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2010 Draft Preview – Los Angeles Dodgers

The twenty-ninth part of my draft preview series is on the Los Angeles Dodgers and their scouting director Tim Hallgren.

Owner: Frank McCourt, bought club in 2004
General Manager: Ned Colletti, first season was 2006
Scouting Director: Tim Hallgren, first draft was 2007

Looking Back

2007 Draft: $3.6 Million Budget

1. Chris Withrow, RHP, Midland HS (TX), #20 overall: Withrow was thought of as more of a supplemental first round to second round arm, but Hallgren called his name first. No one doubted Withrow’s potential as a top of the rotation starter, and he was commited to Baylor. Following players selected: J.P. Arencibia, Tim Alderson, Nick Schmidt. Signing bonus: $1.35 million.
2. James Adkins, LHP, Tennessee, #39 overall: Adkins was thought of as a second or third round arm with very limited potential. However, Hallgren popped the college starter in the supplemental first round, bucking popular consensus. This was possibly a signability pick. Following players selected: Kellen Kulbacki, Sean Doolittle, Eddie Kunz. Signing bonus: $787,500.
3. Michael Watt, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS (CA), #86 overall: 2009 draftee Tyler Matzek pitched with Watt at Capistrano Valley, where Watt was considered a fairly raw lefty. Committed to Long Beach State, the Dodgers took him and signed him away. This was a questionable pick, as he was more of a fourth to sixth round arm, but it’s the Dodger way to buck popular consensus. Following players selected: Brad Chalk, Eric Eiland, Nevin Griffith. Signing bonus: $389,000.
4. Austin Gallagher, 3B, Manheim Township HS (PA), #116 overall: Gallagher was considered a fairly raw hitter entering the draft, and he was seen as a sixth to eighth round hitter. He had a fairly strong South Carolina commitment, but the Dodgers made sure to tab him in a round where he’d sign for slot. Following players selected: Tommy Toledo, Matt Harvey, John Ely. Signing bonus: $252,000.
5. Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF, Newbury Park HS (CA), #146 overall: A solid pick for his talent, this pick was questioned a little due to Lambo’s makeup problems in high school. Getting kicked out of a high school tends to do that. However, Hallgren took a chance on Lambo that looks pretty smart. Following players selected: Lance Zawadzki, Trevor Pippin, Leroy Hunt. Signing bonus: $164, 250.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Justin Miller (6th), Johnson CC (KS), $120K bonus.

2008 Draft: $4.4 Million Budget

1. Ethan Martin, RHP, Stephens County HS (GA), #15 overall: Martin was a solid two-way prospect that was projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round. Turns out he went right in the middle. This was considered a good pick, and there’s no reason to think otherwise right now. Following players selected: Brett Lawrie, David Cooper, Ike Davis. Signing bonus: $1.73 million.
2. Josh Lindblom, RHP, Purdue, #61 overall: Lindblom was considered a second round prospect after becoming a reliever late in his junior season at Purdue. Despite shying away from college pitchers in early rounds in his previous drafts, Hallgren tabbed Lindblom, and the Dodgers have turned him into a starter. Great pick. Following players selected: Cody Adams, Kenny Wilson, Tyler Stovall. Signing bonus: $663,000.
3. Kyle Russell, OF, Texas, #93 overall: Russell made a bad decision to return to school for his junior season after the Cardinals tabbed him as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2007. However, the Dodgers reaped the reward, once again going against the usual convention to sign a college player. Following players selected: Logan Schafer, Andrew Liebel, Craig Kimbrel. Signing bonus: $410,000.
4. Devaris Gordon, SS, Seminole CC (FL), #127 overall: After being ineligible for his JUCO’s spring slate, Gordon, Tom Gordon’s son, impressed scouts in workouts leading up to the draft. However, this was still slightly early for the consensus, as most teams shied away from the issues surrounding players that can’t maintain eligibility at a junior college. He’s now a top-flight prospect. Following players selected: Josh Romanski, Mark Sobolewski, Braeden Schlehuber. Signing bonus: $250,000.
5. Jon Michael Redding, RHP, Florida CC-Jacksonville, #157 overall: Another player that was picked this early despite the consensus, Redding was a strike-thrower in junior college. He was heading to LSU before the Dodgers signed him away. This is yet another pick I would never have guessed. Following players selected: Maverick Lasker, Tyler Pastornicky, Jacob Thompson. Signing bonus: $178,000.
Other Notable Selections: SS Tony Delmonico (6th), Florida State, $150K bonus; 1B Steven Caseres (9th), James Madison, $250K bonus; RHP Nathan Eovaldi (11th), Alvin HS (TX), $250K bonus; RHP Allen Webster (18th), McMichael HS (NC).

