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2013 Phillies draft review

Revisiting the barely 3 month old draft to see how things are starting out.

For the top picks, I'll be talking about them individually, but only we get through the early choices I'll group together guys and talk about highlights and lowlights. It's been ~3 months since the draft, so it's waaaay too early to draw any conclusions or really determine the success of the draft, but it's always fun to see how the kids are doing.

J.P. Crawford - The Phillies top pick absolutely roared right out of the gates. Through 39 games in the GCL, Crawford put a hurt on the pitchers' ERAs going .345/.443/.465. He had a rougher time over 14 games in Lakewood, but given the small sample size and significant jump in competition, it's tough to put much weight in that. There's good and bad in the underlying numbers. 55% GB rate is higher than you'd like, but pretty nit -picky. And that's the thing with Crawford, I'm left to picking nits because his overall game is so good. He had a 15.4% K rate and 14.0% BB rate, both fantastic numbers and neither changed dramatically in Lakewood. He stole 14 bases, great for a guy with more average speed. Nothing to complain about and we may have a Top 100 prospect on this year's lists here. Crawford could be special, and thi is what you can get when you don't "draft" middle-aged Raul Ibanez's.

Andrew Knapp - I feel very goofy, like I'm bragging, but I was pretty proud of my own catztradamus skills when this pick came through, as I had listed Knapp as a guy I thought the Phillies may pick in Round 2. I felt even better when Knapp started off hot in Williamsport. He cooled off after an injury to his throwing arm and perhaps tiring a bit after a long year of baseball. Still, a .253/.340/.401 line from a 21 year old Catcher is not at all bad. A .148 ISO is pretty nice to pull off in the more Pitcher friendly NYPL. His K and BB rates were borderline high and low, but both in the range of what you'd like from a guy of Knapp's talent. Catcher looked like such a strong position this Spring and suddenly Knapp is the best hope left. Problem is, his arm injury kept him from Catching for quite a while, so we still can't really assess whether he can stay there long term.

Cord Sandberg - It was a rough start for Sandberg, but there are some great signs. Sandberg was known to be a little raw, as a two-sport kid in High School. That said, his 18.4% K and 12.2% BB rates are excellent whether raw or not. He battled a low BABiP, so I think we could see quick improvement from Cord next year.

Jan Hernandez - So, if the Phils sign Carlos Beltran this winter, Hernandez could meet the guy his High School was named for. How 'bout that? I never met Archbishop Wood or Mr. Council Rock, so I'm jealous of that. Hernandez also struggled in the GCL. He flashed the plus power potential that made him a 3rd round pick with his .137 ISO (if anything his HR/OFB were pretty low, so that could rise later, though not likely for Williamsport). He also flashed a 35.5% K rate. It's important to keep in mind that this is a small sample of a kid switching countries and infield positions (PR to USA and SS to 3B, respectively). It's a red flag, but no need to panic yet.

Jake Sweaney - Not much to say about Sweaney. He was a two sport star in High School and is very raw behind and beside the dish. This showed in some pretty bad numbers: .164/.256/.192, .028 ISO, 37.3% K, 6.0% BB. It's an 83 PA sample, so hard to say what it might normalize to over a larger sample. Sweaney might be a wait and see guy, somewhat like Numata, who spends a few XST's working on his game.

Trey Williams - An insanely good value pick in the 8th round, Trey had 1st-2nd round talent, but was seen by several teams as either a headcase/problem or an impossible sign. That left him there for the Phillies to grab. Of course, take all this with a grain of salt, as a College player in a largely High School league, Trey went .208/.306/.304, which is not quite what I hoped for. Of course, SSS, really low BABiP and decent plate discipline provide some hope.

Justin Parr - .247/.332/.353, 19.4% K, 9.7% BB. Not a great debut for a guy who will be 23 next season, but we'll see how he does in full season next year before we can figure out what he is.

