 17 5 13 .29831. RHP Chris Handke is a work in progress but the Dodgers saw so much potential that they overlooked his relative lack of experience. The 6-10, 235-pounder had great numbers during his junior year at Division III Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa -- but they were in basketball.
Over the past three seasons, Handke has led the team in rebounding, blocked shots and field-goal percentage while earning all-conference honors.
In baseball, it was a different matter. Over 10.2 innings for the Rams he has a 0-1 record and a 15.19 earned run average, walking 12 and striking out eight.
But the Dodgers wanted a closer look at him after he had taken a couple of pitching lessons. "After I did that, my velocity came up from about 80 to where I was hitting around 93 and it was suggested that I might want to come to a national predraft showcase."
"I've never been very refined as a pitcher, and in the lessons I learned how to use my hips and midsection as I pitched instead of just trying to throw with my arms and upper body like I had all my life," Handke said. "It's made a great deal of difference." He caught the eye of a number of teams but it was the Dodgers who nailed him down.
He should have no trouble learning. He's biochemistry and molecular biology major who is conducting research into Lou Gehrig's disease this summer at Cornell and originally he Handke was unsure if he would sign right away with the Dodgers.
"The Dodgers picked a great kid," Cornell basketball coach Mike DeGeorge said. "He's only going to get better."
Most of the work he did during the summer was on the sideline and he got into only two games late in the season, and struggled, as was expected.
He worked a combined 1.1 innings, allowed three hits, walked one, hit a pair of batters and threw a wild pitch while posting a 13.50 ERA.
It's common knowledge that a big kid will take longer to master the art of pitching, but the Dodgers know that and are willing to wait, with visions of a budding Randy Johnson flashing across their eyes. At about the same age he allowed 29 hits and 24 walks in 27 innings back in 1985, three years before Handke was born.
CHRIS HANDKE 6-10 235 br tr Born- March 19, 1988 School- Cornell College, NY Team w-l era gm gs in h bb so ave AZ Rookie 0-0 13.50 2 0 1.1 3 1 0 .429