Today the Phillies will make two draft picks, one the top pick of the draft, and another 40 picks and a lot of action later. Normally we at least have a clue who the top team is going to take, but as of the time of writing it is only starting to have some clarity. The names have remained relatively the same, with the occasional surprise addition. Because the Phillies have so much money available to spend the second pick is almost more interesting than the first pick. There will be a talent there, but I don’t think anyone knows who that player could be.
Might as well start with the most important but arguably least fun part of the draft. The Phillies are not going to give the full slot ($9,015,000) to any player. No team in the top 5 is going to give full money to the player they take, so the amount of a player’s floor is a bit below the slot of as far as they will fall. With that in mind I feel comfortable in saying AJ Puk is not getting past #2 so his number is not going to go below $6M. Kyle Lewis is probably not getting past #3, so I feel safe saying he probably won’t go for lower than like $5.5M. Mickey Moniak is harder to get a read on, but he probably does not get past the Rockies at #4, and you probably are going to need close to $5M to sign him. The other two players, Corey Ray and Blake Rutherford, are harder to get a read on, but I fail to see how they are going below $4.5M to $5M at #1, given they are going to be the #1 pick. This gives the Phillies somewhere in the $2.5M to $4M in savings at #1. The pick at #42 is worth $1,536,200 so the Phillies will have $4M to $5.5M to spend with their second pick. They are unlikely to spend a full $5.5M at that pick because it would mean paying the player more than the #1 pick.
How does this help the Phillies? We will get to some targets to end this, but what the Phillies can do is target a pre arm or bat and promise them some amount of money from that pool they have for that second round pick. Other teams will then have 40 picks to do one of three things:
- Pass on the player
- Call the players bluff and offer something well below their demands and risk losing their pick and its value
- Take the player and pay them
There are a bunch of teams that can select option 3, but there are fewer teams that can do it than players available.
The #1 Pick
Right now the pick seems to be down to Mickey Moniak, Kyle Lewis, Corey Ray, and A.J. Puk. Puk has almost eliminated himself from contention with a cringe worthy end to his last start, but his arm strength keeps him in contention. Corey Ray is probably behind Lewis and just doesn’t really excite. That really leaves Lewis and Moniak. Lewis has the flash with huge raw power, plus bat speed, and then stats to back it all up. The only problem is his college competition left a lot to be desired. There is nothing that Lewis can do about all of this, but scouts have not seen him vs premium stuff making him very risky for a college bat. The current favorite is Moniak. As outlined above he probably requires the smallest bonus of any of the top players, but that does not make him unworthy. At this point the only real doubt on Moniak is how much power he will hit for. He is a true center fielder who can run, throw, and really hit. His swing right now is not geared for power and he just does not have the frame to put on a lot of good muscle.
The Targets at #2
At this point the Phillies have been linked to a ton of players with their second round pick, which is part of the problem. They are going to get last choice of the falling overslot guys, but they will have the most money to make a power play. Someone very good is going to fall through, and the Phillies are going to take him. Here are some of the guys who could fall through:
Blake Rutherford – The other California HS outfielder, Rutherford is old for a HSer and that coupled with a bat that not everyone loves in a corner has him slipping to where his demands outstrip what teams can pay, but some think he is the top talent in the draft.
Joey Wentz – Big HS LHP who dominated this year while touching 95 early in the year.
Matt Manning – Big projectable HS arm up into the high 90s with his fastball. He is very raw, but he has huge upside powered by premium athleticism. He has the bonus demands to match the talent.
Delvin Perez – Puerto Rican shortstop who failed a drug test (likely PED) and has fallen from Top 5 talent to out of the first round.
Jason Groome – The former top prospect in the draft is falling out of Top 10 in mock drafts. His bonus demands are not crazy, but armed with a JuCo commitment instead of a trip to Vandy he has leverage to have those demands met.
Kevin Gowdy – Projectable SoCal RHP who flashed mid 90s in the middle of the season with a good curveball.
Off Base Prediction
Mickey Moniak and Joey Wentz for a combined $9,000,000 which gives the Phillies $1,500,000 to spend overslot later.