Dodgers 2013 MLB Draft, Rounds 3-5: Brandon Dixon, Cody Bellinger, J.D. Underwood

BrandonDixon

The Dodgers drafted University Of Arizona third baseman Brandon Dixon with the 92nd pick of the 2013 MLB Draft.

His ceiling appears to be limited a bit, but the team is counting that the tools he does have will play up.

“He’s a really quality athlete,” said Dodgers vice president of scouting Logan White, who thinks Dixon can also play second. “The kid can fly. He should be able to steal 20-30 bases in the big leagues and play a quality infield position.”

“We think he’s going to hit for average and have some power potential,” White said. “He uses the whole field.”

Dixon was not ranked by Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, ESPN, or Minor League Ball.

Baseball America ranked him 154th.

He has a quick swing with strength and shows above-average power in batting practice, though in games he shows a flatter stroke. He’ll be more of a doubles hitter than a home run threat unless he adds more leverage and loft into his swing. He has a strong build at 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds. While he’s a solid-average runner, he’s not particularly quick on his feet at third base and has a below-average arm, meaning he’ll likely wind up in left field as a pro.

MLB.com had this to say about him.

Though he delivered the game-winning hit in Arizona’s 2012 College World Series triumph, Brandon Dixon was primarily a defensive replacement in the Wildcats’ championship run. That has all changed this season. Dixon underwent Lasik eye surgery in the offseason and broke out at the plate. He took over as the Wildcats starting third baseman and became just the fourth player in program history to score 40 runs, drive in 40 runs and steal 30 bases in one season. Dixon has a good approach at the plate and a compact swing that allows him to spray line drives from gap-to-gap. He is a steady defender with an average arm. The biggest question mark in Dixon’s game is his power. He will need to add more loft to his swing to add power, but, if he does, Dixon could be an everyday third baseman.

As far as signability goes, he says he wants to go play pro ball, but as a junior, returning to college is always an option.

Seems like a bit of a reach at this spot, and that’s three college players in a row for Logan White, which is honestly shocking. The reason I’m not thrilled is that the profile doesn’t seem to be all that striking. By most accounts, the tools aren’t loud, and while it’s a plus that he can maybe move to second, the first projection that comes to mind is utility infielder.

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CodyBellinger

With the 124th pick of the 2013 MLB Draft, the Dodgers took first baseman Cody Bellinger out of Hamilton High School in Arizona.

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A tall, lanky first baseman, Bellinger is a bloodlines pick (Clay Bellinger), which White loves in his players.

He was not ranked by Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, or MLB.com.

Minor League Ball’s Matt Garrioch ranked him 84th, and he wasn’t alone, as Baseball America put him 91st.

Cody, who played in the 2007 Little League World Series, is still thin and lacks strength in his rangy 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. Scouts like Bellinger’s lefthanded swing and just want to see him get stronger. He has natural timing and puts together solid at-bats with good pitch recognition. Scouts who believe in him see above-average power potential. Bellinger is also a well above-average defender at first base. He is light on his feet and shows smooth hands. He also pitches, and his fastball sits in the 87-89 mph range.

Perfect Game had this to say about him:

Long and lean slender build, extremely projectable. Left handed hitter, tall stance, loose aggressive swing with plus bat speed, sound hitting mechanics, ball comes off the bat very hard, can dream on his bat speed with 20-30 more pounds of strength. 6.82 runner, smooth actions at first base, good range, soft hands, has tools to play corner outfield with no problem, lots of arm strength. Also pitched, raw mechanics with some effort, long arm action, loose out front, fastball topped at 88 mph, some spin and bite on 74 mph curveball. High ceiling athletic talent, defines projection in a hitter.

MLB.com profiled him as well:

He played in the Little League World Series in 2007 and has developed into a sweet-swinging first base prospect. Listed at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, Bellinger is a lanky left-handed hitter with an easy swing. Scouts expect him to develop good power as he physically matures. Some scouts compare him, especially his swing, to a young Adam LaRoche. Bellinger has good range and is an advanced defender. He also pitches, occasionally touching 90 mph with his fastball.

Signability is a bit of a concern here, as he is a solid commit to the University Of Oregon.

Hard to question a pick when you admittedly haven’t seen much of him, but it’s also hard to recall the amount of players who were drafted as first basemen and ended up as MLB regulars on Tier 1 teams. The reason for that should be obvious, because the player is either stuck at 1B defensively, or forced to DH, so the pressure on the bat to be special is immense.

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JDUnderwood

With the 154th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, the Dodgers took right-handed pitcher J.D. Underwood out of Palm Beach State Junior College. If it shocks you that he’s another bloodlines pick (Tom Underwood), you haven’t been paying much attention.

He wasn’t ranked by Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, or MLB.com.

He was, however, ranked 318th by Minor League Ball’s Matt Garrioch, and Baseball America pegged him 438th.

He had seven complete games and maintained his stuff through most of the season thanks to a strong 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame and efficient delivery. Underwood is a pitchability righty who throws his fastball in the 87-90 mph range, touching 91-92, and throws a lot of strikes with his slider and curveball.

MLB.com had this to say about him:

A two-way player in the junior college ranks, should Underwood go pro instead of head on to Miami, he’d focus soley on the mound. Like many sons of former big leaguers — Tom Underwood spent parts of 11 seasons in the Majors — J.D. Underwood has a pretty good feel for pitching. He has a feel for three at-least average pitches with his fastball, curveball and changeup. He tops out at around 92 mph, but goes right after hitters and gets high marks for his makeup, with an upside of a mid-to-back of the rotation type starter.

A commit to the University Of Miami, he has alternatives if things don’t workout with the Dodgers.

You can see how the draft lacks depth with this type of pick, in my opinion. I mean, right off the bat, it’s admitted that he’s not a ceiling guy, and whenever you see “pitchability” being prominently mentioned, it’s generally code-word for “mediocre stuff”, which seems to be the case here. Pitchability is great and all, but stuff still rules the day for me, because for every Greg Maddux, there’s a billion failed 87-90 command-and-control types.

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With the Dodgers money, I thought the plan would be more boom-or-bust types considering the relative lack of upside in the draft, but the team seems to be going extremely conservative early.

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