Dodgers Get Strong Arm and Fast Legs in Draft : L.A. Selects Florida Prep Pitcher Kiki Jones, Fresno Speedster Tom Goodwin
The Dodgers turned to the baseball farm that is Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla., for their first selection in the annual summer draft Monday.
Using the 15th pick that belonged to the New York Yankees before the Yankees lost it by signing ex-Dodger Steve Sax, a Class A free agent, the Dodgers selected pitcher Kiki Jones, who in December was labeled the nation’s top prep prospect by Baseball America magazine and is a protege of Hillsborough graduate Dwight Gooden.
With their own first-round choice, No. 22 overall, the Dodgers picked Fresno State center fielder Tom Goodwin, who had 61 stolen bases this year, high in the National Collegiate Athletic Assn.
Only the first-round selections were announced through the commissioner’s office in New York, a practice baseball adopted several years ago in an attempt to thwart the use of the draft list by agents and college recruiters.
However, it was learned that as the 28th choice--a compensation pick for the loss of Sax--between the first and second rounds, the Dodgers selected Jim McAndrew, a junior relief pitcher from the University of Florida. McAndrew had 16 saves during his college career and was the No. 1 punter on the Gators’ football team for two years before quitting last season to work on his pitching.
--The Baltimore Orioles, as expected, made Ben McDonald, Louisiana State’s 6-foot-7, right-handed pitcher, the first player selected. McDonald has a year of eligibility left but said he expects to receive a larger signing bonus than the $240,000 that the San Diego Padres gave last year’s top pick, Evansville pitcher Andy Benes.
--The Angels, drafting ninth, took left-handed pitcher Kyle Abbott of Cal State Long Beach. Abbott finished this season 15-3 after taking a loss Monday as the 49ers were beaten by LSU, 8-5, and eliminated from the College World Series in Omaha. Abbott is not related to the Angels’ No. 1 pick of last year, Jim Abbott, but he said, “I like to tell everybody he’s my cousin.”
--Two other Southland players were selected in the first round. The Seattle Mariners made pitcher Roger Salkeld of Saugus High School the No. 3 choice. Salkeld was 13-1 with a 0.59 earned-run average and 177 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings this season, losing in the CIF Southern Section 3-A title game to La Palma Kennedy, 1-0, in nine innings Saturday at Dodger Stadium. The Kansas City Royals made Cal State Fullerton catcher Brent Mayne the 13th pick. Mayne, a junior, batted .350 in 49 games after hitting .393 last year.
--Goodwin, Big West player of the year, was one of five first-round selections from that conference and one of three from Fresno State. The San Francisco Giants took outfielder Steve Hosey, and the Toronto Blue Jays took shortstop Eddie Zosky. It was the first time since 1979 that one school has had three players drafted in the first round. Michigan had Steve Howe, Rick Leach and Steve Perry selected that year.
Goodwin, 20, a junior who played on the 1988 Olympic team, batted .369 this season and raised his stolen-base total to 164, fourth on the all-time NCAA list.
“Among the college players who played regularly, we thought he was the best in the country,” Dodger scouting director Ben Wade said. “All he has to do is put the ball on the ground and it’s a base hit. I mean, he can flat out fly. He’s a Willie Davis type, and we haven’t had a player like that since Willie left.”
Jones, 18, is a 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher who struck out 100 and walked only 14 in 61 innings this season, going 8-3 with an earned-run average of 1.14.
The Dodgers are also aware that he is the father of a 22-month-old daughter who is cared for by his mother, but Wade said he didn’t consider that a deterrent when it came to drafting him.
“I saw him pitch twice in Florida and five of our scouts saw him, and we all felt he can run the (speed) gun up as high as anybody and that he might have the best curve (among the top high school pitchers),” Wade said.
Jones is being pursued by college powers Miami and Oklahoma but said that he hopes to sign with the Dodgers. He is represented by Jim Neader, Gooden’s agent.
Gooden is one of several pro players from Hillsborough--Gary Sheffield, Floyd Youmans, Mike Heath and Vance Lovelace are among the others--and Jones said that Gooden, who still works out at the school in the off-season--has been a strong influence on his career.
Said Billy Reed, the Hillsborough coach: “Kiki isn’t as fluid, as advanced as Dwight was at this stage, but velocity-wise, he can throw just as hard. He faced more publicity than any athlete I’ve ever had--I mean, it was a media zoo every time we played--but he handled it well.”
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