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2016 Phillies Draft Preview: Ice, Puckett

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I'm almost through all of my previews then John Manuel mentioned 2 new guys during the great Felske Files episode this week. Fortunately for my insanity, the names are ripe for fun.

Close enough
Close enough

I don't want to make one of these previews too jokey or too far out there. That said, of the thoughts I had when Manuel suggest A.J. Puckett as a possible pick. Just a few examples: I can't wait for a rotation or A.J. Puk, A.J. Puckett, Vasquez and Velasquez; If the top pick this year made you say Puk, the second one will have you throwing up your hands and walking away saying Puckett. Add in the possibility of profiling a guy named Ice and, well, I'll try to keep it in check here, beyond the cover photo.

A.J. Puckett - If the Phillies select A.J. Puk first overall and follow him up with A.J. Puckett, well then I think the front office is just trolling prospect writers. When I say that I just mean for the names, because Puckett is a perfectly worthwhile amateur prospect. He's a 6'3", 200 lbs RHP from Pepperdine, where he's the Friday night starter. Prior to 2016 Puckett's Command of his pitches was pretty borderline. He didn't have the BB/9 issues of Alec Hansen, but he was consistently just a little off. He saw a big improvement from his Freshman to Sophomore seasons and a small one from Soph. to Junior years. He's largely done it by shortening his leg kick and making his delivery more consistently repeatable.Puckett's Fastball has Plus Velocity, but it plays down to Above-Average because it's very straight. He throws a Curve with Average potential and a Change with some fade and similarly average potential (though he does slow his arm down in the delivery). He's probably a solid option at 3:1, with a solid #3 Starter ceiling. He could go in the second if a team feels they can fix the first half of his delivery, which is a little noisy and still throws off his timing. Video from the Prospect Pipeline.

Logan Ice - First off, the name is pretty much a solid grade 60 or higher. Very few drafts go by without the Phillies doing 2 things: drafting a Catcher in the first four rounds and Drafting someone from Oregon in the top 10 rounds. You can almost rely on those like the sunrise. With Ice the Phillies could check both boxes. Ice is quite possibly the top Defensive Catcher in this draft and was long seen as kind of a Cameron Rupp type of prospect who could carve out a career as a Defense first backup with some pop. Then a funny thing happened his bat, long seen as having some potential exploded. His defense has also improved. What stops him from being a First Rounder is Thaiss' otherwordly contact skills and Miami Catcher Zack Collins' Schwarber like potential with the bat. That along with the sudden improvement (is it a mirage?) has kept him mostly out of First Round rumors. He has put up a .310/.432/.563 triple slash (that slugging was in the mid-700's about a month ago). He's pretty much a Walk machine with a solid arm (he regularly posts 2 second flat pop times, solidly Average) and developing average power. There are a few paralels with long time Phillies obsessions: a rumored hard work ethic, a switch hitting Catcher, Pacific Northwest, College Catcher with a backup floor. I'd be pretty happy with an Ice pick (hey I held off for quite a while with the puns, but I'm human, here). Video courtesy of some guy named Eric Longenhagen.