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2017 Phillies Draft Preview: Less Likely First Round Options

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NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Vanderbilt vs Virginia Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The First Round this year is very, very fluid. There’s a no doubt Top 2 (Greene and McKay) followed by a group of 3 prospects (Wright, Lewis and Gore) who have separated themselves. Then there’s a group of 10 prospects who I have seen in various orders, with 3 additional prospects behind them who have climbed in recent mock drafts. I have done profiles of 11 of the top 15 prospects, but I’m always a little paranoid about missing on the guy the Phillies take, so here are 4 quick profiles of the less likely guys to get picked. Two of these guys will almost certainly be picked in the Top 5, unless someone decides to outsmart themselves, and even if they slip, neither is likely to slip to 8, barring injury. The other two would be regarded as possible reaches at the 8th pick, but not egregiously so.

MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 6’1" 185 lbs. Whiteville High School (N.C.)
I’ve seen 2 listed heights for Gore by reliable outlets. I went with the shorter one, but he just turned 18, so the idea that he’s now 6’2" is a very reasonable possibility. Gore has a commitment to East Carolina University, who have a fine baseball program, but not so good that kids skip out on $4mm signing bonuses to attend. Gore throws a Fastball reliably timed 90-94 mph, but it’s kept rising all Spring, so there might be more heat to come. He backs it up with Above-Average Slider, Curve and Change-up. All play up due to advanced Command for a High Schooler. Downsides are that he needs to add 20 pounds of muscle to help his delivery. Also, his delivery is crazy. It works well for him now, but if he ever gets a hip or knee injury, he’s going to struggle. He gets an absurdly high leg kick (he’s at risk of kneeing himself in the face) and follows through with one of the longest strides I’ve ever seen. That’s likely a result of that high leg kick carrying that leg forward with the momentum. It’s an impressively athletic delivery, but I’m not sure it will age well and I can see baserunners timing it pretty well.

Royce Lewis, SS/OF, 6’1" 190 lbs. JSerra Catholic High School (CA)
Like Gore, I’ve also seen Lewis listed at 6’2", in the interest of full disclosure. Lewis is committed to UC-Irvine, but as a top 5 Draft pick, I’ll proffer that UC-I shouldn’t bother getting a room ready for him. Lewis is a Plus runner and is grade 50-55 in pretty much every other area. His arm may not be enough for Shortstop, potentially pushing him to Second Base, though he also has the speed to have good range in Center. I view Lewis as a slight step down from the top 4 players in the Draft, but wherever he ends up on the diamond he should hit for good average with 20+ steals and league average-ish power.

Griffin Canning, RHP, 6’1", 195 lbs. UCLA
Canning is on the smaller side, but he’s also almost a fully baked prospect. His Fastball works 92-95 mph and he mixes it with above average Sliders and Change-ups and a Curve ball that’s below average. Canning’s calling card is control and potential for above-average command. His ceiling is probably #3 Starter, but that may also be his floor. He’ll be like Aaron Nola in that he’s likely only spending a year or maybe 2 in the Minors. #8 is probably just beyond where he’ll go in the Draft, but the Phillies do well with scouting Southern Cal, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

Adam Haseley, OF, 6’1" 195 lbs. University of Virginia
Honestly I didn’t plan this out to profile four 6’1" guys. Haseley is another in this season’s long list of two-way players. Unlike a few of the others I’ve profiled, Adam has clearly separated where his future is. His a perfectly fine future LOOGY candidate and possible back-end Starter, but he’s a potential Second-division regular as an OF. The ceiling isn’t huge and he does have some tweener risk (not quite the range for Center, not quite the power for the corners), but he’s shown more power this year (though he’d still be slightly below average for a corner OF) and his Range in Center won’t win him any Gold Gloves, but he’s not slow either, so it would be passable, especially if a team had above average corner speed to fill the gaps. Eighth overall feels a little high for him, but rumors are that he’s spoken to teams about being willing to sign an underslot deal to go higher. Here’s an article from BA that is definitely worth a read that might make you feel better than the rest of my paragraph. Essentially Haseley’s hye is partly a product of advanced analytics, which gives me some added hope for him (and makes me feel a good bit worse about Jeren Kendall).