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Draft Update 3
2003-06-03 08:46
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Draft Update 4


With their fourth and fifth picks, the Dodgers took a high school outfielder and their fourth high school pitcher.

I won't be making any more updates on the draft today - from this point on, I'll wait for the commentary from the bigger sites to filter through.

Suffice it to say, an optimist might consider that the Dodgers have plundered territory that others have abandoned, and may end up with better properties as a result. A pessimist might wonder why the Dodgers are looking for real estate in a ghost town.
As in three for three:

Third round: Cory Van Allen, LHP, Clements High School, Texas.

As I posted on the Baseball Primer message board, the Dodgers are obviously following the ideals of Jefferson Smith, acting most nobly in helping the 29 other teams draft well:

I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about the lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule: 'Love thy neighbor.' And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust.

You know that rule, Mr. Paine. And I loved you for it, just as my father did. And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others. Yes, you even die for them. Like a man we both knew, Mr. Paine.

You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked, and I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place! Somebody'll listen to me! Somebody'll... (he passes out, knocking one of the huge pails of letters and telegrams (against him) down on top of him as he falls, nearly burying himself beneath them)

From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Draft Update 2


Dodger scouting director Logan White told MLB.com that Chad Billingsley is "a Tom Seaver-type of guy." Seaver, of course, starred at USC. White also compared Billingsley to Roger Clemens. Clemens attended the University of Texas.

At least the strikeouts are there. Billingsley struck out 138 batters in 56 innings, walking 16. Eric Gagne, eat your heart out.

With their second pick, the Dodgers went with ... a high school pitcher, Charles Tiffany.

Can't you just see these guys being traded in 2007 for a middle reliever?

The Dodgers are roulette players, through and through.

Draft Update


The Dodgers drafted right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley from Defiance Senior High School in Ohio. Billingsley was not listed among the top 30 prospects - or on the bubble - compiled by Baseball America.

Of the 30 first-round picks, 12 were high school players, and three were high school pitchers.

Billingsley is 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. MLB.com writes: "Well developed, muscular body. Similar to Kevin Appier. Fastball 91-93, occasionally 94, tailing, running life. 2-seam fastball, curveball, slider. Change shows potential. Throws 4 pitches. Signed with South Carolina."

Prelude to a Draft


I'll post again after the Dodgers make their first-round selection in today's draft. The big question: Will they again buck the growing wisdom, racing from radical to conventional, that it is safer to take college players than high school players?

James Loney appeared to make the Dodgers look smart last year in going the old (high) school route with his stellar Rookie League season in 2002 at age 18. This year, however, Loney is batting only .252 with an OPS of .688 in the A-ball Florida State League, so although he may of course make it, it's not going to be a cruise to the majors after all.

It's not that college players are locks to succeed. Bubba Crosby, for example, was a college man. Scouts rated him a dubious first-round pick in 1998, and only recently has he begun to even challenge that assessment. And as a Stanford graduate, it pains me to note that ever since Mike Mussina and Jack McDowell, baseball has been littered with the carcasses of lumpy Cardinal pitchers - the latest being Jeff Austin, who tied a major league record in May by allowing home runs to the first three batters of a game.

Nevertheless, there is solid research out there for anyone to see that your odds are better if you allow colleges to help you weed out the suspect prospects. If you don't, you're much more likely to end up with an abysmal draft history like that of the Dodgers.

There isn't much advantage in getting a younger guy - the point is to try to get the right guy.

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