The Dodgers took catcher Dalton Rushing of Louisville with their first pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. This is the eighth draft for the Andrew Friedman-led front office, and its been an even split with the Dodgers taking pitchers with their first pick four times and position players four times.
Will Smith wasn’t technically one of those first picks, with Gavin Lux drafted ahead of him in 2016, but Smith was a first-rounder, and Rushing joins him in the Louisville catching Dodgers fraternity.
Rushing saw a power spike as a junior in 2022, hitting .310/.470/.686 with 23 home runs and 16 doubles in 64 games, the home runs the fourth-most by in Louisville history. He also saw time at first base in 2020-21 when Henry Davis, the 2021 overall No. 1 MLB Draft pick, was the primary catcher.
“Catchers that hit with power that can control the zone and hit left-handed are rare commodities in the draft,” Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino said in a statement.
Rushing, a left-handed batter, was linked to the Dodgers by Carlos Collazo in multiple Baseball America mock drafts.
His Baseball America scouting report noted, “While Rushing’s offensive performance certainly improved his stock, what really pushed him into top-two round territory was his defensive play later in the season behind the plate.”
Rushing is technically a second-round pick, 40th overall in the draft. That’s because the Dodgers reached the highest tier of competitive balance tax threshold last year, which includes the penalty of the first pick of the next draft dropping 10 spots.
The 40th overall pick comes with a recommended slot value of $1,951,900. The Dodgers total bonus pool, which includes the slot values for every pick in the first 10 rounds, is just over $4.2 million.
Rushing was the only selection for the Dodgers on Sunday, which included the first 80 picks. The MLB Draft resumes Monday beginning at 11 a.m. PT (streamed on MLB.com), with the second day bringing us Rounds 3-10. The Dodgers have eight picks on Monday.