2011 MLB Draft Preview, Part 1

Welcome to my first look at the 2011 draft from the Phillies perspective. In past years, minorleaguebaseball.com had lots of scouting reports and videos available, making it easy to check out a bunch of the top 100 prospects. This year, it seems they’ve decided not to do that, instead just posting a few videos and no detailed scouting reports. Maybe they’ll have more before the draft, hopefully they will. Instead, I’ve had to go and do a bit more digging, hence, this piece being delayed a bit. Also, with the Phillies not having a first round pick, my desire to dig in to the draft has been diminished slightly. That said, its still one of my favorite events of the year, and I have plenty of thoughts. I’m planning on putting up a few more draft pieces before the actual draft takes place, then of course we’ll have an open draft day discussion, and I’ll compile all of the picks, as well as info on all of the picks and then my instant analysis. For now, check below the fold for my first look at the 2011 draft and what to expect from the Phillies.

What: The 2011 MLB first year player draft
When: June 6th (first round + compensation round), June 7th (round 2-30) and June 8th (round 31-50)
Where: TV/Internet streaming. I think the first round will be on MLB Network.

Lets start with a chart showing the Phillies picks.

Had the Phillies not signed Cliff Lee, they would have had pick #33. If Lee had re-signed with Texas, there would be one fewer pick in the sandwich round, and all the Phillies picks would have been bumped up one notch, assuming all other free agents signed in the manner they eventually did. But, the Phillies received 2 picks for the Nats signing Werth, and thus, they still have 3 picks before the 2nd round, always a welcome sight. The Phillies have done extremely well after the first round, with hit or miss results in the first round, but giving the Phillies scouts extra picks is always a good thing.

The hot topic with regard to the draft, and the Phillies draft, is spending. For those of you familiar with the draft, you know about the Invisible Hand of Bud Selig, ie, the informal “slot recommendations” the commissioner’s office makes with regard to draft pick signing bonuses. The Commish makes a recommendation for each pick in Rounds 1-5, and then recommends that bonuses not exceed $150K for picks after the 5th round. The Phillies adhere to these guidelines in some cases. In other cases, they go above and beyond, and in a small number of cases, well above and beyond. In 2009, the team did not have a first round pick, but took a near first round talent in Brody Colvin in the 7th round, eventually signing him for $900,000, an amount appropriate for a sandwich/second round talent. In 2008, the team gave 38th round pick Jarred Cosart a $550K bonus to buy him out of his college commitment. From rounds 3-12, the Phillies have traditionally taken a few elite talents with an eye toward giving them a bigger bonus to turn down college. They haven’t signed all of them, but they’ve done their share. They’ve also given out bigger bonuses in the $200K-400K range to guys taken after the 12th round, notably Domonic Brown ($200K in 2006) and this past year with Kevin Walter ($350K), Brian Pointer ($350K) and Jon Musser ($300K).

Everyone wants the Phillies to spend more money, especially because it appears they have quite an eye for talent, but financial limitations, self-imposed it would appear, limits them, especially in passing on potential first round talents that fall to the bottom of the first round due to price tag. This is likely never going to change, as the Phillies appear to operate under a very firm cost matrix, and they aren’t the only team to do it. The Phillies apparently are uncomfortable with investments of $3-4M in one player, and with the attrition rate of prospects, this is understandable. Of course, for a team with a big league payroll of $160M+ and huge revenue streams, another “$2-3M per year” probably wouldn’t break them. However, you start adding it up, and if you miss on your big investments, it starts to become a loss. Not to mention, when you develop a reputation for paying over the odds for picks, every player you draft in the future knows you are willing to spend, and they are likely to attempt to drive a harder bargain. If I were a good draft prospect but slipped in the draft due to bonus demands and the Red Sox, for instance, drafted me, I would definitely try to drive a harder bargain, because the Red Sox are known for their free spending ways in the draft. The Phillies, conversely, appear to allocate X amount of money per draft, and they won’t compromise their valuations. Last year, they drafted Scott Frazier in the 5th round. Frazier was a borderline first round talent, and reportedly wanted more than $1M to sign. The Phillies apparently had $1M earmarked for his signature, because when he balked, they spread that $1M out on the 3 players mentioned above, Walter, Pointer, and Musser. In 2008, when the Phillies had a plethora of extra picks, they stumped up and spent a ton of money, and it is likely to go down as the best draft crop in team history. Well, maybe, we’ll see.

