Grading the Dodgers' last 6 first-round draft picks

The LA Dodgers have a very uneven and questionable track record with their more recent draft picks.
Jul 5, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Bobby Miller (70)
Jul 5, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Bobby Miller (70) / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Dodgers 2021 First-Round Pick: Maddux Bruns

Pick: 29th overall
School: UMS-Wright Preparatory School (AL)
Position: LHP

Finally, we come to the 2021 draft, where the Dodgers held the 29th overall pick. LA went with pure upside here by taking Maddux Bruns, a lefty pitcher out of the Alabama high school ranks. Bruns had some of the best pure stuff in the 2021 draft with a fastball that sat in the mid-90s (and could touch higher than that) along with two different breaking balls that could get swings and misses. The problem was that he very often did not know where his pitches were going. The Dodgers saw the potential in him, though, and added him to the fold.

Early on, picking Bruns kind of looked like a mistake as he walked a ton of batters (52 walks in his first 49.1 innings as a pro) across his first two seasons. However, things have improved significantly lately, as he's made some mechanical adjustments. He's still walking too many guys this year despite some improvement there, but he's also been nearly unhittable with a 2.26 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work.

This one feels too early to give an accurate grade for. Bruns has a ton of potential, but his command issues could force a move to the bullpen, where his stuff could play up even more. Despite some real concerns about his profile going forward, this pick is looking a lot better than it did before the 2023 season started.

Grade: Tentative B ... for now

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