I am ramping up the Draft Philes and today I decided to do something different. Rather than just come up with names that I think would be intriguing selections for the Phillies, I wanted to ask the people their thoughts. So last Friday, I asked you guys on Twitter who you wanted me to write scouting reports on. I chose a couple of names with big time pop who are intriguing for different reasons, one is an option at #8, while the other will go in rounds 2-5.
Jordon “Jo” Adell is one of the most intriguing players in this draft class. He is an absolute specimen for a high school baseball player. When he steps off the bus, I imagine the opposing team saying to themselves, “this kid is our age?” And his physical attributes translate into tremendous skill. Last summer he dazzled at all the showcases, running speedy 60 yard dashes, showing plus plus arm strength and hitting absolute bombs in home run derbies. Sounds like this guy should be the #1 pick, right?
The big concern about Adell is his hit tool, his BP to game mechanics, and his swing and miss tendencies, which has pushed him to a fringe top 10 pick. The Phillies’ first round pick philosophy in their glory years was to select highly skilled, toolsy high school players. Unfortunately, Anthony Hewitt, Zach Collier, Kelly Dugan and Larry Greene never sniffed the big leagues. The Phillies in recent years have been playing the “safe” card with their top pick by getting the well-rounded SS (JP Crawford), the most major league ready arm (Aaron Nola) and the most advanced high school hitters (Cornelius Randolph and Mickey Moniak). Would the Phillies stray from this philosophy for one draft to get a player who has all the makings of a superstar?
Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY)
6’3″, 200 lb
Rankings (as of 5/29/17): MLB.com #22, Baseball America #8
Generates excellent bat speed with good hip rotation and strong lower half; fixed in game problem where knees were closer together, now further apart. Keeps his head down and through the contact. Hits with plus power to all fields; hit 25 home runs in 34 games this spring. Superior athleticism will allow him to be a plus base-runner and to cover ground to remain in centerfield. Plus-plus arm strength.
Load can get long at times, still working on timing with his leg kick. Stride may be a bit long. Pitch recognition is average, particularly with breaking balls; can be beat down and out.
Adell already has four of the five tools ranked as plus or better: power, speed, fielding and arm strength. Those four tools alone will allow him to stick in the majors for at least five years. He should be able to stay in centerfield because of his athleticism, but can make the transition to right field where his arm strength would be more useful. Staying consistent with his mechanics and continued improvement on his pitch recognition will determine if he can hit consistently enough to have a 10+ year career. It is just a matter of making sure his game swing resembles his BP swing. If he can do this, he is a perennial All-Star capable of hitting .270 with 30/25 HR/SB campaigns and a few Gold Gloves. His floor is that of a .240 hitter with a couple of 20/15 HR/SB campaigns. He’ll either be a superstar or an average outfielder.
Drew Ellis could be an intriguing name for the Phillies in that 2nd-5th round range. Ellis was not on anybody’s radar coming out of high school, and when he got to Louisville, he red-shirted his freshman season because the team had a loaded lineup that reached the College World Series. He would not crack the starting lineup until late during the 2016 season and he was an instant impact in the lineup. This year on a team where two-way star Brendan McKay gets all the headlines he has been Louisville’s best hitter. The problem with Ellis is he doesn’t really have a defensive home. When McKay pitches, he’ll play 1B. When he McKay plays 1B, he will play 3B, with a little bit of LF playing time sprinkled in over the last couple of years. But similar to Randolph a couple of years ago, Ellis’ bat is what makes him an early round selection.
Drew Ellis, 3B/1B, University of Louisville
6’3″, 210 lb
Previously Drafted: Never
Rankings: Baseball America #61
High leg kick, shifts a lot of weight on load, but good hip rotation, generates plus pull power. Good plate discipline, stays back in the zone long enough to fight off pitches. Above average arm strength.
Breaking balls are a real problem for him, much of his load is focused on power, so hitting for average could be a problem at the next level. Doesn’t seem to generate enough power to be feared going to the opposite field, will be heavily shifted to the left side of infield. A tick below average foot speed. Not a great defender at any one position, limited range, lacks quick first step.
What the Numbers Say
2015 (Freshman): Did Not Play – Redshirted
2016 (Redshirt Freshman): 47 G, 115 PA, .309/.426/.468, 6 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 19 R, 3 SB, 17 BB (14.8 BB%), 15 K (13 K%),
2017 (Redshirt Sophomore): 57 G, 244 PA, .376/.467/.728 (.346/.433/.615 vs ACC (29 games)), 18 2B, 17 HR, 53 RBI, 51 R, 6 SB, 35 BB (14.3 BB%), 36 K (14.75 K%)
Ellis’ calling card at the next level will be his power, but his struggles with breaking balls could hold him back and limit his home run capability. Another concern is his inability to hit to the opposite field. But his versatility in the field will be attractive to many organizations who want a power hitter in the early rounds. He is suited more for an American League organization where he can be a platoon DH most games vs LHP and play in the field when needed.