Some quick day 2 thoughts

This is going to be a fairly short posting. The draft is a little over half way complete, and there are still 20 picks to come tomorrow. I was away from the computer for much of the afternoon, so I wasn’t able to update the list, but a big thanks to Ryan for helping to add the players. I posted a few scouting reports of some of the early picks, and when I do my full recap, I will try and scrape together information on every pick made. My draft writeup will probably be done over the weekend, as I don’t envision having time to do it this week, but we’ll see. I’m not going to dissect every pick here, but I’ll give you a few of my general thoughts below the cutoff…

* Just from browsing the comments, it seems most people aren’t happy with the draft. Which is essentially what happens every year here. You do a little reading, you see the names that the talking heads are buzzing about, and when the Phillies don’t take those guys, everything else is a failure. Its easy to get sucked into it. But there are a few things to remember. Two years ago, no one cared about Jarred Cosart on draft day. He’s now our 2nd best prospect. We’ve generally taken the same number of high school players this year through 30 rounds than we have taken in past years. We just didn’t take the big name prep guys everyone here wanted. But let’s wait and see which guys we end up taking fliers on tomorrow. You can almost guarantee we’ll take at least 7 or 8 high school guys in the last 20 picks.

* No one really knows what the budget looks like for this draft, but its tough to accuse the Phillies of being cheap in the draft. They don’t spend like the Red Sox in the draft, but really no one does, and its kind of like saying the Phillies are cheap at the big league level because they don’t have a $200M payroll like the Yankees. The Phillies took only one true college senior in the first 10 rounds, and it was in the 10th round with Mario Hollands. Bryan Morgado was redshirted as a freshman and hard arm surgery in 2007, so he only pitched three years in school. The Phillies took 9 true college seniors, but only 1 in 10 rounds, 3 of the 9 came in rounds 25-27.

* Everyone wanted middle infield prospects and catchers. The Phillies got a catcher with a really good arm and some raw power, but so so swing mechanics, but they got him in the third round. But the reality is, middle infielders are the toughest prospects in baseball to evaluate. For a prep player, you may start at SS, but trying to figure out if the player can remain there is a tough job for scouts. If you project a player to have only average power or speed, and that player can no longer remain at 2B/SS, suddenly he looks like a utility guy…is that someone you want to give him a high 6 figure bonus to? Maybe, but maybe not. The elite college middle infielders rarely ever make it to the back of the first round, and the guys who are there after the first round normally have at least one major flaw in their game. Teams generally place a high value on those guys, and if the Phillies thought they saw a legit middle infielder who could play every day and stay at 2B or SS, they’d have probably taken them.

* It may be kind of flying under the radar, but the Phillies appear to be doing something really smart. In the last few drafts, the Phillies have targeted guys (after the first few rounds) who were coming off really poor seasons/injuries during their season leading up to the draft. They did this with Colby Shreve, Stutes, Cisco, Rosenberg, Michael Taylor, and even going back, Ryan Howard. This is where the disconnect comes between the people who write for the big prospect sites and the guys who are out scouting areas of the country for years. When you’re writing for a broad audience, your job is to focus on the guys rising up boards, and often times a guy will drop much quicker with a slow season leading up to the draft. But for pro teams, when they have area scouts on guys for 3+ years, all that scout needs to see is a glimpse of something he saw before, and he’ll turn in a report that the elite talent is still there. Bryan Morgado is a great example of this now. He’s shown plenty of talent since his senior year in high school. He missed his freshman year with a major arm surgery. He struggled to come back, and his college numbers look poor. But the White Sox popped him in the 3rd round last year because they believed in the talent, they just couldn’t sign him. This season, he struggled again, but showed flashes, occasionally hitting the 94-97 range with his FB. Will he pull things together? Who knows. But in the 4th round, unless you’re willing to spend 7 figures on a prep guy, you’re not likely to find a lefty who has mid 90’s heat. Because he is a senior (but has a year of eligibility left), he’s probably going to sign for slot, and that’s a nice risk to take in the 4th round. There are a bunch of different ways to take gambles and risks, not all of them involve giving a high school guy a million bucks.

I haven’t really done a ton of research on our picks yet, so I can’t give you a definitive grade or anything. In fact, I can’t really give a grade on the draft until we know who is going to sign, and even then, its going to take years to figure out which guys are going to outperform our expectations and underperform our expectations.

