I’m playing catch-up here with the MLB Draft getting closer and closer. This mock draft from Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com is from one week ago, and he projected the Dodgers to take Ole Miss right-hander Gunnar Hoglund.
“He’d be a top 10 contender if not for his recent Tommy John surgery,” writes Mayo, “and there could be a number of teams in the second half of the first round who would be willing to have him rehab in their system.”
Indeed, Kiley McDaniel at ESPN had Hoglund as the No. 5 prospect in the draft, and the right-hander was ninth in Baseball America’s draft prospect rankings. It’s easy to see why.
The 6’4 junior had a 2.87 ERA and 38.9-percent strikeout rate in 11 starts for Mississippi this season, including 14 strikeouts (against Louisiana Monroe) and 13 strikeouts (against Auburn) in back-to-back scoreless starts in March.
Since the start of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, Hoglund has a 2.41 ERA with 133 strikeouts against 21 walks in 86 innings.
“With a durable 6-foot-4 frame, an easy delivery and a history of quality strikes, Hoglund already had a high floor as a back-of-the-rotation starter,” says MLB.com’s scouting report of Hoglund.
Tommy John surgery won’t scare away most teams, given Hoglund’s potential. The Dodgers have a history of drafting pitchers with elbow issues and waiting them out, including Caleb Ferguson in the 38th round in 2014, Walker Buehler in the first round in 2015, and Michael Grove in the second round in 2017. Clayton Beeter, drafted last year in after the second round, had Tommy John surgery in 2017.
Hoglund has already been drafted in the first round, technically, as the Pirates picked him out of high school in Florida in the supplemental first round, 36th overall, in 2018.
The last player drafted by the Dodgers out of Ole Miss was shortstop Errol Robinson in the sixth round in 2016.