SECAUCUS, New Jersey -- The Dodgers made their first selection of the 2014 MLB Draft on Thursday night, taking right-handed pitcher Grant Holmes out of Conway High School in South Carolina with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round.
Holmes was named the Gatorade South Carolina Player of the Year after going 4-1 with a 0.35 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 40 innings.
“We feel fortunate to have gotten a player of Grant’s magnitude at pick 22,” said Dodgers draft chief Logan White. “He’s a mature, young and strong-bodied pitcher who throws hard and has a great breaking ball, but what separates him is he is a fierce competitor.”
Holmes was one of seven amateurs invited to attend the first round of the draft in person. He talked to Tommy Lasorda before being interviewed on the MLB Network broadcast.
"He said I was blessed to be a Dodger," Holmes said. "It's a true blessing. I'm very honored to be a Dodger."
The Dodgers under Logan White have used their first pick on a pitcher 11 times in 13 years, though Holmes is the first high school pitcher taken in the first round since Zach Lee in 2010.
"His power curveball is one of the top breaking balls in the country, a plus pitch that flashes better," says his Baseball America scouting report. "On the showcase circuit, Holmes was primarily a two-pitch pitcher with a seldom-used changeup. But the offering has become a legitimate above-average weapon that could become plus."
Holmes was committed to play college ball at Florida.
Holmes was correctly projected at No. 22 by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. in the final mock draft, and projected No. 24 by John Manuel of Baseball America, No. 14 by Keith Law of ESPN, and No. 24 by Jim Callis of MLB.com.
Law called Holmes "The most polished high school pitcher in the class, Holmes has outstanding command and has hit 98 mph, although I think in pro ball he'll settle in at 92-94 and get hitters out by throwing strikes and changing speeds rather than just overpowering them."
The alloted slot amount for the No. 22 pick is $1,980,500.
The Dodgers have one more pick on Thursday night, their second round selection at No. 62 overall