2013 might seem like a weird year to review, but it was our first year doing previews and we did previews of the first 2 picks. I also did my own shadow draft through 5 rounds (I did them a few years prior to this too, but those are lost to an old computer). So, here I’ll look at the Phillies pick, who I chose and who I had ranked in the next few spots on my list.
J.P. Crawford, SS High School
The 2013 draft had a few very clear groupings of talent: The top 2 were widely expected to be Stanford Righty Mark Appel and slugger Kris Bryant; the next group was very high ceiling low floor types in Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows, Jon Gray, Kohl Stewart and Trey Ball, then a group of Colin Moran, Phil Bickford, Dom Smith, DJ Peterson, Hunter Renfroe, JP Crawford and Reese McGuire. If you’re counting along at home that’s 14 names and the Phillies had pick 16, so they needed a few unexpected picks to get someone to drop to them. The Royals did their part by taking Hunter Dozier at 8 (I expected him to get picked in the 20’s) the Dbacks helped by taking Braden Shipley, allowing the last of that top 14 left to fall to the Phillies.
My pick: Also Crawford, though I was on the fence.
Best players available on my list: Behind Crawford on my list, in order, were Phil Ervin, Rob Kaminsky, Aaron Judge, Ian Clarkin and Hunter Harvey
What we said about Crawford then:
“...I’m less than enthusiastic about Crawford... can’t see enough video of him fielding to tell whether he can stick at Short. (He’s) old for a High Schooler, and there are a few small studies that suggest older prospects don’t pan out as often. He’s uber toolsy. He’s from California, where the Phillies farm frequently for top talent and he goes to the same high school as former top picks Shane Watson and Travis d’Arnaud. Basically, this kid ticks a lot of boxes in the Phillies typical Draft profile.”
Verdict: Essentially I was somewhat comfortable with the bat, but uncomfortable with the track record of High School shortstops taken in Round 1 and with prospects old for their class. It’s too early to say whether JP will pan out, but he did get us Jean Segura, so I’d call it a win. We could have gotten Judge, but hindsight is 20/20 and while I was fascinated by Judge (noting his insane power potential and a strike zone “you could fit Rhode Island into”) he was very far from a sure thing and struggled as such early in his career in the Minors.
Andrew Knapp, C College
There were a few players I really wanted in Round 2 and the primary one, Justin Williams, went right before the Phillies pick. Williams is the first draft preview I ever wrote and I liked the athleticism and ceiling for a second rounder. Williams was traded to the Rays for Hellickson and to the Cards for Tommy Pham. He’s currently the Cards version of Aaron Altherr, without all the hitting.
My pick: Oscar Mercado, SS who went a few picks after Knapp.
Best players available on my list: Oscar Mercado, Kevin Ziomek, Riley Unroe, Chance Sisco and Jacoby Jones
What we said about Knapp then:
“...probably the top College Backstop this year. He’s probably a Second to Third Round guy. Junior at Cal. Good bat speed, solid behind the dish. Patient hitter who doesn’t K too often.”
Verdict: Well, Knapp made the Majors, but he never improved as a Catcher and solid College catcher is typically a very bad MLB Catcher. In 2017 Knapp looked like a legit all bat Catcher slashing .257/.368/.368, which would be useful. His line has gotten worse each subsequent season and he may be a couple weeks from demotion if his bat stays this impotent. Maybe the Phillies could have gone Chance Sisco instead if they were looking Catcher, but that doesn’t look to be working out too much better now. Oscar Mercado may turn into something, but the rest of the second round is pretty barren. The first part of the third included included Tyler O’Neill who is a decent power hitting OF and Jacoby Jones who is a good defensive CF who doesn’t really hit for much yet (but, still young). Knapp hasn’t been good, but I don’t see a glaring miss either.
Cord Sandberg, OF High School
Jan Hernandez, SS High School
I was so excited about Sandberg, who looked like a good, power hitting OF with a plus arm. Problem is almost every tool took a step back. He never really got to the power and for a guy recruited to play QB in the SEC his arm did not live up to the billing. He retired from baseball and is now a backup QB at Auburn. Hernandez was also exciting. he took over Shortstop at Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico after Carlos Correa was drafted by the Astros in 2012. Hernandez was a big kid and seen as a future 3B with plus power potential. He’s currently a bit of a utility player for the Ironpigs.
My picks: Ryon Healy and Tyler Skulina
Best players available: Kyle Crockett went in the 4th and has been a serviceable Reliever, Ryon Healy has been a guy who has been able to hit almost exactly 35 points worst each successive season, but he did have a few good years for the A’s.
