Dodgers whiff on Baseball America top 20 league lists for 2017 Draft
A few days back Craig Minami over at TBLA in the comment section mentioned that no Dodger draft picks from 2017 made any Baseball America top 20 prospect lists that they compile for each league. This was only the second time this century that has happened. The last time was 2013
I don’t put much weight on these lists since as I’m not the biggest fan of Baseball America prospect work. You can just look at the 2016 lists to understand why I feel this way. Gavin Lux was the Dodger number one pick and he, of course, made the list from the Arizona Rookie League. Not making any lists were DJ Peters, Dustin May, Will Smith, and Mitch White. All four of them will probably be ranked higher than Gavin Lux in the latest version of the Baseball America LAD top 30 list.
I just thought it would be interesting to take a look at them.
No. 1 picks and placement on postseason top 20 in year drafted
2002 – James Loney (No. 1 prospect in Pioneer League)
2003 – Chad Billingeley (No. 2 prospect in Pioneer League)
2004 – Scott Elbert (No. 6 prospect in Pioneer League)
2005 – Luke Hochevar (did not sign), Ivan De Jesus (No. 18 prospect in Gulf Coast League)
2006 – Clayton Kershaw ( No. 1 prospect in GCL)
2007 – Chris Withrow (was not named to a postseason prospect team), Austin Gallagher (No. 7 prospect in Pioneer League)
2008 – Ethan Martin (did not pitch in 2008), Kyle Russell (No. 10 prospect Pioneer League)
2009 – Aaron Miller (was not named to a postseason prospect team), Brett Wallach (No. 16 prospect in Pioneer League)
2010 – Zach Lee (did not pitch in 2010), Ralston Cash (No. 20 prospect in Arizona League)
2011 – Chris Reed (was not named to a postseason prospect team), Alex Santana ( No. 13 prospect in Arizona League)
2012 – Corey Seager ( No. 4 prospect in Pioneer League)
2013 – No Dodger draft pick named to a 2013 postseason Top 20 team
2014 – Grant Holmes ( No. 2 prospect in Arizona League)
2015 – Walker Buehler (did not pitch in 2015), Willie Calhoun (No. 11 prospect in Pioneer League)
2016 – Gavin Lux (No. 9 prospect in Arizona League)
2017 – No Dodger draft pick named to a 2017 postseason Top 20 team.
Before we decry the 2017 Dodger draft let’s delve deeper into this. The Dodgers number one pick in 2017 was Jeren Kendall the athletic college outfielder. Kendall lit up the rookie league while playing for Ogden but he only stayed there for 22 plate appearances before being promoted to the Loons of the MidWest league. The MWL is a tough league and many a prospect has struggled in their first taste of the league. Jeren Kendall was no exception as he posted an anemic .690 OPS in 155 plate appearances. Even more problematic for Kendall was that he struck out 42 times in those 155 plate appearances. It is little wonder that Kendall was unable to crack the top 20 list for the MWL.
Morgan Cooper was the Dodgers second round pick but he did not pitch after being drafted.
The Dodgers best hope to crack a list was Connor Wong who had a strong professional debut putting up a .830 OPS in the tough MWL but he didn’t make the cut.
8th round pick Rylan Bannon had a strong season for Ogden putting up an OPS of 1.016 but he was 21 in a prospect rookie league.
You can’t judge a draft after 1/2 a season of professional ball but the 2017 draft does not seem to be as strong as the 2016 draft which has Will Smith, Mitch White, Dustin May, and DJ Peters as players to keep an eye on.
All of this could change quickly if Jeren Kendall can turn his uber athletic skills into a more advanced batting approach and if Morgan Cooper shows something when he finally takes the mound.
In 2015 Willie Calhoun was the only Dodger to make the lists but the number one pitching prospect in baseball is now Walker Buehler who was in the same draft.
2014 had Grant Holmes make the lists but he quickly fell out of favor and was eventually traded. In fact, the players traded from the lists above include Willie Calhoun, Grant Holmes, Chris Reed, Zach Lee, Ethan Martin, and Chris Withrow. The jury is still out on Holmes and Calhoun but none of the others managed any type of major league career.
Let’s check back a year from now and see if any of the 2017 draft have great seasons and put themselves on the map like Dustin May, DJ Peters, and Mitch White did.
Who do you think BA may have whiffed on from the class of 2017? I”m going to bet on Jeren Kendall.