Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Phils to target college players early in Draft

Philadelphia picks No. 3 overall on June 4
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies have their way, this will be the last time in a long time they have a top 10 pick in the Draft.

They have the third overall pick this year. They had a top 10 pick in each of the previous four years. That run seems likely to end in 2019. If everything breaks right, they will find themselves on a run like they had from 2002-12, when they never picked higher than 17th.

PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies have their way, this will be the last time in a long time they have a top 10 pick in the Draft.

They have the third overall pick this year. They had a top 10 pick in each of the previous four years. That run seems likely to end in 2019. If everything breaks right, they will find themselves on a run like they had from 2002-12, when they never picked higher than 17th.

"There's a lot of good players that have gone in the past 15 through 30," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Sunday. "Hopefully, we'll be picking there in years to come. I'm pretty confident that we will. Team's playing well and I'm glad to be a part of it." 

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Phillies.

In about 50 words
Two of the Phillies' last three top picks have really struggled: Double-A outfielder Cornelius Randolph (10th overall pick in 2015) and Class A Clearwater outfielder Mickey Moniak (first overall pick in '16). Clearwater outfielder Adam Haseley (eighth overall pick in '17) recently started hitting well. But Almaraz said the Phillies' process is sound.

"We drafted certain players because we believe in their offensive ability," he said. "They're young. If you look at them as a whole, they're doing well. They're on track. We've been very aggressive with them. We feel very positive about them."

Video: Top Prospects: Adam Haseley, OF, Phillies

The scoop
Expect the Phillies to take the best player available, or at least who they believe to be the best player. They also prefer to look for "baseball players," as opposed to projectable athletes.

"Three years ago, I sat down here and I said we're going to pursue baseball players with ability," Almaraz said. "That hasn't changed. We're still looking for those baseball players. The Scott Kingerys, the [JoJo] Romeros, the [Cole] Irvins. The list goes on. We want to make sure these players know how to play the game, and that they have ability. It's so much easier for our player-development staff to handle kids who have some type of knowledge of the game and are pretty strong fundamentally coming into the organization. It really makes things a lot easier for them. They don't have to work from the ground up."

First-round buzz
MLB Pipeline's first few mock Drafts had the Phillies selecting Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm. The most recent installment has them taking Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal. MLB Pipeline says Bohm is "the consensus best college position player in terms of hitting for both average and power. Philadelphia almost certainly will take a college performer, with Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal and Florida right-hander Brady Singer the other leading candidates."

Video: Rundown: Jonathan Mayo on Nick Madrigal

Money matters
The Phillies have $8,858,500 in their signing-bonus pool. The third overall pick's slotted value is $6,947,500.

The Phillies would have had more money to spend, but they lost selections in the second and third rounds after signing free agents Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta in the offseason. Because of that, the Phillies' second pick is the 107th overall pick in the fourth round.

Shopping list
Anybody that follows the Draft knows that most teams don't pick based on need. They try to grab the best player available in almost every round.

"My job's to evaluate talent, put that in preferential order," Almaraz said. "We will not take a position player, just to give you an example, that is less of a prospect because we need one over a pitcher who's going to be a front-line starter. That's just an example. You have to take the best available ability and give [general manager] Matt [Klentak] all the pieces we can possibly give him and create value for the organization."

Trend watch
It seems more likely the Phillies will select a college player, if only because the college ranks are strong at the top. MLB Pipeline certainly feels that way. So does Almaraz.

"The one thing I will say is it's a very strong college pool of players," he said. "There's a lot of pitchers out there. A lot of pitchers. A lot of pitchers with arm strength and the ability to pitch. So with that being said, I see a lot of clubs moving in that direction where we're going to try and get on these college players pretty quickly."

Video: Mayo on the top college bats in 2018 MLB Draft

Rising fast
The Phillies selected left-hander Irvin in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft. He could be in the big leagues in the coming months, if the Phillies have a need in the rotation. The Phillies have not had a left-handed starter in the rotation since September 2016. Irvin, who is pitching well with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, could snap that streak.

Cinderella story
Class A Lakewood left-hander Kyle Young was a 22nd-round selection in 2016. He is the Phillies' No. 18 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He not only is 6-foot-10, which makes his fastball sneak up on hitters because of his extension, but he also has command of his pitches.

In the show
The Phillies selected six of the 25 players on their active roster in the Draft: left-hander Adam Morgan, right-hander Aaron Nola, catcher Andrew Knapp, infielder Scott Kingery and outfielders Aaron Altherr and Rhys Hoskins. Seven other players on the 40-man roster also came in the Draft: right-handers Drew Anderson, Mark Leiter Jr. and Yacksiel Rios; left-hander Hoby Milner; shortstop J.P. Crawford; and outfielders Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn.

The Phillies' recent top picks
2017: Adam Haseley, OF, Class A Clearwater

2016: Mickey Moniak, OF, Class A Clearwater

2015: Cornelius Randolph, OF, Double-A Reading

2014: Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies

2013: J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (10-day disabled list)

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies