"The theory is, looking throughout the history of the Draft, when they're athletic enough to play shortstop and when they get older and their body goes forward or backward, they can usually play another position," said Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers' scouting director who completed rounds 3-10 of the 2016 Draft.
Gasparino took high school right-handed pitcher Dustin May with his first choice and third-round pick Friday, and by the end of the day, 10 of his first 12 picks were (easier to sign) college players to establish a trend, matching the breakdown of his first Dodgers Draft last year. This year's crop included Errol Robinson, a shortstop from the University of Mississippi, and Kevin Lachance, a shortstop from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
"So many players today that are left fielders or right fielders or third basemen or second basemen started out at shortstop," said Gasparino. "To start there, it's a lot easier to transition to other places on the field and gives more avenues of versatility that way."
One easy example of Gasparino's explanation is current Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley, drafted by the Phillies out of UCLA as a shortstop.
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 9 a.m. PT.
Here are capsules of Friday's picks:
Round 3 (101st overall), Dustin May, RHP, Northwestern High School (Tex.)
"He's one of our favorites, not only the talent, but he's got big red hair and tons of personality," said Gasparino. "We call him The Viper, because he has a unique arm action and produces plus stuff. He's a fan favorite from our scouts' point of view."
According to MLBPipeline.com, May had one of the highest spin rates at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in October, making him a natural for the analytical Dodgers. He threw in the low 80s as a sophomore but added velocity this year, reaching 95 mph. The 18-year-old is from the same high school as big leaguer Tyler Collins. May was recruited by Texas Tech, but Gasparino said he's confident an agreement will be reached. He was ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the 166th prospect in the Draft.
Round 4 (131st overall), DJ Peters, OF, Western Nevada College
"He's an uber-talented outfielder with tons of tools," said Gasparino. "He has big power. When we worked him out at Dodger Stadium, he was launching balls out. He's a physical freak in some ways."
A 6-foot-5 center fielder who will probably move to a corner, Peters was taken in the 36th round by the Rangers last year and the 36th round by the Cubs after his senior year at Glendora High School. He hit .419 with a school-record 16 home runs and 65 RBIs in 61 games and was Scenic West Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2016. He has a commitment to Cal State Fullerton if he doesn't sign.
Round 5 (161st overall), Devin Smeltzer, LHP, San Jacinto College North
"Smeltzer has really good pitchability, a good slider, he's had tons of success, great character and makeup," said Gasparino. "We're really happy to get him."
Smeltzer is a cancer survivor, diagnosed as a 9-year-old and declared in remission four years ago. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder was drafted out of high school by San Diego in the 33rd round in 2014 but didn't sign, attended Florida Gulf Coast University for a year and then transferred to San Jacinto, where he was a workhorse starter (he struck out 20 in a JUCO World Series game last week). He has a commitment to Texas Tech. He was 9-3 with a 1.18 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings. MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis projects Smeltzer as a lefty relief specialist.
Round 6 (191st overall), Errol Robinson, SS, University of Mississippi
"Robinson had a good track record at short, he hit in the Cape [Cod League], he's a good find in the sixth round," said Gasparino. "We think Smeltzer and Robinson are really good values."
Callis said Robinson is a bottom-of-the-lineup guy, "if he's in the lineup," suggesting he will be a defensive-oriented utility man. He hit .270 this year in 61 games, committing only eight errors.
Round 7 (221st overall), Luke Raley, OF, Lake Erie College
"He's an underscouted outfielder from a small school that not many people get to, but our scout Marty Lamb did a good job identifying him," said Gasparino. "He has big physical tools, great performance at a lower-level school that we think will translate well to the next level."
The left-handed power hitter batted .424 with an on-base percentage of .528 and a slugging percentage of .747. In 158 at-bats, Raley had 67 hits, including 11 doubles, two triples and 12 home runs. In the Northwoods Summer League last year, he hit four home runs in one game.
Round 8 (251st overall), Andre Scrubb, RHP, High Point University
"Lon Joyce scouted him; he's 6-5, 260 pounds with plus velocity, a really good breaking ball, the strikeout rate is high," said Gasparino. "We think we've got ways to get him to throw more strikes and repeat his delivery."
At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Scrubb has a Kenley Jansen body, with a 95 mph fastball to go with it. A starter, he was still on the board in the eighth round because he went 8-6 with a 4.86 ERA. But he had 54 walks and 15 wild pitches in 74 innings, as well as 94 strikeouts.
Round 9 (221st overall), Anthony Gonsolin, RHP, St. Mary's College
"He's a two-way player, very athletic, the fastball is up to 95 with a plus curve," said Gasparino. "He's also a hitter, but we feel good about his chances to convert to a full-time pitcher."
As an outfielder, he showed a decent bat and was a shortstop in high school. He's 6-foot-2, 180 pounds.
Round 10 (311 overall), Kevin Lachance, SS, University of Maryland (Baltimore)
"He's an athletic shortstop or maybe a center fielder, we're not sure what up-the-middle position he'll play," said Gasparino. "He has a great body, a twitchy-loose athlete we're excited to get."
A gamer and contact hitter with speed, Lechance hit .373 with 28 stolen bases and a .990 OPS this year. He is the third shortstop the Dodgers have drafted in the first 12 picks this year.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.