Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Josh Sborz was Chosen as the Dodgers last Pick Yesterday - 74th Overall

The Dodgers last pick from the first day of the draft (yesterday) was right-handed college pitcher Josh Sborz.  He is the 74th overall pick and has a slot value of $827,000.00.  Currently, he is the primary closer for his college team - University of Virginia Cavaliers, but may be converted into a starter by the Dodgers.
"He's an accomplished right-hander," said Gasparino. "We think he can do both roles, but he has a 95-mph fastball, and he's added a slider, and we think he has a chance to start. So, we feel we got three starters, not just two."
Funny story, apparently he got busted easrlier this year for pitching in front of the rubber - about six inches.  You can follow him on twitter at: @JoshuaTree_27.
Per a Doders press release:
With their fourth pick of the night, Los Angeles drafted University of Virginia right-hander Josh Sborz, a 2015 Second-Team All-ACC selection. Sborz has gone 4-2 with an ACC-leading 14 saves (T-1st) and 1.95 ERA this season, while limiting opponents to a .164 batting average in 60.0 innings for Virginia, who advanced to the College World Series. In 187.0 career innings, the 21-year-old has allowed just 128 hits while striking out 171 and holding opponents to a .195 batting average. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior was scouted by Dodger scout Clair Rierson.

“He’s an accomplished right-hander, who started last year and transitioned to a closer role this year,” said Gasparino. “He has a plus fastball with a really good curveball and, this year, he added a slider to his mix.”
Per an MLB.com scouting report:
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

Sborz, whose brother Jay spent eight seasons in pro ball, pitched in relief as a freshman at Virginia before moving into the rotation as a sophomore. He returned to the bullpen in 2015, serving as the Cavaliers' closer and thriving in the role.

Sborz's arm strength is what defines him as a prospect. He's shown a fastball that he can crank up to 98 mph on occasion, though it usually sits in the 93-95 mph range, with some sink. He has a slider that should be at least Major League average and while he doesn't need a changeup much in short relief, he will show occasional feel for the pitch. Scouts aren't in love with his funky arm action, but the stuff is hard to be denied.

Sborz didn't pitch badly as a sophomore starter, and it's possible a team taking him early could decide to send him out in a rotation. But he more than likely profiles as a hard-throwing short reliever at the Major League level.
Here are some links about the man.
In celebration of Sborz being picked by the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo from Andrew Shurtleff/Courtesy Virginia Athletics and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.

Here is a video of him speaking about getting drafted.

Video Link:

Here, John Manuel of Baseball America talks about Sporz.

Video Link:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Dodgers Took Mitchell Hansen in 2nd Round - 67th Overall

In the second round of the 2015 draft the Dodgers chose high school outfielder Mitchell Hansen as the 67th overall selection.  Hansen is the first prep player chosen by the club and appears to be a kid with a solid bat.  I've read several reports comparing his swing to Shawn Green.  Best yet, he's excited about potentially being a Dodger, per a recent tweet that you can see below.  You can also follow him on twitter: @M_Hansen2015.  BTW, he has already committed to play for Standford University, so we'll see if the front office can convince him to go pro now.  His allotted slot value is $921,100.00.
Per a Dodgers press release:
In the second round, Los Angeles selected 19-year-old Plano (Texas) Senior High School outfielder Mitchell Hansen. The left-handed hitter was selected as a 2015 Perfect Game 1st Team All-American and batted .432 with two home runs and 18 RBI this season. The 6-foot-4, 197-pound Stanford commit was a member of the 2014 USA Baseball 18U squad and scouted by Dodger scout Josh Herzenberg.

“He’s five-tool corner outfielder and a smart kid from a good home,” said Gasparino.
Per an MLB.com scouting report:
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

One of the more well-rounded position players in the 2015 Draft class, Hansen has solid tools across the board. Evaluators who like him think several of those could develop into plusses, though he'll have to get picked early to deter him from his Stanford commitment.

