mlb.com reports that the Dodgers used the 7th and 26th overall picks to draft Clayton Kershaw (LHP, Highland Park High School-Dallas, TX) and Bryan Morris (RHP, Motlow State Community College, TN). Kershaw is reported to have a 92-mph fastball and a "legitimate" curve. He was the Gatorade National Player of the Year. This is from Logan White (via mlb.com):
Morris has a 93-mph fastball and a "trademark" curve (which I assume means it's good), along with an unusual delivery. He also can play center field (I'm sure Matt Kemp is hearing footsteps). Again, Logan White:
Fine by me. You can never have enough piching. I know that high school pitchers are a longshot, but a 6-4, 210 lb. lefty with a 90's fasball seems like a pretty good shot to take. With the 31st pick, the Dodgers took "Preston Baseball," son of Yankee Don Mattingly. (Incidentally, my fondest memory of Mattingly is having his rookie cards pay my rent right before his performance tailed off. Thanks, Don.) Here's what mlb.com had to say:
"Matt Kemp and Russell Martin weren't ranked in anybody's top 200 when we drafted them, either," White said, referring to players taken in his first two drafts that are now making Major League impacts.
Because the Dodgers lost their second- and third-round picks as compensation for signing Rafael Furcal and Bill Mueller, White said he wanted to get an athletic position player with the 31st pick and was convinced Mattingly wouldn't be available when he drafted again in the fourth round.
"But Mattingly was an ability pick," said White. "We love the bloodlines. He has a high ceiling. He's one of the best athletes in the draft, he's just been playing a lot of basketball and football."
The part about bloodlines kind of creeps me out in a 1930's eugenics sort of way, but I think I get what he means. I just hope he negotiated with Mattingly before he jacked his value up by taking him so early. This is what Billy Beane did when he drafted Jeremy Brown 35th overall in 2002, according to "Moneyball."
All things considered, this draft makes sense, even if its explanations are a bit...odd.