With only six selections in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers went heavy on collegiate pitchers. Their focus was evident early on as the Dodgers selected Bobby Miller in the first round, followed by Landon Knack in the second round at No. 60 overall.
“We’re fired up. We just got a lot of velocity, a lot of pure stuff. It’s big, it’s right handed. It was a strength of the Draft, and we just took advantage of it,” Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting director Billy Gasparino said at the time.
“Knack and Beeter, these guys are mid-90s fastballs with breaking balls to go along with it. Knack is an outstanding strike thrower and Beeter had a good year his first time as a starting pitcher. We were ecstatic to get both guys.”
The next step was the Dodgers coming to terms with their draft picks, and they have reportedly done so with Knack by signing him for below slot value, per Jim Callis of MLB.com:
2nd-rder Landon Knack signs w/@Dodgers for $715k (slot 60 = $1,157,400). That must be a record for a 5th-yr senior. East Tennessee State RHP, led NCAA D-I in K (51 in 25 IP) & K/BB (51/1) after stuff jumped this spring, fastball was 93-98, always has pounded zone. @MLBDraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 30, 2020
— Landon Knack (@LKnackers) June 30, 2020
Knack had 51 strikeouts against just one walk this year, good for the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the NCAA. He went went 4–0 with a 1.08 ERA this past season and Knack’s 2.29 career ERA set a new program record.
“The funny thing is he’s always been an elite strike thrower. He’s a former position player that started pitching and is just naturally gifted at throwing strikes,” Gasparino said. “We kind of identified that a little bit last year.
“As the fall started to unwind, Marty Lamb flagged him as a guy who made a jump in velocity and stuff. You have strikes, pitchability and stuff, and then all of a sudden he comes out in spring and the stuff not only improved, it improved by a large gap.”
Dodgers remaining below slot value with signing 2020 MLB Draft picks
In addition to Knack, the Dodgers are also said to have signed Miller, fourth-round pick Carson Taylor and fifth-round selection fifth-round selection Gavin Stone, each at below slot value as well.
L.A. began the process with $5,928,400 in bonus pool money to use on their six draft picks this year. Still unsigned are Competitive Balance Round B pick Clayton Beeter and third-rounder Jake Vogel (a UCLA commit).
Based on reported signing bonuses, the Dodgers essentially have just north of $2.8 million remaining in their pool. If clubs only exceeds their bonus pool by 5% or less, they face a 75% tax on the overage.
However, exceeding a bonus pool total by more than 5% comes with the loss of a first-round draft pick in addition to the 75% tax, and the penalties increase from there. Exceeding the bonus pool by 11-15% is accompanied by forfeiting a future first- and second-round and a 100% tax.
Exceeding the bonus pool by more than 15% comes with the loss of two first-rounders and 100% tax.
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