The Phillies had a long string of very bad drafts and as bad as many of those were (and they were) this may have been the worst. Some of it was plain bad luck and some can be written off to the team perhaps going a bit too heavy on Prep players.
Shane Watson, RHP
Mitch Gueller, RHP
Shane was a High School teammate of future and now former Phillie J.P. Crawford. He had a shoulder injury from playing raquetball in 2012 and he never really got right after that. He missed time rehabbing, then had surgery, then never really got his stuff back and looked like his ceiling was probably low leverage reliever. He made it to Reading in 2017 and spent most of the year in the bullpen showing that even low leverage reliever in AA was out of reach. He was cut loose at the end of the season, spent last year in Indy ball (somehow doing worse than he had in AA). If you asked me when he last pitched for the Phillies, off the top of my head I would have said 2015 and I follow prospects, so safe to say his career was sadly forgettable. Mitch Gueller never got any better than he was in High School. It’s the problem with projection that sometimes guys just never develop. Gueller spent a rather absurd 3 years in short season Williamsport and retired in 2016.
Other players available:
In my mock I picked Lance McCullers over Watson, but unlike a real team I wasn’t worried about ruining my entire draft trying to pay him. Other names: Jesmuel Valentin, Jesse Winker, Matt Olsen.
Verdict: You can’t fault the Phillies for McCullers who wanted top 10 money. Only a team with a top 10 pick and a second first rounder could get him that without torpedoing the entirety of the rest of their draft. Matt Olsen has had moments and Jesse Winker has been a pretty good backup OF (very good contact, until this year, and no power). Both of those guys and Valentin went before Gueller, so maybe bad A’s Starter Paul Blackburn. So, these 2 picks were probably going to suck anyway, but at least those other players all got past Short Season ball before fizzling out.
Dylan Cozens, OF
Alec Rash, RHP
Dylan Cozens was picked 77th overall and wasn’t even on several top 200 lists. Most of that was because of character issues after he was kicked off a High School team for a physical altercation with a coach. The Phillies did their research and were comfortable it was a non-issue and for 7 years Cozens has been a model citizen, if not a model MLB’er. Cozens has proven to be a poor fielder who K’s way too often and hasn’t been able to make adjustments. Cozens’ pick was compensation for the Reds’ signing Ryan Madson. Alec Rash was highly regarded, but choose to go on to College. He. Was. Awful. Rash seemed to get worse as his College career went on and retired midway through his Junior year at Missouri. His compensation pick turned into Jan Hernandez the next year.
Other players available: Paco Rodriguez, Nick Williams, Alex Wood, Jake Thompson, Edwin Diaz.
Verdict: We eventually traded for 2 of those available players to mixed results. Clearly the lesson of this draft is that Ruben Amaro, Jr should have asked himself before every pick “Who else in this draft would I like to trade for in 2-4 years?” and then make that pick instead. Better still take Paco and Wood.
Zach Green, SS (LOL)
All kinds of guys play SS in High School. Green could barely play 3rd Base, so it’s crazy to remember he was drafted as a Shortstop. He’s had moments where he’s been a good hitter, the problem is his defense is bad, his running speed is bad, his K’s are bad, his contact skills are hit or miss (all pun intended). His calling card should be power, but honestly his power has been more good than great. He’s off to nice start in San Fran’s system after leaving as a Minor League Free Agent.
Other players available: Rio Ruiz, Patrick Kivlehan, Brandon Brennan.
Verdict: I’m okay with taking Green here, who showed flashes. They didn’t really miss on anyone, though Ruiz had some trade value a few years back when he was part of a package that got the Astros Evan Gattis. That said his MLB career has mostly been very bad.
Chris Serritella, 1B
Serritella got off to a hot start and the Phillies promoted him aggressively. He cratered in his 3rd season hanging out below the Mendoza line. He spent a handful of games in 2015 in an Indy league before calling it a career. Was he promoted too aggressively? Would he have failed anyway even with a slower path? Probably option 2, but I really thought he might have been a steal after year one.
Other players available: Various scrubs the Dodgers have used some kind of deal with satan to turn into quality players - Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Ross Stripling. Also Mallex Smith and Ty Blach. Interesting side note: Austin Nola was also picked before the next Phils pick (Aaron’s older brother).
Verdict: Mallex Smith has been traded 4 times in the last 5 years. He’s basically a slightly better Ben Revere. Taylor was terrible in Seattle, but really good for a season in LA, before reverting to a pumpkin. Muncy was similarly awful in Oakland, but the Dodgers grabbed him off the scrap heap and he was very good last year. He may be in the process of reverting to a pumpkin now. Stripling is a control artist and perfectly adequate mid-rotation starter. He’d be nice to have. The 4th round is a crap shoot so it’s hard to fault them, but I remember being big on Mallex Smith at the time, weirdly.
Andrew Pullin, OF
The Phillies converted Pullin to Second Base, then back to the OF, then he retired, then he returned, then he retired again mid-season last year. That said, he hit really well until he got to Lehigh Valley. He had below average power that would have played at Second, but not in Left Field. Defensively he was limited to left due to speed and arm, so he didn’t have a backup skill set either.
Other players available: Brett Phillips, Joey Wendle, Jake Lamb.
Verdict: Joey Wendle is a local kid and would have been fun as a pick. He’s a good locking backup Swiss army knife. He mostly plays Second, but he’s played almost everywhere to varying degrees of success. Lamb is a big three outcome guy and as a result his results has been all over the map. He’s kind of the D-backs version of Franco. Phillips is bad, but had enough trade value to end up in a few different deals since he was drafted.
Cameron Perkins, 3B
Perkins just hit. Not for power, but pretty consistently for average. That stopped when he made the Majors. Again, like Pullin he wasn’t good defensively and the lack of power gave him a bad bench profile. That said, he’s a Dodger now, so I expect to see him somehow hitting 30 homers in Chavez Ravine this summer beyond all reasonable explanation.
Other players available: Preston Tucker and that’s pretty much it.
Verdict: Tucker had some power and had some moments as a pro. He’s still kicking around the Minors, but ultimately is less valuable than even Perkins was. Had Perkins been able to tap into the power his large frame suggests he would have been an absolute steal.
Hoby Milner, LHP
Milner is not good, yet his 0.7 career WAR is infinitely better than any other player the Phillies signed in this draft. Some how he caught lightning in a bottle in 2017. He was awful. Legitimately A.W.F.U.L. He struck out just over 6 players per 9 innings and walked nearly 5 per 9 innings. He gave up 2 Home Runs among 30 hits in 31 innings. Through some inexplicable black magic he only gave up 7 runs. He regressed hard in 2018 with a nearly 8 ERA and a FIP well over 8, closing on 9.
Other players available: It’s the end of the 7th, so basically no one.
Notable picks the rest of the draft
Drew Anderson, RHP
Willie Carmona, 3B
Carmona was a solid Org guy for a few years. Willie was built like a strong safety and somehow only hit 10 HRs in 3 years. He honestly wasn’t notable, but I felt like I needed to list someone other than Anderson considering there were another 37 guys picked. This was as notable as any of the others were, really. Anderson was a projectable High Schooler who missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 after needing Tommy John Surgery. His stuff is a bit pedestrian and his results have been all over the place. Unfortunately for him the one place they’ve been consistent is the Majors, where they’ve been consistently bad. He’s probably just good enough to make a career as a Triple-A guy for a a few more years if he wants to, but he’s going to be a long shot to get another chance in the Majors at this point unless he develops a new pitch that changes his profile. He’s just barely 25, so it’s not crazy that it could happen. It’s unlikely, but not impossible.