2009 Draft: $4.0 Million Budget

1. Aaron Miller, LHP, Baylor, #36 Overall: Miller was one of the best two-way prospects in the 2009 class, and after being a hitting prospect coming into the spring, he pitched well enough to be rated more highly as a pitcher. He was expected to be a supplemental first round or second round prospect, making this a solid pick. Following players selected: James Paxton, Josh Phegley, Kentrail Davis. Signing bonus: $889,200.
2. Blake Smith, OF, California, #56 Overall: Smith was also a well-known two-way prospect, going the other way from Miller in the spring of 2009. He was rated more highly as a pitcher coming in, but after big control problems, he looked better as a power-hitting, power-throwing right fielder. This was a bit earlier than expected for this pick, but it was fairly solid. Following players selected: Billy Hamilton, Andy Oliver, Nolan Arenado. Signing bonus: $643,500.
3. Garrett Gould, RHP, Maize HS (KS), #65 Overall: I made a guess that the Dodgers would pick a prep righty with one of their first three picks in last year’s draft preview, and I was correct. Gould was a late first-round prospect for some of the spring, but fell late to a possible supplemental first round to second round prospect with a big, projectable frame and two above-average pitches. Following players selected: Bryan Berglund, Robert Stock, Jake Eliopoulos. Signing bonus: $900,000.
4. Brett Wallach, RHP, Orange Coast CC (CA), #96 Overall: I connected Wallach to the Dodgers early last year, and I turned out to be correct here, too. He was a JUCO sophomore, and he was projected to go somewhere in the third to fifth round as a projectable, yet fairly polished arm. Following players selected: Marquise Cooper, Joe Kelly, Jake Barrett. Signing bonus: $351,900.
5. Angelo Songco, OF, Loyola Marymount, #127 Overall: Songco had major helium in his junior year, as he had one of the best offensive campaigns in the draft class. He had worked his way to second round consideration, but fell here due to questions about his ability to hit quality stuff. Following players selected: Dan Mahoney, Scott Bittle, Ryan Goins. Signing bonus: $225,000.
Other Notable Selections: OF Jonathan Garcia (8th), Luis Munoz Marin HS (PR), $120K bonus.

Tim Hallgren was promoted to the post of scouting director after legendary scouting director Logan White was promoted to Assistant General Manager for Amateur and International Scouting. Hallgren still falls directly under White in the reporting structure, and White does go out and scout the high-level prospects, so Hallgren is part of a larger team. However, Hallgren does run the department, and I give him full credit for the last three drafts. Before ascending the ladder, Hallgren was White’s national crosschecker, which tells you how highly we should see Hallgren. To be White’s national crosschecker was really a high honor, especially as it became apparent just how sharp that White was at running drafts. Hallgren also has previous experience as a scouting director, running a single draft with the Texas Rangers, but he was quickly pushed down to the national crosschecker role he held in Texas before that when Grady Fuson entered the picture. The Rangers missed out on building through a great drafting mind in Hallgren. Looking at Hallgren’s trends so far, it’s not very different from White’s trends. Those trends include a penchant for righty prep arms that are projectable in nature, a growing affinity for junior college players, and a carefree attitude towards industry consensus. He’s also started going after two-way players lately, as well. Martin, Miller, and Smith were all highly-rated two-way players that could have been drafted either way. These trends have added up to solid drafts.

My biggest criticism of the Dodgers’ drafting strategy is the lack of funds that they’ve given Hallgren. In the three drafts that Hallgren has run, he has received a total of $12 million to spend on draft bonuses. To compare, the Nationals spent only $500,000 less than that on 2009 alone. That $12 million comes in 28th for draft bonuses in that three year range, with only the White Sox and Angels falling under the Dodgers. That’s three large-market teams that have been shooting themselves in the foot by allocating resources elsewhere. When looking at the average Hallgren has spent per year compared to how much other scouting directors have had, only Rudy Terrasas of the Mets and Eddie Bane of the Angels have had less per year. Even Doug Laumann of the White Sox has had more per year in his second stint as scouting director for the White Sox. The fact that Hallgren has put together good drafts with such little support is astounding. Imagine what he could do with enough money to be competitive with the top-level teams. He didn’t have a first round pick last year, which makes it tough, but you can still spend a good amount on bonuses even without a first round pick. Just ask the Red Sox. In 2010, Hallgren gets to pick in the first round again, and the Dodgers hold picks 28, 78, 109, 142, and every 30 picks after that. That’s one pick in each round in the natural position for their final standings in 2009, meaning no compensation for free agency has gone either way for them over the offseason. Despite moving back into the first round, I expect the Dodgers to spend somewhere between $4 and 4.5 million in 2010, which will put them towards the bottom again. That will be a shame, as they have plenty of scouting talent.

