Dodgers give some players a chance to realize their dreams.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have announced their choices from the first two days of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
The Dodgers selected 31 players through 30 rounds all leading to the final day of the draft Thursday.
Of note are four local selections in Brett Wallach of Orange Coast College (third round), Mario Songco of Loyola Marymount University (fourth round), Nicholas Akins of Vanguard University in Costa Mesa (19th round), and Nicholas Gaudi of Pepperdine University (30th round).
Wallach, the son of former Dodger and current Triple-A Albuquerque manager Tim Wallach, went 10-1 with four saves and a 2.26 ERA in 2009 en route to being named Orange Empire Conference Player of the Year and Southern California Player of the Year. He struck out 111 in 103.2 innings, and at the plate batted .371 with four home runs and 48 RBI. Brett's older brother, Matt Wallach, is currently playing for the Dodgers' Single-A Great Lakes affiliate.
Songco, who was born in Van Nuys and is a 2006 graduate of Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, was the only player from the West Coast Conference named to the semi-finalist list for the 2009 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur player in the country. He hit 34 career homers in three years at LMU to rank seventh on the school's all-time list. The 20-year-old led the team in 2009 with a .360 average, 15 home runs, 63 RBI, a .678 slugging percentage, and a .481 on-base percentage.
Akins, who is a 2006 graduate of Los Angeles High School , batted .314 with 13 homers and 35 RBI in 47 games with Vanguard in 2009. He played his first year of college ball at Riverside Community College before transferring to Vanguard. While at Los Angeles High, Akins played football and ran track, and was a state finalist in the 400m relay as a junior. He was originally drafted by the Dodgers out of high school in the 13th round, but instead chose to attend RCC. He was then selected by the Washington Nationals in the 20th round of the 2008 draft. Akins entered the 2009 draft as the second-best NAIA prospect among draft-eligible players according to Baseball America.
Gaudi served as Pepperdine's closer from 2008-09, and earned First-Team All-West Coast Conference honors both years. In that time, he went 10-4 with 24 saves and a 3.06 ERA in 52 games. Gaudi graduated from Paraclete High School in Lancaster in 2004, and joined Pepperdine as a walk-on in 2005.
Below is a list of the Dodgers' first 30 selections:
Aaron Miller- Baylor University (TX)
Blake Smith- UC Berkeley
Garret Gould- Maize High School (KS)
Brett Wallach- Orange Coast College (CA)
Marion Songco- Loyola Marymount University
Jeremy Wise- University of Oklahoma
Jan Vazquez- Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Brandon Martinez- Fowler (CA) High School
Jonathan Garcia- Luis Munoz Marin High School
Bryant Hernandez- University of Oklahoma
Andy Suiter- UC - Davis
Connor Powers- Mississippi State University
Brian Cavazos-Galavez- University of New Mexico
Joseph Paxton- Western Kentucky University
Casio Grider- Newberry College (SC)
Jeffrey Hunt- St. Benedictine High School (ON)
Michael Pericht- St. Joseph's College (IN)
Stephen Ames- Gonzaga University (WA)
Gregory Wilborn- Univ. of Louisiana - Lafayette
Nick Akins- Vanguard University (CA)
Frederick Palo- Houston High School
Christopher Henderson- George Mason University (VA)
Stetson Banks- BYU