LOS ANGELES—In a shortened five-round draft that occurred on June 10 and June 11, the Los Angeles Dodgers added six draft picks to bolster their farm system and develop upcoming talent for the club in the future. The draft was modified to only five-rounds instead of the typical 40-round draft due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dodgers focused their attention on developing their bullpen as they selected four pitchers from their six picks. They selected an outfielder and a catcher with their other selections.
With the 29th pick in the first round, the Dodgers took RHP Bobby Miller from Louisville off the board as their first prospect.
In 2018, Miller was a Freshman All-American in his first season with the Cardinals after recording 2.97 ERA through 17 appearances and 66.2 innings. This season with only four starts, Miller held a 2-0 record with a 2.31 ERA before the season was canceled. He also struck out 34 batters, holding them to a .181 batting average in 23.1 innings of work.
The Dodgers drafted a pair of right-handed pitchers in the second-round in the selections of Landon Knack and Clayton Beeter who were chosen at 60th and 66th overall picks, respectively.
Knack from East Tennessee State University was one of the top performers in Division 1 baseball before the season’s conclusion. He finished with a 4-0 record, while fanning 51 batters. In 25 innings of pitching, Knack maintained a 1.08 ERA. He only gave up three runs and only allowed one walk on the season. By the end of his collegiate career, he held the career ERA record for ETSU with a 2.29 ERA. Before the draft, he was one of the top-five pitchers by D1Baseball.com.
Beeter proves to be a dark-horse as scouts had the pitcher going as early as the first-round, until he fell to the Dodgers in the second. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017 and redshirting his freshman year after the procedure, Beeter worked as a closer for Texas Tech in his first active season. He tied third in the Big-12 conference for saves that season while also holding batters to a .167 batting average. During this season, he took the role as a starter for the Red Raiders where he held a 2.14 ERA with 33 strikeouts on the season, finishing with a 3-1 overall record.
The first position played was taken by the Dodgers in the third round of the draft in their selection of Jake Vogel, an outfielder from Huntington Beach High School in California. Standing at 5 feet and 11 inches, 165-pounds, the young prospect is reported to be one of the more dynamic players of the draft considering his compact size that contributes to his blend of strength and speed.
Carson Taylor, a catcher from Virginia Tech, was selected in the fourth round. The sophomore switch hitter started two seasons behind the plate for Hokies. Coming into the draft as a bubble-player, Taylor previously said he would return to college to continue his career if he wasn’t drafted, but after being selected with the 130th pick Taylor will be taking his talents to the next level. In the abbreviated season, Miller had a .431 batting average over 16 games. He batted .290 his freshman year, but that season was cut short after suffering a broken hand. He was the last of 10 catchers total to be taken in the draft.
With their final pick of the draft in the fifth round, the Dodgers chose RHP Gavin Stone from Central Arkansas. During his junior year, Stone had a 1.30 ERA with a 3-1 record. He went on to toss the third no-hitter in his school’s history while also achieving a career-high on 13-strikeouts in a single game. He became the first of those drafted to officially sign with the team on Sunday, June, 14 after making the announcement on his Instagram page. The contract is currently valued at only $100,000.
With MLB attempting to return, it is unsure of how the organization’s farm system will operate heading forward due to the financial outlook of the future. Some teams will continue to pay players through June, while others have agreed to pay them for the whole season. Many players were released from their clubs in late-May.