LOS ANGELES — The only high school player drafted by the Dodgers in 2020 might already be the fastest player in the organization. If they can sign Huntington Beach outfielder Jake Vogel, that is.
“If he’s not the top, he’s in the top two or three,” Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino said of their third-round pick last week. “This is running back, sprinter speed. Strong, explosive powerful strides. He can really get after it.”
Pre-draft scouting reports all praised Vogel’s speed, with Keith Law at The Athletic rating it a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and MLB.com saying, “Vogel is one of the fastest guys in the Draft class, occasionally recording 80 run times.” Gasparino labeled Vogel “a dynamic athlete.”
“He’s a 70 runner with a big arm, plus center field defense. He’s got power,” Gasparino said. “He’s a physically gifted kid who missed some of last summer with a back injury, but came out this fall and early spring and performed really well and really shot up our board.”
The knock on Vogel is his size, listed on multiple sites as 5’11, 165 pounds.
Huntington Beach coach Benji Medure had a comp for Vogel, per Steve Fryer of the Orange County Register:
“Like McCutchen (5-11, 195), Jake’s kind of undersized,” Medure said. “But he runs well and hits for power and steals bags and throws people out. We’ve never before had a guy like this kid, with his different kind of speed and explosiveness.”
“We think we’re going to develop him more as a guy who can go to all fields. He’s got really good timing,” Gasparino said. “He’s got a hand flick to his finish that really creates a lot of power for his size. We have a few clean-up issues with his load and path, and our player development guys are champing at the bit to get a hold of him. They think as an athlete, his hand-eye coordination, and the ability to move his body so fast is going to take off with some instruction.”
But to get Vogel in the hands of the Dodgers player development department, first they have to convince him to turn professional rather than attend UCLA. They will likely have the room to go over the recommended slot value of $581,600 for the 100th overall pick thanks to below-slot deals elsewhere. The Dodgers already signed fifth-round pick Gavin Stone for a reported $100,000, which is $227,200 under his slot value.
Despite his relatively small size, Gasparino thinks Vogel will stick in center field in the majors.
“I think it’s one of his strengths. He’s a really good defender now. I think he’ll get better. I think his reads, his instincts, his southern Cal experience, he’s a very polished player,” Gasparino said. “The Huntington Beach program is outstanding. They play all the top schools. We think his speed is going to last for a while and age well.”