Connecting the Dodgers to specific players, I have placed Chevez Clarke with them in my latest mock draft. That’s a good possibility, and Clarke has been gaining notoriety, as he’s really upped his game this spring. Other players that I think are real possibilities include Cam Bedrosian, A.J. Vanegas, Scott Frazier, and Stetson Allie. If Kaleb Cowart falls that far, I’d be interested to see if they pick him, as he is strikingly similar in a few ways to 2008 first round pick Ethan Martin, being a two-way Georgian that plays third base. Later picks that seem interesting to me include Taijuan Walker, Brett Eibner, Drew Vettleson, Robbie Aviles, and Aaron Sanchez for the second round. Picks beyond the second could include Michael Lorenzen, Burch Smith, Rob Segedin, and John Simms, though these are all speculative at this point. I’ll be interested to see which two-way players and projectable arms they go after, as well as the athleticism and junior college players they covet. Their picks are always pretty solid, even if some are taken earlier than the consensus. I like the Dodgers’ scouting department a great deal, and the only thing they need to be a top five department is more money.

*Bonus information came from BA.

What do you guys think?  What will the Dodgers do?

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March 18, 2010 - Posted by | Draft Previews

4 Comments »

  1. Difficult to tell if someone has “upped their game” vs mediocre hs competion.

    Comment by William | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  2. Andy, I am afraid you are laboring under a misapprehension. Logan White still runs the Dodgers’ drafts. Just because Hallgren was given the title of “scouting director” does not mean he does everything scouting directors do in other organizations. According to all the media coverage about White’s promotion to “Asst. GM, Scouting,” Colletti emphasized to Hallgren that White was staying in charge of the draft, and would continue to make all of the picks. Hallgren accepted his own promotion on the understanding that he would be doing the bureaucratic, administrative work that goes along with the scouting director title, but would have to do without the glory of making the final call on draft picks. In short, the 2007 to 2009 drafts are still “Logan White drafts.”

    Now, on the matter of who the Dodgers will pick this year, I don’t think much of the Clarke prediction. White once said “high school outfielders can fool you,” and if you look at White’s record since 2002, you’ll notice White has never used a pick higher than the 4th round on a high school outfielder. I have a feeling Kaleb Cowart would definitely get picked by the Dodgers if he were still available at #28, and BA’s latest mock draft has Cowart still available then. Everybody compares Cowart to Ethan Martin, and White’s comments over the years suggest that he likes to pick players who remind him of guys he has picked in the past who have worked out. I would personally prefer Cowart as a 3B, but the Dodgers’ have taken a pitcher with their first pick every year since 2002. Logan White is an ex-pitcher and he obviously loves getting high-ceiling arms. It may also be that White trusts his evaluation skills with regard to pitchers more than he does his skills evaluating hitters.

    Regardless of whether Cowart is available at #28 or not, I think you have to at least predict “high-ceiling pitcher with a good fastball and an above-average breaking ball.” White says over and over again that he has to see the breaking ball and believe in it (the change-up he doesn’t care about that much, as he thinks that can be worked on after the guy is in the system). White also has a thing for bloodlines, over the years drafting the sons of ex-major leaguers like they are going out of style, so Cameron Bedrosian is a definite fit if Cowart is off the board. As for Vanegas, he is committed to Stanford, so if he is expecting the team that drafts him to pay over-slot the Dodgers are going to avoid him. White has never gone over slot on his first pick, and in the McCourt-ownership era when the Dodgers do go over-slot it is only by a few hundred thousand dollars.

    Comment by CanuckDodger | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  3. Correction: I meant to say the Dodgers have taken a pitcher with their first pick every year AFTER 2002, or since 2003.

    Comment by CanuckDodger | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  4. As much as I’d love to say Dylan Covey I know I’m dreaming. Actually I think it will be either Cowart/Kyle Blair(Ex Dodger pick McCourts couldn’t or wouldn’t sign) or Stetson Allie who seems to be falling like a rock. Also don’t forget as good as Austin Wilson is, hes a Stanford guy and they usually get there man so not that the Dodgers would break there habit of taking a pitcher in a year with only 1 first rounder but he may drop as well. Smealter is also a interesting pitcher who has Dodger ties with his High School coach.

    Comment by Washie | March 24, 2010 | Reply


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