2002 Draft Report Card, Part 2

Ryan Barthelemy

Today we’ll cover part 2 of the 2002 draft. To figure out exactly what I’m talking about, check yesterday’s post for part 1 of this feature. Let’s get on with the picks

6.17: Lee Gwaltney, RHP. Part 2 isn’t starting out so good, is it? Well, at the time, Gwaltney was actually a highly touted prospect. He had a good pitcher’s body (6’6, 215 lbs), was polished (4 years of college, LA Tech), and the Phillies felt he was a steal in the 6th round. At the time, you couldn’t really argue against this pick too much. Some experts felt he could have gone a few rounds higher, but the Phillies were happy to get him in the 6th. It didn’t really work out that well, as he was only in the organization for 2.5 seasons. He started out well enough at Batavia and Lakewood (3.60 and 3.06 ERA’s respectively), but his peripheral numbers weren’t great, as he struggled to generate swings and misses (6.48 and 5.41 K/9 at Batavia and Lakewood), and his walk rate spiked at Lakewood. Nevertheless, the Phillies sent him to Clearwater to start 2004, and he didn’t really pitch poorly, putting up a 3.80 ERA, but his peripherals again lagged, allowing more than a hit per inning, not getting many K’s. The Phillies sent him to Reading for 4 starts, where he bombed, posting a 7.71 ERA and walking 11 to only 17 K’s. Then, something strange happened. The Phillies released Gwaltney in January after his involvement in a Clearwater bar fight with another Phillies farmhand…..a guy named Cole Hamels. The Phillies were very critical of Gwaltney and claimed he was a bad influence on Hamels. The Cubs claimed him, but after two seasons in the Chicago system, he was recently released. Grade: B. I give this pick a B because at the time of the draft, it made some sense. Gwaltney had pretty good stuff, he was polished, and he seemed like he could move through the system quickly, maybe helping the back end of the rotation by sometime in 2005. His numbers weren’t great, but they weren’t horrible, even if his peripherals weren’t outstanding. The off the field stuff is really tough to figure out, because we only know what the front office tells us. He didn’t work out, and ultimately he isn’t ever going to make the bigs unless he greatly reinvents himself, but at the time, it wasn’t a bad pick, considering it was the 6th round. Of the players taken after this pick and before their 7th pick, only two players are really major league quality, and both are relievers in Pat Neshek and Matt Capps.

7.17: Robby Read, RHP. This was a puzzling pick at the time. Read was drafted as a third year college player out of Florida State. His college ERA was bloated thanks to his home park, but his peripheral numbers weren’t exactly great, as he’d always averaged around 4 walks per 9 and close to 1 hit per inning. Read also didn’t really fit the Phillies mold, as he was only 6’1, 190 lbs, with the Phillies preferring to draft tall, lanky pitchers and dream on their projection and added velocity. That said, Read did have a strong arm and had a slew of pitches to choose from, so the pick wasn’t an instant disaster. His full season debut came in 2003 at Lakewood, and let’s just say he didn’t blow the doors off the place: 77 IP, 5.61 ERA, 79 hits, 51 walks, 73 K’s. As you can see, he was allowing close to 2 base runners per inning, and for a college guy at low A, that’s not so good. Read started 2004 at Clearwater, and things got worse, with an ERA over 6 and over 7 walks per 9 innings pitched. He was let go, and ended up in the Frontier League, where he also pitched in 2005 before washing out of baseball. Grade: D. These are the types of picks that puzzle me. I know it’s the 7th round, but come on. Yes, he pitched at a large baseball school, and yes he had a tough home park, but where was the real upside here? Bad college peripherals doesn’t usually signal pro ball success. The “good news” is that the Phillies didn’t really miss anyone between this pick and their 8th pick, with the exception of possibly Jeff Salazar, an OF prospect in the Rockies system.

8.17: Steve Doetsch, OF. Ah, the most controversial pick in the first 10 rounds for the Phillies. Doetsch wanted a bigger bonus than the Phillies were willing to offer, so he chose to go to junior college in 2003, meaning the Phillies could still sign him before the 2003 draft. They couldn’t come to an agreement, and he went back to the draft in 2003, this time being taken by Atlanta in the 14th round, and eventually signing. Many were disappointed he didn’t sign, and felt like he could be an impact guy. Well, maybe it’s a good thing the Phillies saved their money, as he hasn’t amounted to much in the Braves system, posting a career .280/.352/.395 line in 1500 minor league AB’s. 2006 was his age 22 season, and he still hasn’t gotten past High A. When you consider his .663 OPS at High A Myrtle Beach this past season, he probably will be out of baseball in the next few years. Grade: F. A quick caveat on this pick, which will apply to future comments. You should never have a top 10 round pick go unsigned, unless the player backs out on a pre draft deal. You can’t afford to squander these picks, and you should always know that you can or can’t get the player for “X dollars in X round”, or you should just pass and take someone else. The draft is the best way to acquire talent, and not signing a guy taken in the first 10 rounds is really wasting that resource. To make matters worse, Adam Lind and Clay Hensley were taken after this pick and before the Phillies next pick. Admittedly, Lind didn’t sign, but is a premier talent now, maybe the Phillies could have pried him away from college.

