May 262014

MLB draft 2014Sunday’s no-hitter will put the focus on the Phillies’ lack of offense, but their pitching depth, as well as most everything in the system, is poor.  Injuries have hurt a player or two, but that doesn’t account for most of the problems.  It’s just a lack of talent.  Their 2013 draft could feasibly not produce a single major league pitcher which is not only just a big failure, but extremely difficult.  Since this is a pitching heavy draft, they at least have a chance to rectify those mistakes to a degree.

RHP Nick Burdi, Louisville

Another year, another season where the Phillies bullpen can’t reliably finish games.  If they do have a mandate to select players that could help in the majors soon, Burdi could be their second rounder.  Out of the bullpen, he can touch triple digits, and it’s not a flat pitch either.  His high-80’s slider is a wipeout pitch, giving him the arsenal to close.  He just has to throw enough strikes, which he’s improved on this season.  If the Phillies were a better team, he would probably be able to contribute as early as this September.

RHP Bryan Dobzanski, Delsea Regional HS (New Jersey)

The Phillies like athletes, but as a star wrestler, Dobzanski doesn’t fit the mold of the usual high school athlete.  He’s big and strong, and his low-90’s fastball should be a more consistent pitch when he’s focusing on baseball.  Because he spent much of his time on other sports, his entire game is raw, from his secondary pitches to his delivery.  It will take some time and patience, but it could pay off for the team that takes him in the third through fifth rounds.

RHP Tyler Kolek, Shepherd HS (Texas)

When I wrote about potential targets for the Phillies at #7 two weeks ago, I didn’t include Kolek because I assumed he was a top three lock.  Since then, a Baseball America mock draft had him falling to the Phillies.  I still think that’s extremely unlikely that happens, but if it does, they would be foolish to pass on him.  He may have the hardest fastball in amateur baseball history, and he has the secondary pitches to be a top of the rotation starter.

LHP Jacob Lindgren, Mississippi State

If the Phillies don’t get Burdi in the second, Lindgren could be their guy in the second or third.  He doesn’t have the same velocity, but compared to other lefties, his low to mid-90’s fastball is still above average.  His hard slider is an even better pitch, and he’s going to miss a lot of bats.  He should also rise through the minors quickly, but it’s possible they never get a shot at him if a team gets anxious at the end of the first round and wants immediate bullpen help.

RHP Josh Prevost, Seton Hall

Last year, the Phillies drafted one of Seton Hall’s starters.  This year, they could get a better one in the third to fifth rounds.  Prevost stands at a towering 6’8 with a heavy sinker that sits in the low-90’s and touches higher.  For a tall pitcher, he throws a lot of strikes.  Since his breaking ball and changeup are only average pitches, his upside isn’t super high, but in the middle rounds, he would be a nice pick and a decent bet to reach the majors at some point.

LHP Justus Sheffield, Tullahoma HS (Tennessee)

Sheffield’s brother Jordan could have been a first round pick in last year’s draft if not for elbow surgery.  Justus is healthy and should be a second rounder.  He’s a bit on the short side, but he makes up for it with a good feel for pitching.  In that respect, he should move a little quicker than most high school pitchers.  His high-80’s to low-90’s fastball is what it is at this point, but he offers three above average secondary pitches that he mixes up well.  If he’s still on the board in the second round, it won’t take long until a fortunate team scoops him up.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Maryland

Stinnett is an interesting prospect.  He’s a senior which means he should be a pretty cheap sign, but he’s relatively new to not just starting pitching, but pitching in general.  He was always a two way player, but after a lack of success at the plate, he first moved to the bullpen and then the rotation where he’s found success in one of the country’s toughest conferences.  He works with a low-90’s fastball with movement, a low-80’s breaking ball and average changeup.  He could be available in the third round, but a team hunting for a discount to have more money to spend on other picks could take him sooner.

RHP Luke Weaver, Florida State

At one point, Weaver was a likely first round pick, but some up and down results late in the season could push him back far enough to be an option in the second round for the Phillies.  His low-90’s fastball with movement and plus changeup gives him a nice pair of pitches, but his level of success is going to depend on how much his breaking ball improves.  He throws a lot of strikes, so at the very least he could be a back-end starter that moves through the minors quickly.

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