With needs to fill, Dodgers execute Draft plan

With needs to fill, Dodgers execute Draft plan

With needs to fill, Dodgers execute Draft plan
The Dodgers had a plan, and they stuck to it.

Assistant general manager Logan White said heading into the 2011 First-Year Player Draft he wanted three things: high-ceiling pitchers, corner guys and catchers.

That strategy was clear early and often as the first 10 rounds saw the Dodgers take two catchers, two third basemen and six pitchers -- many of whom could be classified as "high-ceiling."

With their first selection (16th overall) they took the first of those pitchers, going with tall Stanford lefty Chris Reed.

Although Reed spent most of his senior season as a closer, White said he plans on making him a starter. White conceded Reed's path to the big leagues will probably be quicker as a reliever, but he hopes by projecting him into the rotation, Reed will make a greater impact on the franchise.

Draft Central

"Chris Reed, I feel, has been unfairly labeled as a signability pick, and that's absolutely not the case," White said in response to some criticism that the Dodgers selected Reed because they see him as easy to sign. "Chris Reed is a legitimate front-line guy who has a chance to be a really good pitcher in the big leagues. We visualize him down the road being next to [Clayton] Kershaw in that rotation."

Reed had nine saves in 11 opportunities this year and a 1.80 ERA in 27 relief appearances over 45 innings. His Cardinal will face North Carolina in the NCAA Super Regional starting Friday night.

After Reed, the Dodgers went after a pair of position players, third baseman Alex Santana and catcher Pratt Maynard, whom White said helped the Dodgers accomplish "getting some bats and getting some power in the organization."

Santana, the son of former Mets shortstop Rafael Santana, went in the second round as the 73rd overall pick. White, a self-professed fan of bloodlines (he took Ryan O'Sullivan, the brother of Royals pitcher Sean O'Sullivan in the fourth round), said he sees a lot of potential in the 17-year-old.

"He's actually a lot taller than his father," White said. "He's got a frame to fill out, he's rangy, he's a very smart kid, gonna be a plus defender at third base, and he's got a nice line-drive stroke right now that's gonna develop into power. I think he's certainly gonna develop into a cornerstone at third base."

As for Maynard, White said he's looking forward to the offensive potential behind the plate. Maynard was one of three catchers the Dodgers took in the first 18 rounds.

"We tried to target catching," White said. "We feel like we've drafted three catchers. Out of those three we certainly feel somebody's gonna come on and be a pretty good catcher."

Wednesday marked the final day of the Draft, and with the late rounds rolling in, White saw a chance to take some risks. He began the day by selecting former St. Mary's basketball player Mickey McConnell in the 31st round. As a guard, McConnell led the Gaels to a Sweet 16 berth in 2010 and was one of the program's all-time best three-point shooters.

"He's athletic, a smart guy, was a leader on the basketball court," White said of shortstop McConnell, who hasn't played a competitive baseball game since he was a standout in high school. "We drafted him and we're going to find out if he wants to play baseball or not and give it a shot."

White took a similar approach in the 33rd round with Malcolm Holland, a middle infielder from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., who committed to play football at Boise State. If the Dodgers can sign him, White said he has many of the same tools as Dee Gordon.

In the 40th round, White took second baseman Stefan Jarrin, the grandson of Jaime Jarrin, the Spanish voice of the Dodgers.

Overall, the Dodgers selected 27 position players and 23 pitchers, but went with arms early as pitchers represented 16 of the 30 players chosen on the first two days.

AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.