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Three biggest Dodgers draft steals of the last decade

92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The MLB Draft is right around the corner and the majority of us, me included, are mainly focusing on the first round of the draft. Mostly because these are the players with the big-time ceilings who traits that talent evaluators drool over. However, rosters are traditionally developed with later-round selections with some of the game’s best players like Mookie Betts and Paul Goldschmidt being taken in the fifth and eighth round, respectively. The Los best players over the last decade have mainly been first- or second-round selections but there are a few players who could be qualified as steals.

Steal #1

Tony Gonsolin 2016 draft - Round 9 pick 281

Across five seasons Gonsolin has amassed a 9.3 WAR with a 30-9 record. He’s started 63 games in the regular season for the Dodgers in which he has posted a 2.72 lifetime ERA. The postseason has been a different story as he has appeared in eight games in October, four of which starts, pitching to a 9.20 ERA in an extremely limited sample size. The righty was an All-Star last season and had it not been for a sprained ankle he might have been one this season.

He has been a lucky pitcher over the past two seasons as evidenced by his 3.12 xERA last season compared to his actual ERA of 2.14. This season has been more of the same. His ERA is 3.69, but his xERA is 4.55. However, even if he were to regress to his xERA this season this is a pick that’s provided fantastic value for the Dodgers.

Steal #2

Caleb Ferguson 2014 draft - Round 38 pick 1,149

The value of this pick is otherworldly. There are few players drafted that late in drafts that are even able to sniff the Triple-A level let alone reaching the bigs and carve out a career. In terms of players to sign with the team that drafted him, Ferguson was the latest player selected to make the big leagues from the 2014 class. The next closest player, Kyle McGrath, was selected nearly 100 picks earlier and only appeared in 21 games for the San Diego Padres.

Over the past two seasons Ferguson has been an instrumental part of the Dodgers bullpen pitching to a 2.28 ERA and 187 ERA+ in 74 regular season games since the start of the 2022 season.

Steal #3

Cody Bellinger 2013 draft - Round 4 pick 124

I do understand that he was selected in only the fourth round. However, Bellinger was a massive steal for the Dodgers because of what he did for them in his first four seasons. Over that time, he was a unanimous Rookie of the Year selection, two-time All Star, won an MVP, was the 2018 NLCS MVP and won a World Series in 2020. Statistically he was dominant as well posting an OPS+ of 140, hitting 123 homers and he had an OPS of .911. Those are achievements and numbers you’d expect from a first-round selection, not someone selected behind Andrew Mitchell and in front of Mason Katz.

Bellinger’s play did drop off drastically over his final two seasons with the club as he had an OPS+ of just 66 meaning he was 34 percent worse than a league average hitter. He did deal with a litany of injuries over that time frame which contributed to his fall off with the most notable one being a dislocated right shoulder which he suffered in the 2020 NLCS. Despite playing so poorly in 2021 and 2022 his contributions early in his career including a World Series title and MVP trophy makes him a true steal.