Draft Reviews: Philadelphia Phillies

2008 Draft Slot: 24th overall
Top Pick: Anthony Hewitt, SS, Connecticut high school
Best Pick: Jason Knapp, RHP, New Jersey high school (2nd round, 71st overall)
Keep an Eye On: Vance Worley, RHP, Long Beach State (3rd round)
Notes: The club selected Anthony Hewitt with its first pick, but the oufielder is rawer than raw and struck out 55 times in 117 at-bats in rookie ball last year. It will be a long, long time before he’s ready to contribute in the Majors. Second selection Zach Collier (34th overall), another prep outfielder, is hitting well in low-A. Jason Knapp has been excellent so far in pro ball and his value has risen in a lot of people’s eyes. So far this season, he’s allowed 31 hits in 41.1 innings pitched with rates of 3.70 BB/9 and 12.63 K/9. College right-hander Vance Worley won’t wow you with his stuff, but he’s been consistent and could fit in at the back of the Phillies’ rotation in a couple of years.

2007 Draft Slot: 19th overall
Top Pick: Joe Savery, LHP, Rice University
Best Pick: Michael Taylor, OF, Stanford University (5th round)
Worst Pick: Travis Mattair, 3B, Washington high school (2nd round)
Notes: Joe Savery had some well-documented injury problems in college, but that did not scare the Phillies organization away from drafting him in the first round. He has pitched OK, but his stuff and results do not really scream “First-round pick!” He looks like a No. 3 starter at this point. Michael Taylor, on the other hand, is looking more and more like a huge steal (literally and figuratively) in the fifth round. The 6’6” outfielder is showing raw power and the ability to hit more than .300. Two high draft picks that were chosen out of high school have had disappointing 2009 seasons in low-A ball: catcher Travis D’Arnaud, and infielder Travis Mattair. Mattair’s slugging percentage has dropped in each of his three pro seasons down to .287 so far in 2009.

2006 Draft Slot: 18th overall
Top Pick: Kyle Drabek, RHP, Texas high school
Best Pick: Adrian Cardenas, SS, Florida high school (Supplemental first round, 37th overall)
Worst Pick: D’Arby Myers, OF, California high school (4th round)
Notes: Everything is bigger in Texas, except Kyle Drabek. The son of former pitcher Doug Drabek (Pittsburgh, Houston), Kyle showed good stuff in high school but some teams were turned off by his slight stature (5’11′) – even though he threw in the mid 90s. Drabek did break down and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007, but he’s back now and throwing very well in high-A ball. There are still questions about his makeup and maturity, though. The club also picked up a very good prospect in Adrian Cardenas, whom the club shuffled to Oakland in the Joe Blanton trade last season. The Phillies picked up some more useful parts early in the draft, including shortstop Jason Donald, outfielder Quintin Berry, and right-hander Andrew Carpenter.

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2009 Draft Slot: 75th overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): The organization mixes in prep and college picks
MLB Club Need: Starting pitching, Catcher, Third base
Organizational Need: Left field, First base, Second base, Shortstop
Organizational Strength: Third base, Right-handed pitching
Notes: Perhaps with the way outfielder Raul Ibanez is playing in Philly, fans will be less upset that the club gave away its first-round pick to sign him away from Seattle. It still won’t make for a fun day on June 9, though, as the club will be the last organizations to make a selection.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

6 Responses to “Draft Reviews: Philadelphia Phillies”

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  1. Boston Phan says:

    Marc, thanks for the write-up and your thoughts. I’m curious as to whom you looked at when mentioning 3rd base as an organizational strength.

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    • Paul Boye says:

      My guess would be Jason Donald, as it seems his future is as a 3B/super utility guy. Neil Sellars is also hitting well in AA for Reading, even though he’s 27 and not a prospect anymore. Mike Cervenak is also enjoying a good start in AAA, but he’s also not a prospect.

      Strength in plug-in-ability, not necessarily in future talent, I guess.

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  2. Dan says:

    Don’t really get that org. strength. It’s been a weakness for years. RHP though yes.

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  3. B says:

    I’m wondering why OF isn’t an org strength. Mayberry @ AAA has a big league future, he may just turn into a 4th OF but he’s destined to be in the bigs. Taylor in AA & Brown in A+ are destroying the ball and top 100 prospects. Collier/Gose in low A ball. Both are early round picks last years draft and keeping their heads above water @ age 18.

    I’d say that’s a much stronger position then third base.

    Also re: Drabek wondering where the maturity questions come from, that was said during the draft and early in his career. But since then I’ve read zero reports from the prospect sites that point to maturity/character issues the past few years. Seems like regurgitating outdated reports.

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  4. B says:

    Forgot to add, how is Dominic Brown in the 20th round of 2006 not the best pick in that draft for the Phils? All he’s doing is destroying high A ball. And was already listed as a top 50 prospect by Baseball America before he even broke out like this.

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  5. Marc says:

    Sure, Dominic Brown has been killing the ball in A-ball, but Cardenas has done it in double-A… so I’ll take the talented guy doing it one level higher. Both very nice prospects… Cardenas hit a bump in triple-A, so Brown could surpass him by the end of the year… But that is what’s so much fun about prospect watching.

    As for Drabek, perhaps he hasn’t acted out quite like he did in the past, but he’s still not the warmest, most modest guy in the clubhouse.

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