Before the draft the rumors were flying about Newbury High School first baseman Andrew Lambo. The word on the street (and in the blogs) was he's very talented but anybody who drafts this guy is asking for trouble. And there was also a published report that scouting directors who were talking to him were turned off by his flippant attitude.
So his stock in the draft fell from an almost-certain second-rounder until the Dodgers took him in the fourth. Logan White, Dodger scouting guru, stresses character. So did he make a mistake?
"Oh, sure, he did some things," White told Bill Shelley. "But nothing like they said he did. Those reports were all exaggerated. And I talked to him and didn't find him that way. He made some kid mistakes and I believe in second chances."
Lambo himself was forthright about it all. "I always played sports with kids that are older than I am so I began running with an older crowd. Yes, I got into some trouble and wasn't headed in the right direction when I was a freshman and sophomore. So, my parents decided to move to a smaller town (from Reseda, California to Newbury Park). It's quieter and a great place and I got myself together."
His grades picked up and he was even offered a scholarship to play baseball at Arizona State as a senior. So what is it with all the stories?
"I honestly don't know how that started. At the tryouts, I was the one who went up to the coaches afterwards and thanked them for their help," Lambo said.
Even his critics didn't deny his ability on the field. White commented, "He reminds me of James Loney with the way he swings a bat. And, like James, he can really pick at first base."
And as an aside, like James he was an accomplished pitcher as well but it's that grooved lefthanded swing that attracted the Dodgers. They don't see him at first, though. He's played in the Gulf Coast League where they wanted Kyle Orr at that position so he played the bag only occasionally. They put that arm to use in right field and that was okay with Andrew.
That sweet swing White spoke of produced regularly. In a league where the fences are major league distant, he finished with five home runs. At 6-3, 190, he's solid and it loooks like he'll hit with with plenty of power as he matures. He doesn't run well enough to be classified as "five-tool" but does everything else in a style that projects very well.
The big thing is he's matured off the field. "I owe everything to Logan White," he declares. "He's given me my chance and I don't ever want to do anything that would make him sorry."
One scouting report noted, "Strong hitter with bat speed, fluid swing, plate discipline and ability to use whole field giving him unlimited offensive potential. Hits pitchers from opposite side and stays inside ball."
It took him a bit to get started with the Gulf Coast Dodgers but in mid-August he was pounding the ball at a .370+ clip before cooling off somewhat and finishing at .343, third in the minor league system.
He led everyone in on-base percentage (.440), was fourth in slugging (.519), and had an OPS (on-base plus slugging) average of .960 to rank third. In fact, he was on most of the charts: fourth in runs (38), sixth in hits (62), second in doubles (15) and seventh in runs batted in (32),
LADugout and Dodgers Dugout Magazine liked him so much, that we named the 18-year-old the 2008 Guy Wellman Award winner as Rookie of the Year.
He will probably open in 2008 at Ogden but could jump right to Great Lakes, depending on his performance in the spring.
Andrew Lambo bl tl 6-3 198
Born-August 11, 1988
Obtained-Selected third round of 2007 draft
year team ave obp gm ab r h 2b 3b hr bi sb
2004 GCL .343 .440 54 181 38 62 15 1 5 32 1