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Phillies 2018 Draft Preview: Fourth Round (and later) Options

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Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

This is probably a laughable effort with the Phillies having no Second or Third Round pick. I’m basing these previews on the idea that every 2 or 3 years the Phillies tend to take a Catcher (that hasn’t held as true with the new regime) and then looking at regions they frequently draft from. I will likely be wrong, but this strategy did end up with me previewing Andrew Knapp before the 2013 Draft (a Catcher from California, he checked a couple boxes the Phillies frequently go to).

Cal Raleigh, C, 6’3”, 205 lbs
Florida State
Cal might be this year’s Cameron Rupp. He’s solid, but not spectacular behind the dish with a 55 grade arm and probably a ceiling as an average Defender. He’s slow, like Molina brother slow and big for a Catcher, which leads to problems blocking. If he had to move off Catcher it would almost have to be to First, he’s too slow to go elsewhere. His hit tool is probably in the 45-50 grade range, which is okay for a good defensive Catcher, but pretty borderline if the Defense ends up fringy. There is potential for above average to plus power. As noted above the Phillies have often taken Catchers in the 2nd to 8th round area (Knapp, Rupp, Sweaney, Lartigue, Ludy, Zach Wright - didn’t sign) and Raleigh is a bit of a combo of Rupp and Knapp (also a switch hitter).

JJ Schwarz, C/1B, 6’1”, 205 lbs
University of Florida
Excuse me while I torment myself. I’ve written 3 draft previews of Schwarz now, so do me a solid here, Klentak. Schwarz had a disastrous 2017 season as a Junior, he lost his Catching job and pretty much all hitting ability right as he became draft eligible. He got picked in the 38th round and wisely figured he could improve on that. He’s hit better this year with a .325/.404/.601 triple slash, and while he does walk at a good clip he strikes out at an even better clip. Above average to plus raw power, but probably tops out as a 45 defender and 45 hitter. Power could play at First if he can keep the K’s in check. Probably more of a 7th-10th round option.

Luken Baker, 1B, 6’4”, 240 lbs
Luken Baker may go in the 3rd round, but if he’s there to start the 4th, he might be a great value pick. Baker is neck and neck with Seth Beer and Alec Bohm for best power in the draft. He’s a not terribly good Defender at First and is probably at risk of aging into Adam Dunn (though he may be able to get coached to the point of being Mark Reynolds levels of playable). He has the hallmarks of a good College hitter with a BB rate well above his K rate (17.14 BB compared to 12.86 K). His biggest problem is health. He missed time his Freshman year after suffering a strained biceps while Pitching (he was First Round worthy as a draft candidate out of HS as a Pitcher with a mid-90’s heater) and he got shut down last month after breaking his leg and needing surgery. If you draft him, you plan on a red shirt season and hope you can unlock that power and get him to play passable defense. If you actually got both Bohm and Baker and got them to 85% of their ceilings your infield defense would be kind of terrible, but that’s probably also 50-60 homers a year between those two.

Alex McKenna, OF, 6’2”, 200 lbs.
Cal Poly
McKenna has plus speed and runs very good routes in the Outfield with a grade 55-60 arm, so he can play any of the 3 spots. He also carries a potentially above average hit tool (though at present it’s graded below average). The biggest knock on him is he currently has a 35-40 grade on his Power. If he has to move to a corner that number is awful. His floor might be 4th OF able to cover all 3 spots, his ceiling might be second division regular. That’s a really small delta, but for a fourth rounder, that’s not bad.

This last one is an odd mention. I know very little about him and could find almost nothing. When I looked at the type of Pitcher the Phillies took last year and seemed to value in the trade that netted Eshelman I decided to look for big SO:BB ratios and big K numbers with low BB totals along with K% and BB%. Miller Hogan, a 6’2”, 190 lbs RHP from Saint Louis University with a 11.31 K/9 and 1.05 BB/9. He’s racked up over 100 innings this year and seems to be a bit of a fly ball Pitcher. Coming out of High School Perfect Game noted a low 90’s Fastball, a kind of slurvy Curve and a change with late action and a release point consistent with his Fastball. That profile reads like a control artist who tops out in AA, but that’s also 3 year old data (unlike the only video I could find, which is 4 years old).