After two days, five rounds and 160 selections, the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft is complete. The Philadelphia Phillies picked four players over the two days of drafting, as they lost their second-round pick when they signed Zack Wheeler.
The team came away with the top high school pitcher, a college shortstop with pop and speed, a hard-throwing college pitcher and a college outfielder with a lot of power with its four selections.
Round 1, Pick 15: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit High School (Ore.)
The first high school arm taken in the draft, Abel is the first prep player the Phillies have drafted in the first round since Mickey Moniak in 2016. Abel has a four-seam fastball that he throws in the mid-90s and a two-seam fastball, along with two breaking balls. He considers the slider to be the best breaking ball in his arsenal.
“I’m able to throw [the slider] in any count, any quadrant of the zone,” Abel told local reporters including Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation on a Zoom call Wednesday night. “I feel like I’m able to manipulate it to the point now where it’s like I can make it more of a slurvey shape, or I can raise the velo to get that tighter spin, too.”
The 6-foot-5-inch Abel also has the ability to throw a changeup that could help him advance more quickly than other high school pitchers.
Although his high school baseball season was canceled this year, the 18-year-old went 10-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 2019, leading his team to a state championship and earning Gatorade Prep Baseball Player of the Year and Oregon Sports Award Prep Baseball Player of the Year honors for his state.
Round 3, Pick 87: Casey Martin, SS, University of Arkansas
The fact that Martin fell all the way to No. 87 is somewhat surprising, as the 21-year-old was ranked the 30th-best draft prospect by MLB.com. It seemed that the Phillies themselves didn’t even expect Martin to be available with this pick.
“We didn’t think Casey had any chance of getting to us when the day started yesterday,” Phillies scouting director Brian Barber said Friday through Zoom, “and we didn’t have any intention of letting him get by us when that opportunity presented itself.”
Martin played shortstop for the Arkansas Razorbacks, and looks to potentially be able to handle multiple defensive positions with his excellent speed. At the plate, Martin’s power is his strength — he hit 30 home runs in 148 games in his college career.
His ability to consistently hit, which may have been hampered a bit by an issue with his hamate bone that he got surgery on this past fall, is still in question. Martin hit .345 as a freshman in 2018, but just .286 last season. He batted .271 in 15 games this season, although Barber said Martin cited the hamate bone as a big reason for his lower average in 2020.
Even with the concerns about his hit tool, Martin’s upside and abilities in the other facets of his game made this a pick the Phillies could not pass up.
Barber said, “Any time we’re going to be able to add a middle-of-the-field player who’s played at a high level in the SEC with the tremendous speed and power combination like Casey has, we’re going to be in.”
Round 4, Pick 116: Carson Ragsdale, RHP, University of South Florida
Standing at 6-foot-8-inches, Ragsdale is a big right-handed pitcher whose fastball has reached up to 96 mph this year, according to Barber. In addition to the fastball, Ragsdale also throws a curveball as his primary offspeed pitch.
The 22-year-old played two ways in the beginning of his college career and pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery and came back as a redshirt junior in 2020 as a starter.
Although Ragsdale only made four starts in his season for USF, the Phillies were able to see all four of them, as well as one of his preseason starts. Barber said the team felt that they saw enough of Ragsdale to feel confident in selecting him, even with his limited number of starts.
Ragsdale got off to a solid start before his 2020 season ended, posting a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings through those four starts.
Round 5, Pick 146: Baron Radcliff, OF, Georgia Tech
Radcliff has big-time power, hitting 15 home runs in his last 74 college games. His bat can do damage, which is why the Phillies selected him.
“I think the thing that really stuck out to us at that point in the draft is that Baron has just some of the best bat speed and power out of anybody in the entire draft,” Barber said.
Strikeouts can be an issue for the 21-year-old, as he struck out 68 times in 231 plate appearances in 2019. But in today’s game, teams can live with strikeouts if hitters are still producing when they do put it in play, and Radcliff has difference-making power when he is making good contact.
Radcliff also has very good speed, and should be able to play a solid outfield in his professional career.
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