Devereaux, drafted out of Arizona State last June by the Dodgers, led the league in runs scored with 73, hits with 103, total bases with 152, runs batted in with 67 and stolen bases with 40, all in just 70 games. He finished the season with a .356 average.
"This kid's got a chance to be a good hitter, and with some power," Wade said. "And he runs a 6.2 60 (yard dash). He ran track at Arizona State."
Chris Gwynn, the left fielder of the future, has a distinguished pedigree. Older brother Tony, the right fielder for the San Diego Padres, won a National League batting title with a .351 average in 1984.
Like Tony, Chris was drafted out of San Diego State.
"Chris has a chance to be a hitter like his brother," Wade said. "He's built a lot like his brother, and is a better runner.
"Chris was a better hitter in college than his brother was--it would be great if that carried over."
Wade's choice for catcher, Dan Smith, is a bit of a surprise, since the Dodgers have been grooming Gilberto Reyes for years. Asked if Reyes had not lived up to expectations, Wade said:
"If he had, we would never have gotten (Alex) Trevino and Reyes would have been our second catcher this season (1986). He's played two years in triple-A, and usually that's enough for a catcher to get ready."
Reyes' work habits have been suspect, but Wade said he noticed a difference this spring. "It's quite a bit better than last year," Wade said. "He seems a lot more interested in playing."
Nonetheless, Wade selected Smith, an All-Ohio Valley Conference star at Morehead State in Kentucky before the Dodgers drafted him.
"He's got a real good arm and is a real good defensive catcher," Wade said. "And he's got a chance to hit."
The Dodgers, pitching rich for the better part of two decades, may have to make pitchers a priority again in the draft, Wade said. Two pitchers who were No. 1 picks, Eric Sonberg in 1983 and Dennis Livingston in 1984, have not panned out. Sonberg has had arm surgery and may never pitch again, Wade said. Livingston has bounced around in the low minors.
But Wade likes Greg Mayberry, a 20-year-old right-hander who was voted most valuable player in the Florida State League after posting an 11-4 record with 97 strikeouts in 118 innings. That got him a promotion to Albuquerque, where he was 2-4 with a 4.39 earned-run average. His 90-m.p.h. fastball may earn him a promotion to triple-A Albuquerque this spring.
Wade also likes Rod Roche, a first baseman-shortstop from St. Mary's (Calif.) College, who showed up at a Dodger tryout camp in Culver City and was signed as a pitcher. The Dodgers noticed Roche's size--6-4 and 210 pounds. They also noticed his fastball--90-plus.
"We have enough potential here that if one or two guys come through, we may have a good ballclub for a long time to come," Wade said that day in '86. "We don't have an old guy on this club except for the guy at third base (Madlock), and he just might lead the league in hitting."
Now it's 1991, time for the kids to prove they're all right.