The Los Angeles Dodgers would welcome a mulligan on their 2007 MLB Draft picks.
The Major League Baseball Draft is often a hit-or-miss proposition. The selecting of players is never a guarantee of stardom, and teams often have to wait years to see whether a prospect pans out in the long-term.
Like many other teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had their share of good selections and bad. Players like Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, and Walker Buehler highlight the efficiency of the team’s draft prowess. However, there have certainly been some duds along the way as well.
The 2007 MLB Draft represents one of those dark marks on the Dodgers’ ledger, as the team made not one, but two picks in the first round. In hindsight, they wish they could have a mulligan on both, especially considering the talent that came later in the draft.
In fairness to the Los Angeles, a lot of other teams swung and missed on their first-round selections that year, as only six of the first 30 selections put up more than 15 bWAR throughout their careers, with current Dodgers David Price leading the pack at 38.9 (Madison Bumgarner has 36.8 and Jason Heyward has 36.9).
The Dodgers’ first selection came with the 20th overall pick, which had been acquired from the Red Sox for losing free agent Julio Lugo to Boston. Los Angeles used their pick on right-hander Chris Withrow, a prep arm with lots of upside out of Texas.
Withrow was a solid bet and he was highly thought of as a prospect, reaching as high as #2 in the team’s farm system in 2010. His minor league results were mixed, between injuries and middling results. Primarily deployed as a starter in the minors, Withrow went 25-27 with a 4.68 ERA, a 1.491 WHIP, and a 9.5 K/9 mark.
Control issues (a career minor league mark of 5.0 BB/9) limited his effectiveness, and the Dodgers eventually changed him into a reliever. After going 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA and an 11.3 K/9 for Albuquerque in 2013, Withrow would see his first call-up to the majors. He would finish the season in the Dodgers pen and remain in that role the following season, going a combined 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA and an 11.4 K/9 in Dodger Blue.
However, an elbow injury and eventually Tommy John surgery ended his career with the Dodgers in 2013. Withrow was included in the May 2015 trade that sent Juan Uribe to the Braves for Alberto Callaspo, Eric Stults, and more.
The other Dodgers pick came at #39 in the compensation round, a supplemental pick also awarded to the team as part of the Lugo signing. Here, Los Angeles selected left-hander James Adkins out of the University of Tennessee.
Adkins made it as far as Triple-A Albuquerque, but like Withrow struggled with control through much of his minor league team and was converted to a reliever. The change didn’t help much and the Dodgers released him in April 2011. He would spend one more season in affiliated baseball (after signing with the Cincinnati Reds) but ultimately struggled to a 15-25 record with a 4.85 ERA, a 7.0 K/9, and a 4.7 BB/9 over his minor league career.
While the Dodgers certainly whiffed on these two selections, there is always the hindsight factor. What could the team have had if it had known what other players were available and what they would become today?