Jun 032013

logo MLB Draft 2013Before I get to potential 2013 picks, I’d like to focus on one hitter drafted in 2006: Domonic Brown.  The Phillies’ left fielder is on fire right now and leads the National League in home runs.  Even if he can’t sustain this power surge, the scouting and development of Brown was great work by those departments to produce a major leaguer.  Would he be a Phillie today if current draft spending rules were in place seven years ago?  I don’t think so.

In past years, they would always take fliers on talented players later in drafts that were believed to be unsignable.  Their scouts would do great work (and six-figure signing bonuses) to entice those players to sign, and this is how they got players like Brown and Jarred Cosart, among others.  In 2012, the first year draft spending limits were in place, they made little effort to try and find these players later in drafts.

SS Tim Anderson, East Central Community College: More and more, it’s looking as if the Phillies will need to take Anderson 16th overall if they want him.  His stock is rising in the days leading up to the draft as teams realize this class of shortstops is as shallow as they come.  Few players at the top of the draft have a chance to stick at shortstop as professionals, and Anderson is in that group.  He’s a great athlete with plus-plus speed and the arm to play on the left side of the infield.  Junior college hitters from Mississippi tend to be raw though, and that certainly applies to his swing.  He’s not going to hit for power, and it could take some time for him to adjust to pro-quality pitching day in and day out.

CF Ryan Boldt, Red Wing HS: Boldt could have been a late first round pick had he stayed healthy this spring, but a knee injury cut his season short.  Now, teams who feel they have a little extra money to spend in the second round will have a shot at him.  His athleticism and baseball IQ make him a quality base stealer and defensive outfielder.  His bat speed can produce hard contact and gap power, and even if he’s never really a home run hitter, he should contribute offensively with a high average and his speed.  With below average power and fringe average arm strength, he has a true center field profile.

SS J.P. Crawford, Lakewood HS (California): Even before this season, the Phillies were probably already familiar with Crawford after drafting one of his teammates, Shane Watson, in the first round last year.  He’s the best shortstop available in the draft, and as a result, may not even be available with the 16th pick.  His fielding and arm strength are both above average to plus tools, giving him a pretty easy chance to stay at shortstop long term.  Whoever drafts him will need to be patient though because his swing needs a lot of work.  He more than likely will never hit for power, and he needs to do a lot of work on his swing to take advantage of his bat speed and drive the ball more.

SS Travis Demerritte, Winder-Barrow HS: Demerritte is actually a third baseman professionally, but he has the potential to be really good there for a patient team.  He has a great arm and solid athleticism, making him a great fit for the hot corner.  His bat speed is incredible, and he has the strength to hit for enough power to profile at the position.  The only question about him, and it’s a big one, is his hit tool.  Right now, his swing is pretty ugly, and it’s going to take a lot of adjustments for him to put bat on ball consistently.  That’s never scared the Phillies off though, and he’s probably a second round pick.

2B JaCoby Jones, Louisiana State: Jones offers the athleticism and upside the Phillies love, pretty uncommon for a college bat.  Unfortunately, he also comes with the rawness of a high school player, and there’s a high probability things never click for him.  He has average power to all fields and can steal bases, and his arm is good enough for him to potentially play third base too.  He strikes out a lot though and doesn’t have a great plate approach.  If a team can overhaul his swing successfully, they could have a steal in the fourth or fifth rounds.  That’s much easier said than done though.

C Andrew Knapp, California: In this weak draft, high school catching is actually one of the strengths, but I think going for the top college backstop in the second or third round would be a better fit for the organization.  That’s exactly what Knapp is.  His defense needs work because he’s pretty new to the position, but he has the arm and skills to become a solid defender behind the plate.  His offense will always come first though.  He’s a switch hitter with decent power from both sides of the plate, but he’ll probably be more of a contact hitter.  The Phillies should have the personnel to help him develop his receiving skills to become an everyday major leaguer.

CF Michael Lorenzen, Cal State Fullerton: There is plenty of thought that Lorenzen should and will pitch as a professional, but I wouldn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to get a center fielder with his upside.  As a reliever, he can throw in the high 90’s, and that obviously translates to a great arm in the outfield.  He’s a great athlete who can run the bases and could be the best defensive player in college baseball.  With his 6’3, 200 pound frame, he offers impressive power potential too.  Until his junior season with the Titans though, he really didn’t perform too well.  He’s now hitting for much better contact, allowing him to tap into that raw power and become a star.  He could be a second round pick.

CF Terry McClure, Riverwood HS: McClure is the kind of athlete that the Phillies seem to target every year, and he’s already shown flashes of in-game performance that’s important to teams.  His spring has been inconsistent though, and that means he could be on the board until the 5th round.  His combination of speed and power potential is really intriguing, especially for a center fielder, and a team could be rewarded with his high ceiling.  He has to improve his plate approach though, but he’s a very young player and has plenty of time to improve.

RF Hunter Renfroe, Mississippi State: All of the buzz surrounding the Phillies in the first round indicates they’re not expecting to take a college player, but Renfroe would be tough to pass up at 16 if he ends up falling.  Things have finally clicked for him in his junior season, and his stock is up considerably compared to where it was to start the season.  His raw power rates as plus or even plus-plus and could become the kind of middle of the order impact bat the team desperately needs.  His swing and pitch recognition still need to improve though, and that could be a significant hurdle.  Defensively, he has a great arm and really good athleticism.

1B Dominic Smith, Serra HS: High school first basemen rarely go in the first round of the draft, but Smith’s bat is good enough that he could potentially be a top 10 pick.  He has a strong arm and possibly just enough athleticism to not embarrass himself in right field, but teams would probably settle for his above average defense at first.  He makes hard contact, and he does so frequently.  It can go to all fields, and he has the power potential to easily profile at an offensively demanding position.  He tops it off with a very good plate approach, and he could be the bat the Phillies are looking for at 16.

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Scott Grauer writes for PSC and Bus Leagues Baseball – check him out!