Dodgers 2018 MLB Draft First Round Preview

SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig at the podium during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig at the podium during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

On Monday, June 4, 2018, representatives from all 30 teams will gather in Secaucus, NJ, for the annual MLB Amateur Draft.  High school seniors, community college players, and college redshirt sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be eligible for the draft.  The Dodgers pick 30th this year, the final pick of the first round.

Dodgers Director of Scouting, Billy Gasparino, will be leading his fourth Dodger draft after overseeing the San Diego Padres 2013-2014 drafts.  Gasparino’s first round picks have gone like this:  Walker Buehler in 2015, Gavin Lux in 2016, and  Jeren Kendall in 2017.  Buehler was a gamble as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Obviously, that gamble has paid off.  Lux was a high school SS who requires some more seasoning and development.   Kendall is struggling in his first year of A ball, and despite being a solid athlete, there are concerns about his ability to make contact on a regular basis.  Time will tell how these picks will pan out, which is usually the case with MLB draft picks.  Unlike the other major sports, baseball draft picks usually require several years of development before any return on investment is realized.  Nonetheless, the MLB Draft is an important tool for organizations to replenish their talent pool and attempt to out-scout the competition.

Typically teams aren’t drafting for need in the first round, but more so looking for the best talent available when it comes time to make a selection.  However, what we can do is look at the players who could be available when the  30th pick comes up, and then ascertain what position in the Dodgers farm system has the most glaring need for an elite prospect.

A review of the Prospect Watch reveals the following players should be available when it is time for the Dodgers to select the 30th pick:

Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist University, B:L/T:L, DOB:  08/10/97

Hannah is an athletic outfielder, whose ability to put the ball in play, and exceptional speed, are his two biggest strengths.  Hannah is projected to develop 15-20 homer a year power and provide solid defense from centerfield, albeit with a below average arm.  Hannah’s profile resembles that of Dodgers AAA OF Andrew Toles.  As the Dodgers did last year with Kendall, it is possible they may draft Hannah, as he may be the best all-around athlete available at selection time.

Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma, B:L/T:L, DOB:  07/30/96  

Walker’s name will grade an 80 on the scouting scale as far as baseball names go, but he is pretty average across the board for the rest of his tools.  That is not a bad thing!  Walker’s eye at the plate and pitch recognition skills give a slight edge to his hit tool, but scouts project Walker to be less of a home run threat, and more of a consistent gap to gap line drive hitter with occasional power.  Walker does not possess the athletic ability nor speed that Hannah possesses, so  I would expect Hannah to be chosen over Walker should Hannah be available when the Dodgers’ selection comes up.

Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia HS, TX, B:R/T:R, DOB:  11/10/99

Groshans can rake.  He is a physically mature, powerful ballplayer who is only 18.  He is currently a shortstop but will shift over to third as he continues to add muscle.  HIs offensive and defensive profile are not dissimilar to Corey Seager, despite the fact he is a right-handed hitter and lacks Seager’s infield range.  Groshans has the ability to possibly become a solid 3B at the MLB level, and a middle of the order HR hitter and RBI man.  Groshans is committed to Kansas, however, the Dodgers could lure him away from his college commitment with first round money.   Groshans appears to be the better prospect of this group so far.

Jeremy Eierman, SS/3B, Missouri State, B:R/T:R, DOB:  09/10/96  

In some ways, Eierman is the polished version of Groshans.  However, Eierman’s 2018 season has been less successful than his previous campaigns.  Eierman has a reputation as a stellar defender in the infield with a plus arm, but his overall offensive profile and hit tool does not grade out higher than Groshans.  Also, as a collegiate player, Eierman lacks less projection than Groshans.  Therefore, it appears Groshans would stand out as the better long-term prospect and present his drafting organization with more upside.

More from Dodgers Prospects

Now that we have examined the players that should be available when the 30th selection comes due, it time to look at which of these players is the best fit for the organization.

The Dodgers are loaded in the OF at the MLB level and throughout the minors.  If the organization tries to draft based on a need, the OF would not be a consideration.  Third base, on the other hand, is a glaring weakness in the organization.  After Justin Turner at the MLB level, the Dodgers have a collection of journeymen and utility players who can fill in admirably at the MLB for a short stint.

However, there are no impact players at 3B in the organization.  A glance at the Dodgers top 20 prospects on reveals two third basemen–#11 Edwin Rios, and #13 Cristian Santana.  Both have begun to settle in at 1B, and this is the position they would likely play if they reach the majors.  So that brings the decision-making process down to this.

Do the Dodgers draft an exceptional athlete in Hannah, or do they draft the raw, toolsy 3B, who could be a fixture at the hot corner for years to come?  Neither of these players may be available when the 30th pick is up.   We will have to wait until Monday afternoon to find out.

Next: Dodgers Quick Hits: Muncy, Bellinger, Waivers

You can tune into the draft live on Monday on  the MLB Network and at 3 PM Pacific, with coverage of rounds 1-2.  Rounds 3-10 will be on at 11 AM Pacific on Tuesday, and rounds 11-40 will wrap up the draft on Wednesday at 9 AM Pacific on