Last 10 Drafts Haven’t Delivered for Phillies
The Phillies have the seventh overall pick in next week’s draft, their highest selection since they picked right-hander Gavin Floyd with the fourth pick in 2001. They took Cole Hamels with the No. 17 pick in 2002, but since then the best thing that can be said about the organization’s first-round picks is that two of them (Kyle Drabek and Travis d’Arnaud) helped them acquire Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays in Dec. 2009.
The list includes Greg Golson, Joe Savery, Adrian Cardenas, Zach Collier, Anthony Hewitt and Larry Greene.
“Circumstances are a little different,” assistant general manager of amateur scouting Marti Wolever said. “Seven or eight years ago, you had to have an opportunity to play here. If you were a first baseman or a second baseman or a shortstop or a catcher, guess what, you weren’t going to play here for a while. … You reach out and you take Golsons and Saverys and you roll the dice on Anthony Hewitt and you hope that you hit based on their tools and their athletic ability. Some do, some don’t and some of them haven’t and we need to do a better job in that regard, but it’s based on a lot of factors that come into play.”
Forty-six Phillies draft picks have reached the big leagues over the previous 10 drafts (2004-13), which ties the A’s and Rangers for seventh-best in baseball. The average in that span is 41.8 players per organization. But the quality of the Phillies’ picks ranks last. According to Baseball Reference, the combined WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of Phillies draft picks over the past 10 years is 20.7, which is a remarkable 24.6 points lower than the 29th ranked Blue Jays (45.3).
The Red Sox (142.7), Braves (133.3), Angels (124.4), Yankees (120.5) and Diamondacks (120.1) are in the top five. The Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets (49.5), Twins (49.6) and Marlins (51.8) are in the bottom five.
The big-league average is 82.7.
There are things to consider with those rankings:
- Recent draft picks do not figure into the equation as much, if at all, because they are still coming through the farm system or just beginning their big-league careers. Class A Lakewood shortstop J.P. Crawford, who the Phillies selected in the first round last year, could be a superstar, but he nets the Phillies nothing today. The same can be said for former draft picks Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton, who are with the Astros. Of course, the same came be said for the other 29 teams, too.
- Second, the Phillies have not selected higher than 16th overall in the past 10 years. There is a big difference drafting high in the first round compared to low in the first round. Still, there are gems to be found everywhere.
- Third, the rankings consider players drafted, whether or not they signed with the organization. So the Angels get credit for selecting Buster Posey in the 50th round in 2005 and Matt Harvey in the third round in 2007, even though neither signed. Then again, the Phillies got 6.2 points for Vance Worley, whom they drafted twice.
- Fourth and certainly not least, how much is the player development side involved?
But generally speaking the Phillies have not fared well in the past 10 drafts. Their top three performers based on WAR are J.A. Happ (5.6, third round pick in 2004), A.J. Griffin (4.4, 34th round in 2009, but did not sign) and Worley (3.6, 20th round in 2005 and third round in 2008).
That is something that must change.