NEW YORK, NY -- The Dodgers with their first pick on Saturday, the third and final day of the 2014 MLB Draft, selected right-handed reliever A.J. Vanegas from Stanford in the 11th round, pick No. 339 overall.
Vanegas was 3-3 with seven saves and a 2.33 ERA in 18 games during his senior season with the Cardinal, with 28 strikeouts and 14 walks in 38⅔ innings. The right-hander was ranked as the 114th-best prospect in the draft by Baseball America, but Vanegas was slowed by injuries in college, including surgery for a herniated disk in his back during his junior season in 2013.
"Approaching the draft Vanegas looked healthy and showed the two plus pitches scouts have loved since high school: a fastball that reaches 97 mph and a power breaking ball, which at times is a true slider and at others is more of a cutter," the Baseball America scouting report said. "He has some feel for pitching from his work as a starter, but he hasn’t been as consistent with his breaking ball this season. Vanegas’ 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and plus stuff once tempted scouts with Brandon Morrow comparisons, but he’s purely a reliever now."
"He's rebounded as the Cardinal's closer, showing a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a slider that shows flashes of being a biting strikeout pitch. He's almost certainly destined for a bullpen, with his overall command and two-pitch repertoire well-suited for late-inning work," said his MLB.com scouting report. "If Vanegas' injury concerns are behind him, he could be a quick-to-MLB short reliever, something always in high demand, especially in the form of a senior sign."
This is the third time Vanegas has been drafted. He was picked out of high school in the seventh round in 2010 by the Padres, but he turned down a reported near $2 million bonus to go to Stanford, per Baseball America. Vanegas was also drafted in 2013 in the 19th round by the Athletics but he did not sign after an injury-plagued season.
Any picks after the 10th round don't count toward the bonus pool unless the signing bonus is over $100,000. Given that Baseball America projected Vanegas might be a third rounder as "a budget pick" (i.e. less than the $534,400 slot amount for that pick), Vanegas could see a bonus north of $100,000.