My biggest ask is that people take some time and read about the guys taken, and then wait and see what happens leading up to the signing deadline. You only have to go back and look at the last few drafts to see that the best policy is to wait. Domonic Brown was a 20th round pick who seemed pretty unsignable, then signed for $200K, and is now our best prospect. In 2007, no one cared about Michael Taylor and his mediocre college stats at Stanford, and he ended up being a key piece in the deal that netted Halladay. In 2007 it looked like Jiwan James was headed to college, then at the last minute he signed, and this past winter scouts were all over him and talked about him as a potential 5 tool breakout guy. The Phillies plucked Mike Cisco in the 36th round in 2008, and Jarrett Cosart was a fairly unheralded selection at the time, only to turn into a big overslot guy at the deadline, and now our best pitching prospect.

As I’ve mentioned in previous draft writeups, and I’ll go over again in more detail later, if you get 5 or 6 guys out of your draft to the majors, you’ve had a pretty average draft. Anything more than that and you’re ahead of the game. Its tough to know which guys are going to make it. We all know that the Phillies don’t always take the best guy available when they maybe should. We all wish they’d just go nuts with the big time prep guys. But the Phillies don’t operate like that, and most other teams don’t either. But that doesn’t mean this was a poor draft, or that the Phillies wasted their picks. You can call me an apologist or whatever else, but if you’ve been around here long enough, you know that I’m the first guy to be critical of the front office when I think they’re making mistakes. At first glance, without a ton of in depth research, I really like what the Phillies did in their first 30 picks.

Update –> Also, a big thank you to everyone who came to the site in the last 2 days. If it was your first time here, I hope you come back. If you’re a regular, I appreciate your continued support. The last 2 days were two of the busiest days in the history of the site, with 21,000+ hits yesterday, and a staggering 34,000+ hits today, easily the busiest day in the history of the site. Its much appreciated.

39 thoughts on “Some quick day 2 thoughts

  1. I do wish the signing day was a lot closer to the draft. It is very frustrating having a list of names with no good feel for which ones are real and which are not.

  2. Good stuff James, I’m with you 100%. Can’t wait to see what signability guys they go for tomorrow. I think Gauntlett could surprise some people and I’m a big fan of the Rupp pick.

  3. They have tried to fill that need for pitching without which your team may be colorful, but can’t sustain winning for long.

    My opinion was that, along with catcher, this franchise needed to overcome their farm’s overall mediocrity on the hill.

    The grabbing of that lefty prep with excellent possibilities was a large shot at helping that cause, the addition of that righty college guy at #2…plus Frazier, and the #3 catcher from Texas college ranks…make for an impressive several first rounds.

    Considering where we stood in the lineup of teams choosing, I really LOVE rthis draft!

    Of course, signing…and their actual playing will tell us THEN.

    But for now, it looks like the scouts and mngmt have done their homework well in the DIRECTION of their drafting.

  4. The “buy low” strategy that the Phillies employ is a great observation, and I agree that it’s a good way to go about the draft. Sometimes it works (Howard) and sometimes it doesn’t (Savery), but I’d venture to guess you do better adding that type of player than by popping all helium guys.

  5. I agree with much of your thoughts, but one thing to keep in mind is while few teams may spend like the Red Sox, the Phillies are still in the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to investing in amateur talent. Your comparison about them spending like the Yankees is not the same thing. With the big league club they have a huge budget and it would be ludicrous for anyone to complain about their spending, but in regards to amateur talent they still spend like a small market club. I’m sure someone would point out how they always haven’t had a first round pick, but when they go without a first they don’t bother to re-invest it in the rest of the draft. A team like the Tigers didn’t have a first, but they went and took a signability kid in Castellanos in the supplement round to make up for it. That’s something the Phillies would never do.

    Given that it is not the Phillies nature to spend a lot, I think they’ve done a fine job with this year’s draft, but as a fan I can’t help but feel disappointment on an annual basis knowing that they aren’t willing to truly go for the best available talent due to their unwillingness to spend money on the draft.

    I want to see them field a competitive team as long as possible. Investing in the draft would make it more likely for them to sustain this success. If they can find talent like Cosart, Singleton, and Brown without a huge budget imagine what they could find if they were in the top 10 of draft spending every year.

