Ben Diggins: L. A. Dodgers first round pick
(17th overall) in last summer's draft, this 21-year old was my favorite
college pitcher available in the 2000 draft. The 2000 draft marked the
second time that Diggins was a first round draft pick as he was a
supplemental first round pick by the Cardinals in 1998 out of high school.
Diggins chose to attend the University of Arizona instead. With the
Wildcats is where his pitching talents really developed as he was more of
a hitting prospect in high school.
This 21-year-old has the best
fastball of any player that was available in the draft, topping out at 98
MPH. Even with this, Diggins was also a very good hitter as first baseman
throughout his college career. Still, the Dodgers are set to use his
talent on the mound when he debuts this year, probably at Wilmington in
tie South Atlantic League.
At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, he is the
type of pitcher that can just go out every start and just over power most
of the batters. Besides the fastball, he has a quality changeup and a
developing slider. As a sophomore at Arizona in 2000, Diggins went 10-4
with a 3.83 ERA. After the draft, he had a long holdout which cost him the
chance to play in the minors and nearly had him on his way back to
Diggins will probably need time to adjust to pro baseball
since he is still pretty inexperienced (only two NCAA seasons of pitching)
so if he has any early season struggles, I would not be too concerned. He
should move quickly through the Dodgers system. By 2002, you should really
see him begin to advance and could even make it to L.A. sometime during
the later portion of that season.