The Draft Philes: The Underslot Southpaws

Over the past few weeks, I have covered nearly every logical pick the Phillies could make with the eighth overall pick in next week’s draft. But as I discussed on Phillies Nation podcast the other day, they could disregard the top talent to select someone under the $4.8M slot value. I am obsessed with the lack of projectable high-end southpaws in the system, so I decided to profile a couple other cheap first round options just to soothe my frustration.

There are three names in particular, that stand out: David Peterson, D.L. Hall, and Trevor Rogers. Peterson was mentioned briefly in Keith Law’s recent mock draft, and while he does not have an elite fastball, he commands it well and has a strong four-pitch mix. The Oregon ace is seen as a control and strikeout pitcher at the next level and possibly a fast riser through the system. Hall has been hovering around the top 15 range on most lists since the end of the summer showcase circuit. While he is short, 19 years old and had an inconsistent spring, he packs a lot of punch with three potential plus pitches. Finally there is Rogers, who has been gaining a lot of steam lately and is projected all over the first round. In Fangraphs’ recent mock, Eric Logenhagen had an interesting suggestion:

8. Philadelphia – Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
Scouting director Johnny Almaraz and advisor/hitting genius Charlie Manuel were at the ACC Tournament and GM Matt Klentak has seen the UVA kids. I also think there’s a chance they cut a deal here to try to move Trevor Rogers back to their second pick, or they could just take Rogers here.”

That would be an interesting play by the Phillies, but I doubt Rogers falls all the way to #45. But, the Phillies could save the most money if they picked Rogers as a reach in the first round. Though, if he is still there in the second, it is a no brainer to select him. In the end, all three could be signed at a value of at least $750,000 less than their first round pick slot value and can fill the void of a mid-rotation projected major league starting southpaw, which the Phillies lack currently in their system.

David Peterson, LHP, University of Oregon

6’6″, 235 lb

Bats/Throws: L/L

Previously Drafted: Boston Red Sox, 2014 28th Rd

Rankings (as of 6/5): MLB.com #19, Baseball America #17

Strengths

Big, burly body; repeats delivery well. Exceptional command of fastball, paints corners and moves hitters eye level with it; deceptive, arm-side movement from his 3/4 arm action, sits 89-92 mph, can touch 94. Can beat right and left-handed hitters away with it’s movement. Slider is plus, can back-door it on right-handers; good tight spin and 2-8 tilt. Change-up has a lot of fade, flashes plus.

Weaknesses

Working in to left-handed batters. Does not throw his change-up enough, goes for his slider too often. Curveball does not have great depth and spin, may be more of an average pitch at its peak. Wraps his arm, but not a major concern because of body type. Does not get a sound push off the back leg, reduces chance for more velocity. Broke his right fibula his senior year of high school.

What the Numbers Say

2015 (Freshman): 14 G (all starts), 82 IP, 4-6, 4.39 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 81 K, 31 BB, 79 H, 4 HR allowed, .257 opp AVG, 7 WP, 8 HBP, 8.89 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 356 batters faced, 22.8 K%, 8.7 BB%

2016 (Sophomore): 13 G (all starts), 74.1 IP, 4-5, 3.63 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 61 K, 31 BB, 64 H, 2 HR allowed, .239 opp AVG, 9 WP, 14 HBP, 7.39 K/9, 3.75 BB/9, 325 batters faced, 18.8 K%, 9.5 BB%

2017 (Junior): 15 G (all starts), 100.1 IP, 11-4, 2.51 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 140 K, 15 BB, 88 H, 2 HR allowed, .237 opp AVG, 3 WP, 10 HBP, 12.56 K/9, 1.35 BB/9, 413 batters faced, 33.9 K%, 3.6 BB%

Overall Assessment

Peterson in a year’s time has cleaned up his mechanics and now has impeccable deception and command on his fastball, which makes his slider a dangerous swing and miss pitch. The combination already has him on track to be a very good back-end starter in the majors, but that is his floor. Peterson’s ceiling could go much higher when he starts using his change-up more consistently, perhaps even more than his slider. His chance to have two plus off-speed pitches give him the makings of a high-end mid-rotation starter.

