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Phillies 2015 First Round Pick: Cornelius Randolph, SS/LF

The Phillies surprise a little by going to Georgia.

Can't take a guy with a picture in the database, huh?
Can't take a guy with a picture in the database, huh?
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Recent rumors had Cornelius Randolph looking for a $4mm signing bonus. Today a rumor came out that he would sign for $2.4mm, a bit underslot for Top 10. If that second rumor holds true then the Phillies will have some money to sign someone who drops into Round 2 or even to go after guys in the later rounds with strong College commitments. Here's what I said about Cornelius (who badly needs a nickname, as that's a lot of typing).

...Cornelius Randolph, a Georgia High School Shortstop who's as likely to step foot on Mars as he is to ever play Shortstop in the Majors. He's 6'1" and perhaps generously listed at 190 lbs. That's not to say he's fat, but he's definitely more thickly built than those numbers suggest. He's got pretty thick legs and broad shoulders and could probably eventually end up in the 215-220 range without affecting his Defense. In my last preview I covered Ian Happ, a solid hitter who no one could quite agree on a position for. Same here, only less speed and a lot more power potential. The Phillies have scouted him pretty heavily, and I have little doubt Almaraz is very familiar with the Atlanta suburb prospect.

His swing may be the best in the draft among Prep players. Short, fast and efficient, he doesn't over-complicate things. He starts with a wide stance and his only timing mechanism is a tiny foot lift/step. In the video below you can see 3 contacts. The first one he gets jammed inside a little but still manages to send it down the line though it appears to go foul likely close to Third from the reactions. The second one looks like a pulled gofer ball. The third one again appears to be a bit in on Randolph, who manages to stay inside the ball and smoke it into Left. That's pretty good bat control. Scouting reports do note what seems like a dichotomy: he displays a great approach with limited K's and plenty of walks and an understanding of the strike zone, while also having quite a bit of swing and miss to his game. Those sound mutually exclusive, but they really aren't. You can have a great eye and all kinds of patience, but sometimes guys will sell out for power and if you guess wrong... swing and miss. His bat speed and size show the skills to be an above average power hitter, maybe even plus if he grows further (he's young for the draft class, so there could be some height still on the way). The video below is from Jheremy Brown.

So the kid can hit. That's great!. Can he run? Eh, decently. He's right about a 50 on the 20-80 scale and with more growth to come I would expect he'll end up fringe average at best by the time he could make the Majors. That said he'd have enough speed and range for any position except Shortstop and Center field (Ironically the 2 positions he's played in High School). Before I get into that though, let's talk arm. Perfect Game has him scored as hitting 92 on infield throws last year in their showcase. That's also enough arm for anywhere on the field.

Reports are that he has limited range and he's a little bit of a technician in his infield maneuvers, which is to say he's not very natural and will need to iron things out if he stays in the dirt. He could be a Second Baseman as he'd have just enough range. But honestly, no one on earth is drafting any High Schools Second Baseman in the Top ten picks. Hell, probably not even in the first 30 or 40 picks. Regardless of the hit tool, the floor is too low for most. He does have the arm for Third and his bat would play nicely there, likely top third on the league. That said, he's never played there and his infield actions already looked choppy at Short, with less reaction time could he pull it off? Left Field gets mentioned a lot and his power would play above average there at projection, he's got good speed and the arm for it. The red baron, who writes draft previews for our sister Cardinals blog suggested a conversion to Catcher. I could totally see that. The Phillies have kicked that around before with similar players (Maikel Franco, for one). That's a risky thing to do with the #10 overall pick, but the kid does need to learn a position anyway. He'd have the arm for Right, but could end up with less than ideal range out there.

If the Phillies can get him on the field as a competent defender anywhere the bat has a special ceiling. If he signs underslot and the Phillies can get someone at 48 with late First round money, this is a genius pick.