It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Dodgers selected a starting pitcher in the first round of the 2014 First Year Player Draft when their number 22 pick came up on Thursday evening. But what is a surprise is that 18-year-old Conway High School (South Carolina) fireballer Grant Holmes was still available when it was the Dodgers’ turn to pick.
“We feel fortunate to have gotten a player of Grant’s magnitude at pick 22,” said Logan White, the Dodgers Vice President of Amateur Scouting. “He’s a mature, young and strong-bodied pitcher who throws hard and has a great breaking ball, but what separates him is he is a fierce competitor.”
Holmes, whose curveball has been ranked as the best high school curveball in this year’s draft class and a fastball that has reached triple digits, was one of only a handful of college and high school players invited to attend the 2014 First Year Player Draft in person at MLB Network’s famed ‘Studio 42′ in Secaucus, New Jersey. Also on hand and representing the Dodgers were Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda and legendary knuckleballer Charlie Hough.
Moments after MLB commissioner Bud Selig made the announcement of the Dodgers selection of Holmes, Lasorda was observed talking with the obviously excited young man.
“He said I was blessed to be a Dodger,” Holmes later told MLB Network’s Sam Ryan. When Ryan asked what it was like to be drafted the Dodgers with one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, Holmes answered “It’s a true blessing. I’m very honored to be a Dodger and I’m ready to pitch.”
Baseball America, who projected that Holmes would draft out 16th overall, had this to say about the 6′ 1″ 215 lb right-hander in their pre-draft scouting report:
“His power curveball is one of the top breaking balls in the country, a plus pitch that flashes better. On the showcase circuit, Holmes was primarily a two-pitch pitcher with a seldom-used change-up. But the offering has become a legitimate above-average weapon that could become plus.”
Holmes signed a Letter of Intent to attend the University of Florida but will most likely accept the $1,980,500 maximum allotted signing bonus to sign with the Dodgers. Once signed, Holmes figures to begin his professional career with either the Arizona Dodgers of the Arizona Rookie League or perhaps even the Ogden Raptors of the short season Pioneer League, which begins play on June 17.