I can't remember a time when pitching wasn't a drafting-and-developing priority for the Dodgers. And neither can you. We'd probably have to go all the way back to Brooklyn in the 1950s, a decade before there was an MLB Draft.
True to form, Los Angeles followed-up Wednesday night's selection of Louisville right-hander Bobby Miller with the 29th and final pick of the first round by taking two more righty hurlers Thursday.
Up last in every round by virtue of their best-record-in-baseball 106-win 2019 season, Andrew Friedman reached out and grabbed RHP Landon Knack out of East Tennessee State University. He's a 6' 1", 215 pounder, from Johnson City, Tennessee and a junior college transfer by way of Walters State City College.
At ETSU in 2019, Knack made 15 appearances (all of them starts), going 9-5, with a 2.60 ERA, a 1.093 WHIP, with 94 strikeouts in 97 innings. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown this year, Knack appeared in four games (all starts), putting up a 1.08 ERA, an 0.520 WHIP with 51 Ks in 25 IP. All told at ETSU the line looks like this: 19 GS, 2.29, 0.975, with 145 in 122 (10.7 SO/9). Already a workhorse at 22, Knack averaged 6.5 innings per start.
Baseball America, which ranked him 113th (out of 500), had this to say about L.A.'s second-round selection: "Knack saw his star rise this year with increased velocity, as he ran his fastball into the upper 90s and piled up 51 strikeouts in 25 innings." Video below.
In Competitive Balance Round B, with the 66th pick (via the Twins as part of the trade that sent Kenta Maeda to Minnesota and Brusdar Graterol to L.A.), the Dodgers chose Clayton Beeter, of Texas Tech.
Yes, a pitcher named Clayton from Texas. This particular Clayton is a righty, however. He's 6-2 and 220, and a redshirt sophomore in 2020. Beeter was at 2-1, with a 2.14 ERA, an 0.810 WHIP, with 33 Ks in 21 IP prior to the shutdown this year. In a full 2019 season at Lubbock, the numbers were these: 21 G (all in relief), 0-3, 3.48, 1.548, and 40 in 20 2/3.
Overall at Texas Tech: 25 G, 4 GS, 2.81, 1.175, with 73 Ks in 41 2/3, good for a whopping 15.8 SO/9. To give you an idea of how good that strikeout rate is, Kenley Jansen sports a 13.3 SO/9 lifetime, with a career best 16.1 as a 23-year-old Dodger in 2011. Video at USA Today here.
Three picks, three strong arms for L.A. so far in the MLB Draft. Stay tuned.
And remember, glove conquers all
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.