The one wrinkle in this entire plan is the pending CBA negotiations. The rumor is that both sides, the players and owners, feel that the draft needs to be addressed. While I don’t think an International Draft will happen for a number of reasons, I do think its a possibility that hard slotting will be implemented. I believe this will be a massive mistake, as it is going to cut off a lot of elite high school talent, and you will find very few high school guys signing if they are taken outside of the first 2 rounds, as the bonuses really won’t make sense for the player to sign. MLB has complained for years about losing premium athletes to other sports. If they take away the incentive for these elite athletes to play pro ball out of high school, they could lose even more of them to other sports. MLB wants to fix the draft, but I don’t think hard slotting is the answer. On the other side, I think getting rid of the slotting all together might be the answer, as the teams who the draft is supposed to help, the small market teams, have been spending more and more money of late, while big market teams like the Mets spend relatively little. Get rid of the recommendations, allow the market to set the price on picks, and see how it shakes out.

That said, the 2011 draft is the last draft covered under the current rules, and thus, it appears that teams are going to be more willing to spend this year, at least based on what I’ve been reading. Will the Phillies join the party? We can only hope, because as mentioned above, the Phillies have done an outstanding job of evaluating and judging talent. Andrew Susac, drafted by the Phillies in 2009, is a potential first round pick this year, and past guys the Phillies didn’t sign due to money, such as Kyle Gibson, have gone on to be re-drafted first rounders. It would be a huge boost to the system to see the front office throw their hands up and just blow out the draft budget in what may be their last chance to do so. That said, I’m confident in the Phillies scouts identifying a number of targets and getting deals done for non-crazy dollar amounts, and a bunch of talent coming into the system, free spending or not.

So, which players are we targeting? Well, with it being mid-May, and even the first 3 picks in the draft an uncertainty, its fairly clear that the Phillies draft board is wide open. The 2011 draft is one of the deepest drafts in memory, based on the industry consensus. The draft is loaded with college pitching. A bunch of college arms will go in the late 20s that could be top 10 overall picks in a “regular” year. Thus, the Phillies will have a chance to land a bunch of premium talent with their first 2 picks. I’m going to avoid looking at obvious top 10-15 guys, since it is unlikely those guys will be in play for the Phillies, for a number of reasons. Instead, I’m going to focus on guys who are currently being projected as back of the first round/second round guys. We also need to focus on the types of players the Phillies target. Based on the last 5 years of drafts, we know the Phillies target the following:

Raw athletes – Kind of self-explanatory. These prospects are more athletes than they are baseball players. While their flameout rate is really high, they upside is sky high, and this is where you generally find your superstars
Injured/Rebound college guys – The Phillies have made it a priority to target college juniors and seniors who either just picked up an injury or who spent their draft year recovering from an injury or just having a down year. This is a source of value, as you can often times get a good deal on a guy who might need to rehab, or who just had a bad year after 2 or 3 otherwise solid years.
Tall, Projectable pitchers – Arm strength and potential is the name of the game here. The Phillies see a skinny 6’4 pitcher throwing 88-90 now, and think theres a chance he’ll be throwing 92-95 in 2 years.
College pitchers with big fastballs – While they may not have control or a reliable breaking ball, the Phillies feel that the arm strength alone is a plus, and they can polish up the rest of the package.
Players from California, Texas and the Pacific Northwest – Every team targets baseball hotbeds in California and Texas, but the Phillies have definitely mined the Pacific Northwest quite a bit over the last 4-5 years.

Obviously there are players taken who don’t fit this mold exactly, but the Phillies generally stick to this template. They place a high premium on athleticism, and they’re also not afraid to take a chance on a guy who may have come down with a case of draftitis, or who is recovering from a big injury. Its a strategy that doesn’t always work, however, you only need to be “right” on one or two guys per draft class to eventually categorize the draft as a win. So, here are a few names on my radar right now.