  6. I sincerely appreciate the comments of the site operator and the Phillies did some things today I liked but I’m not that enamored with today. Sure they ended up with the same amount of HS guys but only 3 in the first 13 rounds versus 6 in the top 9 rounds last year. We’ll see how many they sign. I would have liked a better HS catching prospect than a coverted pitcher from Hawaii too. Seems like alot of our college guys are still in the NCAAs too. Just get Frazier signed and don’t drag it out until August 15th, I’d rather get started on smoothing him out sooner rather than later.

  7. Actually, the Phillies did the same thing as the Tigers last year, taking Brody Colvin in the 7th round and paying him a signing bonus that was in line with the end of the 1st round. Cosart got a signing bonus of 550K as a 38th rounder in 2008, which is equivalent to a 2nd/3rd rounder.

    They are above average in terms of relative spending, ie, spending outside of the first round.

  8. Guys other than Morgado that fit the “buy low/injury gamble category:”

    -Buchanan from GA State, clocked at 96 in 09 but has been out with a finger injury

    -Smith, the 3B from Alabama who was 1st team All SEC his junior year but tore up his ankle and stayed his senior year

    -Nesseth, former Nebraska closer who had hit 95 in the past but got forced into the rotation in a terrible year for the team 09 and hurt in 10

    -Musser, HS righty from IA who had some hype earlier in the year but went on the shelf late with a non-throwing shoulder injury

    -Chad Thompson (maybe most intriguing pick to me in whole day) – Arizona commit and top 100 guy going into his senior year. Saw his velo go down to the mid 80s to start senior year, got the TJ, passed on a 15th round flyer from NYY, pitched 09 in Juco. 6’8 who has touched 94, with maybe more in his arm

  9. We will know if its a bad draft in 2015. Until then I think I’ll assume we have professionals running things given the types of players we have drafted this decade. If anyone on this board who disagrees with this draft and has seen more than 3 of the Phillies draft choices in person they should write in and tell is why they stink.
    Ah, didn’t think so.

  10. I hope one of these hard to sign guys turns into another Colvin if signed. After a slow start, Colvin’s turned out be be really good and getting better start by start. He’s efficient, too, throwing 12-13 pitches an inning to go along with an upturn in his K rate and downturn in his BB rate. It’s great listening to Cosart and Colvin on the ‘net when pitching and the added bonus of Singleton in the lineup. I hope Amaro puts it in his mind not to deal any of the above mentioned guys.

  11. I dont know Jesse Biddle from Nicholas Biddle. While I like that he is hometown, I also remember that when “Wayne” was getting ready to ditch the Marlins, he drafted Valdez as a “hometown” prospect to save money.
    Hopefully this is a merit pick with a little PR thrown in.
    PS. Great night for the Nats and baseball. Shows you why these players get big bucks. GREAT FUN!

  12. For all the talk about how the Tigers draft, they are a team that essentially puts all of their eggs in one or two baskets. They sign one or two huge names with 2/3rds of their draft budget and then don’t spend much at all the rest of the way.

    On the other hand the Phils like to spread their money around on a bunch of guys in the $200 k to 900 k range. It all comes down to personal preference. We may not get the flashy 3 million dollar guy, but we seem to keep finding affordable guys who turn out to be pretty damn good ball players. In short I trust our scouts, and I trust Marti, they do a pretty good job every year with some limits.

  13. Quite pleased with this draft actually. Almost all choices have some upside potential and at some point in time displayed that upside. Nearly all seem signable, but we shall see. The numbers say plenty will fail, some will remain inconsistent, but how many might become starters or stars?

    Pitching is still a critical commodity and also the greatest injury risk. Just seems like the system will be a bit clogged with last years H.S. choices and this years college choices next season. But I’d rather have too many pitchers that throw hard than fewer. Be interesting to see who are starters and relievers.
    (Agree with your philosophy PP to have mostly young (and cheap) majors bullpen but our manager seems to disagree.)

    2 C, 2 3B, 1 SS in top 15. A couple lefty pitchers. Only one (or two) athletic OF? I can live without planned choice of Parker. Really wanted Gibbs instead of Rupp. Rupp seems like he could become amajor league backup catcher with power, so not too bad but switch hitter Gibbs sounded much better.

  14. With the desire to draft middle infielders, does that mean Jason Donald is the player we most miss from our 3 major trades the last 3 years? I still really like him.
    Seems like a couple position switches coming for a few of our picks.

