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Luke Raley’s ‘surreal’ debut adds to an already prolific draft class

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Raley: “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was growing up playing baseball.”

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Luke Raley got the call to the big leagues and made his major league debut on Friday, part of an eventful few hours at Dodger Stadium.

“I was definitely nervous, just because of excitement, I guess,” Raley said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was growing up playing baseball. To finally make those dreams a reality was very surreal.”

Raley was on the taxi squad with the Dodgers on their season-opening road trip, and with Cody Bellinger suffering a left calf contusion in Oakland, Raley was asked to stay with the team in case he was needed. The Dodgers decided to place Bellinger on the injured list about two hours before game time Friday, 20-25 minutes before the ring ceremony. Raley called his mother, Beth.

“My mom and I have a really, really good relationship. My mom has helped me every step of the way,” Raley said. “She had to be my first call.”

Raley was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round in 2016, which could end up as one of their most productive drafts in franchise history. First-round picks Gavin Lux and Will Smith started for the Dodgers Saturday, as did 33rd-rounder Zach McKinstry. Dustin May (third round) is in the rotation, Tony Gonsolin (ninth round) was in the bullpen before getting placed on the injured list, and Mitch White (second round) is in the minors.

Other players drafted and signed by the Dodgers in 2016 who made the majors elsewhere are Jordan Sheffield (first round, now with Rockies), Devin Smeltzer (fifth round, Twins), Andre Scrubb (eighth round, Astros), and Dean Kremer (14th round, Orioles).

“It’s a lot of fun seeing those guys that were drafted in 2016 make it to the big leagues, making their debut and doing well,” McKinstry said. “It’s awesome catching up with them and seeing them do well in the big leagues.”

The 11 players to reach the majors match 1968 as the most prolific draft year in Dodgers history, and if outfielder DJ Peters, who is on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, gets called up he would make an even dozen and a new high mark for the franchise.

“[Friday] night I was sitting here thinking about it,” Raley said. “I mean, there’s a lot of good talent here and other places from that draft. It’s a really cool thing to see and be a part of.”

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