Tyler Beede, RHP (Lawrence Academy, HS, MA) – Beede is a local product (for me), and has been one of the best arms in the Northeast. Keith Law has him ranked 29th in his last version of his top 50. Baseball America has him labeled as a sandwich round talent as well. Let’s tick off the boxes: He’s 6’4/200 with plenty of projection still in the tank. He already features a 91-94 mph fastball, and he could throw even harder in 2 years. You can see a video of him here

Very loose arm, free and easy and his fastball appears to have some late life already. Keep in mind, this video is from August 2010, when he was a HS junior, and reports have him adding a bit more velocity since then. I’m definitely intrigued.

Kyle Crick, RHP (Sherman HS, TX) – Ranked the 20th best RHP in the draft by BA, and the top prep RH in Texas, Crick again ticks off a number of the Phillies boxes. He has premium arm strength, sitting 91-95 and hitting 97 with great sink. He throws both a curve and slider, and has toyed around with a bunch of different changeup grips, including a splitter grip. He’s still very raw, as he spent time as a 1B, but with a focus on pitching, he could develop in to a special arm. His description sounds quite a bit like that of Jarred Cosart pre-2008 draft. He’s not in Keith Law’s top 50, but I’m including him because he seems to fit the Phillies profile. You can see video of him below

Nick Delmonico, C/3B/OF (Farragut HS, TX) – Ranked 30th by Keith Law, he’s ranked as a second round talent by BA, and there seems to be some divergence of opinion here. Delmonico has a beautiful swing, but has had a disappointing senior season at the plate. His biggest issue, however, is whether he can stick at catcher, and if he can’t, where he moves on the diamond. However, I like his swing, he should hit for average and power, and if he can stick at C, that’s big value. If he can handle 3B, that’s not a bad fallback plan. You can see video of him here

Hudson Boyd, RHP (Bishop Verot HS, FL) – Boyd is basically a Chad Billingsley clone, which you’ll see below from the video. At 6’2/230, he’s likely maxed out physically, but at present, he features a plus fastball, sitting in the 91-93 range that he commands well, touching 95-96, and he holds the velo late in games. Like Billingsley, his go to secondary pitch is a power curveball that features good hard break. His changeup is a work in progress, largely because he hasn’t needed it against high school hitters. He might not have a ton of projection left, typical of a Phillies pitching draft pick, but his present stuff is well above average, and if he can figure out a changeup, he’s got surefire #2/3 starter written all over him. Check out his video below

That’s it for today. I’ll be back next weekend with a few more guys I like, and hopefully as we get closer to the draft, I’ll be able to secure some inside info on what the Phillies plans are, and we’ll maybe have a better idea which guys are within reach and those that have maybe moved out of reach.

63 thoughts on “2011 MLB Draft Preview, Part 1

  1. . tough to gauge what the Phillies will do since the pick is so far off. They do seem to target position players in Southern California. Singleton and they were going to take Yelich last year. One player that wouldnt surprise me is Christian Lopes out of Huntington Beach.

        1. At pick 66, I’d take Christian Lopes, but I think I’d prefer Julius Gaines because reports say he is a top glove at SS.

  2. Good stuff. As always, if they go into the state of Texas or into this area, I’m usually good for a nugget or two.

    Ready to go to work. Come get some Texas boys.

  3. As we all know the phillies are in love with the freak athletes, so who are the toolsy guys we could be targeting in the first few rounds? The most athletic is Senquez Golson but he’s a four star cornerback recruit for Ole Miss so he may be a tough sign, my guy is Shawon Dunston Jr he seems to be farther along with the bat than most “raw athletes”, seems like a Bourn type guy with a little more power , another is James Harris Jr.

    1. Oh yeah, Shawon Dunston Jr., That would fill a great organizational need, a speedy throws right bats left CF type fresh out of High School. They haven’t drafted any body like that in years.
      James Harris Jr. , Is that the descendant of the former Rams QB. Good guy to pose for a statue.
      Following the only draft relatives of guys you have heard of draft plan, figure the other guy must be related to Greg Golson. Hope they don’t follow that plan.

      1. No need to be a smartass about it like it or not the phillies target those types of guys I didn’t say that’s who we should take but I gurantee we take more than one athletic outfielder so we might as well discuss who the possibilities are.

