Ah, a position player. Finally a position player. In round three, with the 100th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Dodgers selected outfielder Jake Vogel of Huntington Beach High School.
He's 18, 5' 11" and 165, bats right, throws right and is committed to UCLA. We'll see if Los Angeles — with skipper and UCLA grad Dave Roberts leading the charge — can pry him away from the Bruins with a contract. My guess is Vogel is a Dodger before you can say “Jack Robinson?”
See what I did there? Jackie was also a UCLA alum. As is his widow, Rachel Robinson.
Baseball America has the skinny on Vogel below, lightly edited to respect the magazine's paywall:
"Previously a toolsy athlete with a questionable swing, Vogel began hitting this spring and raised his stock dramatically...He’s a plus-plus runner, is a plus defender in center field and has an average arm...has a feel for the barrel...driving the ball to all fields and showing sneaky power to his pull-side. Scouts are still divided on Vogel’s hitting potential. Some see the athleticism and barrel control to project an average hitter, while others see a loopy, uppercut swing that produces too many swings and misses."
In round four, with the 130th overall pick, the Dodgers went for switch-hitting catcher Carson Taylor, out of Virginia Tech. He's 21, 6' 2" and 205 and throws right (cuz, you know, L.A. isn't drafting a lefty-throwing catcher!) from Duluth, Georgia. MLB.com had him as their 194th best prospect prior to the draft.
In NCAA ball in 2019, Taylor hit .290/.398/.413, with two home runs and 19 RBIs in 138 at bats. He was on fire prior to the COVID-19 shutdown this season, finishing at .431/.541/.690, 2 and 20. All told in his college career, Taylor put up a .332/.436/.690 line, with 4 HR and 39 ribs.
Last but not least, Los Angeles wrapped up its two-night draft haul with right-hander Gavis Stone, via the University of Central Arkansas.
At 5' 10" and 170 and hailing from Jonesboro, AR, Stone has 2 1/2 years of college ball under his belt, showing marked improvement as he's moved forward. He struggled to a 5.33 ERA and 1.974 WHIP in his first season at Central Arkansas in 2018, striking out 20 in 25 1/3.
In 2019, Stone made 12 appearances (five starts), posting a 1.52 and a 1.120, with 58 Ks in 47 1/3. Even better this year prior to the the shutdown, he recorded a 1.30 ERA and a 0.759 WHIP, with 31 in 20 2/3, capping off his time as an amateur, as Eric Stephen notes, with a no-hitter in his final start. The career NCAA totals are as follows: 9-6, 2.42, 1.236 (skewed by the rough first season), with 109 strikeouts in 100 1/3.
For their efforts, the Dodgers drafted four pitchers, all of them right-handers, one catcher and one outfielder. A job well done and high fives all around. Or not. There really are no guarantees in this business.
We as fans tend to get overly excited around draft time; more so in recent years as MLB has done a good job marketing the event. And even more so in 2020 with no other baseball to fixate on. I caution you to temper your enthusiasm, however. Because with 30 fan bases and just as many front offices all boasting a glorious, sure-fire set of young players, they can't all be right.
On the other hand, with the league reducing the draft from the previous 40 rounds to just five in 2020, there are going to be a bleepload of fine amateur players available to the highest bidder. Or perhaps more accurately, to the best and most persuasive development team. Which, after years of recovery following the Frank McCourt Administration, is quite often your Los Angeles Dodgers.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.