Shane Martin - Martin pitched pretty well with a 3.31 ERA, 50.2% GB, 5.6 K/9 and 2.04 BB/9. The K rate isn't great, but good control and GB rate suggest he may be able to move somewhat quickly as a back of the rotation starter or bullpen specialist (He's a righty, so I mean more induce a grounder for double play type role similar to Herndon).

Jon Prosinski - With The Office now wrapped Jon... oh, nevermind. Another College pitcher another successful debut. 3.35 ERA, 6.37 K/9, 1.84 BB/9. Again, good control, okay K rate. Jon got hit pretty hard though with a 1.58 WHIP. The BABiP was nearly .400, so that can be expected to regress, especially in larger sample sizes. Another guy who could move very quickly.

Denton Keys/Sam Dove/Logan Pierce - The sample size for Keys is miniscule, so not much bother getting into it. His FIP suggests perhaps some bad luck, but it's less than 20 innings. For Sam Dove the numbers were fairly abysmal. His walk right was Valle-esque and his Batting average was terrible. His potential saving grace is that he somehow had a sub-mendoza BABiP. If you oversimnplify things and add 100 points to his BA, he looks much better. Pierce had a good sample size and played well. Good average, good walk rate, good power (an insanely low HR/OFB if adjusted would show decent results). Unfortunately he plays First and good is bad at First. Great is good, amazing is enough to get you ranked. There is so much pressure on the bat at First that anything short of eye popping numbers will get you labelled an Org. player. Pierce will be 24 next season and he may be treading the line on Org. player status.

Matt Soren/Mark Leiter, Jr./Matt Southard - I'm going to jump around a bit here, as the Phils signed 30+ players and I don't want to hit you with a 3000 word article. So I grabbed 3 interesting Pitchers. "Local" products Soren and Leither and huge, intriguing Southard. First Soren, a UD Bluehen product who stands 6'5" and throws Righty. He did exactly what you'd expect in a brief GCL stint, absolutley dominating kids fresh from High School (or International leagues). Putting up a 3.12 ERA, 1.93 FIP, 10.39 K/9 and 1.04 BB/9. In the Pitcher friendly NYPL he was pretty awful with a 6.91 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 5.38 SIERA, 6.28 K/9 and 5.65 BB/9. Control issues aren't uncommon for tall pitchers and free swingers abound in the GCL, but that's a pretty bad NYPL line. Still, it's a small sample, so we'll need to see what he does going forward. Leiter had no such issues. Working his way to a 1.20 ERA, 2.20 FIP, 10 K/9, 2.6 BB/9. Working against Leiter are a few things: He's small at six feet even, He's a bit of a fly ball pitcher (with an insaenly low 2.7% HR/OFB, you'd typically expect at least 10 points higher than that) and his stuff is not overpowering. I'll be crious to see how he progresses. Southard's sample is too small to get into, but his size is intriguing. Now, he's more the Michael Schwimer type than Phillippe Aumont. In other words, not high 90's heat, but a downward plane you see in many tall pitchers that produces a lot of Grounders.

Venn Biter/Tyler Viza/Nick Ferdinand - I've written recently about Biter, so I won't get into much here, other than to say that he was a 30th round pick the Phillies may not have signed were it not for Monda and Wetzler deciding to go back to school. Biter was signed fairly late and played well enough to keep an eye on. He's somewhat raw as a two sport High School guy, but there's some talent here beyond his draft spot. Tyler Viza is a 6'3" RHP drafted shortly after Biter. He had good success in the GCL with a 1.41 ERA, 5.63 K/9 and 2.81 BB/9. He was helped by an unsustainable .225 BABiP and 3.7 HR/OFB (though I should note that in the GCL you will see lower HR/OFB ratios as kids are still developing power. Leiter's is different as he had that ratio across 3 levels including much older players). Good ground ball rates, but middling numbers aside from the ERA. Ferdinand is a UD product as well, but as a 23 year old in the GCL his .261/.323/.444 line with .183 ISO isn't as impressive as the numbers might be in a vaccuum. He's nearly 24 and was playing against kids 5-6 years younger, there's not much to get excited about here.