2012 is shaping up to be an interesting draft. If you've read my stuff here you know I'm a sucker for potential and I probably rave about how great every draft is. A large part of that is about extracting value, for me. Did the Phillies leave the draft with lots of potential top prospects? Or, did they play it safe and get guys who might be able to move quickly? Of course some drafts leave you scratching your head. 2012 I'm starting to feel better about as a draft, but at the time a few picks had me scratching my head.
Shane Watson - As had become the Phillies MO the last 4 years they gave up their first round pick to sign a Free Agent (this time Papelbon). That cost the Phillies 9 positions in the draft going from 31-40 before their first comp pick. With the 40th pick, the Phillies took Watson, a 6'4" High Schooler from Lakewood, CA with a big Curveball and a projectable frame. Watson dominated the GCL is his brief stint post signing, racking up 10.29 K/9 against 1.29 BB/9 with a 1.29 ERA, in a whopping 7.0 IP. If he had 40 innings or more, I would have been comfortable ranking him as a top 10 prospect in the system. As it stood I ranked him just outside the Top 10. I really try to avoid ranking guys solely on scouting reports or stats, and Watson just didn't have enough stats for me to feel comfortable ranking him that high. In 2013 the Phillies started tweaking things with Watson and limited what he could pitch and when. With his Curve off the table early in starts he struggled early in the year. He began coming around as the weather heated up, but then went to the DL with a "sore" shoulder (not too surprising as he threw a ton of 4 seamers in an effort to build arm strength). The future is still bright for Watson and despite having worse stats this year; I may actually be more comfortable ranking him higher.
Mitch Gueller - The Phillies weren't done in the supplemental round with the 54th pick they grabbed another High School arm from California. Guellar had a different profile from Watson though. Watson is largely thought of a potential mid rotation inning eater, but Guellar has top of the rotation potential. But he is really raw, more of a thrower than a Pitcher when he was drafted, and that has shown more in his stats with high Walk rates and an ERA well above 5 in both seasons of play so far. Mitch got hit hard in 2013 in the NYPL and the combo of a much higher Line Drive rate and 4.01 BB/9 rate got him in consistent trouble. Another year of XST likely, but Mitch will get a while to figure things out, given his potential.
Dylan Cozens - Here was the head scratcher I was talking about above. When Cozens got picked no one seemed to know anything about him. He wasn't in Top 100 lists of available prospects and the places that did mention him seemed to have a 3rd or 4th round grade on him. On top of that, he had a commitment to play Tight End for a fairly major College Football program (ASU)and had a bad reputation. He was kicked off a High School baseball team for an altercation with his coach. I was not thrilled with this pick and thought it might be a waste even if they could sign him. Then something odd happened over the past 2 seasons... Cozens hit and controlled the plate well. He put up a .255/.341/.441 line with 24% K and 11.5% BB in 2012 with a .186 ISO. Then is 2013 he one upped that going to the NYPL and putting up a .265/.343/.469 line with 23.1% K and 10.1% BB and a .204 ISO. I'm eating my words here, Cozens is legit (though he did have an issue with a verbal altercation that got him benched this past summer) and looks to have been a potentially great grab in Round 2 with plus-plus power potential. The character issues require monitoring though.
Alec Rash didn't sign and struggled through his Freshman year at Missouri with control problems before getting shelved with elbow soreness. He's a big, projectable kid though and would have been a nice grab at the end of the Second Round.
Zach Green - Green was a Prep ShortStop, but the Phillies converted him to Third base immediately. Green was somewhat intriguing in his debut in the GCL going .284/.333/.426. His power seemed promising and reports noted his Defense was a little rough, but he should ultimately be able to make the transition to Third. Of some concern was his 4.4% BB rate, but given the small sample size and position switch it wasn't too alarming. in 2013 he nearly doubled his PA and put up a line of .248/.341/.474 with an eye popping .226 ISO for a 19 year old in the NYPL. Green led the league in HR with 13. He also more than doubled his BB rate to 10.0%. The only downside was that his K rate also went up ~6% to 29.3%. That's close to being at a concerning level, but it's only 1 season and still a bit of a small sample. Of course, it may also be his reportedly slow bat starting to show some signs of trouble. We'll really only see at higher levels whether he can adjust to better fastballs or if he'll need to cheat leaving him susceptible to better off speed pitches.
