The Draft Philes: The Epic Marathon Ends

The 48 hour frenzy is complete. It all concluded yesterday, with the final 30 rounds (900 picks) flying by in a short six and a half hours. The Phillies entered the day having picked eight 4-year college/JUCO players in the first ten rounds, which may have given them room to go over slot on some picks on the final day (we won’t know until we get the information on the signed bonuses). It was also a chance to take risks on players who fell in the draft due to strong commitments to play in college in hopes of convincing them to join the pros early. But the majority of the day was spent filling up benches for the short-season rosters in Williamsport and the Gulf Coast League squad. I am not going discuss every single name, but if you want to get some information, Matt did yeoman’s work yesterday with analysis every five picks. You can find all the links on our Draft Tracker. Below, I profiled three names that I find interesting who have a shot at impacting a major league roster one day. I also look at the two names that would have been selected in the early rounds if not for their strong collegiate commitments.

The Names Who Might Have A Future Impact

Jake Holmes, SS, Pinnacle HS (AZ), 11th Round

The Phillies came right out of the chute on Day 3, and decided to go after a player they hope to pull away from his commitment to Arizona State. It is not typical to select a strong college commit this early on the third day and let him get away, which leads me to believe the Phillies are ready to use the extra cash from day one, to sign him over slot. Holmes has real good size for a SS at 6’4″, 195 lb and has the chance to fill out more without sacrificing his plus athleticism. He already presents above average arm strength and if he ends up filling out more to the point he outgrows SS, he can probably make a seamless transition to 3B. Breaking balls seem to be his current bugaboo as his swing gets a bit long, but he has good projection for average power with good loft in his swing. He could have been selected in the middle of Day 2, so if the Phillies sign him, this is great value to get a shortstop of this quality and potential.

Alex Garcia, RHP, UC Santa-Barbara, 15th Round

He could end up being one of the bigger mysteries of the draft, other than 8th round pick Jhordany Mezquita. Garcia has a decent frame at 6’3″, 190 lb. He also has reportedly been touching 94-96 mph as reliever, with some suggestions that there might be more in there. The video that I ended up finding on him was from his high school days. It looks like he throws a tight slider, with good bite on it. The mechanics look okay, but his release point and arm angle can get away from him as evidenced by his poor command in his limited number of innings during his three years as a Gaucho (29 BB in 29.1 IP). If they can work on his control and get him to stay consistent with his release point, I like the power fastball/slider combo he possesses as a future reliever.

Austin Listi, 1B/OF, Dallas Baptist, 17th Round

This is an intriguing pick for two reasons. First, the story is pretty cool. Austin was a fifth year senior because after his sophomore season he took 2015 off to train as a Navy SEAL. Unfortunately, he had a medical condition that wouldn’t allow him to continue, so he went back to school and continued his baseball career. The other intrigue is the power, where a lot of it was to pull, but mashing for 23 2B and 24 HR gets scout’s attention. He has a good wide stance and a bit of a high hand set, but he gets above average bat speed with quality hip rotation. His numbers suggest a traditional major league HR/BB/K hitter as he had a .572 slugging % with a 11.2 BB% and 18.9 K% during his collegiate career. He has shown the same potential with a wood bat in two different summers in the Northwoods League. He is an above average defender at 1B, but he also has enough athleticism to play a corner outfield spot where his above average arm strength would play well. He might be a very good future power bat vs LHP off the bench.

The Strong Commitments

Shane Drohan, LHP, Cardinal Newman HS (FL), 23rd Round

Shane, whose dad Bill was a Royals draft pick, is physically mature for his age at 6’2″, 190 lb, but has some room for added growth. He could probably tick his fastball up from 88-90 mph range into the low 90s. What makes him intriguing is his curveball, which has the potential to be plus. It has a strong bite with its late downward snapping action. He also has a pretty good feel for his change-up. He can throw all three of his pitches for strikes and he has a pretty easy delivery that he repeats every time. Right now I see him more as a back-end starter, closer to the #4 projection. Though, he will probably honor his commitment to Florida State at this point.

Kyle Hurt, RHP, Torrey Pines HS (CA), 34th Round

Hurt should have been a second to fourth round pick, where he may have been an over slot selection. But ironically like his surname, he tore his meniscus during the offseason, which delayed the start to his senior year. He was sitting low 90s, touching 95 mph before his injury, but clearly had not regained his strength when he came back as he was hovering in the 88-90 mph range. At its peak, his fastball will produce weak contact with heavy sink. His curveball has tight spin and good depth. His change-up is his best off-speed pitch with plenty of tumbling action and comes out of with same good arm speed as his fastball from a 3/4 slot. He has got a short stride delivery, lands upright and throws somewhat crossfire, but he gives plenty of different arm angles. Kyle has a projectable size for a RHP and will likely add more to his 6’4″, 205 lb frame. Even if he was picked earlier, heading to USC is probably best for him, where he can improve his stock into a more firm 1st round pick two years from now as a draft-eligible sophomore.

So there you have it. Three days of exhausting coverage in the books. It was a solid but unspectacular draft for the Phillies. Having only $8.7M in their draft pool made this year different from last ($13.5M in 2016). There was not a lot of money to try and be creative with. The Phillies played the safe card with their first round selection and that was okay, but they should have tried to get creative and drafted an under slot player. Haseley might be, but I would be surprised if it was much of an under slot. He will be a solid player, but I would have liked to try and maximize the draft. Even though second round pick, Spencer Howard, was a head scratcher at first, I have grown to like the player more after learning more about him. It might have been a bit of a reach, but other than the bonus money, there is not much difference between picking him in the 2nd round or the 3rd round. After that, the Phillies did a good job at sticking to their philosophy the entire draft by selecting 29 college kids, including 8 of the first 10, which matters the most.

I like the fact the Phillies chose two high school SS (Maton, Holmes) with good upside for the rounds they were taken in. The Mezquita pick is the most interesting pitcher selection in this draft, partially because of the circumstances that led him to be drafted, but he could be really good southpaw depth for the system throwing in the low 90s with a good breaking ball. We won’t know for a few years who will be good, who will scuffle to progress and who will be out of baseball altogether. But that is the extra element of fun to baseball and I myself cannot wait to start watching the progression of these new Phillies farmhands. I also look forward to switching gears from the draft to providing minor league analysis and tweeting live at games, providing video of all the top prospects. Thank you guys for following and reading my scouting reports the last six weeks. And with that I close the 2017 edition of the Draft Philes!

Author: Jeff Israel


    • Jeff Israel

      Excellent find Tom.