The Phillies followed their long-standing trends in day one of the First-Year Player Draft, going for “toolsy,” athletic players that are very raw with the actual sport of baseball. Because of this rawness, these players are usually easier to sign, which makes sense for the Phils, a somewhat frugal franchise.
They drafted a couple of these toolboxes, and balanced them with a small collection of more polished players that could ascend the system quickly. Here’s the booty, with a layman’s-style bottom line:
Rd. 1: Anthony Hewitt (SS/3B/OF)
Bottom Line: Either a big star or a big bust, all depending on if he can hit.
Rd. 1B: Zach Collier (OF)
Bottom Line: More of a probability than Hewitt to be a star, but he too is very raw.
Rd. 2: Anthony Gose (OF/LHP)
Bottom Line: As a pitcher he could be dominant; as a hitter he’s Collier-lite.
Rd. 2B: Jason Knapp (RHP)
Bottom Line: With more work on mechanics he could be a nice pitcher.
Rd 3: Vance Worley (RHP)
Bottom Line: A “safe” pick who could be a Major League back-end pitcher by 2010.
Rd. 3B: Jon Pettibone (RHP)
Bottom Line: Back-end starter at best who could sign with USC instead.
Rd. 4: Trevor May (RHP)
Bottom Line: Has chance to be a pretty good pitcher, but years away.
Rd. 5: Jeremy Hamilton (1B)
Bottom Line: Very good defender who can also hit for contact. Closer to Majors than others.
Rd. 6: Colby Schreve (RHP)
Bottom Line: Had Tommy John, but could be a big-time stud.
None of the “sure things” (if there is such a thing) are projected to be stars, but the Phils sure took a gamble on a couple high-risk/high-reward players. Recent reports say Hewitt will be groomed for 3B â€” he has all the tools to be a third-bagger, sans the hitting. Collier, meanwhile, is much like Greg Golson. If one of these two makes it through to the Bigs, it’s probably a victory.
The middle picks aren’t outstanding, but they are geared to make sense. Gose wants to be an outfielder but he could make a devastating pitcher. It’ll be hard to convince him that. Knapp, Worley, Pettibone and May are all middle-of-the-road probabilities. Hamilton and Schreve are intriguing â€” Hamilton could be a fine utility player if his power doesn’t quite develop, and Schreve could be a dominant righty, a steal for sure.
How did the Phillies do? They did OK. They don’t have anyone who we know will make an immediate impact, nor do they have anyone who can’t be counted out. If a few of these picks get through to the Majors, we have a success on our hands. But really, we won’t know anything for a few years. More than any draft, this is for 4-5 years down the line.
It also gives a nice glimpse into the Phils’ short-term plans. Maybe they’ll wait it out with Ryan Howard until arbitration expires. Maybe they’ll re-sign Lidge (and maybe Burrell), thinking their future closer (Gose?) and stud outfielder (Collier) are years away. Maybe they’ll find another two-year contract at 3B once Pedro Feliz ends his tenure here. It sure seems as if the front office thinks the window is open until 2011.
Ed Barkowitz has Phils brass saying Hewitt has “tremendous power”; meanwhile, Collier had open-heart surgery in 2004.
Matt Gelb notes Hewittis eager to be signed. Last year’s 24th pickgot a $1.25M signing bonus.
Randy Miller quotes the Phils as saying Hewitt is already locked in at third base.