D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)

6’0″, 190 lb

B/T: L/L

Commitment: Florida State

Rankings: MLB.com #14, Baseball America #16, ESPN #8

Strengths

Good build, mechanics are fairly clean, generates plenty of trunk rotation and power from his legs. Mid-70s curveball has a lot of spin, good 1 to 7 tilt and late break that it will be a plus out pitch. Fastball ranges 89-95 mph, mainly sits 92-94, explodes out of his hand with tremendous arm action speed. Change-up has good tumbling action, low-80s pitch

Weaknesses

Strides a bit long, falls over a bit too far towards the third base side at times. Arm slot is inconsistent, leads to a lot of command issues, particularly with his fastball; pitch can get flat as well. Change-up is rarely used, so it remains an unknown. Relies on curveball a bit too much at this point, can get slurvy.

Overall Assessment

Hall has the potential to have three plus pitches with his fastball, curveball and change-up. That mix can make him a mid-rotation starter. Curveball will be his best pitch at the major league level as a knee-buckler that will generate plenty of swings and misses. But getting consistency from all of his pitches, particularly establishing his fastball, will be crucial if he wants to stick as a starter long-term. His floor might be that of a left-handed specialist if he generates the bare minimum amount of consistency with his fastball to make his curveball look good. His outlook currently shows more of a fifth starter as a two-pitch pitcher with inconsistent command

Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (NM)

6’6″, 185 lb

B/T: L/L

Commitment: Texas Tech

Rankings: MLB.com #25, Baseball America #31, ESPN #18

Strengths

Gets good load, push off the back leg; fall and tall delivery, not much effort. Throws from a low 3/4 arm slot with loose whipping action. Hides the ball well by turning with slight rotation. Fastball, particularly his two-seam, has good cut to it; commands it to both sides of the plate well; sits 89-93, touching 95. Breaking ball has good 2-8 or 1-7 tilt and spin

Weaknesses`

Breaking ball keeps getting slurvy, not enough consistency. Has not faced great competition in high school, but has struggled at times vs that competition; uses an average fastball at 88-90 mph. Change-up can get flat at times.

Overall Assessment

Rogers’ calling card right now is his fastball command, with the chance to add more velocity as he continues to fill out and better condition himself. His second best pitch has a slider grip, but he is going to need to stop being so slurvy in order to be a major league pitcher. His change-up has made strides, but still needs to get a better feel for it. Rogers ceiling because of his 6’6″ frame and fastball command is that of a mid-rotation starter if he can get his breaking ball to reach its plus potential and at least have an average change-up. His floor might be that of a reliable reliever.

Author: Jeff Israel

3 comments

  1. Kurdt Kobeyn

    I have Trevor Rogers signing under slot as 1 (of 5) very good options that the Phils have at 1.8 — others are Pavin Smith, Shane Baz, Austin Beck or whoever slips in any of Wright-McKay-Greene-Gore-Lewis.

    Trevor Rogers is the only not Top-12 prospect that has really good potential that the Phils can overreach at 1.8.

    Very good arms are still available at 2.45 with Scherff, Enlow, Tristen Beck at Little as possibilities.

    The Phis draft 5 (of 6) bats in the 1st 3 rds of 2015 and 2016 and it’s time to acquire high end arms early in the draft!!

    • Jeff Israel

      If any of the top 5 slip to 8, I’ll be stunned at this point (though with all the under the table underslot deals I shouldn’t be). Rogers would be a real gamble at 8, but the reward would be getting a lot of really good over slot players in rounds 2-4. Beck and Enlow maybe on one of my reports and possibly on my Phillies big board come Monday.

  2. allentown1

    Rogers is interesting. So is Peterson — he’s got the size and stats and it sounds like a coach might unlock a bit more velocity. Could be a fast mover to the majors.