Dodger Thoughts: Ralston Cash

The controversy over the Dodgers' top draft choice continued Tuesday.

Dodger assistant general manager Logan White insists that the Dodgers think they can sign Zach Lee, writes Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com, despite speculation that the Dodgers purposely chose a player whose salary demands would be unreachable, in order to save money.

Louisiana State football coach Les Miles said Tuesday that he met with Lee and his parents and that Lee intends to go to college to play football and baseball. White addressed that statement directly.
"He might go to school,'' White said. "That is always a possibility. We certainly knew that was a possibility when we drafted him.''

Even so, White adamantly denied that the Dodgers would ever draft a player knowing they couldn't sign him.

"I can understand why people might think that,'' he said. "But that is one of those things where people create what they want to create, and it is just so far from the truth. I certainly want to sign Zach Lee, as much as any player I have ever drafted.''

White also dismissed a suggestion that he was under orders from McCourt to tank this year's first-round pick.

A similar (though perhaps less intense) drama brewed around the Dodgers' sixth-round pick, pitcher Kevin Gausman, who is also an LSU recruit. Writes Evan Drellich of MLB.com:
Gausman told The Denver Post he too was leaning toward going to college.

"Because of the amount of money that I want, they are going to follow me and see if I'm actually worth that," Gausman told The Post.

"Being drafted in the sixth round, I think I have a chance to next year come out and really be a big influence at LSU and maybe even be their No. 1 guy on the mound," Gausman said. "As of right now, I'm set on [LSU]."

White called Gausman's statement "a normal part of the process."

"He would've been a potential late first-round sandwich pick, but he's got significant signing demands as well," White said. "And he may not sign. We'll see what happens."

If Lee doesn't sign with the Dodgers, the team will get a compensatory pick in the 2011 draft. Some believe this might be a smart move, because that draft is expected to be deeper in talent – so that even if the Dodgers acknowledge (to themselves, if no one else) that Lee isn't coming, it doesn't mean that they are avoiding paying amateur talent. We'll see.

On a brighter note, Drellich writes that second-round pick Ralston Cash said he is interested in signing with the Dodgers despite having a scholarship to Georgia. Cash flew out last weekend for a last-minute workout with the Dodgers, and he and White bonded.

* * *

  • Vicente Padilla went 4 2/3 innings with one run allowed in a rehab start for Inland Empire on Tuesday. Padilla gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four.
  • Kyle Russell singled and tripled in his AA debut for Chattanooga on Tuesday, while Chris Withrow threw seven innings without allowing an earned run, striking out six.
  • Elisaul Pimentel allowed one run over six innings in Great Lakes' victory. Brian Cavazos-Galvez had three hits.

* * *

Stat of the Day has a fun list of pitchers who have thrown at least five consecutive starts of eight innings or more, without allowing more than one run – fun because the list of course includes the Orel Hershiser and Don Drysdale scoreless inning streaks, as well as Fernando Valenzuela's beginning to the 1981 season. You'll also find Don Sutton and Don Newcombe there.

... Ralston Cash, a 19-year-old, 6-foot-1, 197-pound right-handed pitcher from Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Georgia. Here's video on Cash from MLB.com. Cash will go to the University of Georgia if the Dodgers don't sign him.

  • This article by Bill Murphy of the Gainesville Times describes the hardships in Cash's life after a single-car accident took the life of his mother when he was 3 1/2 years old.
  • Andy Seiler of MLB Bonus Baby filed this long report on Cash in March.
    ... My overall impression of Cash was quite positive. He displayed the solid natural stuff that I expected, though his command wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. He consistently left pitches up in the zone, though the Commerce hitters lacked the strength and bat speed to catch up to the ball. His curveball needs some work, and like I said above, I’d change him to a slider based on his arm speed and angle. The pitch even looked like a slider at times, so I wouldn’t see a tough transition. There’s a good bit of upside here, and I came away still seeing him as a solid 3rd-5th round prospect. He had a bad defense behind him, and every scout that evaluates him will have to completely ignore his final line and actual results on batted balls, but the approach is there for a pro pitcher. He’ll need to learn to adjust to having a competent defense behind him, and he’s going to be a flyball pitcher in the long run, but I’m glad I got to see Cash throw a pretty solid outing.
  • In 2010, Cash had a 2.68 ERA and 79 strikeouts, writes Murphy. In 2009, Cash had a 0.97 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 57.2 innings, according to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Here's a short writeup from BaseballScoutz.com.

* * *

In the third round, the Dodgers picked Leon Landry, a 20-year-old, 5-11, 195-pound outfielder from Louisiana State (the Dodgers are determined to get themselves someone from there.) Here's the MLB.com video.

  • Keith Law of ESPN.com ranked Landry 82nd overall on his prospect list.
  • Here's his official Louisiana State bio. Landry had a .418 on-base percentage and .513 slugging percentage this season, with 16 steals in 20 attempts.
  • Friend of Dodger Thoughts John Klima provides this detailed writeup on Landry at Baseball Beginnings.
  • Check out this catch Landry made in a 2008 postseson game:



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