The Dodgers took several position players and one pitcher with the final six picks of Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft. Included in those picks are two players that were drafted by the Dodgers in 2017 and didn’t sign.
Here is a more in-depth look at what can be expected of this group of college players.
Devin Mann, SS, Louisville
Mann’s performance at Louisville has gradually improved each season, culminating in 2018’s slash line of .303/.446/.504 with seven home runs and 15 steals. He has an excellent build with solid strength and good overall athleticism, but the athleticism doesn’t always translate. He has a flat swing and a quick trigger, which allows him to make a lot of contact, but his bat speed looks average and his upper body looks stiff, lacking fluidity. He might be a candidate for a swing adjustment, as the Dodgers have done with Drew Jackson, another notable athlete that entered the system looking a little mechanical.
Reviews on Mann’s defense aren’t glowing, which makes the announcement of Mann as a shortstop interesting, but he’s a decent athlete and should be passable at third or second. Mann’s eventual ceiling might be that of a bat first utility player with good plate discipline and average pop, with room for more if the Dodgers can make him less mechanical and up his swing plane.
Bryan Warzek, LHP, New Orleans
Like Rooney in round three, Warzek is a left handed standout performer that produced big K totals for a mid major school. Warzek’s profile is even less typical than Rooney, as he’s a shorter pitcher with a maxed out frame. He has some deception in a start and stop delivery that features a high leg kick and slight hesitation, but his arm is fairly quick. He makes the most of his small frame with a high ¾ slot, and still gets good sink on his fastball.
Warzek can spin a deep, big breaking curve, but his fading change-up might be his best secondary. He looks like he controls the fastball well and his college numbers suggest he could move quickly through the low minors. Like Rooney, Warzek was a Friday night ace that might profile better in the pen. Between both Rooney and Warzek, the Dodgers now have two more polished college left handers that can move quick and improve what is the weakest position in the organization in terms of depth.
Luke Heyer, 2B, Kentucky
Heyer is a budget pick as a senior sign, but had one of the better power seasons in the SEC. The Dodgers announced him as a second baseman, but he’s a limited athlete that will need his bat to carry him. Heyer has a long swing that generates power through strength and loft, but bat speed issues could lead to some swing and miss. Heyer played third and outfield for Kentucky and could be tried at a few positions as a pro.
Josh McLain, CF, North Carolina State
The Dodgers selected McLain last year but were unsuccessful in signing him. As a senior, this shouldn’t be an issue this time. McLain led the Wolfpack in hitting at .344 and he has a swing built for contact. His swing path is short and he has little load, but his plus speed should give him some doubles power. McLain is thinly built and I wouldn’t expect him to add much strength, so his power will likely always be fringe.
McLain will be an asset in centerfield with his plus speed and instincts. His ceiling may not be starting caliber, but with his run and defense tools and the ability to make a lot of contact, he could eventually carve out a bench role.
Deacon Liput, 2B, Florida
The Dodgers are proving their persistence in wanting to sign players they selected in 2017, taking Liput again in 2018. Liput is a good overall athlete with speed and a little bit of pop, but his production at Florida has been marginal for a typical second day draft choice.
Liput has a smallish frame but decent strength, and he might develop fringe average pop if he can eliminate the buggy whip in his swing.
Liput was announced as a second baseman, but he is a good defender and could probably handle any position in the dirt. Liput’s defensive versatility might be his carry tool, as he hasn’t hit for much average in his Florida career. If Liput can continue to develop his pop to go with good speed and defense, he could carve out a utility role in the future.