Phils select two-sport star Sandberg in third round
The Phillies continued to follow through on their stated commitment to add bats to the organization during the second day of the First-Year Player Draft
Six of their first seven picks Friday were position players, headed by their two third-round selections: Center fielder Cord Sandberg from Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla. (89th overall) and shortstop Jan Hernandez from the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico (96th). That came after they took shortstop J.P. Crawford and catcher Andrew Knapp in the first two rounds Thursday.
Overall, three of their first 11 selections were pitchers, all from college programs: Oregon State left-hander Ben Wetzler (fifth round), Oklahoma Southwestern University right-hander Shane Martin (ninth) and Seton Hall right-hander Jon Prosinski (10th).
Sandberg is seen as a five-tool player who might have been drafted much higher. Some teams may have been concerned that he has been recruited to play quarterback at Mississippi State after leading his team to 39 wins and a state championship in three years.
"I think he slipped a little bit because of that, but I don't think he had a great senior season," assistant general manager Marti Wolever said. "I thought it was all right. The last tournament where they bring a lot of the seniors together, he did OK, but nothing spectacular. So if you combine all that, it kind of leads to you to where we were at the Draft."
Sandberg's hometown paper, the Bradenton Herald, reported almost immediately that he had agreed to an above-slot $775,000 signing bonus plus a college package if he decides to go to college.
Without confirming or denying the story, Wolever said that if they did go above slot for Sandberg, it wouldn't create a money issue signing the rest of the team's picks.
"I don't think that's an issue," he said. "We've monitored the pool and what we have to spend throughout the Draft, so we anticipate being able to go ahead and be very aggressive and try to get that done."
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Sandberg batted .418 his senior year.
"He's a super athlete," Manatee head baseball coach Dwayne Strong told Baseball America. "He's one of the better guys I've coached in 25 years of coaching. He's got a pretty good toolset."
Sandberg's father, Chuck, was a first baseman at Florida who was drafted in the ninth round by the Red Sox in 1979. He played three years in the Minors before his career was ended by a knee injury.
Overall, Wolever said he's satisfied with how the Draft has progressed so far.
"It was fairly deep on the pitching board and not so deep on the offensive board," he said. "So we tried to really focus on [offense] early and get what we could and go from there. It just fell into place for us and we felt really good about it."
Day 3 of the Draft continues with Rounds 11-40 streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In the Pipeline
With an aging nucleus in the big leagues and most of their best prospects in the lower Minors, the Phillies were well aware that they would have to start stockpiling some players who may be closer to being ready to make a contribution at the Major League level.
That philosophy was clear even though the first five picks were all high school players. The Phillies final six picks, including all three pitchers they've selected so far, are college players. It's interesting that two of the first four picks were shortstops, although Hernandez could end up at third base. Jimmy Rollins is 34 years old. He has one more year plus an option for 2015 on his contract.