The first day of the draft gets all of the buzz. The first round kicks off on TV in primetime with 5 minutes per pick and commentary by people with no clue what they are talking about. This carries into the second round which gives a small teaser of the lightning round that is Day 2 before the utter chaos that is Day 3. The Phillies had only two Day 1 picks thanks to the idiocy that is comp picks and the fact that Jeremy Hellickson signed the qualifying off. The premium of the two picks was the 8th pick in the draft, before the Phillies came back later for the 45th pick.
In the first round the Phillies took best player available after the draft played out predictably. There had been rumors of teams looking to cut deals, but after the Diamondbacks took Pavin Smith, the Phillies snatched up University of Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley. I like Haseley pick quite a bit. He should be able to stick in center, but if the Phillies start him in Lakewood, I guess he plays right field next Mickey Moniak. His best asset is a good hit tool driven by a great approach. Some question the power, but I have heard high teen home runs a year and the Phillies said 20-25. I think the Phillies are probably optimistic, but if he can be in the 18-20 range he can be a very good player. He should have a high walk rate and good average and reminds me of Adam Eaton, though he should have more power. He isn’t a star, but I don’t think there was a star on the board at #8 this year. Instead, Haseley has first division regular upside. I think he could move quickly through the system. He is a very Johnny Almaraz style pick along the lines of Cornelius Randolph, Scott Kingery, Mickey Moniak, and Cole Stobbe.
I am more confused by what the Phillies did in the second round. With a draft board full of high arms and a few injured starters, the Phillies went surprisingly low upside and off the board. Spencer Howard is not a bad prospect. The fastball is solid, especially when you factor in the life on it. However, he doesn’t have the three pitch mix you want from a starting pitcher because his changeup is a bit behind. If you are looking at him as a reliever, there are some arms with a bit more power. The Phillies possibly see some untapped potential, he was reportedly climbing draft boards. He also has only really pitched at a high level for two years, so maybe there is a bit more in the arm and body. The Phillies also looked at him as a quick mover, with an opening assignment of Lakewood. Hopefully he is an underslot signing to give the Phillies more flexibility to go after players in some of the remaining 38 rounds.
That is the thing about today, there are still 38 more rounds to go. We won’t know the full picture until after bonuses are announced. For now I really like where the Phillies went in the first round, but I am not on board with where they went in the 2nd round.