Dodgers add catching project in eighth round
University of Georgia shortstop Farmer projects as backstop
While the Dodgers' eighth round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft starred as a shortstop at the University of Georgia, scouting director Logan White said the club plans to convert Kyle Farmer to catcher.
And Farmer is ready to embrace the change, though he's never played the position.
"I'm willing to play anywhere just to get a chance," Farmer told the Athens Banner-Herald this week. "I'm ready to go play. Hopefully a team gives me a shot and I can go sign the contract as soon as possible and head out and leave. I don't know where it's going to take me, but I don't know what I'd do without baseball. I really can't wait."
The Dodgers liked what they saw from Farmer as a catcher during a workout, and drafted him with the 244th selection on Friday.
During his career with the Bulldogs, Farmer hit .308 with 63 doubles, seven triples, 18 home runs and 168 RBIs. He ranks among the top 10 in school history in games played, total bases, at-bats, hits, doubles and RBIs.
Farmer was the starting shortstop for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team last summer, but his future is behind the plate.
The Yankees drafted Farmer as a shortstop in the 35th round last year, but he did not sign and returned to Georgia for his senior season.
"I think coming back helped in a good way because I saw a lot of things I'd never seen before that," Farmer said. "You've got to stay positive no matter what, and I learned that coming back for my senior season. You've got to be mentally tough in the Minor Leagues."
Dodgers open Day 2 haul with Arizona 3B Dixon
The Dodgers selected Arizona third baseman Brandon Dixon with the 92nd pick of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
Though he delivered the game-winning hit in Arizona's 2012 College World Series triumph, Dixon was primarily a defensive replacement in the Wildcats' championship run.
That has all changed this season. Dixon underwent LASIK eye surgery in the offseason and broke out at the plate. He took over as the Wildcats' starting third baseman and became just the fourth player in program history to score 40 runs, collect 40 RBIs and steal 30 bases in one season.
"He's a really quality athlete," said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White, who thinks Dixon can also play second. "The kid can fly. He should be able to steal 20-30 bases in the big leagues and play a quality infield position."
Dixon has a good approach at the plate and a compact swing that allows him to spray line drives from gap to gap. He is a steady defender with an average arm. The biggest question mark in Dixon's game is his power. He will need to add more loft to his swing to add power, but if he does, Dixon could be an everyday third baseman.
"We think he's going to hit for average and have some power potential," White said. "He uses the whole field."
With their remaining seven picks on Day 2 of the Draft, the Dodgers selected first baseman Cody Bellinger, shortstop Brandon Trinkwon, catcher Kyle Farmer, outfielder Henry Yates and right-handers J.D. Underwood, Jacob Rhame and Nick Keener.
Day 3 of the Draft continues with Rounds 11-40 streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. PT.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In the pipeline
The Dodgers have used five of their first 10 selections on pitchers, filling an organizational need. Last year, the club traded away top pitching prospects Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Nathan Eovaldi, Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin.
The Dodgers went with a pair of college starters on Day 1, drafting right-hander Chris Anderson from Jacksonville University with the No. 18 overall pick and left-hander Tom Windle from the University of Minnesota with the No. 56 overall selection.
Still, six of the Dodgers' top 10 prospects are hurlers, including right-handers Zack Lee, Matt Magill, Angel Sanchez and Chris Withrow, in addition to lefties Chris Reed and Onelki Garcia. That will give this year's draft class more time to develop in the Minor Leagues.
Dodgers take first baseman Bellinger in fourth round
The Dodgers selected first baseman Cody Bellinger in the fourth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the first high school prospect drafted by the club this year.
The son of former Major Leaguer Clay Bellinger, Cody has already begun to make a name for himself. At Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., Baseball America rated Bellinger the No. 90 prospect after he hit .429 with a .515 on-base percentage as a senior.
Bellinger played in the Little League World Series in 2007 and has developed into a sweet-swinging first-base prospect. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Bellinger is a lanky left-handed hitter with an easy swing.
After he was drafted, Bellinger tweeted: "I just want to thank everyone who has helped me get here! I am proud to say I am OFFICIALLY A PART OF THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS ORGANIZATION!!!"
I just want to thank everyone who has helped me get here! I am proud to say I am OFFICIALLY APART OF THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS ORGANIZATION!!!- Cody Bellinger (@CodyBellinger8) June 7, 2013
Scouts expect Bellinger to develop good power as he physically matures. Some scouts compare him, especially his swing, to a young Adam LaRoche. Bellinger has good range and is an advanced defender. He also pitches, occasionally touching 90 mph with his fastball.
