Dodgers select a pair of pitchers in the second round of the MLB draft

Jorge Castillo
East Tennessee State pitcher Landon Knack was selected 60th overall by the Dodgers in the 2020 MLB draft on Thursday.  (Shawn Millsaps / Associated Press)

The Dodgers used their first three picks of the 2020 MLB draft to bolster their farm system with right-handed pitchers from southern colleges before snapping the pattern to shop local.

After taking Bobby Miller of Louisville in the first round Wednesday, the Dodgers on Thursday chose East Tennessee State‘s Landon Knack with the 60th pick and Texas Tech‘s Clayton Beeter with the 66th selection in the second round.

They branched out in the third round by drafting Jake Vogel, a center fielder out of Huntington Beach High with the 100th pick. A UCLA commit, Vogel is one of the fastest players in this draft class with the ability to stay in center field as a professional.

The Dodgers completed their six-pick haul with Virginia Tech switch-hitting catcher Carson Taylor in the fourth round, 130th overall, and Gavin Stone, another college right-hander, from Central Arkansas in the fifth round, with the 159th overall selection.

"We’re fired up,” said Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers director of amateur scouting. "We just got a lot of velocity, a lot of pure stuff. It’s big, it’s right-handed. It was the strength of the draft and we just took advantage of it."

Knack is a fifth-year senior, a rarity to be selected so early in the draft, and regarded as the best college senior pitcher in the draft. His status means he will likely sign for less than his pick’s slot value of $1,157,400 because he can’t use returning to college as negotiation leverage. That would give the Dodgers more money to spend from their bonus pool later to sign players picked later the draft.

Formerly a two-way player for two seasons in junior college, the 22-year-old Knack focused on pitching at East Tennessee State and displayed a jump in velocity. His fastball climbed from the low 90s to touching 98 mph. In four starts before his 2020 season was shut down, he went 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA, 51 strikeouts and one walk across 25 innings.

Knack comes from Dodgers area scout Marty Lamb’s territory, joining Miller, Walker Buehler, Will Smith, and Matt Beaty as recent notable draft picks Lamb scouted.

A few minutes later, the Dodgers chose Beeter with a compensation pick they received from the Minnesota Twins as part of a trade for Kenta Maeda in February.

A redshirt sophomore, Beeter underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017. He returned as a reliever in 2019 and struggled with command, walking 8.7 batters per nine innings in 21 appearances. He improved in that department in his four starts in 2020, posting a 2.14 ERA with 33 strikeouts and four walks over 21 innings.

The slot value for Beeter’s pick is $1,003,300, but the Dodgers can use money saved on Knack to pay more and convince Beeter to forego his final two college seasons.

Dodgers draft picks

RHP Bobby Miller, Louisville, 1st round, 29th overall

RHP Landon Knack, East Tennessee St., 2nd round, 60th overall

RHP Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech, 2nd round, 66th overall

CF Jake Vogel, Huntington Beach HS, 3rd round, 100th overall

C Carson Taylor, Virginia Tech, 4th round, 130th overall

RHP Gavin Stone, Central Arkansas, 5th round, 159th overall