Hansen has a fluid, compact left-handed swing and a good feel for hitting. He uses the entire field, has performed well against quality pitching on the showcase circuit and with the U.S. 18-and-under national team, and is growing into some power. He's not especially quick out of the batter's box but flashes plus speed at times once he gets going.

Hansen has enough speed and arm strength to play all three outfield positions, though he profiles best in right field. Scouts have compared him to Michael Saunders and Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo, a high school first-rounder in 2011.
Here are some links about the lad.
"I've gone through the same process with my family, friends and prayer that I did deciding about football," Hansen said. "And it's likely I will sign with what we're hearing with the draft. That has always been my dream to play pro baseball."
In celebration of Hansen being picked by the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo from the Plano Wildcats website and the 1971 Topps Baseball card design.

Here is a video of Hansen taking batting pratice at the Under Armour All-American game, via the Baseball Factory.  Per the video description:
Mitchell owns a classic left-handed stroke, with a smooth and pure action through the zone. He is arguably among the best hitters in the 2015 class, thanks to his advanced feel, which allows him to apply his previously mentioned stroke against high-level stuff. He squares the ball up regularly to all parts of the ballpark, with power to the pull side. It's a pleasure to watch him handle the bat. He is a talented and capable all-around athlete with foot speed (6.6 range 60-yard dash) and versatility to patrol all three outfield spots along with the open spaces of the gridiron as a wide receiver.

Video Link:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Take a Look at some Kyle Funkhouser Baseball Cards - Our 2nd 2015 1st Round Pick

I still find it strange that amateur ballplayers have Baseball cards on the market.  How can this be?  They obviously (at least, I think) aren't paid for inclusion into this product, and you'd think there wouldn't be a huge market for it.  On the other hand, the cards available of our compensation 1st Round Pick (35th overall), Kyle Funkhouser, are of the Team USA variety, so I guess that's OK.

BTW, our first pick of the draft, Walker Buehler, doesn't appear to have any cards available at all.  He never played for Team USA, and I couldn't find his name connected to any other "prep" card sets on the market.  No doubt, that will change soon.

As for Funkhouser, he is found in two different Team USA Baseball cards sets.  He has several cards available in the 2014 Panini USA set and in the recently released 2015 Panini USA Stars & Stripes set.

As with most Panini products today there are a bunch of parallels, and the checklist provided is a bit of a confusing mess.  Nevertheless, I have been able to track down most of Kyle's cards I am aware of.  Check them out below.

Over the next few days I'll try to track down cards of all of our other draft picks, so stay tuned.

2014 Panini USA Baseball Cards

Base Set

#11 Kyle Funkhouser

The Dodgers Picked Kyle Funkhouser at 35th Overall

I swear the Dodgers are trolling us.  They began yesterday's draft by picking a college pitcher named Buehler.  Then moments later, they chose as their compensation first round pick a kid with the name that has pun written all over it - "The Funk is in the House."  See what I mean?

As the 35th overall pick for the Dodgers they selected right-handed Louisville Cardinals pitcher Kyle Funkhouser.  His slot value is at $1,756,100.00.  Per an MLB.com scouting report:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Funkhouser ranked as the top prospect on the U.S. collegiate national team last summer, topping the staff with 36 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. That capped a stellar sophomore season during which he tied for the NCAA Division I lead with 13 victories and helped Louisville reach its second straight College World Series.

Undrafted out of an Illinois high school in 2012 because of his commitment to the Cardinals, Funkhouser has a solid three-pitch mix that begins with a 92-96 mph fastball. Both his slider and changeup show flashes of becoming plus offerings as well.

