Could the Philadelphia Phillies find a future franchise cornerstone with the No. 15 pick in the MLB Draft Thursday night? The MLB Draft – especially in a year where COVID-19 drastically affected both NCAA and high school baseball seasons – is a crapshoot. That said, 18 years ago, the Phillies used the No. 17 pick in the 2002 MLB Draft to select one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise: Cole Hamels.
Though it sounds as though the Phillies will steer clear of high school pitching in the first round of this year’s draft, Hamels was taken directly out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego in 2002. After taking him in the first round, the Phillies were able to talk him out of attending the University of San Diego.
What intel did the Phillies rely on to be sure of Hamels’ potential. Most internal documents remain confidential, but the Baseball Hall of Fame does have access to a scouting report on Hamels in March of 2002, his senior year of high school. The scouting report was completed by Dan Dixon of the Major League Scouting Bureau. Below are some of the highlights:
- Hamels was given the marks of “excellent” on his habits, dedication, aptitude and emotional maturity. He was graded as “good” in terms of agility and physical maturity.
- On a scale of 2-8 (essentially the same as today’s 20-80 scale), Hamels received a five for his fastball, fastball movement, change-up, control, poise, baseball instincts and aggressiveness for the present, with a note that all had the potential to reach a six in the future.
- Hamels’ physical description was “Angular and wiry…projectable pitcher’s frame…lean muscle…square shoulders…long extremities…thin chested…arms more defined and stronger…future Barry Zito-type body.”
- The scouting report notes that Hamels needed to have surgery on his left humerus (funny bone) after he broke it in July of 2000, but that he appeared to be 100 percent.
- On his abilities, Dixon says “Obvious quick, live arm…natural lefty sink action…fastball takes off last 10 feet…future plus power curveball potential…occasionally 12-6 [curveball] break…good follow through and exit out front…deceptive circle change that occasionally backs up.”
- On his weaknesses, the scouting report notes that “Still slight pause with arm action in rear…inconsistent release…everything else works fine…correctable mechanics…no other weaknesses.”
- Dixon’s summation reads as follows: “The real deal…crafty, mixes pitches well…easy plus fastball potential…excellent mound presence…knows how to pitch…frontline starter at major league level…college oriented…3.6 GPA…signed with University of San Diego.”
Hamels would make his major-league debut for the Phillies in May of 2006 against the Cincinnati Reds. Over the course of nine-and-a-half seasons in Philadelphia, Hamels made three All-Star teams and won the 2008 World Series MVP. Some may summarize that by saying he was the real deal.
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