9.17: Rob Harrand, RHP. This pick stinks. It’s really that simple. Harrand’s numbers at San Diego State were not good, at all. His ERA was bloated (5.82 and 5.44) and his peripheral numbers were just as bad, with less than 7 K’s per 9 and close to 4 walks per 9. Still, the Phillies liked his arm, like his frame (6’5, 205 lbs), and felt like he was just under-performing. His fastball was real heavy and had good sink, and his home run suppression in college was quite good, having allowed only 3 home runs in 60 innings combined. However, he didn’t figure things out and struggled at Batavia upon being drafted. He was sent to the GCL to start 2003, but threw only 5 innings. I believe Harrand suffered through a number of arm maladies, and hasn’t been since since his 5 inning stint at the GCL. Grade, F. Could I have given a D-? Maybe. However, after botching the Doetsch pick (which I guess they didn’t think they did at the time), you’d think they’d have taken a guy here who at least had some upside. Marti Wolever, the Phillies scouting director, actually said Harrand was a good candidate for long relief. When your projected role is “long relief” upon being drafted, that’s not a good sign. This pick ultimately gets an F, though, because Howie Kendrick was taken by Anaheim before the Phillies next pick, and he turned into one of the best hitting minor leaguers in the last 10 years. Ouch.

10.17: Ryan Barthelemy, 1B. I liked this pick at the time, but I was skeptical for a reason similar to a pick above. Barthelemy was taken as a senior out of Florida State, and had light tower power in college, with monstrous .607 and .649 slugging percentages his junior and senior years. However, his home park was a hitter’s paradise and no doubt inflated his numbers. At 6’3, 225 lbs, he was well built and looked like a legit power threat. He was considered a well rounded athlete and most thought he’d be above average defensively at 1B. His full season assignment in 2003 put him at Lakewood, and he struggled, posting a .554 OPS in 312 AB. Undeterred, the Phillies promoted him to Clearwater in 2004, and he showed flashes of brilliance, finishing with a respectable .825 OPS in 475 AB. However, 2005 was the beginning of the end, as he bombed at Reading with a .693 OPS in 358 AB. At the bottom of the defensive spectrum, and failing to show the power that got him drafted, he was released and wound up in the Cardinals system. He spent 2006 at High A Palm Beach, and posted an .803 OPS in 463 AB. However, because he’s 26 already and has only played one season above A+, he really doesn’t look good going forward, barring some crazy turn of events. Grade: B In the 10th round, the Phillies really thought they’d found a gem, and at the time, I did too. He had solid raw power in college, as well as a good strikeout to walk rate. However, those skills just didn’t translate to the pro level, and without the DH in the NL, he probably was never going to see the light of day for the Phillies. After bombing out in Reading, he really had no value, so it was probably wise just to allow him to start over in another organization. Because of his power potential and baseball skills, this could have almost been a B+ pick, but because the Phillies missed out on Joel Zumaya and Ryan Shealy, I have to drop it a grade.

Let’s add these grades to the grades from part 1

Hamels: A-
Segovia: B
Fisher: C-
Bourgeois: D-
Blalock: B-
Gwaltney: B
Read: D
Doetsch: F
Harrand: F
Barthelemy: B

GPA: 1.93 (2.4 in the first 5). Uh oh, the draft team is getting dangerously close to Academic Probation.

5 thoughts on “2002 Draft Report Card, Part 2

  1. James, I really like this blog. Based on your messageboard posts, I always thought you would do a good job writing a blog on minor leaguers. Keep up the good work.

    I think it would be interesting to do this same kind of analysis to other years’ drafts and see how they compare. I don’t know how much you know about other teams’ systems, but I’d love to see how the Phillies’ drafts compare year to year as well as to other teams’ drafts. Anyway, great work.

  2. Thanks Matt. I follow the minors in general, and I’d say I have “average” knowledge of other systems, but really that only entails the top 20 or so prospects in other systems, maybe less in some and more in others. Looking at the drafts of other teams would be a fun exercise, but it will be time consuming. It’s definitely something I’ll look into in the future. I do plan to do report cards for other Phillies drafts, and I’ll probably do 2003 next. I wanted to start at 2002 because those players have been in the system longer and we have more data to judge them on. The 2005 and 2006 drafts, it’s really way too early to figure out how the draft looks, as a whole.

  3. One point on Barthelemy–he was hampered during his first minor league seasons by a serious vision problem which took two years to get under control. I think it was complicated when a throw from Carlos Rodriguez broke three bones in his cheek. I don’t think he’s ever made up the lost development time.

Comments are closed.