In the aftermath of the 2015 MLB Draft on Monday, we watched as fans of 30 teams sweated through two rounds and 76 picks as the future of their franchises hung in the balance of what name MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred read at the podium.
For fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the chance for the team's new front office affectionately named the "brain trust," to grab the next Clayton Kershaw or another Joc Pederson is exciting as it is nerve racking.
Thankfully, it seems that the Dodgers baseball operations team of Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes and countless scouts hit the jackpot once again in Seacaucus on Monday.
The Dodgers may have the biggest payroll in baseball at nearly $300 million, but it was the draft day steals that had everyone talking on Tuesday. The Dodgers nabbed four players on Day 1 of the draft including three pitchers. It's no secret that the brain trust followed in the mold of President and Owner Stan Kasten who has always hung his hat on young pitching dating back to his days in Atlanta.
Los Angeles selected Vanderbilt ace Walker Buehler with the No. 24 pick overall and followed that up by stealing Louisville's Kyle Funkhouser with the No. 35 overall pick. In doing so, the Boys in Blue nabbed the No. 11 and No. 13 talents in the draft overall nearly 20 picks later than where they were projected.
"We were a little surprised they fell to us," Dodgers Director of Scouting Billy Gasparino said. "They were ranked very highly on our board and we thought it was a long shot they both would get there."
But the brain trust wasn't done there. They picked up high school outfielder Mitch Hansen with the No. 67 overall pick in the second round. A risk for sure as Hansen can opt to go to college, but if the Dodgers can convince him to bypass his education, they have another steal as MLB ranked him the No. 38th most talented player in the draft.
"I was hoping that Walker [Buehler] would have slipped to us in the second round," Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. "We liked all their players. The people in their front office, they think a lot like us."
Should fans be encouraged by these Day 1 selections? It will take years for everything to unshake and the fruit to fall, but it's safe to say if even one of these players becomes a big league talent or is traded for a future All Star, then the rich most certainly got richer.
Before we delve deeper into the Dodgers Draft Day haul, lets take a look back at the last 10 years and see how those players panned out.
In 2005, the Dodgers went with Luke Hochevar. This was a failure from the start simply because he refused to sign after the Dodgers drafted him first out of high school and then again in 2005 after three years at the University of Tennessee. The Kansas City Royals drafted him first overall in 2006 after his senior season and is now a key part of their impressive bullpen.
In 2006, the Dodgers selected a Texas high school pitcher by the name of Clayton Kershaw. Three Cy Young Awards, an MVP later, and he is widely considered the greatest pitcher on the planet.
The Dodgers then selected pitcher Chris Withrow with their top pick in 2007. He became a reliever while in the minors and after 46 career appearances and one Tommy John surgery, he is now a member of the Atlanta Braves.
Ethan Martin, the Dodgers’ first round pick of the 2008 MLB Draft, is unfortunately more known for purposely beaning an umpire during a high school state championship game than anything he has done as a professional baseball player. His only worth to the Dodgers was being used as trade bait to land Shane Victorino in 2012.
The Dodgers went with Aaron Miller with the 36th overall pick in 2009, and he never made it passed Double-A.
Zach Lee is another pitcher that the Dodgers picked high in the draft and did see him live up to potential. Their first round pick of the 2010 MLB Draft, Lee continues to toil in Triple-A while management could only hope that he either emerges as a fourth starter in the big league club, or as trade bait.
Chris Reed was drafted out of Stanford in the 2011 MLB Draft and after control problems forced a switch from starter to reliever, he now looks to have a future in the Dodger bullpen one day.
Shortstop Corey Seager was picked high in 2012 and is looking like a future star in the Dodgers organization. Right now Jimmy Rollins is the main Dodger shortstop, but that’s only for this year. Fans may only have to wait until next year to see Seager make an entrance similar to Joc Pederson.
Chris Anderson (2013) and Grant Holmes (2014) were the last two pitchers to be selected by the Dodgers with their first round pick. While it remains to be seen where they’ll end up, it looks like they’ll be able to progress in the Dodger organization, given management’s commitment toward their youth.