    1. by the times the right handed bats ready they may not need him. They need to trade for that. You don’t draft out of neccessity, just get the best player possible. It’s not like football where Cam Newton is a no. 1 pick..

      1. Drafting for need is also a bad idea in baseball because of the high number of players who end up switching positions.

  4. There are lots of interesting players this year. Their supplemental pick complicates their decision slightly, since you can’t replace an unsigned pick.
    I’d like to see the Phillies take a SS, Catcher or LHP if there is a player of value on the board when they pick.
    The Phillies seem to trust their NW scout and their GA/FL scout, but I agree with someone earlier, that said they could take a CA or TX OF.
    I could see Andrew Susac, LHP Ryan Carpenter, C Austin Hedges or JC OF Brian Goodwin.
    My guess: Brian Goodwin.
    It would be very amusing to read the comments if he is the pick..

    1. What unsigned pick? The pick in question was compensatory for the loss of Jayson Werth. An unsigned pick is one drafted in the 1st three rounds and unsigned by the team drafting them and awarded a pick in the following draft.

      1. I’m pretty sure that if you get a supplemental round pick and do not sign the player, you lose that pick. The supplemental round is not protected like rounds 1-3.

  5. I think Delmonico will be gone by Phillies pick but of the potential position players I read in the Top50 he would be my pick. He would be a reasonable value and then fill needs. (Drafting for need in MLB Draft is silly since the time span before those players will be available is so great but all else being equal, why not?)

    Here is why I like him:
    Advanced approach as a hitter makes me think his floor will be higher than some others. He would counter-balance all the ‘toolsy’ hitters Phils will continue to draft (hopefully after the 5th Rd).
    Phillies seem to take their time with Catchers so I could see them giving him a nice opportunity to develop there. He supposedly has a great arm and is new to catcher so maybe he has not been worn out catching as a kid. Lefty hitting C would be nice to have compared to Valle and Rupp.
    Fall back option of 3B is obviously a ‘need’ for Phillies system. Not sure his fielding is sufficient but at least the arm is adequate.

    Of course I would have no problem with best pitcher available.

    1. Baseball America disagrees on where Delmonico should be as they have him as the 88th best prospect- around there. They brought out their top 200 draft prospect list, which is free for non-subscribers and subscribers can click for scouting reports and the like.

  6. We also take a college infielder early every year and with the urgency & lack of depth I could see us doing more of that this year. I’d like to see established bats that can stick in the infield, even if they lack power. We can no longer focus on top of the rotation pitchers & middle of the order bats; we need to fill out the roster. The pitching depth of this class means there will be value later on, I’d like to ensure they get some bats with those first couple picks

    1. I like college infielders like Kolten Wong, Ricky Oropesa, Aaron Westlake, Joe Panik. Theres a bunch of sandwich round talent.

      1. Most say Wong gone before 39th pick. Everything I see says Oropresa will be 1B, some say not a big need. Don’t recall the other guy, and it’s time for Panik if they consider any of these other than Wong in the sandwich round.
        Strength of the draft is power pitchers, and any worthwhile position player let alone Infielders or College Infielders should be long gone by the 39th pick.

  7. Injured/Rebound college guys – The Phillies have made it a priority to target college juniors and seniors who either just picked up an injury or who spent their draft year recovering from an injury or just having a down year. This is a source of value, as you can often times get a good deal on a guy who might need to rehab, or who just had a bad year after 2 or 3 otherwise solid years.

    Tall, Projectable pitchers – Arm strength and potential is the name of the game here. The Phillies see a skinny 6’4 pitcher throwing 88-90 now, and think theres a chance he’ll be throwing 92-95 in 2 years.

    College pitchers with big fastballs – While they may not have control or a reliable breaking ball, the Phillies feel that the arm strength alone is a plus, and they can polish up the rest of the package.
    Players from California, Texas and the Pacific Northwest – Every team targets baseball hotbeds in California and Texas, but the Phillies have definitely mined the Pacific Northwest quite a bit over the last 4-5 years.

    Matt Purke anyone? His stock has been falling, due to a shoulder injury and price tag. As deep as this draft is, it’s possible he falls to us in the sandwich round. I would love for us to take a shot at him. If he’s healthy, it would be a steal. Anyone know what his asking price might be?

  8. Purke is a draft eligible sophomore, he has a ton of leverage. No way he gets taken 39th and signs for slot money or close to it, and if he does, he must feel like his arm is going to explode and he just wants one payday before it does. Even if hard slotting becomes a reality in the next CBA, he can go back for his junior year, if he’s healthy, he’ll be a top 3-5 pick in 2012 and should get at least $3M. No way he signs at 39.

  9. Derek Fisher is definitely an option with our first pick, but he’ll likely be gone and would probably take over 2 million to sign.

    We have 10 legit major league starting pitching prospects, an entire bullpen waiting for their shot and the deepest, best rotation in baseball. We
    can afford to break tradition & address major league needs.

    1. No team should ever be addressing major league needs in the draft. A prospects development time is so long that the major league needs will have probably changed. Baseball isn’t the NFL where rookies start.

      Probably the best examples of this are the teams who draft college closers thinking they will be able to fast track them to the majors and fill a hole. In most instances, this approach has failed miserably.

      The Phillies tried that once with Wayne Gomes who they drafted as a top 5 pick. He made it to the majors but didn’t last very long. I believe the Mets tried that a couple of years ago with similar results.

      1. Definitely agree that you don’t try to address major league needs. However, I do believe in balancing the system a bit. Draft selections are a matter of taste, where the Phillies will be picking there will be NO clear best player available. There will be just preferences. With a relative abundance of high ceiling OF prospects and high ceiling pitching prospects, I have no problem (and would prefer) if they would attempt to balance the system a bit by getting some left side infielders and more catching. The concept of the prospect for prospect trade later on is basically a myth as it relates to the Phils.

        1. I have no problem with the team choosing to fill positions of weakness in the system in cases where they have several prospects with almost identical grades.

          I have no doubt that middle IF’ers, Catchers, and LHP already get a bit of a bump anyway because of the scarcity of talent in those spots.

          But the Phillies shouldn’t shy away from taking RH starters, speedy OFers, or a 1B prospect they have highly rated simply because they already have an abundance of those players in the system already.

          1. The only other way I’d for need in the early part of the draft is if the guy’s got tons of talent but it is considered a very hard sign. I’d have to be willing to bust slot big time. I don’t know if there are any of these guys available. Also if the guy has signability issues then he’ll probably be there in the 5th round or 8th round or even later, so I’d probably take my chances he’ll be there later. Even though the bleacher bums will scream about the dearth on infield prospects.

    2. Derek Fisher- yeah thought that as well, Baseball America, in their top 200 prospect list , has him around the 66 area, a couple of spots ahead of Keenyn Walker one of Philly’s draftees last draft, back again.

    1. Yeah, and a Third Baseman too. But if you want to go the famous relative route how about the Great Nephew of Eddie Gaedel? Taller though.

    2. Would drafting Trent, provide us with better relations with Scott Boras for future draft signings? Then I would not be against giving it a shot. I am not sue how good his kid is, but he is a 3rd base propspect, so if comes late in the draft a flyer on him may not be a bad idea…

  10. First 2 HS Pitchers- hard to believe those guys would be there at 39, but they say it’s deep, so roll with it. Position players- have to believe any significant players will be gone by 39. Strength of the draft said to be power pitchers and deep in it, so, really why not mine that shaft till it runs dry, say at least through the first 6 picks, and then look for other things.

  11. On Saturday June 4th, I will be participating as the Phillies Scouting Director in the fans mock draft at minorleagueball.com. They will go 5 rounds (so 6 picks for us). I have some definite ideas but am also leaning on the discussion too.

    1. If Dylan Bundy falls to 39, keep in mind he is asking for 5 years 20 million.

      1. By reports , Bundy is asking for 6 years- 30 million. That number sounds more like Archie Bradley- but that is 4 years 20 million.

    2. Are you drafting as you think the Phils will, or are you drafting for what you think they should do?

  12. When is Utley coming back from this injury? I’m picking him for my fall of fame team on myhofs.com so he better get back on that field!