What we said about them:
Sandberg: “He has Plus Power Potential and enough Arm for Right. The ceiling is tremendous, as is the risk. He could be another Dom Brown, or he could be the next Anthony Hewitt. Not a bad risk in the middle of the Third Round.”
It’s now quaint how far apart the delta between Dom Brown and Anthony Hewitt used to be.
Hernandez: “He has above average Defensive upside and it’s not crazy to hope he can stick at Short. His speed is subpar, but he won’t clog the basepaths. As a hitting prospect he’s awesome with plus power potential.”
Verdict: I’m happy with the picks. Sandberg didn’t pan out, but it wasn’t a crazy gamble as he had late first round talent that focusing on one sport may have unlocked. Hernandez has been a decent hitter at time in the Minors and while not a star he could be a utility player able to play OF corners and maybe play a few innings at 3rd if needed (though, there’s a damn good reason he doesn’t play 3rd anymore).
Jake Sweaney, C High School
Sweaney did not pan out. The Phillies played him at Catcher his first year, but I never got the sense they saw him there long term, I think they just wanted to keep him there as he got used to pro ball. He immediately went to the OF in Spring Training his second season, then retired 2 games into his third pro season.
My pick: Dylan Covey
Best players available: Ugh, Cody Bellinger was taken 3 picks later. The Phillies also traded for 2 Pitchers who went later in the round (Lively and Pivetta).
What we said about Sweaney:
“All his tools are pretty average, but there are plenty of valuable players with across the board average tools. Sweaney has a commitment to Oregon, but maybe now that Chip Kelly is in Philly...”
Boy, I used to love me some Chip Kelly jokes.
Verdict: I can’t fault them for Bellinger. There’s a reason he went this late and without the significant tear down and complete rebuild his swing got in LA he probably never would have gotten to AA not to mention stardom. I can fault them for not taking either of the 2 Pitchers they later traded for though.
Rounds 5 and 6
Ben Holmes-Wetzler, LHP College
Jason Monda, 1B College
Where to even start with this? Both were underslot targets the Phillies didn’t reach agreements with and whom they turned into the NCAA for signing with an agent. Holmes wanted a shot to play in the College World Series again and Monda, well no one seems to know why Monda didn’t sign, but it went poorly for him as he had a thoroughly awful Senior season and went undrafted and never played any Baseball post college.
My pick: Scott Frazier, RHP in the 5th
Best players available: No one of significant note in the 5th, but the 6th saw current Pirates 2B Adam Frazier go just before Monda and Tigers Starter Matt Boyd go a few picks earlier. Indians Reliever Tyler Olden went in the 7th before the next Phils pick.
Verdict: Emabarassing dumpster fire.
Trey Williams, 3B College
Justin Parr, OF College
Shane Martin, RHP College
Jon Prosinski, RHP College
I said of Williams “(He) could be the steal of the draft.”. Uhm... I’m really far into this so hopefully you all stopped reading before getting to that. To be fair, I did say he was a first round talent who slipped due to a terrible reputation for being lazy. I can’t tell you whether he was lazy, but I can tell you he went to the GCL and was completely inept against High School players for 2 years before getting the boot. The other 3 were underslot picks to free up money to go overslot later.
Denton Keys, LHP High School
Griffin Jax, RHP High School
Joey Martarano, OF High School
Another odd part of this draft. Keys and Jax were both from the same part of Colorado and it seemed the Phillies lost the change to sign both when they’re 5/6th round flap happened. So they signed Keys and Jax went on to Air Force Academy. Keys never really got any better and Jax went in the 3rd round 3 years later and shows some mid-rotation potential. Martarano wanted to give up baseball and focus on playing Linebacker for Boise State and didn’t sign. He was drafted the next year by the Cubs, played part-time for a few years and is now out of baseball.
Notable pick the rest of the draft
Round 22 Mark Leiter, Jr. RHP
Round 29 Cavan Biggio, 2B
Venn Biter, OF
Tyler Viza, RHP
Leiter wasn’t good, but he did make the Majors and had moments of competence in a few games. Biggio didn’t sign and was taken a few years later by the Blue Jays. He’s currently in Triple A and could make the big club, though he’s mostly been a pretty flawed prospect. Venn Biter was a blog favorite who showed flashes as a prospect, but in an alternate universe he was a witness to dystopia. Tyler Viza is currently a bullpen option in AAA with a chance of making the Phillies. Not a bad outcome for the 32nd round.