PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Barber just completed his third MLB Draft as the Phillies’ amateur scouting director.
Perhaps nothing will beat the five-round Draft in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this one had its share of surprises.
“This Draft was just weird,” Barber said Tuesday night. “Just talking with a lot of different clubs. Whether it was due to what’s widely known as a lot of pitching injuries in the Draft, it just changed a lot of different people’s direction in where they headed early. So with us, when we didn’t have a second-round pick, we were able to just sit back and wait and see who was going to be there.”
The Phillies selected seven right-handed pitchers, one left-handed pitcher, three catchers, two infielders and six outfielders. Fifteen were college players, four were high schoolers.
Here are three takeaways from Days 2 and 3:
Last year, the Phillies selected right-hander Griff McGarry in the fifth round. McGarry had command issues early in his final season with Virginia, but he worked through those issues and dominated in the College World Series. Philadelphia loved McGarry’s power stuff. So the club took him.
McGarry is a rising star in the Phillies’ system. He is somebody teams will ask for when the Phils talk trades over the next couple weeks.
The Phillies went after big-stuff pitchers again in the fourth and fifth rounds, selecting Miami junior Alex McFarlane (122nd overall) and South Florida junior Orion Kerkering (152nd overall). They view McFarlane, whose fastball averages 95 mph and touches 99 mph, as a potential starter. Kerkering, whose fastball averages around 93 mph and touches 97 mph, profiles more as a reliever.
“They have that type of stuff,” Barber said. “It’s really top shelf-type stuff, where McFarlane grades out on all three pitches [fastball, changeup and breaking ball] and Kerkering with his two big pitches [fastball and slider]. … You never know. You bring in real big stuff or potential for real big stuff and sometimes these guys with the right makeup -- and we did the work there -- turn themselves into even better players than you thought they were. That’s what’s happened with Griff, and hopefully it happens with a few of our guys that we drafted.”
The Phillies took Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, Calif.) catcher Jordan Dissin in the 12th round (362nd overall). He slashed .393/.505/.577 with 14 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 47 RBIs in 45 games in his only season with Saddleback.
Notably, Dissin graduated from Malvern Prep in 2020.
“Jordan is a really good projectable-bodied kid that can catch and really, really throw back there,” Barber said. “Maybe due to the fact that he’s from this area, he came to Philadelphia for a workout a couple weeks ago and really impressed. You can never have enough catching in an organization. And I think we brought in a few good ones in the Draft this year. Jordan was really just super impressive for us.”
The Phillies also selected University of San Diego catcher Caleb Ricketts in the seventh round and South Mountain Community College (Phoenix) catcher Gustavo Sosa in the 10th round.
They will play
Nothing is official until the paperwork is signed, but the Phillies are confident they will sign all 19 players they selected, including the three high school players after first-round pick Justin Crawford: Eastside High School (Taylors, S.C.) left-hander Mavis Graves, South Panola High School (Batesville, Miss.) outfielder Emaarion Boyd and Shaler Area High School (Pittsburgh) shortstop Bryan Rincon.
The Phils were particularly excited to nab Graves in the sixth round.
“We were able to identify a couple different things in his delivery that we think we can work with and get more stuff out of there,” Barber said.
Boyd has tremendous speed and is an excellent defender.
“We really like his swing,” Barber said. “There’s some comparisons to [Crawford] in the fact that it’s plus-plus speed and plus-plus defense in center field, and a little bit of projection required in the body and strength. … Bryan Rincon, we had an opportunity to see him at our workout in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago and just came away impressed. He’s a switch-hitting shortstop, really good defender, plus arm, plus speed, potential with switch-hitting.”