  15. Wolever was in the booth tonight for the 3rd inning of the phillies game and he didnt really go into too much, but the two guys he did mention were Hinson and Nesseth. He seemed really high on the both of them. He said he thought Hinson could play the role of utility infielder almost imediately if he was needed and Nesseth was coming off the injury but had a stellar arm.

  16. I never understand how these drafts work, why some mediocre guys go real early, and some studs go real late(I know money issues). What about this guy Christopher Duffy that they got in the 26th round? Why did he go so late and is he any good? How he is up for the Golden Spikes Award with Bryce Harper, Yasmani Grandal, Drew Pomeranz, and Chris Sale, who were all high first rounders?

  17. I’m not mad about the team’s reluctance to spend a little more on draft picks – I just think it’s foolish. Young, talented players are the most valuable commodities in baseball. They can save you huge amounts in salaries (literally tens of millions of dollars) and they give you valuable trade bait.

    When a team passes on a player that it could easily sign for a little more money, it simply hurts itself. Yes, you still have to spend wisely, but, given the budget and income of this team, saving a few hundred thousand dollars here and there does not make an awful lot of sense. Yes, many of these players will not make it. But all you need is a couple of “hits” for the investment to payoff in a huge way.

  18. Good stuff, James. Thanks for the analysis. Good to get an informed analysis rather than scroll through dozens of pollyanna-ish, quasi-comprehensible comments (looking at you, mikemike).

  19. I don’t really understand where you are coming from MikeMike. For every Dom Brown that has the Potential to save the team 30 million dollars, I guarantee you there are 30 other players that the team will spend at least $1 million on to wear a Phillies uniform who never contribute to the big leagues at all. Remember not all costs for a player are in the form of a bonus.

    How many of those sure fire big name prospects get millions of dollars and never make the big leagues? It is ridiculous to name 5 players the Phillies passed on in hind sight. How many other teams did the same thing?

    The bottom line is that the Phillies have a system. They follow it. It sucks you don’t agree with it, but it doesn’t mean the Phillies are cheap or stupid. Maybe if you took some time to admire what we have done with our system in the past few years you wouldn’t be so angry about it.

  20. This is the type of garbage that makes me want to pull the plug on the site. Why the hell cant some of you just discuss the topic at hand? If you cant resist the urge to just ramble on about other topics, start your own damn website. Im deleting the non-draft comments, and if some of the usual suspects continue to derail every discussion their comments will be blocked. This isnt a censorship issue, its an “I’m tired of you taking a crap on my site” issue. Enough already

  21. My first draft impressions: Pitching is always good. Everyone picked seems to have a plus fastball at least. They can always work on the other stuff.
    Was happy they didn’t draft just toolsy OF’s. The Eldsemire and Duffy picks were guys with power and contact ability as their primary tools. You can win with those types too.
    I also like the “seek the talent not just the results” scouting philosophy. It can pay off big with a smaller financial investment.
    My only regret is not taking Castellanos. He would have fit here nicely, but then you can’t get everything you want.
    Sign the HS guys and the draft will be a success. The ultimate success, though, rests with the players.
    Good luck today. The next Jarred Cosart is coming?

  22. How so mnay guys form a negative opinion so quickly on guys you’ve only read about makes me laugh. Honestly, I trust the Phillies’ drafting professionals to do their jobs better than any of us could. Since Gillick got involved, they attempt to always find a mixture of high ceiling guys with stable very competitive good attitude guys. At this point, we don’t know which prep guys will sign and getting these guys signed is the ultimate goal. Drafting Biddle in the first round is a solid pick to me. He’s a lefty (a plus), throws very hard (also a plus), is very bug (also a plus), and will be an easy sign (very important). There’s tough to see a downside there. He wouldn’t have been there in the 2nd round. Drafting guys off injuries and bad seasons continues the theme of trying to find huge upside guys in later rounds which seems like a terrific strategy to me. The goal is to find guys that can ultimately perform in the majors, not find guys that can play well until they get to AA. To find those guys, you have to be a little lucky but you have to see something that you think can be improved on dramatically. Only 5 or 6 guys a year making the majors per draft class is very sobering…

  23. Biddle is said to already be very close to signing. Assuming he signs in the next week or so, where do they start him off? I assume in the GCL but is there any chance at all he sees the NY/PENN league this year?

  24. I’d think they would limit his innings, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit W-Port sometime in late August if he pitches really well in the GCL. I’ve heard conflicting reports on his change up. He said that it’s a good pitch for him, I’ve read reports that say it could be plus, and KLaw and others said it doesn’t exist. Thoughts?

