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2014 Phillies Draft Recap

In 14 years no one selected more High School players than the Phillies. It's been about a decade since one of those picks became a significant contributor to the parent club, so the Phillies decided to change tracks, in a big way.

Bud Selig hosts Behind Two Ferns
Bud Selig hosts Behind Two Ferns
Rich Schultz

So we've summarized the players from Rounds 1-10 in individual posts over the weekend. It's worth noting again that in 10 picks, the Phillies took one High School player. In 2013, they took 4, in 2012 they took 6 and in 2011 they took 4. The Phillies strategy in the last dozen plus drafts has essentially been to take ceiling early and draft High Schoolers (mostly) from rounds 1-4, then switch the focus and draft floor from rounds 5-8 and take a lot of College players, then in rounds 9 & 10 shift focus to College Seniors to save pool money to go overslot later (that last part is a recent addition, obviously with the change in CBA rules for draft pick compensation). In 2014 the Phillies drafted College Juniors in rounds 1-7, before taking a gamble on a very erratic High School arm in Round 8, then switching to their Senior strategy in rounds 9 & 10.

I went into Saturday thing that that last part in rounds 9 & 10 meant that they were targeting a High Schooler who dropped out of the top 10 Rounds to snatch up early on Saturday and work to go overslot. It didn't. The Phillies didn't draft another High School player until Round 29. They drafted High Schoolers almost exclusively from here out. We'll deal with these High School picks first. Honestly most of them aren't very interesting.

Brandon Murray, drafted in Round 30 is the first interesting name. He was ranked #385 overall by BA. He's a Righty with a big Fastball, a lot of rawness and a commitment to South Carolina. He's an overslot option and would be on a combo of XST and short season ball for the next 2-3 years to work on his stuff. Long development curve, but a pretty good gamble this far down the board.

The next interesting grab was in Round 32 when the Phillies drafted Outfielder Tom Flacco. Yes, you've likely heard of his brother, Joe. The younger, and nearly half a foot shorter, Tom has a football commitment to Western Michigan and said he'll probably play football. You might be thinking something like "Wait, why play football at a small school like Western Michigan, when you can play pro-baseball right away". Well, perhaps he enjoys footbal more, perhaps he's a shrewd negotiator or perhaps he say his brother win a Super Bowl after playing at a similarly unheralded Football factory.

Blake Wiggins, selected in Round 36 is somewhat intriguing, as a Catcher (who likely moves elsewhere) with a lot of raw power. He has a strong Arkansas commitment though that he'll need to be signed away from. He's the type of guy I could see being off the radar now and growing into a Top 10 round pick after 3 years of College, so he could be tough to get overslot, though the Phillies should have plenty of funds available. The rest of the High School guys? Eaton has a Vanderbilt Commitment, and even guys drafted early sometimes honor Vandy commits. The others will just fill out GCL rosters, the the 38th Round pick's Father is Pitching Coach (they also gambled on Gamble who is likely going to College to play football, and the way this sentece developed, I wish it was at Grambling. also, fun fact: His Dad is the VP of Player Personnel for the Eagles).

EDIT: I see about a week before the draft Eaton decommited to Vandy due to Scholarship changes and commited to Wichita State instead. I now assume he'll sign.

Now onto the College guys.

Drew Stankiewicz is a Shortstop from ASU, selected in Round 11. His Father played several years in the Majors. Best I can tell he is not directly related to the Teddy Stankiewicz in the Red Sox Org. Drew list his favorite Athletes as Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins, so he's going to have a pretty neat Spring next year (Assuming Jimmy's still around, I'm sure they'll cross paths). His limited tools and suspect range suggest he's more of a Second Base prospect. The drawback there is he has Cesar Hernandez like power, which will limit his ceiling. He actually also has Cesar Hernandez like bat control, but, unlike Cesar, his arm could play at Third. He likely tops out as a super-sub, but I wouldn't rule out additional power and a chance to stick at Second.

