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2015 Phillies Draft Preview: A mixed bag of players

A mix of bloodline prospects and interesting profiles.

Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

I had originally intended to include Luken Baker here as well, based off a reader request, but this week Baker sent a letter to all teams notifying them that he intends to honor his TCU commitment. He will continue to Pitch (where he brings a Plus Fastball and potentially Plus breaking ball, along with no real present change-up and the kind of Control you would expect of a 2-way High School Player. He also plays First Base and has prodigious power with a good bit of swing and miss. Technically he's still draft eligible (unlike Kyler Murray, who actually formally withdrew from the Draft), so like Cavan Biggio a few years back the Phillies, or some other team, could still draft him in the later rounds and try to sign him. That involves going way underslot in the first 10 rounds and risking leaving a lot of money on the table at the end of the draft. Tough to do, generally speaking, but in this draft it wouldn't be like you're passing over much better prospects to get underslot guys.

Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B - His father was part of a sneaky good, rarely talked about trade in '89 when the Phillies got Dennis Cook, Terry Mullholland and Charlie Hayes for Steve Bedrosian. Charlie had moments in the Majors, especially in the thin air of Coors Field, but my memory of his Defense is that it was a little rough. His kid has a lot in common. A similar build at 6'1" and 205lbs. Sam position and some of the same strengths and flaws. Defensively, Hayes moves well, but his arm is more Average and his range isn't huge. Still, he has good reactions and should end up an average Defender. OF some concern is his build. Hayes worked hard to get in top shape this Spring, but he has a naturally stocky build and could risk growing out of the position (though that's likely well off in the future).

As a hitter he has above average contact skills and potential for Plus hitting. He seems to have a very good eye, but that's tough as hell to judge with High School bats. As far as his Power goes, it sounds a lot like Charlie, lot's of Doubles seem likely, but probably topping out around 20 HR's or so. He has a very Line Drive oriented swing and hasn't shown a tendency to sell out for Power. Hayes is probably just a two tool player, but one of those is the Hit tool, which is among the best in this draft.

Hayes could be a Round 2 option with some pretty strong Phillies ties. Word is though that the Dodgers have a handshake deal with Hayes to take him with their First Round or Comp pick for underslot money. Also rumored for the Brewers. Hayes has quite a bit of helium, but this is a very volatile draft and Hayes doesn't have any tools that blow you away, so he could drop to early-mid Second conceivably.

Mariano Rivera, Jr., RHP - Another bloodline player. Apparently his father was some Relief Pitcher or something. Of course, there's a long history of players saddled with famous names as "Jr's" who can't reach the impossible heights of the "Sr's" from Gwynn to Rose to Williams to Jordan (switching sports on you there). This Mo, aside from the name and position is a lot different from his Father. There's no Cutter in his arsenal, though he may also be a future Reliever. This Mo is probably a Round 11-15 pick, though he could conceivably go late in the top 10 rounds (he was picked in Round 29 last year by the Yankees). He got a bit more interesting this Spring when his Fastball gained about 4-5 mph. He mixes in a Splitter that doubles as his Changeup and a power Curve. I expect the Yankees to take him again, though he's just intriguing enough to see any team taking a shot and seeing if they can tune his mechanics and get his Control in order. He could also go back to school for his Senior year and go in the 8th to 10th Round next year as an underslot Senior sign.

Travis Blankenhorn, 3B - Another fairly local product, hailing from the hometown of America's Oldest Brewery, this 6'2" 195 lb SS/3B is bound for Third base from here on out whether he goes pro or fulfills his commitment to Kentucky. He's a very athletic kid and can probably handle Second Base, but his arm is Plus, maybe even Plus-Plus, so Third seems very natural. Perfect Game threw out an Alex Gordon comp, which isn't bad. He's got the tools to be a Plus Defender or better at Third. His bat is a ways off though. Not to scare the bejesus out of anyone, but his projection reminds me a bit of Mitch Walding (though I think Blankenhorn is closer to his Defensive ceiling and is a faster runner). Both enter the draft with below average hit and power tools that get projected to Plus. While Walding shows it occasionally, it's never materialized and the same risks are there for Travis. In the video below where he held a workout for various scouts he seems to have a little trouble squaring balls up. The biggest concern seems to be breaking balls, as it is for most High Schoolers. Which is like saying your ship is unsinkable, provided you avoid icebergs. Still, we'd be talking a 3rd round or maybe 4th round pick here, which is a good spot to gamble on a kid with potentially a 5 tool ceiling.

David Thompson, 3B - If you Follow College Baseball, then you're familiar with the name of the masher from the U (Miami). Thompson is sometimes projected as a Left Fielder or First Baseman. He seems to be decent at Third, but the position change largely seems to stem from the same reason he's a bit of a one-year wonder. In 2014 he suffered from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which required surgery. It worked. He exploded this year for 19 HR's (tied for the DI lead) and 80 RBI's (in the lead by a rather absurd margin). He's 6'2", 225 lbs and he looks to be an average hitter with potential Plus or better Power (duh, given his power burst this year). He's not very fast, but he has an above-average to plus arm and could be a solid Defender. The red flag here is the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Several MLB pitchers have had the surgery. Most have been well into their 30's, and not in need of a fake ID if they want a beer. The results are a mixed bag, but it's hard to tell if the bag is mixed more due to Chris Carpenter being 38 (and others also well into their 30's) or the syndrome/procedure (in the procedure the first rib gets removed to relieve compression on the nerves between the rib and clavicle). I've seen him projected from Round 2 all the way down to 5th or 6th. He seems like a nice gamble, as his bat could play at First if throwing proves to be an issue moving forward. Enjoy the highlights below where Thompson goes yard 3 times in a game a few weeks back. As you can see here, he is very pull happy from the Right side.