The Phillies drafted more pitchers than hitters in last week’s 2013 draft, but they certainly showed a preference for position players early. Like a couple years ago when they took players like Roman Quinn and Mitch Walding early on, they really seemed to focus on the infield again, and it’s clear they wanted more depth behind the plate too.
A couple years ago, Rany Jazayerli at Baseball Prospectus posted an interesting study that showed generally, younger high school hitters develop more than older ones. He broke them down into five groups based on age at draft day, very young, young, average, old and very old. If this is any indication of how this class will turn out, the news isn’t good. Of the 10 prep hitters they drafted, eight are either old or very old. The two that aren’t are unlikely to sign. Hopefully the ones that do can be the exceptions.
2. Andrew Knapp, California, Bats Switch, Throws Right, 6’1 192, 21.56 Y.O.
In a historically weak draft for college catchers, Knapp stands out as a potential everyday player. He’s a bat-first player right now, but with more experience behind the plate, he could be a solid defender too. He has power potential from both sides of the plate, but unless he cleans up his swing a bit, it’s more likely that he’ll be known as more of a contact hitter. With solid athleticism and a strong arm, the ingredients for a decent defensive catcher are there with some work.
4. Jake Sweaney, Garces Memorial HS (California), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’3 180, 18.54 Y.O.
To me, this was the surprise pick of the draft. With Deivi Grullon coming over from the Dominican Republic this year, I didn’t think they would go for another young catcher this year. I was obviously wrong though, and there’s nothing wrong with Sweaney as a player. He was a two sport star in high school, and his athleticism stands out on the diamond. He needs work behind the plate, but his arm is strong. He has the size and strength for some power potential, but like Knapp it’ll be more likely that he becomes a contact hitter.
20. Corey Bass, North Florida, Bats Right, Throws Right, 5’10 200, 22.10 Y.O.
There’s not that much info out there on Bass, but he has signed and will probably play for Williamsport. He doesn’t seem to be much of a hitter, but as a senior from a decent baseball conference, he should have some nice experience. Based on velocity reports from him pitching in high school, he has a good arm.
14. Sam Dove, Georgia Tech, Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’2 188, 22.51 Y.O.
Despite his size, Dove has almost no power, but he’s a decent athlete and will provide some versatility. He mostly played third base his last couple years at Georgia Tech, but he also has experience in the outfield and second base, where he’ll probably play the most. He’ll make pretty good contact with decent on-base ability. His speed isn’t overwhelming at all, but he’s a smart player who can steal bases efficiently.
29. Cavan Biggio, St. Thomas HS (Texas), Bats Left, Throws Right, 6’2 185, 18.14 Y.O.
If amateur baseball players were selected in order based on talent, Craig’s son would have been drafted on day one. Instead, teams stayed away from him until the Phillies late on the third day, expecting him to honor his strong commitment to Notre Dame. Cavan has a pretty polished swing that can make hard contact to all fields, and he has a pretty nice plate approach too. He could develop average power down the road, but the real question is his defensive home. His athleticism may be a bit short for second base, and his arm may be a bit weak for third base.
36. Dalton Dulin, Memphis University HS (Tennessee), Bats Switch, Throws Right, 5’8 165, 19.06 Y.O.
Dulin has an impressive background as the son of Tim Dulin, owner of a travel team that has helped train many major leaguers. He can make pretty consistent contact and has good speed, but the rest of his game is in question. At his size, any power production is unlikely, and it’s almost certain he’ll have to move to second base. What can’t be questioned is his high level of energy, and he’ll probably be suiting up for Ole Miss next spring.
1. J.P. Crawford, Lakewood HS (California), Bats Left, Throws Right, 6’2 180, 18.39 Y.O.
In a thin draft overall, shortstop was an especially thin position. Crawford is a true shortstop though with above average athleticism and arm strength plus the soft hands needed. At the plate, he’s going to take some time. He needs to add some strength and work out some mechanical issues in his swing to ever hit at a major league level. He has the hand-eye coordination to make good contact. Although he’s raw in the batter’s box, he’s a smart player which aids him on defense as well as the basepaths.
