In addition to the All-Star Game coming next week, Major League Baseball in its infinite wisdom also has scheduled the draft at the same time. The 2023 MLB Draft starts on Sunday, and the Dodgers’ first pick is No. 36 overall, just after the first round.
The Dodgers’ first pick is relatively low because they were docked 10 spots for exceeding the competitive balance tax threshold by more than $40 million in 2022.
Most mock drafts this time of year include only first-round selections, but for the enterprising projectors who go a little deeper, there seems to be a near consensus for a possible Dodgers target for their first pick.
From mock drafts by Kiley McDaniel at ESPN (both May 30 and June 26), by Carlos Collazo at Baseball America on June 8, and by Jim Callis at MLB Pipeline on June 29, the Dodgers are tabbed to select Jonny Farmelo, an outfielder from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Virginia.
Farmelo played mostly shortstop in high school, and was listed as such at the MLB Draft Combine last week in Arizona. But he’s been playing outfield in preparation for the draft, and is projected to land on the grass by the mock drafters above.
MLB Pipeline rated Farmelo as the No. 39 prospect in the draft:
Farmelo is a physical athlete with a lot of tools to like. He’s a plus runner, which helps him on both sides of the ball, and has shown the ability to find the barrel consistently and drive the ball to all fields. There’s plenty of bat speed, and he’s quick to the ball, with more power to come as the 6-foot-2 left-handed hitter matures.
McDaniel at ESPN added, “Farmelo fits the Dodgers to a T: He’s the sort of smooth hit-power combo with a feel for the game whom they excel at developing, particularly in tapping into a player’s power.”
Farmelo is committed to play college ball at the University of Virginia.
“There’s so many different skill sets you have to have, pure athleticism doesn’t always translate in this game,” Farmelo’s high school coach Rob Hahne told Eric Hobeck at Inside Nova. “I think the biggest thing that he’s developed [is] his strength, he’s really gotten after the weight room, as you can tell. He’s always had speed but the weight room has also helped his speed tool. And his speed tool is off the charts.”
Baseball America ranks him as the 45th-best prospect in the draft.
“He manages his at-bats well, makes plenty of contact and tracks the ball well out of the pitcher’s hand with strong balance and minimal movement in his load,” said BA’s scouting report of Farmelo. “His pitch recognition, ability to handle velocity, bat speed and pure contact ability indicate potential above-average hitting ability and he should have solid power as well, even if he’s more of a gap hitter than a true slugger.”
Only three times this century have the Dodgers used their first draft pick on a high school position player — James Loney at No. 19 overall in 2002, Corey Seager at 18th in 2012, and Gavin Lux at No. 20 in 2016.
The No. 36 pick in 2023 comes with a recommended slot value of $2,362,700. The Dodgers have over $7.27 million to spend in their draft bonus pool this year.