After selecting two infielders on Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers used the 82nd pick of the 2012 draft to select Steven Rodriguez, a left-handed reliever from the University of Florida.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Miami native projects at the very least as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. After Toronto first round pick Marcus Stroman, MLB.com draft expert Jonathan Mayo views Rodriguez as the next most likely candidate from this year’s draft class to first appear in the big leagues.
He went as far as saying Rodriguez could be seen as early as September when rosters are expanded, calling the young pitcher deceptive with good stuff.
In 32 appearances with the Gators this season, Rodriguez went 3-2 with a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 79 in 60 2/3 innings pitched and picked up four saves.
Rodriguez doesn’t project as a closer, but as a setup man who could come in to get the Dodgers out of a jam and stay in the game.
The Dodgers took another left-handed pitcher in the third round, selecting Cuban defector Onelki Garcia, who has been working out locally in Los Angeles.
Garcia was declared eligible for the 2011 Draft after leaving Cuba in January 2011, but he was removed right before. He was made eligible for this year’s draft, but there are concerns about his signability and a potentially large price tag.
The 6-foor-2 lefty has a low 90s fastball and a hard curve, and he was considered a possible first round draft pick in 2011 before his eligibility was reversed.
Following a pair of lefty pitchers, the Dodgers went with first baseman Justin Chigbogu, a strong left-handed hitter from Raytown South High School in Missouri, in the fourth round. Chigbogu, who played defensive end on the football team, is described as very raw and a high risk, high reward sort of prospect with big time power.
With the 176th pick in the draft, the Dodgers took righty Ross Stripling, a senior starter from Texas A&M. Stripling was tops in college baseball with 14 wins in 2011 and he finished with 10 victories in 2012.
The righty, who was a three-sport athlete in high school before breaking his leg, threw a no-hitter this past May.
Mayo said he shouldn’t be a tough sign for the Dodgers.