ith the #10 pick in the draft the Phillies selected Cornelius Randolph out Griffin HS in Georgia. Randolph is currently a shortstop, but the consensus is that he will move off of the position going forward. His lack of speed means that third base is probably the first position he will move to. Randolph is one of the best hitters in the high school class, and most evaluators think he will be a plus hitter long term. He only has above average power, but there could possibly be a bit more in there. The pick reportedly came down to Randolph and fellow Georgia high schooler, catcher Tyler Stephenson.
Johnny Almaraz has announced that Randolph will be moving to left field and could start off in Williamsport.
Baseball America had this to say before the draft (#20 Overall):
Scouts became very familiar with Griffin (Ga.) High in 2008 when Tim Beckham was the first overall pick in the draft. Now, Randolph has them coming back to the Atlanta area school to see another likely first rounder. Unlike Beckham, Randolph will not stay at shortstop as a professional. But his natural hitting ability is such that questions about his future position haven’t done much to dissuade scouts. He is a disciplined hitter with an excellent feel for the strike zone. There is some swing-and-miss in his game, but when he’s at his best he stays balanced and drives the ball to all fields. He has the strength and bat speed necessary to hit for above-average power, giving him a chance to be one of the best all-around hitters in the draft class. While scouts are sure Randolph isn’t a shortstop, they aren’t quite sure where he’ll ultimately settle defensively. Some believe his hands and arm are good enough that he could become a capable third baseman if he works to improve his infield actions. Others see him as a future left fielder, where he’d be more able to concentrate on his hitting. No matter where the Clemson recruit ends up defensively, Randolph’s main attraction will always be his hitting ability.
ESPN’s Draft Analysis – Eric Longenhagen
New scouting director Johnny Almarez makes his first selection for the Phillies, and it’s one that is rumored to come with a hefty price tag. Randolph has a strong enough aptitude for hitting that he’s probably worth it, projecting for above-average hit and power tools as he continues to fill out his already physical, muscular frame. He played shortstop in high school, but that’s not going to happen in pro ball. I think Randolph has the athleticism to stick at third base, though some think he’s destined for the outfield. If everything comes together, the Phillies are looking at above-average offensive production and a solid glove from the hot corner. The Phillies had been rumored to be on more advanced, college types as they were last year. It seems, though, that we should expect almost anything from them at this point.
Baseball Prospectus’s Reaction – Chris Crawford
I loved the Phillies pick of J.P. Crawford in 2013. I loved their selection of Aaron Nola in 2014. I don’t understand this pick at all. Randolph was a late first-round talent to me (24th on my board), and while I certainly think there’s some offensive upside, I don’t think he’s going to be able to play shortstop and I don’t think he has the power projection to play third base. If more power comes, I’ll eat my words, but I don’t see the projection to make him much more than a second-division regular at the position. There are still potential first-division regulars left, and I’m not sure why Philadelphia is passing on them.
MLB Pipeline Predraft (#19 Overall)
Griffin (Ga.) High has produced a pair of big league infielders in Jeff Treadway and Tim Beckham, and it may have a third on the way in Randolph. He’s Griffin’s best prospect since Beckham and profiles as more of an impact hitter than the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 Draft has become.
Randolph has the tools and approach to hit for power and average. He offers bat speed, strength and patience from the left side of the plate. He uses the entire field and has better pitch recognition than most high schoolers.
Currently a shortstop, Randolph will move to a less challenging position at the next level. The Clemson recruit has good hands but lacks the quickness to play in the middle infield. His arm hasn’t been as strong this spring, when he has dealt with biceps tendinitis, but it and his bat would profile well at third base.
ESPN Predraft (#29 overall)
Randolph has the bat speed and swing path to hit for above-average contact and power, making him one of the better all-around hitting prospects in the entire draft. He’s thick and physical and almost assuredly will move off shortstop in pro ball. His body and skill set make him protypical hot-corner fodder; he would be average with an above-average arm there. Some think he’ll have to move to the outfield eventually, but the bat will still play in a corner spot out there.
The concerns about Randolph are that he doesn’t track the baseball well, and there might be more swing-and-miss to his game than his mechanics would otherwise indicate. His mature body might also prove to be high-maintenance.
Randolph’s asking price is reportedly high and he’s committed to Clemson, so that could impact where he’s drafted. He could go in the top 15 and projects as a middle-of-the-order hitter.
Callis: It would be easy to think the Phillies would take someone who can help them quickly because the franchise hasn’t done as well in recent years, but they took the best player on the board. Randolph might take a little longer to develop than a college player, but you could argue that he’s the best all-around high school hitter in the Draft.