Dodgers 'Cash' in on Day 2 of Draft
Pick high-character right-handed pitcher at No. 78 overall
LOS ANGELES -- Ralston Cash was going to dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night when he got a phone call. The Dodgers wanted him to come to Dodger Stadium to throw a last-minute bullpen session.
Cash, an 18-year-old right-hander out from Lakeview High School, Ga., was out at Dodger Stadium the next day for the finale of a four-game series with the Braves, giving the Dodgers' braintrust one more look before the Draft got underway."I was thinking I'm supposed to be at church right now and I'm in L.A.," Cash said. "I'm just like, wow." "Any time I get a chance to get a player out here and get a first-hand look at them, right before the draft again and get a chance to know them, and a chance to sit down with them and meet them face-to-face -- especially when we're going to take them high -- I always try to do that," assistant general manager of scouting Logan White said. The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Cash threw about 25 pitches in the bullpen, and White had some tough questions for him, which Cash didn't mind. The two bonded over their faith, and on Tuesday, Day 2 of the First-Year Player Draft, the Dodgers made Cash their second-round pick at No. 78 overall. Cash has committed to the University of Georgia, but said he hopes to sign. "We had some many things that were coming up similar, we both have faith and we both certainly believe in Christ," White said. "We touched on a pretty personal level. But if he didn't throw 94, and we had everything in common, I still wouldn't take him in the second round as much as we like him." Cash uses 'Sir' when speaking. He grew up in Cornelia, Ga., a town of just a few thousand, and was raised by his grandparents. About 20 miles down the road is where the Dodgers' 2008 first-round pick, and Cash's cousin, Ethan Martin was raised. On the field, it struck Cash that he had followed exactly in his cousin's steps: they joined the same travel ball teams at the same age, even their pitching styles were similar. Martin, too, is a right-handed pitcher. "It's kind of weird," Cash said. "We used to throw bullpens together. His dad gave me advice, kept telling us how we were going to handle the draft. It was just everything. His family fell in love with Logan White, I kept hearing about him two years ago, about how this is our guy." Cash texted Martin to let him know he was drafted, and he got a congratulations message back. Martin is 5-5 with a 6.06 ERA in eight starts and 11 appearances for the Class-A Inland Empire 66ers, who had a night game on Tuesday. Martin turned 21 over the weekend and was named the 49th best prospect in baseball on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list in the offseason. "I asked him a lot of questions," Cash said of his cousin. "He's playing now I don't try to bother him." Cash feels like he already dresses like a West Coaster (Ray-Ban sunglasses? Check) and doesn't mind the big city lights. With what Cash has dealt with off the field, it would be hard to believe that he couldn't deal with pressure on it. Cash's mother passed away when he was 3, and his father had left when his mother was pregnant. After being involved in a car crash as a teen, Cash was thankful to be alive. White had lost his mother at a young age as well, and he too had been involved in a crash. "We're both lucky we survived," White said. Cash's family situation didn't bother him until he hit 15. Over the past winter -- Cash remembers the day exactly, Dec. 22 -- he listened to a man from North Carolina give his testimony, and that is the moment he said he took a deeper belief in God. "I'm listening to his story, it hit me, 'Oh my God, this guy's been through so much," Cash said. "No matter how big your problem is, somebody's got it worse than you do." To the objection of family and friends, Cash sought out his biological father, feeling it was the right thing to do. It's still a point of pain for Cash, though. He doesn't want his biological father's name associated with the accomplishment of being drafted, an accomplishment that he earned on his own. "He's over here, he knows his son got drafted," Cash said. "I'm not going to put his name in the papers."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.