After failing to sign first-round selection J.T. Ginn in 2018, the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed all their top picks in the 2019 MLB Draft.
The last holdout, high school right-hander Jimmy Lewis, has reportedly agreed to sign with the Dodgers and forego his commitment play college baseball at Louisiana State University.
The Dodgers picked Lewis at 78th overall, the lone compensation pick in the second round. They received the pick after Yasmani Grandal signed with the Milwaukee Brewers last offseason.
Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino and his staff mainly picked more easily signable college players throughout this year’s draft. They took a risk with Lewis, who was ranked higher in the class by ESPN, Baseball America and MLB Pipeline but appeared to slide in the draft due to his LSU commitment.
The Dodgers’ risk, however, seems to have paid off thanks to a huge signing bonus, per Jim Callis of MLB.com:
Supplemental 2nd-rder Jimmy Lewis signs with @Dodgers for $1.1 mil (pick 78 value = $793k). Texas HS RHP, very projectable at 6-6/200, up to 95 mph with downhill angle on fastball, flashes plus curve. Louisiana State recruit. @MLBDraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 10, 2019
As Callis points out, Lewis’s bonus is roughly $300,000 above slot value for the pick.
Lewis was the Dodgers’ third pick in the 2019 Draft. Their first two selections, Tulane’s Kody Hoese and North Carolina’s Michael Busch, were both college hitters.
That helped give them the flexibility to go after Lewis. The Austin, Texas product from Lake Travis High School confirmed on social media that he will skip college to join the Dodgers:
— Jimmy Lewis (@Jameslewis161) July 9, 2019
Gasparino told reporters after the draft that the team felt “great” about how things worked out. The Dodgers have even more reason to enjoy their draft haul now that their riskiest selection by far in terms of signability is officially part of the organization.
Plus, the Dodgers have a pretty good track record with tall high-school pitchers out of Texas. Their gamble on one with the seventh overall selection in the 2006 MLB Draft yielded one of the best pitchers in franchise history, one that just pitched in his eighth All-Star game.