3. Jan Hernandez, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’1 194, 18.41 Y.O.
The first player ever drafted out of Beltran’s academy in Puerto Rico is Hernandez, but he’ll likely become a third baseman as a professional. His range is a bit short to stay up the middle, but as a decent athlete with a strong arm, defensively he does profile at the hot corner. He’ll have to work to make sure his bat fits there though. He already has some strength and good bat speed, so he does have a chance at third base.
40. Jose Haros, San Fernando HS (California), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’2 175, 18.43 Y.O.
Haros was the Phillies’ last pick. Gary Matthews also went to San Fernando.
7. Trey Williams, College of the Canyons, Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’1 210, 19.23 Y.O.
At one point in 2012, Williams was a potential first round pick, but serious questions about his effort and desire to play baseball caused teams to stay away. After a solid year on the junior college circuit, he improved his stock by five rounds. He fits the hot corner prototype with potential plus power and a plus arm. He’s not much of an athlete, limiting his potential defensively. What he’ll need to do is make adjustments to his swing so he can more frequently capitalize on his strong bat speed. If he puts in the work, this could be a steal for the Phillies.
13. Joey Martarano, Fruitland HS (Idaho), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’4 235, 18.84 Y.O.
The Phillies already signed third rounder Cord Sandberg away from a football commitment to Mississippi State, but their work is cut out for them with Martarano. He’s committed to Boise State to play linebacker, and the Broncos don’t play baseball. They could always work out a deal for him to play football in the fall and baseball in the off-season, but this never seems to result in a good baseball player, so to me, either the Phillies get him to commit to baseball or let him go. He has some of the best raw power in the draft, so the payoff for the Phillies is there. He has a long swing and could whiff a lot though. He probably doesn’t have the foot speed to continue playing third base.
15. Logan Pierce, Troy, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6’0 215, 23.33 Y.O.
There’s not much information available on Pierce. He was an incredibly productive hitter for the Trojans, leading them to the NCAA post-season. He had twice as many walks as strikeouts in his senior season, but he doesn’t seem to be much of an athlete.
39. Brandon Wagner, Immaculata HS (New Jersey), Bats Left, Throws Right, 6’0 210, 17.77 Y.O.
Wagner evidently has some power potential and is committed to Howard College.
3. Cord Sandberg, Manatee HS (Florida), Bats Left, Throws Left, 6’3 215, 18.41 Y.O.
Sandberg was actually the first pick the Phillies were able to sign despite his commitment to Mississippi State to play quarterback. He has the arm strength one would expect from a top quarterback prospect, and even though he’s a decent athlete, he probably fits better in right field than center. This spring, he made strides hitting the ball consistently, and that could continue to improve as he now focuses on baseball full time. He has the strength for above average potential, but it’s going to take continued adjustments to his swing to tap into it.
6. Jason Monda, Washington State, Bats Left, Throws Left, 6’4 205, 21.78 Y.O.
Monda could be a surprisingly difficult sign for a college player taken this high in the draft. His brother also plays for the Cougars, and he plans on attending medical school. On the field, he has never delivered the performance scouts expected to see. His swing looks like it should produce good batting averages, but his plate approach needs a lot of work. He’s a decent athlete with a good arm and should fit in right field if he signs.
8. Justin Parr, Illinois, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6’2 190, 22.53 Y.O.
Parr was one of college baseball’s leading hitters in 2013, finishing with an average just under .400 for the season. He’s an average player across the board with decent athleticism and arm strength. He played three different positions in three years at Illinois, and he could settle in right field as a professional. Both of his brothers also played baseball for the Illini.
30. Venn Biter, Rossview HS (Tennessee), Bats Left, Throws Right, 6’1 181, 18.60 Y.O.
Biter is committed to play at UAB. Both his high school coach and the staff at UAB praise his tools and work ethic, but I guess that’s pretty standard. He’s described as a good athlete with power potential. I would imagine he’s not signing.
35. Nick Ferdinand, Delaware, Bats Right, Throws Right, 6’1 210, 23.42 Y.O.
Ferdinand led the CAA, a surprisingly decent baseball conference, in home runs during his senior season. He grew up in the Philadelphia area.