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Almaraz puts stamp on Phillies' Draft

After picking hitters early, pitchers dominate middle rounds

PHILADELPHIA -- Johnny Almaraz entered the 2015 Draft with a specific plan, and he believes the Phillies executed it.

Almaraz, who ran his first Draft as the Phillies' amateur scouting director, used 13 of the organization's first 18 selections on hitters. He then picked 10 consecutive pitchers from the 19th to the 28th round.

"There is some offensive potential in the Draft," Almaraz said Wednesday night. "We feel there are some strong hitters there that are going to have a chance to be everyday players at the Major League level. Position players are becoming a rarity. My feeling is we can find pitching down late. So I tried to go from the 19th round on down with a bunch of pitchers."

• Phillies 2015 Draft Tracker

Here is the breakdown of Almaraz's first Draft:

• 27 college players.

• 13 high school players.

• 21 position players (nine outfielders, four shortstops, three catchers, two first baseman, two third basemen, one second baseman).

• 19 pitchers (12 right-handers, seven left-handers).

Almaraz pointed out that most of the Phillies' selections had good statistics at whatever level they played. He said the organization's analytics crew played a considerable role in that.

Video: MLB Draft: Phillies draft Cornelius Randolph No. 10

"We combined in making decisions," he said. "The primary focus was ability, but we looked at the metrics to help us. I'm very old school, but I am a big believer in metrics, too. It's a piece of the puzzle for me to make decisions."

Some of the team's high school selections on Day 3 are going to be difficult to sign, but the Phillies plan to follow them during the summer. That group includes left-hander Will Stewart (20th round), outfielder Von Watson (29th round), left-hander Nick Fanti (31st round), right-hander Jacob Stevens (33rd round) and outfielder Ben Pelletier (34th round). Almaraz said with a surplus of money he hopes to pry one or two away from their college commitments.

• Randolph eager to start pro career

"Even a couple of the college guys that we're going to see during the summer leagues," Almaraz said. "And if we feel we need to sign them, we're going to wrap them up."

Almaraz said the Phillies already have agreements with several players in the first 10 rounds. High school outfielder Greg Pickett (eighth round) announced on Twitter he has reached agreement. Players like second baseman Scott Kingery (second round) are almost signed, too.

"We're just reading the fine print," Almaraz said.

The Phillies selected four players with family ties to the organization: 35th-round pick Andrew Amaro (nephew of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.), 38th-round pick Beau Brundage (son of Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage), 39th-round pick Griffin Morandini (son of former Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini) and 40th-round pick Thomas McCarthy (son of Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy).

"We know that they're going to go to school," Almaraz said. "It's always a good gesture, but they do have ability."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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