  25. OK, I understand that some folks are disappointed that we haven’t picked any of the high-profile guys that have big demands. I admit that I would have liked to pick a couple of those too. BUT when I look through the draft and the scouting reports I can’t find any picks that I dislike. All of the pitchers I have seen have significant upside which is what it’s all about. While I’d love to have a couple of Tulowitskis in our draft I don’t think any of those guys were available this year. We are having the classic scout’s draft and while it’s a crapshoot, I like our odds. I think we’re going to look back at this year favorably when all is said and done. We picked some tremendous arms this year.

  26. Steve, no scouting reports until later this week. Best you can do is find what you can on the web.

  27. Fair enough, PP about them picking Colvin last year. You’re right that is similar to what the Tigers did this year. I guess it is easy to overlook that because they seem to worry about slot on their early picks which leads to some disappointment, but then they may grab a Colvin later on.

    I feel their strategy is a bit strange. I like what they do in the later rounds, but their early round strategy doesn’t make sense to me. They seem focused on slot and are willing to reach early. The early rounds are still your best shot at finding ML talent so I don’t understand why they are willing to reach and ignore the best player available.

  28. can we please, please, please stop arguing over the value of paying monster salaries for high schoolers. we have had a championship caliber club for 3 years and do not have one bonus baby on our club. let’s move on.

  29. I mentioned yesterday that I liked the Red Sox draft based on the big name talent they acquired. I still do. But I still am okay with the Phillies draft as well…if that makes sense. It is simply a different strokes for different folks kind of thing.

    This draft doesn’t have the same “potential” feel to it that the 2009 draft did. But largely that is because the 2009 draft included Jacob Stewart and Andrew Susac in there. But since they didn’t sign anyway it might not matter.

    I will be fine with the 2010 draft and feel pretty good about it as long as the Phillies sign most of the guys they have taken. Especially the key HS guys in the Top 20 rounds.

    Things I liked:

    – I like the focus on adding more LHP prospects. They needed more LHP.

    – I like the BPA approach in this draft at RHP, which was recognized as a strength in this draft. The Phillies didn’t run away from BPA due to needs, they drafted right into the strength of this draft. That shows good discipline.

    – I kinda like the infielders they drafted at 3B, 1B, and MI. The Phillies seem to have went heavy on character and added good “locker room guys” which I always like.

    Thing(s) I Wasn’t So Crazy About:

    – The major disappointment for me was at C. I really liked the Rudd selection, but I was hoping for some better HS selections at C than just a conversion project in Chace Numata. On the flipside this draft was universally panned as being weak at C, especially after the Top 5 rounds, so maybe I can’t be too harsh on them in this respect.

    – For me a major portion of this draft grade will be on signing the HS guys with high upside potential. I am talking about the “Big 5” (I am assuming that Jesse Biddle is all but signed)…

    – Scott Frazier, RHP
    – Brenton Allen, OF
    – Daniel Palka, 1B
    – Kevin Walter, RHP
    – Jonathan Musser, RHP

  30. Somebody had asked before about where Biddle will pitch assuming he signs. I would assume he may pitch a handful of innings (no more than 25) at the GCL this year, but that would be it. Looking at the last few years of high school pitchers drafted and the innings they pitched, that seems to be the MO.

  31. PPFan Says:
    June 9, 2010 at 11:31 AM   edit
    can we please, please, please stop arguing over the value of paying monster salaries for high schoolers. we have had a championship caliber club for 3 years and do not have one bonus baby on our club. let’s move on.

    this is a pretty silly comment. The concept of really paying overslot bonuses didnt come in to style until really 2005, and Domonic Brown was the first notable incidence of us paying a notable bonus after the first few rounds. That was in 2006. What has happened at MLB level from 2007-2009 really has no relevance. Teams that have spent big are already seeing results. Doesnt mean it works every time, but it also doesnt mean the Phillies are geniuses for not spending a lot of money either.

    You can win the lottery by buying a single ticket. But your chances increase (ever so slightly) when you buy more tickets

  32. PP – your site is, on the whole, operating at a graduate degree level – it’s superb. It was nice of you to respond to PP Fan, but, frankly, at some point, it’s impossible to refute the rudimentary arguments being raised by so many posters who I am sure are well-intentioned but really do not understand the relevant issues.

Comments are closed.