Dodgers: Who is LA’s off-the-board first-round pick?

Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

To end the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft on Sunday night, capping one of the most prospect-centric days Major League Baseball has ever presented us with (following the Futures Game), the Los Angeles Dodgers selected a lefty MLB Pipeline called “one of the most extreme risk/reward plays in the entire draft.”

For a team that seems to pride itself on tripping into superior collegiate talent and slipping, proven bats, left-hander Maddux Bruns, a Mississippi State commit and 49th-ranked player on the big board, seemed to be a departure from the norm.

Factor in Florida slugger Jud Fabian (the most-mocked Dodgers selection) remaining on the board, and many fans were left scratching their heads — and not just at the typo-riffic possibility of the last name “Bruns” (we assure you we got it right).

Who knew a man named Max Muncy (who shares our Max Muncy’s birthday) getting sniped by the A’s wouldn’t be the most confusing moment of the night?

Bruns is an atypical pick for Los Angeles’ front office, sure, but he’s also a power pitcher who might be wooed away from a collegiate commitment by the Dodgers’ burly checkbook.

Also — and there’s no kind way to say this — a high-school lefty who sits 93-95 and can touch 98 might be more valuable than a high-school lefty like Frank Mozzicato, who relies on a high-spin breaking ball. There’s simply no way to know which draft prospects, collegiate and amateur, have been using the type of ball-altering substances that have only recently begun to be policed.

Dodgers MLB Draft Pick: Maddux Bruns.

So, what’s there to know about Bruns? He’s high-velo with a mid-80s wipeout slider and big, breaking curve. Though you may not have heard much about him this draft cycle, he has plenty of pedigree, winning every high school honor the state of Alabama has to offer.

Mr. Baseball 2021? Got that. Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year? Secured. Class 5A Pitcher and Player of the Year? Why not?

Of course, a theme of this draft was various teams going under-slot with their top pick in an effort to save money for players further down the board … or just to save money for the sake of having some extra money lying around. The Dodgers likely won’t be able to do that with Bruns, considering they’ll have to flex their financial muscles to woo him away from a college commitment — a commitment to the College World Series champions, in fact, where he’d be trying to replicate the success of Giants first-rounder Will Bednar.

In case you were wondering about the first name “Maddux,” it comes from exactly where you thought it did. No word on the origin of “Bruns,” though.

The Dodgers possess a still-thriving farm system and have been able to squeeze success stories out of every rung of the draft ladder.

Their high-level pitching has gotten a bit depleted in recent years, though, with Josiah Gray and Andre Jackson remaining after Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Dustin May all graduated. It never hurts to add a prep arm with a natural heater, even though many of us probably expected a slugging outfielder or a surer thing.