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2016 Phillies Draft Preview: The Third of Seconds

Carnac holds this post, unopened, to his head and says "A unit of volume, two first names and a guy destined to be nicknamed "Dokey". It's the third Second Round draft preview and I'm getting a bit punchy at this point.

You can get with Thaiss, or you can get with thatt.
You can get with Thaiss, or you can get with thatt.
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Will Craig - Will Craig is a 6'3", 235 lbs Junior Third Baseman and Right Handed Pitcher for Wake Forest University. He isn't a particularly top prospect as a Pitcher, in fact if he weren't such a good hitter, he'd be an undrafted free agent signed to fill roster spots in short-season Low-A for a few years. So let's focus on his position player profile. Craig is all production and physically there's nothing to project, he's basically a finished product. from that standpoint. If you look at Craig's numbers, they pop and might make you think "Top Prospect". The College season is over (they're in their conference championship series this week) and for the season Craig carried a downright obscene 1.377 OPS (.417/.551/.826). He did this in one of College's strongest conferences against plenty of Pitchers who will be picked the first 2 days of the draft. Why in the world am I profiling Craig for 2:1 and not 1:1 with those kind of numbers? Well, there are a few very legit reasons. Craig stands no real chance of playing Third as a pro. Like Cam Perkins, he may play there the summer after getting drafted in Short Season to limit the number of adjustments he makes at once, but he's got bad range and poor mechanics for the position. So, he will shift immediately to First Base. Not a great draft profile, in fact to even be considered for the First Round with that profile someone has to believe your bat has rather absurd potential. The other issue is that Craig didn't exactly light the wood bat Cape Cod League on fire (.242/.366/.318). Perhaps he was tired after a long season, or perhaps he's just a really bad hitter with a wood bat.

To speak more specifically to his hitting skills. Craig has excellent plate discipline, routinely drawing more Walks than K's. In fact this year (and I had to check this first number a few times because it seems comically wrong) Craig had a 20.5% BB rate and a 13.9% K rate. How hard is his contact? More than 10% of his at bats result in Home Runs (if you subtract his K's, 12% of his fair contact results in Homers). His swing is geared to generate significant loft and it's a short stroke (which likely helps those Walk and K rates). He also isn't a guy who lives on pulling balls, as he gets power going the other way too. Craig is capable of feasting on low pitches for power and can make contact inside (though there isn't consistent challenge there in College). There's considerable boom or bust potential with Craig and I've seen mocks show Craig everywhere from the teens to out of the First entirely. He's a difficult profile to project and you're likely to either end up with Larry Greene, Jr. or (as a hitter only) Kris Bryant, without many in between options. The video below is from Jesse Burkhart of Fangraphs. In it you can see the quality hitting and also enjoy how much he kind of looks like Kenny Powers.

Chris Okey - The man likely to be called "Dokey" whether he likes it or not, is a 5'11", 195 lbs Catcher from Clemson University. As a prospect Okey has a bit of everything. His arm is Plus, his speed is Average to above, he looks like he'll be an average hitter with fringe-average power and Defensively he should be an average to above Catcher. His power is down a bit this year, which has hurt his stock some. If the name Kieboom required the possessor of that name to have power, the Okey requires its owner to be pretty average. Well, Okey looks pretty average, but for a Catcher, being an average hitter with some average power and average running is pretty good. One of the more common comps I see is to Craig Biggio. Part of this is that Okey has the athleticism that a future move to Second Base isn't a crazy idea, part of it is that, like Biggio there's a potential .300 average in that bat and 20 HRs isn't out of the question (the other part is that physically, Okey has almost exactly the same measurements across the board as Biggio did). The difference is that Okey projects as being better defensively at Catcher than Biggio was. So now that I've made a solid comparison to a Hall of Famer for a kid yet to be drafted. Let's look at video. This video from Just Bombs Productions isn't a scouting video, but it's a fun hype video showing his power speed and Defense. It's a fun way to kill 5 minutes, if you're so inclined.

Matt Thaiss, C - Do you find yourself missing Willians Astudillo's otherworldly contact ability, but wish he had more power a better walk rate and could actually Catch? Well, let me talk to you about Virginia Junior Matt Thaiss. Thaiss currently carries an Astudillo-esque 4.5% K rate, but with a 14.0% BB rate, a .206 ISO and the potential to be a solidly average Catcher defensively. He stands 5'11" and 195 lbs, making him less the adorable fire hydrant build of Astudillo. His Power will be better than Willians, but not great, probably 5-10 HR a year. He has a compact contact geared swing without much loft. As a defender, his pop times are ~1.9 seconds, which is solidly average and he moves okay behind the dish. The real carrying tool for Thaiss is his contact skill, which may be enough to profile for a Starting Catcher or backup role. Honestly, if backup role is a possibility, I'd almost rather teach the kid outfield, as that kind of contact skill would be great for a PH, a role the Back up Catcher never gets to fill. Video for Prospect Junkies.

Zac Gallen - Gallen is a 6'3", 191 LBS, Right Handed Pitcher from UNC. He's the Friday night Starter and, honestly, the resultshave been very good, even if the underlying stuff is as exciting as an octogenarian knitting festival. Gallen's Fastball is an 88-91 MPH offering, he has a Cutter he throws 83-85 and a low 80's Slider, along with a playable Curve and average Changeup. Really, I shouldn't single the Change out as average. Really all of his pitches are Average. Gallen is kind of like Thomas Eschelman. He's a control freak, allowing his pretty average stuff to play up. Having 5 pitches you can confidently throw for strikes in any count is a big plus. Gallen would be an underslot option at 2:1 and a more defendable pick at 3:1. He's not a profile I like at all, but the Phillies have a history with these types of players (Austin Hyatt, Sev Gonzales, Ranger Suarez, Eschelman via trade, etc.). Video from rkyosh007.