10/28/2003 8:08 PM ET
Dodgers at the top of the draft class
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers were rated as having the "strongest draft" from the 2003 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft held in June, according to a report in the Nov. 10-23 Baseball America.
The Dodgers were selected as having the top draft out of all 30 Major League teams in Baseball America's annual Draft Report Cards, based on analysis by scouting directors and scouts throughout Major League Baseball. The Dodgers ranked first, followed by Texas, Toronto, Arizona and Milwaukee. The Dodger draft, run by Director of Amateur Scouting Logan White the past two seasons, was also rated fourth-best in 2002, according to Baseball America.
"At a time when a number of teams are drafting only college players, the Dodgers stuck to their traditional scouting roots and landed several top high school players, both in the early and middle rounds," said Baseball America Editor in Chief Allan Simpson. "The biggest coup in the draft may have been getting Andy LaRoche in the 39th round."
"We are very excited about our recent drafts and feel we are building a strong nucleus of talent for the future. We as an organization realize the importance of a strong minor league system," said Dodger Executive Vice-President and General Manager Dan Evans. "Logan and the entire scouting staff have done an outstanding job of recognizing, drafting and signing some very talented players over the last two seasons."
Dodger fourth-round selection outfielder Xavier Paul was rated as having the second-best professional debut of high school players in the draft and as being the fifth-closest to the Majors among high school players in the draft. Paul batted .307 with 15 doubles six triples, seven home runs, 47 RBI and 60 runs scored in 69 games played for Rookie-level Ogden.
Right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers' first-round selection and 24th player overall taken in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, was rated as the third-closest to the Majors among the high school players taken. Billingsley was 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 11 starts with 62 strikeouts in 54.0 innings.
LaRoche was rated the best late-round selection in the draft. Signed in August, LaRoche appeared in six games for Ogden, going 4-for-19 with five RBI, but hit .326 with six home runs and 18 RBI in the Cape Cod League. The infielder was also rated the third-best player in the league by scouts and league managers. LaRoche is the son of pitcher Dave LaRoche, a two-time Major League All-Star and brother of Adam LaRoche, an infielder in the Atlanta Braves organization.
The Dodgers' fourth-ranked 2002 draft was highlighted by first-round selection first baseman James Loney and supplemental first-round pick left-handed pitcher Greg Miller. Loney batted .276 with a team-high 31 doubles, seven home runs and 46 RBI in 125 games for Single-A Vero Beach this past season. In 2002, the left-handed batter played at Rookie-level Great Falls and Vero Beach, hitting a combined .350 with 28 doubles, five home runs and 35 RBI in 64 games. Loney was rated the top prospect in the Pioneer League, after having been ranked as the best pure hitter in the 2002 draft by Baseball America. Miller, rated the ninth best prospect in the Pioneer League in 2002 after going 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA, had an outstanding 2003 season earning him selection as the Dodgers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The Florida State League All-Star was 1-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 26.2 innings at Double-A Jacksonville following a promotion from Vero Beach, where he was 11-4 with a 2.49 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 115.2 innings.
We either make ourselves happy or miserable.
The amount of work is the same.