Funkhouser's 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame is built for durability. There's some effort to his delivery, though not enough to lead scouts to think he'll wind up in the bullpen. His biggest need is to improve the consistency of his control and command.
Baseball America adds more:
Funkhouser’s control is well below-average for a first-round college arm. He’s improved his control as a junior, but his 3.7 walks per nine innings is a high number. Part of Funkhouser’s control issues come from the life of his fastball; sometimes it simply leaks out of the zone thanks to its excellent run. Funkhouser’s two-seam fastball is a potentially plus pitch. He pitches at 91-94 mph down in the zone with a two-seamer with plenty of bore and he gets excellent extension. He can elevate with a four-seamer that touches 96-97 mph when he needs it but it’s a truer pitch that’s easier to hit. The rest of Funkhouser’s assortment is solid. His slider shows flashes of developing into a plus pitch as he can throw it for strikes or bury it and he has shown a feel for using it to backdoor righthanded hitters. His curveball is more of a get-over pitch. He uses his changeup infrequently but it has a shown average potential. Funkhouser has a solid chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter who keeps the ball in the park. His stuff would seem to indicate that he has a higher ceiling, but so far he’s yet to show the command to unlock that potential consistently.
Ken Gurnick at MLB.com passes along some personal stuff:
According to his bio page on the Louisville website, the finance major lists his favorite athletes as Derek Jeter, Derrick Rose and Brian Urlacher. His favorite cereal is Cocoa Puffs, favorite candy bar is 3 Musketeers, his favorite foods include deep dish pizza, hot dogs and grilled chicken, favorite teams are the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago White Sox and he was a spelling bee winner from third grade through fifth grade. His mother, Laura, played college volleyball at Indiana.
Here are a coupe of other links to check out:
In celebration of Funkhouser being picked by the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo from Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

From a Dodgers press release:
With their second pick, the Dodgers selected University of Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser, who was rated by Baseball America as the fifth-best pitcher in the draft. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior went 8-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 17 starts for the Cardinals this year, limiting opponents to a .228 batting average with 104 strikeouts in 112.1 innings. The 21-year-old was also scouted by Lamb.

As a sophomore in 2014, Funkhouser earned First Team ABCA All-America, Second Team Louisville Slugger All-America and Third Team Baseball America All-America honors, setting a school record with 13 wins (13-3) and posting a 1.94 ERA in 18 starts. Following the season, he was selected to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and went 1-2 with a 1.27 ERA (4 ER/28.1 IP) in six games (five starts) during the club’s summer tour. The Oak Forest, IL native opened his college career by being named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American after going 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 22 games (six starts).

“He’s an advanced college pitcher and was the ace on a really good team,” said Gasparino. “He’s big, physical and has got a really good arm action delivery. He throws up to 95 with a quality mix of secondary pitches.”
Below is FanGaphs video of him pitching:

Video Link:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 6/9/2015 - Dodger Links - Ethier, Buehler and Justin Turner

Andre Ethier has been fantastic at the plate this season.  It's like the past couple of years, which has recently been described as injury plagued, has finally passed, and he is ready to perform with the bat like used to.  Last night he knocked in a run with a single in the 4th inning, and drove in three more on a home run in the 5th inning to help put the game away.  The photo above is via the @Dodgers on twitter.

Below are some links to check out:
“I do actually like the movie,” Buehler said. “I’ve seen it a bunch of times, probably 10 times. It’s one of those things, where you get to your first day of school, every teacher tries to reinvent the wheel, do the whole skit, so at some point I just went with it.” 
“I’m fine with Jimmy,” Mattingly said recently. “I think he’s been swinging the bat pretty good. The other night I put him back in the two-hole for the day just because of the guys we had in there and he hits a bullet to short and a bullet to first so we cant control that part of it.”
“It wasn’t too bad after awhile but out on defense, the dive, and I just banged it right back in the ground so that made it even worse. I’m not sure which one was worse for me,” Turner told reporters after the game. “As time goes on those things usually tighten up more and more. It was getting pretty uncomfortable and I didn’t want to not be able to get to a ball or have something happen and cost Mike [Bolsinger] some runs, so we decided to just come off the field and get the X-ray done and make sure nothing was wrong.”
"He was good," Mattingly said. "Right now, it's not so much how they're doing but that they're doing it and bouncing back. So it sounds like he's bounced back."
  • GCRL shares a recent autograph he received from Rachel Robinson - wife of Jackie, here.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *