2013 Phillies Draft Wrap-up and Signing Updates

Mike Stobe

The month leading up this draft was very hectic and there were worries that, with a thin draft class in 2013, the Phillies may struggle and have a weak class at a time when the system badly needs talent. So much for that thought.

It would be ridiculous to "Grade" this draft. You never know for certain how good a draft was until about 5 years later when picks have either developed or failed. You can, however, grade Draft strategy. This is the second year with a relatively hard slotting system, which makes strategy a good bit more difficult. One strategy is to simply take, straight up, the best player you can afford and sign everyone straight to slot with no one really going over and no one really going very far under the slot numbers for their picks. The Second Strategy is do what the Royals did and draft a guy 30-40 spots too high with your top pick, so that you can go over slot for a guy who lost significant velocity and may have shoulder problems with your 2nd pick (I don't like this strategy and I'm glad the Phillies didn't take it). The Third option is what the Phillies did. Simply take the best available kid with your top pick and plan on signing him to slot. Then in the Second Round, take a guy who is a legit prospect, but likely to sign underslot, so you can steal some guys later with the left over cash.

What I like about the Phillies strategy is that it allows the team to leave the Draft with legitimate top prospect talent worthy of a mid-First Round pick, but still allowed them to get additional First/Second Round talent. J.P. Crawford is no worse than the 4th best Prospect in the Phillies system the day he signs his deal. He'll be behind Biddle and Franco on my list. Some may also put Quinn ahead of him, which is perfectly reasonable. I would probably rank Knapp in the late teens. It all depends on whether he can stick behind the plate. His bat is probably good enough to play elsewhere, but it will be most valuable behind the dish and if his Defense proves adequate he could be a Top 10 prospect in a few years. Make no mistake though, Knapp was picked because, while a legit prospect, he'll also likely sign a few hundred K under slot.

The Third Round is where the Strategy started paying off. Cord Sandberg is a borderline First Round talent who already has a verbal agreement to sign with the Phillies for $775k, or to put it another way he'll sign for his Third Round slot, plus all of the savings from the Knapp underslot deal. Cord, immediately becomes a borderline top 10 prospect (some will rank him higher, but I put a high value on performance and very few prospects will I rank top 10 sans full season performance, none the less no performance at all). Again, as with Knapp, in a few years Sandberg has the talent to be a Top 5 prospect. The Second Pick in the Third Round was compensation for the Phillies being unable to sign Alec Rash last year. With that pick the Phillies took Puerto Rican Shortstop Jan Hernandez. Hernandez reminds me a bit of Xander Bogaerts, both big Shortstops with questions about whether they'll need to move off Short, but with huge power potential for the position. Matt Garrioch from over at Minor League Ball is a big fan, saying that "If you told me in ten years that he is the best hitter from the 2013 draft, I would not be surprised."

There is already a good bit of news on the Signing or not Signing front for this Draft. Craig Biggio told the Houston Chronicle that his Son Cavan will not sign with the Phillies and will play at Notre Dame next year. Cavan was supposedly asking for ~$3mm, which is Top 10 pick money. So unless the Phillies can convince JP Crawford to sign for $100K and can sign 2 or 3 other top 11 picks to ~$100K, there is a 0% chance the Phillies ever had any chance of signing Cavan. Also 33rd Round Draft Pick Harrison Musgrave tweeted shortly after his selection: "Proud to be drafted by the Phillies but we have unfinished business and I will be back for next year". So that's another likely no sign.

Nothing solidly confirmed, but this Article makes it sound like 11th and 12th Round Picks Denton Keys and Griffin Jax are both very excited and want to sign and play pro-ball.

Joey Martarano, the team's 13th Round pick, with great power potential, but a strong desire to play College Football tweeted prior to his being picked that he was done with baseball, then shortly after being picked, tweeted that he would be playing football for the Blue (Boise State) and doing baseball on the side. So, it's possible the Phillies can sign him and do something similar to what the Pirates did with Russell Wilson a few years back. Martarano would show up late Spring after Spring pratices and scrimmages, play until August when he'd have to leave for Football again. That doesn't leave a ton of time for him to develop, but this is largely about securing him, so that if he doesn't have the NFL in future in 3-4 years, he can deveop full time in the Phillies system therafter.

Depending upon who actually ends up signing, this offseason's Top 30 could include a half dozen of these guys. That's not bad for a weak draft overall.

As other news develops, we will share here at The Good Phight.

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