Thursday is the MLB First-Year Player Draft. The Phillies have the 24th pick in the first round, then have another five before the third round is through. That’s six picks of the first 110. Or, the Phils have 5 percent of the first 110 picks.
Because of the collection of picks, the “better but not great” status of the farm system and the “big but small market” team philosophy, basically everyone is saying this is an important draft for the Phils. Maybe the most important in the Bill Giles/Dave Montgomery era.
What do the Phillies need? It seems it’s power, and power at third base and in the outfield (or a shortstop) should be the most pressing needs. Phils’ scouting director Marti Wolever says he wants a position player first, if it suits best. Possible choices include (with quotes by Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein):
Zach Collier, OF, Chino Hills High School – “Collier is a nice find here. Once seen as a top 15 pick, Collierâ€™s game is a bit on the crude side, but his tools all grade out well, and many think his potential ranks with any high school position player out there.”
Anthony Hewitt, SS, Salisbury School – “Some think heâ€™s the next Bo Jackson, and some think heâ€™ll never get out of A-ball, but he offers more to dream on than anyone in a draft that offers few players with elite-level upside.”
Isaac Galloway, OF, Los Osos High School – “Many thought heâ€™d be a sure-fire pick in the first 15 by now, but his unquestionably great tools didnâ€™t play as well as the should have this year, so now heâ€™s more of a risk than he was thought to be three months ago.”
But you really can’t tell what happens until they get there. Last year they took Joe Savery with their first pick, and it wasn’t likely they’d grab a pitcher. We do know the Phils will look very closely at drafting players whose value won’t hinder them financially.
“We’re budgeted to take good players. We’re going to get good players.”
That’s Asst. GM Mike Arbuckle, per Jim Salisbury. The Phils have a history of drafting players that won’t cost them much and not giving more than recommended to other players. It’s possible they can go the safe route by taking players who won’t cost much, and players whose recent concerns have lowered their value (such as a Savery, Kyle Drabek and Cole Hamels).
No matter how you slice it, it’s an important draft.
The early picks: 24, 34, 51, 71, 102, 110, 136.
The needs: Third base (collegiate-level), outfield (power), shortstop (high school-level), right-handed pitcher.