No, the picture on this article was not chosen by mistake. The Dodgers used their first pick of the draft to select a high school pitcher who also stars as a quarterback.

With the 28th overall pick of the 2010 MLB First-Year player draft, the Dodgers selected Zach Lee of McKinney High School in McKinney, TX.

The draft pick raised several eyebrows for several reasons.

First of all, Zach Lee is just 18 years old and has a full scholarship to LSU for baseball AND football. The likelihood of a young athlete foregoing a free education and a chance to play two sports in a prominent conference while receiving major publicity is very slim.

Dodgers Assistant GM and Director of Amateur and International Scouting Logan White has established a trend over the last decade: He has drafted a pitcher with the Dodgers’ first pick in eight of the last nine drafts, and six of those pitchers have been prep stars (pitchers drafted out of high school).

It would be inaccurate to say that White’s strategy has been unsuccessful.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Entering Spring Training this season, 23 players on the Dodgers 40 man roster were signed as draft picks or free agents by the amateur scouting staff, and prior to accepting the Assistant GM position, 20 of the players drafted or signed by White have reached the major league level.

White’s strategy has produced current starting pitchers Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, and the only pick in the last nine years White chose that wasn’t a pitcher is current Dodgers starting first baseman James Loney.

However, there hasn’t been a situation in the Dodgers front office in recent years like there is in the 2010 season.

The Dodgers have been enjoying a large market and high salary cap over the last decade, but a struggling economy and nasty divorce between owners Frank McCourt and estranged wife Jamie may spell disaster with the current draft formula in place.

The upcoming and current financial troubles were ever present and evident with the remaining selections of the draft for the Dodgers. A conservative approach in the later rounds of the draft shows the Dodgers are wary of the future.

Los Angeles drafted several other high school pitchers and position players with their remaining picks, including another pitcher in the second round, a center fielder with the 142nd overall pick, and yet another pitcher with the 202nd pick.

What the large number of high school players shows is the lack of faith in financial stability in the upcoming years.

Dodgers fans shouldn’t expect to see players come through the minor league system the same way they have in recent years, and this may be why the Dodgers have been reluctant to trade away their young talent. There may not be anyone to replace the current roster should the team make a blockbuster trade to acquire a big name.

Likewise, the future of elite Dodgers pitching may rely on the decision of an 18-year-old pitcher/quarterback and his family. Now begins the waiting game…




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