Austin Davis is a Left Handed Pitcher from Cal State Bakersfield. He has an above average changeup. His Fastball flashes plus for a Lefty. He could end up a mid rotation Starer or a reliever who, thanks to the Change, can work against Righties and Lefties. In order to Start he needs to develop a Slider or Curve and refine his mechanics. Tools are there and this is a fairly high ceiling pick for Round 12.

Nathan Thornhill shares a profile with Mark Buehrle. That said College Righties whose Fastballs top out in the upper-80's don't exactly litter MLB locker rooms. I don't see much in the profile, but I guess a few scouts might have seen something they liked. His pitchability might make this pick look good for a year or two until he gets up to High-A or Double-A and sees more advanced hitters.

Chase Harris is a College Outfielder, went in the 13th Round and doesn't have a carrying tool. He's got some speed and ability to hit, but I don't see much ceiling. Probably a decent Org. guy, but not a serious prospect.

Jared Fisher is a 6'4" RHP from U of Washington. He player Catcher and Pitched in High School, but his future was always on the mound as his swing was fairly long. His numbers in College weren't very good and his stuff is fairly pedestrian. But, he's big, can throw up to 94 and comes recommended by Pat Gillick. Eh, it's Round 15, he'll fill space on lower level rosters for a few years, you need those guys too.

Calvis Rayburn, RHP that no one seems to know anything about. Kind of an odd pick. What I have found sounds remarkably pedestrian. Upper 80's Fastball, relies heavily on breaking balls. Pedestrian numbers in DII. A rather bizarre pick, even if we are in the late teens.

They then drafted Damek Tomscha who own s the odd honor of having been drafted in 3 of the last 4 years (initially by the Phillies, then the Marlins and Cubs). He didn't sign when the Phillies took him, because he was an overslot pick and it didn't pan out. He didn't sign with the Marlins or Cubs who wanted him to Pitch. He has already signed with the Phillies and will play 3rd base for Williamsport. He's a good defender at 3rd and he has some pop in his bat (if he can hit it often enough). The Phillies have liked him since 2010, at least, seems a good gamble at this point.

McHugh and Denato are neither notable. McHugh is probably an org. filler Outfielder with a bat bat and below average power (think Susdorf without the hit tool), DeNato is a Senior Lefty who throws mid-upper 80's with exceptional control. Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle and he's the second coming of Jamie Moyer, but he's also 5-10, and is more likely the second coming of a whole lot of guys you've never heard of.

The Phillies then drafted back to back Second Baseman, both College Seniors (the 5th and 6th Seniors in a row) and both lacking the ability to hit the ball with anything worth typing about.

Ryan Powers is a big Lefty in the Michael Schwimer mold. Limited stuff, no real projectability, but might make it as a LOOGY.

Joel Fisher is a College Senior who is an average defender at Catcher and an awful hitter. It's round 23, but even in Round 40 this is an awful pick.

They followed up this bizarro pick by toping it with a College Senior RHP with a sterling ERA and 11-0 record, but who did it in DII with a rate of ~5 K/9, so not overly inspiring stuff there. It's round 24 and most every guy you take is going to be Org. Filler, but is it possible to gamble on any ceiling at all here? I'm getting aggrivated just typing this damn recap.

de Gruy, Harris and Kiest are Righty-Lefty-Righty, respectively. All three are decent enough gambles this late to lower my BP again. Good K/9 for all of them and each could maybe top out as a reliever if everything goes absolutley perfect for their development. Not bad gambles this far down the board.

I dislike this draft pretty strongly. Nola is a good pick and I like Brown, but 12 Seniors, by my quick count, in the first 28 rounds is somewhat absurd. There's not a lot of Ceiling to dream on and most sources seem to think Brown's ceiling is much, much higher on the Mound, eyt the Phillies listing him as an OF suggest he'll play there, where his Hit tool is pretty substandard (perhaps there's a hope, he'll suck and agree to switch back to the mound). Take it all with a grain of salt, I loved the 2011 Draft out of which most of the High School and JC prospects have flopped (pretty much only Quinn is still standing for HS picks and Giles for JC picks) and Asche looks like the only College pick who will provide any value.

We'll see how this draft looks in 3 years, but count me unimpressed at this point.