LA snags two-way player Underwood in fifth round
The Dodgers drafted their first two-way player in the fifth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, selecting right-hander J.D. Underwood from Palm Beach State.
While Underwood is committed to the University of Miami, he will focus solely on the mound should he sign with the Dodgers. He also played first base in junior college.
"Not in a million years, you can't dream of a better situation," Underwood told the Palm Beach Post after he was drafted. "The way everything played out this year, it's unbelievable. I'm just speechless. It's awesome. Unbelievable."
Underwood's father, Tom, spent parts of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues and made 213 career starts. So J.D. has a pretty good feel for pitching.
He has a feel for three at-least average pitches, with his fastball, curveball and changeup. Underwood tops out at around 92 mph, but goes right after hitters and gets high marks for his makeup, with the upside of a mid-to-back-of-the-rotation type starter.
Underwood, 20, is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. In May, he led Palm Beach State to its first Florida junior college baseball title in 29 years. Underwood was named the tournament's top pitcher, tossing two complete games to go 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
During the regular season, Underwood posted a 1.66 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 92 1/3 innings. He went 8-2 and issued just 12 walks. Underwood also hit .367 with three home runs and 47 RBIs as a left-handed bat.
Junior college hurler Rhame taken in round six
The Dodgers drafted their second junior college pitcher on Friday, selecting right-hander Jacob Rhame in the sixth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Rhame began his college career at Oklahoma, but transferred to Grayson County College in Texas after pitching just 10 innings as a freshman with the Sooners. He has shown improved stuff this spring at Grayson County and dominated hitters, striking out 58 in 75 innings with a 2.16 ERA.
Rhame's fastball sits in the low-90s with good sinking action. He also throws a curveball and a changeup, but his secondary pitches need further development.
"He has an electric arm," said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White. "He knows how to pitch. We'll start him in the Minor Leagues, but he could go either direction because he throws strikes and his delivery is sound."
Listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Rhame has ideal size for a right-hander. He has good command and can throw all three of his pitches for strikes. The 20-year-old is committed to Texas State should he head back to a four-year college.
Rhame grew up in Denton, Texas -- the hometown of Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra.
LA drafts local product Trinkwon in seventh round
The Dodgers drafted local product Brandon Trinkwon in the seventh round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, a shortstop from the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Trinkwon is the Gauchos' highest draft pick since 2006. He was named to the All-Big West second team this season. He led the Gauchos with 40 runs scored and 30 walks in 60 games, and ranked second with four homers, 37 RBIs and 14 extra-base hits. Trinkwon had 10 steals and put up a .280/.367/.384 slash line as a junior. He bats left and throws right.
But he's known more for his glove and had a .968 fielding percentage in 2013, including an 18-game stretch without an error. Still, he's projected to move to second base.
"He's an absolute baseball gamer," said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White. "He's probably more suited to play second base, but we'll give him an opportunity to play short. He handles the bat OK, but he's really a defensive guy."
The 21-year-old was a Preseason All-American by Baseball America this year.
As a sophomore in 2012, Trinkwon hit .347 with 40 walks and 22 extra-base hits. He followed that with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League, where he was an All-Star starter after hitting .301 with 33 RBIs with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Trinkwon graduated from Beckman High School in nearby Tustin, Calif., in 2010.
Dodgers make Yates their first outfield selection
The Dodgers selected their first outfielder of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, taking left fielder Henry Yates from Texas Wesleyan in the ninth round.
Yates hit .413 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 45 RBIs in 45 games as a senior this season. He reached base at a .469 clip to go with a .600 slugging percentage in 150 at-bats.
"He's an offensive player with a quality bat," said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White. "He hits line drives from gap to gap. He's got a little bit of power and has a chance to stay in the outfield."
Yates is listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds.
In 2012, Yates hit .373 with nine doubles, four triples and 23 RBIs as a junior at Vanguard University.
Dodgers close Day 2 with Keener, fifth pitcher
The Dodgers wrapped up Day 2 of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday by selecting their fifth pitcher, right-hander Nick Keener from Mansfield University.
Keener, 22, made 10 appearances this season as the closer for the Mountaineers. He struck out four in 13 1/3 innings.
"He's got really good fastball sink, good command and a good slider," said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White. "He competes his tail off and has a bulldog mentality. If he keeps battling, he may end up at the big league level out of the bullpen someday."
White compares Keener to former Dodgers farmhand Jason Frasor, who has made 547 relief appearances in the Major Leagues since 2004.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.