With their fourth and final pick of the 2020 MLB amateur draft, the Phillies selected Georgia Tech outfielder Baron Radcliff. Radcliff, 21, fits the profile of a fifth round pick, with definite holes in his game but raw skills that could manifest into a productive major-league career.
Before he went to Georgia Tech, Radcliff spent his high school career at Norcross High School in Georgia as a two-sport athlete, playing quarterback on the football team and outfield on the baseball team.
Radcliff set multiple school records during his time at Norcross, including both the single-season and career records for home runs and RBIs. He also holds the single-season records on the football team for passing yards, touchdowns and rushing yards for a quarterback, proving his unreal athleticism.
Behind his stellar quarterback play, Radcliff received Division I offers from Georgia Southern, Tulane and Vanderbilt to play football but ultimately decided to stick to baseball.
The Georgia native was drafted in the 40th round of the 2017 draft by the local Atlanta Braves. According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, he was actually approached by the San Diego Padres to be drafted in the fourth round behind a $600,00 signing bonus but turned that opportunity down to head to Georgia Tech.
Radcliff spent three seasons there, earning All-ACC second team during his sophomore season and getting off to a hot start this year before the season was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall noted that Radcliff comes from an athletic family and that he is no different, calling him a “phenomenal athlete”.
Radcliff’s mother Nikki played college basketball at Ohio State, and his father Vic made it up to High-A ball after being drafted by the Royals in the fourth round of the 1995 draft.
His dad hit 24 home runs during his time in the minors, and it seems that Radcliff could add plenty to the family totals. In 112 games at Georgia Tech, he slugged .470 and hit 19 home runs.
“He has great size and strength and can run well”, Hall added. “His power is elite and his average exit velocity is exceptional.”
Phillies scouting director Brian Barber concurred with these thoughts during a media availability on Zoom.
“I think the thing that really stuck out to us, at that point in the draft,” he said, “is that Baron has just some of the best bat speed and power out of anybody in the entire draft.”
Barber added that a video of a 470-foot home run Radcliff hit during his sophomore season caught superstar Bryce Harper’s attention on Twitter.
Radcliff’s raw power is undeniable, but he does tend to struggle with strikeouts. He struck out in over 40 percent of his college at-bats, and this presents probably the biggest hole in his game.
But despite the struggles and questions as to how they will translate to the pros, the Phillies believe in Radcliff’s skills.
“We know Baron well. We love the makeup there, we love the athlete and we love the bat speed and power combination,” Barber said.
Radcliff’s slot is valued at $371,600, and Barber mentioned that the Phillies don’t envision having any issues signing the four draft picks.
Hall has no doubt that Radcliff can succeed in the Phillies organization if he takes advantage of this opportunity, saying, “He’s played in big games in the ACC and is prepared for the bright lights of Philly.”
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