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Dodgers' '09 Draft class impresses

Dodgers' '09 Draft class impresses

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

Thoughts of Dodgers drafts usually turn to power arms. There was Chad Billingsley back in 2003, Scott Elbert in '04. Clayton Kershaw came via the Class of '06 and the Dodgers' system has Chris Withrow (2007) and Ethan Martin (2008) in it as well.


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So it should really come as no surprise that the highlights of the 2009 Draft for Los Angeles include some more arm strength. Even without a proper first-round pick, the Dodgers were able to snag two big arms in their first three selections. To mix it up, they nabbed some more power -- this time of the college bat-variety -- in between some of those arms in the opening rounds.

The Dodgers didn't have that first-round pick because they forfeited it to the D-backs for signing free agent Orlando Hudson. They did receive a supplemental first-round and a second-round pick from the Braves when Atlanta signed free agent Derek Lowe.

Top five picks

1s. Aaron Miller, LHP: A two-way player at Baylor some liked as a hitter, the Dodgers are pretty pleased to have the lefty on the mound. Miller spent most of his summer debut with Great Lakes in the Midwest League, where he went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA, allowing just 22 hits (.208 batting average against) and 10 walks while striking out 38. Lefties who can crank it up to 95 mph don't grow on trees.

2. Blake Smith, OF: Another two-way player, some liked Smith as a pitcher, but the Dodgers preferred to let him hit and see if he can tap into his raw power while cutting down on the length of his swing. He struggled with that during his debut, hitting .214/.317/.302 in 126 total at-bats, mostly with Ogden in the Pioneer League. He struck out 47 times in 36 games.

2. Garrett Gould, RHP: It looked like Gould was pitching himself into the first round, but was still around, much to the Dodgers' delight, at pick No. 65 overall. Signing late, he barely got his feet wet with Ogden, but he may have whet everyone's appetite with his last appearance, a one-inning outing during which he struck out the side.

3. Brett Wallach, RHP: Wallach was rising up draft boards with his performance on the mound for Orange Coast Community College and probably felt, as Tim's son, like he was coming home. While his dad was managing the organization's Triple-A team, he went to Ogden, where he finished with a 5.23 ERA in 12 starts, allowing 34 hits and 15 walks while striking out 38 over 31 innings.

4. Angelo Songco, OF: The Dodgers tried to be aggressive with the Loyola Marymount product by sending him straight to full-season Great Lakes. After hitting .150/.226/.258 in 33 games, he joined the crew at Ogden and turned it up, finishing his debut by hitting .306/.361/.583 there over 144 at-bats.

Best of the Rest

C Jeremy Wise (5th round) hit .338 for Ogden over 39 games to go along with eight homers and 23 RBIs. He finished with a .401 OBP and .566 SLG. ... OF Jonathan Garcia (8th round) went to the rookie-level Arizona League and hit .304/.362/.500 in 41 games at age 17. ... The Pioneer League MVP was 12th-round OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez. He hit .322/.353/.618 in 71 games and led the league in six different offensive categories. ... RHP Steven Ames (17th round) closed games for Ogden and finished with seven saves in 17 appearances. He had a 2.10 ERA and .192 batting average against while striking out 47 (vs. 6 walks) in 30 innings.

Fast Risers

The prevailing thought is that when a two-way player, particularly one from the college ranks, starts to focus on one skill as a pro, he develops quickly. This could be the case with Miller on the mound. A starter at Gonzaga, Ames and his willingness to go right after hitters could punch a fast ticket to the big leagues in the bullpen.

Unsigned

The Dodgers managed to sign their first 11 picks, 22 out of 24 and 31 out of their total 51 selections. 11th-rounder Connor Powers was the only player taken in the top 19 rounds not to come to terms. He took his raw power, back to Mississippi State. Texas high school power Coppell High had three players, including Dodgers 24th-rounder Chad Kettler, drafted in June. None of them signed. Kettler went to University of Oklahoma instead. 3B Richie Shaffer (25th round) was an intriguing high school product from North Carolina, but a broken hamate bone hurt his draft chances. He's now at Clemson.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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