Dodgers select shortstop Seager 18th overall
Club takes another high school SS in Valentin with 51st pick
PHILADELPHIA -- Assistant general manager Logan White dropped the Cal Ripken comparison after selecting high school shortstop Corey Seager in the first round for the Dodgers on Monday, which led White to drop another mega-comparison when he summed up the first day of the First-Year Player Draft.
"I'm as excited about this Draft as I was when we got [Clayton] Kershaw [in 2006], that's how happy I am with the two players we got," said White, who took another high school shortstop, Jesmuel Valentin, with a compensation pick.
White has been active drafting Major League bloodlines -- taking the sons of Tom Gordon, Don Mattingly, Andy Van Slyke, Ivan De Jesus, Tim Wallach, James Baldwin, Balvino Galvez, Stud Pederson, Rafael Santana, Razor Shines and others in previous Drafts -- and he double-dipped Monday, as the 18-year-old Seager is the brother of Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager and Valentin the 18-year-old son of former Dodger Jose Valentin.
Seager was the 18th overall pick and the first position player White has taken with his first pick in a decade (James Loney, 2002). He was drafted out of Northwest Cabarrus High School in North Carolina and was committed to the University of South Carolina.
Most scouts believe the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Seager will wind up at third base. But White drafted him as a shortstop and wants him to start there. He is a left-handed hitter who batted .519 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs this year.
"A lot of people think he has to go to third," said White. "He has Cal Ripken size. I think it's a mistake to move him off shortstop right away. Let him play and swing the bat. He's definitely an offensive player. He has a very good swing with power, and he's a good makeup guy."
|1||HOU||SS Carlos Correa|
|2||MIN||OF Byron Buxton|
|3||SEA||C Mike Zunino|
|4||BAL||RHP Kevin Gausman|
|5||KC||RHP Kyle Zimmer|
|6||CHC||OF Albert Almora|
|7||SD||LHP Max Fried|
|8||PIT||RHP Mark Appel|
|9||MIA||LHP Andrew Heaney|
|10||COL||OF David Dahl|
|11||OAK||SS Addison Russell|
|12||NYM||SS Gavin Cecchini|
|13||CWS||OF Courtney Hawkins|
|14||CIN||RHP Nick Travieso|
|15||CLE||OF Tyler Naquin|
|16||WAS||RHP Lucas Giolito|
|17||TOR||OF D.J. Davis|
|18||LAD||SS Corey Seager|
|19||STL||RHP Michael Wacha|
|20||SF||RHP Chris Stratton|
|21||ATL||RHP Lucas Sims|
|22||TOR||RHP Marcus Stroman|
|23||STL||OF James Ramsey|
|24||BOS||SS Deven Marrero|
|25||TB||3B/1B Richie Shaffer|
|26||ARI||C Stryker Trahan|
|27||MIL||C Clint Coulter|
|28||MIL||OF Victor Roache|
|29||TEX||OF Lewis Brinson|
|30||NYY||RHP Ty Hensley|
|31||BOS||LHP Brian Johnson|
"We've been on him all spring," White said. "I know my specialty is [drafting] pitching, but I've always said we take the best available player. He was that."
White said he received no pressure from the new ownership to balance the scales by taking a position player this year, let alone with his first two picks.
"Not at all," he said. "As a matter of fact, Stan [Kasten, new president] leans toward pitching and built the Atlanta Braves with pitching, but there was no pressure any which way. They were fantastic, Stan and Ned [Colletti, general manager]. They told me to do what I needed to do and take who I needed to take. They showed a lot of faith, and I'm grateful."
Seager is being advised by agent Scott Boras, who put White through a miserable aborted negotiation over Luke Hochevar in 2005, but also reached a relatively quick settlement with No. 1 pick Chris Reed last year.
"I anticipate everything moving along well," said White, who has $1.95 million to spend on the 18th slot through the new signing bonus arrangement. "I don't anticipate acrimony. Time will tell, and we will see. I won't predict we'll sign him, but I feel good about it. If there was a lot of ill will [from last year], we would have shied away. I've talked to his dad and had no problem."
Seager was named the 2012 Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year last week.
He also has a 4.05 weighted GPA and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America, National Beta Club and the Athletes Who Share Unselfish Moments Club.
"He's one of the greatest players -- if not the best -- to ever come out of this county," Derek Shue, former head coach at rival Concord High School, said in a Gatorade release.
"With that title, he wasn't pitched to very often, but he never showed any frustration. He's just an all-around great kid and one that we all wish we had on our team. From the outside, it looked like he was not only their best player, but also their best person."
Seager's brother was selected by Seattle in the third round of the 2009 Draft after playing three years at the University of North Carolina and reached the Major Leagues on July 6, 2011. He homered in his first at-bat for Seattle on Monday night.
"I don't want to say he'll be a better player [than his brother], you know, sibling rivalry," said White. "I think he'll be an offensive guy. He may end up a better hitter for average than big brother.
"You see that swing path, the mechanics, it's a big league hitter," White said. "To tell you who or what, I'm not good enough. I am good enough to tell you he can hit."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.