The 2020 MLB Draft was shortened from 40 to five rounds due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the Los Angeles Dodgers were still able to add some talented players to the organization.
Now that the draft has come and gone, the Dodgers have begun using the $5,928,400 in bonus pool money at their disposal on the six players selected.
That started with fifth-round pick Gavin Stone, who reportedly signed for below slot value at $100,000. It now continues with the organization’s top draft pick in Louisville pitcher Bobby Miller, who they took 29th overall.
According to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, the Dodgers were able to ink Miller for below his slot value as well:
1st-rder Bobby Miller signs with @Dodgers for $2.2 million (slot 29 value = $2,424,600). Louisville RHP, heavy mid-90s fastball that touches 99 mph, mid-80s slider/cutter, both a splitter & a more traditional changeup, strong 6-ft-5/220 frame. @MLBDraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 19, 2020
With the Dodgers able to sign both Stone and Miller for less money than expected, that leaves more for their remaining four picks. Second-round draft pick Landon Knack was a senior in college this past year, so he could also sign for below his slot value, which bodes well for L.A. being able to close second-rounder Clayton Beeter and third-rounder Jake Vogel.
Miller is still the most highly-touted of the bunch, and after being taken by the Dodgers, he revealed that he was surprised, but also excited.
— Bobby Miller (@BMilled15) June 19, 2020
“I was trying to keep my mom and dad up, trying to keep the vibes positive,” he said. “I just had a lot of faith, I had a lot of hope. It’s a little stressful going through it but I’m so happy. I’m so excited right now. It’s hard to describe.”
Miller joins a farm system that is already stacked with talented, young pitchers like Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Josiah Gray. He actually likened himself to a different pitcher in the Dodgers organization in Walker Buehler.
“He’s so electric on the mound. That’s how I try to be, too,” Miller explained. “His competitiveness, that’s something I take a lot of pride in, is being the biggest competitor on the field. There’s absolutely no doubt he’s the biggest competitor on the field when he’s on the mound.”
The Dodgers drafted Buehler 24th overall in 2015 out of Vanderbilt and he has since developed into one of MLB’s brightest young stars, so the organization is certainly hoping the same will be said for Miller a few years down the road.
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