  13. 2009 – Lowest draft spend in MLB (even with Brody Colvin signing)
    2010 – 3rd or 4th lowest draft spend in MLB
    2011 – ???

    1. I don’t think we have much reason to be optimistic about the amateur budget. I really don’t. At least I can’t think of one.

      1. Sad really. I think we will look back at some of the guys they failed to sign in recent drafts and see some missed opportunities. Right around the time when the rapidly aging core breaks down for good and need to be replaced.

        This doesn’t even cover the guys they won’t draft at all because they don’t want to pay them.

  14. I think you would be foolish not to take the highest rated player you intend to make sure you sign with your first 2 picks. Need has to take a back seat as talent will always get you more talent where you need it down the road.

  15. Wong should be available, because he’s a 5’10 2nd baseman with little power. Some sources rate him higher because he’s a gamer, but most have him in the sandwich or 2nd round.

    1. Seen reports says he does have power, seem to recall he hit some HR’s and college using bat giving the effect of wood more. Seem to recall he’s around the 200 lb. level or above. If 2B without power, wouldn’t rate highly, I believe.

  16. Prospect videos- if don’t know go to http://www.mlb.com on the top 50 prospects article, they have gallery of top 50 prospects with article below and traditional video profile to click on. Should be more on there also.

  17. You might want to look into a high school pitcher from Washington, Blake Snell, Shorewood High School. He’s a LHP 6’4″ 200, and sits 91-93 and hits 95, with arm-side movement. His CB and SL are average to above average already. Pat Gillick has attended three of his recent games and practices, along with other Phillies scouts and management, so clearly strong interest.

    1. I’ve seen some sites project him as a potential 2nd round pick for the Phillies. I guess it is well known the Phillies like to mine talent in the NW.

  18. The Phillies need to invest heavily at infield prospects. I’m talking 3B, SS, 2B. I would draft below my position to take the best available prospect at one of those. We are in such shambles right now it’s not even funny.

    All the positions need attention of course, but this draft is our main chance for an influx of serious talent and competition. I am sure we’ll draft pitchers early and all, but come on.

  19. Wong seems like a perfect #2 hitter: good patience, great contact, above-average speed and a little pop. Apparently Victorino is giving him draft advice. If Wong drops to 39, the Phillies would be foolish not to take a serious look at him.

    We basically need to draft a whole infield, so if they invest their top 3 picks in a 3B, 2B and SS, I’d be thrilled.

  20. Keith Law in his most recent blog post (insider) notes a guy named Amir Garrett who plays b-ball and is looking to get drafted under the condition he gets to play college b-ball. He’s obviously tall and apparently has good velocity. Sounds like something the Phils might do.

  21. I’m reading Jim Callis’s chat (obviously) and he has this to say about Jackie Bradley: “Bradley just didn’t have a good year and then hurt his wrist. The consensus is that the new bats got too him, and he messed himself up by trying to hit for power. I think he’s a lot better than what he showed, and he could be a nice value pick toward the bottom of the first round.” I’m not sure he gets to us, but that sounds like our kind of player.

    1. Bradley is more of a baseball player than a toolshed. He does not have great speed, but is a very good defensive CF. Another player from that area, Anthony Meo of Coastal Carolina, pitched a no hitter in his conference tourney yesterday, hitting 100 on the stadium gun.

  22. Some interesting prep infielders could be available in the 2nd-7th round range, if we’re willing to buy them out of their college commitment:
    C/3B Trevor Bird – Big Arkansas commit with huge power who might have to move to 3rd.
    IF Josh Tobias – Extremely athletic infielder headed for Florida.
    SS Tyler Greene – 1st round talent who will drop due to an off-the field incident.
    SS Phillip Evans – Good defensive shortstop headed for San Diego St.

  23. Just saw this on Keith Law’s chat from yesterday. This also sounds like our kind of cat, though usually we like more warts than this…

    “…Hudson Boyd is a great pitcher. (HS pitcher) Is there any potential for him being drafted?? If so, where do you think he goes??

    Klaw (4:44 PM)
    Yes. Sandwich/second round. Plus plus makeup kid with big (huge) frame and above avg velo.”

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