Chris Serritella - A College prospect who might be able to move quickly in the system, 4th rounder Chris Serritella looks like he might end up being an Organizational guy at this point. He simply doesn't hit enough or for power to the degree you need in a First Base prospect.
Andrew Pullin - Pullin played Left Field in High School, but the Phillies must have seen something that said "try this guy at Second Base", as he was immediately transitioned there upon signing. I have to confess I am a little confused over Pullin. LAst year I thought he was a good hitter with an advanced approach, but could he stick at Second? If he couldn't, I didn't think hit tools were strong enough to be much of a prospect in Left. Now I feel pretty confident he can stick at Second, but his bat seems to have taken a step back, as did his BB rate. Going from a decent looking 7.5% to a fairly horrid 3.3%. As a guy learning a far more difficult Defensive position I can forgive him for the low BB rate. All of his value right now is in him sticking at Second.
Cameron Perkins - I wrote about Perkins recently, so I won't go too in depth here, but the 6th round pick looks promising so far. He'll be in Reading in 2014 and I wouldn't be surprised if he has an MLB role in a year and a half. He has a bit of an immunity to Walks, but he may have a Polanco quality hit tool to make up for that to an exent. The rubber will start hitting the road in AA as he faces better breaking balls whether that tool is strong enough to overcome a free swinging approach.
Hoby Milner - I thought Milner was essentially an Org. pitcher or future LOOGY and I was surprised when Sickels ranked him in his Top 20. John thought Hoby was a polished guy who could advance quickly and help the team out within a year or two, perhaps as a back of the rotation arm. Milner looked very good early in the season, but slowed as the year wore on. Still, a promising start and perhaps he can be of value within the next few years to the big league team.
Josh Ludy - Org. Catcher, at best. Barely got on the field one year after being drafted. May not even be back next year given the logjam at Catcher. The bat isn't very good and the Defensive skills aren't strong enough to make the poor O worth putting up with.
Jordan Guth - Big frame suggests fire-balling, worm-burner. Actual results? Walk prone, fly ball pitcher who doesn't appear to be folling anyone at the plate.
Kevin Brady - Brady looked awesome in his debut season with fantastic K/9 and BB/9 numbers. He appeared to be a potentially dominant back-of-the-bullpen guy. 2013 went very poorly as he roared out of the gate to the tune of nearly 6 BB/9 before being sent to Extended Spring Training in early May and never returning. On the plus side, he did have a K rate near 10. Very disappointing year from a bullpen piece I expected to jump up a few levels this year.
There aren't too many guys of note beyond the Top 10 rounds, so we'll just hit on a fewguys grouped together here.
Willie Carmona, Zach Taylor, Steven Golden - At present all org guys (assuming Taylor, who didn't play much in 2013 is even back). Carmona may have the most value, as he can play both infield corners reasonably well, but neither his bat nor glove are good enough to suggest he could succeed in the Majors in either role.
Nic Hanson, Drew Anderson, Geoff Broussard - Hanson is a massive kid @ 6'7". He struggled a bit with a move up to Clearwater in 2013, but he has very good control. Not much of a prospect right now, but worth keeping an eye on. Drew Anderson was a High School pick who has decent control and decent stuff and might be able to progress up the ladder into a back of the rotation starter. Geoff Broussard is an interesting College pick who may have some bullpen potential. A decent 7.56 K/9 and 1.49 BB/9, paired with a smallish 6'0" 185 lb frame. Broussard has been hit hard so far, but if he regresses to a BABiP you'd expect to see and he can boost his GB rate some his WHIP might come down to the more manageable 1.1-1.2 area.
The Phillies drafted what seemed like a ton of Pitchers in 2012 (26 by my count, out of 42 picks). For reference sake, they drafted 23 in 2013. I don't know whay 2012 seems so Pitcher heavy at first glance, though it likely has a lot to do with the top of the draft, where the Phils grabbed a pair of Pitchers in 2012, while not drafting a pitcher in 2013 until Round 5 (then being unable to sign him). In the first 10 rounds in 2013 the Phillies drafted 3 Pitchers, while they drafted the ssame number in 2 rounds in 2012 and 6 total in the Top 10 rounds. For all that attention to pitching the stars of the 2012 draft, so far, have been the hitters (specifically, Cozens, Perkins and Green). As I said above though, it's far too early to judge the draft.