Mixed bag for Phillies recent first rounders with some final outcomes still pending

by Marc Narducci | Jul 18, 2022
Mixed bag for Phillies recent first rounders with some final outcomes still pending

The Phillies have been criticized for their poor farm system, although lately under third-year scouting director Brian Barber things appear to be on the upside.

It’s not just baseball where the draft can become such a crap-shoot, but it seems more in this sport because of the length of time it takes to develop players.

Unlike football or basketball, players can be taken out of high school in the MLB draft (although the NBA is allowed to draft college freshmen, so that adds a lot of uncertainty to that draft as well).

The Phillies selected outfielder Justin Crawford from Bishop Gorman High in Nevada as their first-round pick this season.

He comes with great baseball bloodlines as his father Carl Crawford was a four-time all-star outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Carl Crawford played against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series, hitting .263 (5 for 19) in the series that the Phillies won in five games.

It’s always difficult projecting high school players. The scouting report on Justin Crawford is that he will excel defensively in center field and was among the fastest players in the draft. He laughingly said on draft night that he is faster than his father, which is saying something.

Whether Justin Crawford eventually hits major league pitching is a question asked about virtually any draft pick, even the first-rounders. This is the third straight year that Barber has taken a high school player with the first-round pick and the previous two have received universal praise.

For instance, last year’s top pick, high school right-hander Andrew Painter, is ranked as the Phillies No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. The 2020 first-round pick, righthander Mick Abel, is listed by BA as the Phillies second top prospect.

So while the jury is out on those picks, the Phillies have to be feeling good about them.

Here are the first-round picks from the last 10 years.

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2022 H.S. OF Justin |Crawford (17th overall)
2021 H.S. RHP Andrew Painter (13th)
2020 H.S. RHP Mick Abel (15th)
2019 UNLV SS Bryson Stott (14)
2018 Wichita State 3B Alec Bohm (3)
2017 UVA OF Adam Haseley (8)
2016 H.S. OF Mickey Moniak (1)
2015 H.S. SS turned OF Cornelius Randolph (10)
2014 LSU RHP Aaron Nola (7)
2013: H.S. SS J.P. Crawford (16)

In that time, the Phillies have drafted six high school players in the first round and four college players.

While the jury is out on Abel, Painter and obviously Crawford, all have favorable reviews.

Of the others, Stott has struggled at the plate in his first year with the Phillies but is looked on as a future middle infield regular.

Bohm had a great rookie year during the shortened 2020 season, took a serious nosedive last year and has rebounded to be a solid player this year. The jury is still out on him, especially since he has yet to show consistent power, but things are trending upward.

Haseley was a missed pick and he was eventually traded this year to the Chicago White Sox. Moniak is up with the Phillies but hasn’t proven he can hit consistently. People judge him harshly since he was the first overall pick, and there are questions about whether he will ever be more than a fourth outfielder.

Randolph was a major failure and is currently with the independent Kane County Cougars.

Nola has been a solid pick, with one All-Star appearance and he has established himself as a legitimate No. 2 pitcher (formerly No. 1) with the Phillies.

J.P. Crawford hit .214 in parts of two seasons with the Phillies, but has prospered since being traded to Seattle, where he has been solid, winning one Gold Glove and having a .258/.334/.372 slash line. He is now in his fourth season in Seattle.

He was traded by the Phillies along with Carlos Santana to Seattle for Juan Nicasio, James Parzos and Jean Seguara.

Of those players, Segura, currently is out with a broken finger, has a solid .281/.335/.424 slash line in his time with the Phillies.

If Abel and Painter perform as advertised, then the Phillies 10-year run of first-round picks won’t look so bad.

Haseley, Moniak and Randolph, all three top 10 picks are failed selections.
The others, led by Nola are solid to good picks.

What this shows is that the Phillies need at least one of Painter and Abel to perform as advertised, if not both.

Sure, there are players drafted in the other rounds who have helped the organization, but other than Nola, there hasn’t been a major impact first-rounder in the last decade.

Barber can only hope his three high school first-rounders, will change this assessment.

Photo courtesy of Phillies Twitter

Author: Marc Narducci


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