Results tagged ‘ draft ’

Phillies Reach Agreement with 28 Draft Picks

Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz sounded confident last week that the Phillies would sign more than their share of 2015 Draft picks.

They already have reached agreements with at least 28 of them.

Griffin (Ga.) High School shortstop Cornelius Randolph, who was selected with the 10th overall pick in the first round, tweeted this evening that he is headed to Philadelphia. (He later deleted the tweet.) Randolph is expected to take his physical Tuesday.

Second-round pick Scott Kingery, fourth-round pick Kyle Martin, seventh-round pick Luke Leftwich and 12th-round pick Skylar Hunter were some of the players in Philadelphia today. They have agreed to deals.

The Phillies have reached agreements with 13th round pick Zack Coppola ($85,000 signing bonus), 17th round pick Kenny Koplove ($75,000), 22nd round pick Sutter McLoughlin ($50,000) and 24th round pick Zach Morris ($30,000).

Penn catcher Austin Bossart, who the Phillies selected in the 14th round, has agreed to a $5,000 bonus. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.’s nephew Andrew, who was picked in the 35th round, agreed to a $1,000 bonus.

Deals could be announced as early as tomorrow, assuming those players pass their physicals.

Phillies’ Draft: Hitters Early, Pitchers Late, Analytics Throughout

Johnny Almaraz, the Philadelphia Phillies Director of Amateur Scouting, speaks during a news conference before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) Johnny Almaraz entered the 2015 Draft with a specific plan and he believes the Phillies executed it.

Almaraz, who ran his first Draft as the Phillies’ new amateur scouting director, used 13 of the organization’s first 18 selections on hitters. He then picked 10 consecutive pitchers from the 19th to the 28th round.

“There is some offensive potential in the Draft,” Almaraz said in a telephone interview Wednesday night. “We feel there are some strong hitters there that are going to have a chance to be everyday players at the Major League level. Position players are becoming a rarity. My feeling is we can find pitching down late. So I tried to go from the 19th round on down with a bunch of pitchers.”

Here is the breakdown of Almaraz’s first Draft:

  • 27 college players.
  • 13 high school players.
  • 21 position players (nine outfielders, four shortstops, three catchers, two first baseman, two third basemen, one second baseman).
  • 19 pitchers (12 right-handers, seven left-handers).

Almaraz pointed out that most of the Phillies’ selections had good statistics at whatever level they played. He said the organization’s analytics crew played a considerable role in that.

“We combined in making decisions,” he said. “The primary focus was ability, but we looked at the metrics to help us. I’m very old school, but I am a big believer in metrics, too. It’s a piece of the puzzle for me to make decisions.”

Some of the team’s high school selections on Day 3 are going to be difficult to sign, but the Phillies plan to follow them during the summer. That group includes left-hander Will Stewart (20th round), outfielder Von Watson (29th round), left-hander Nick Fanti (31st round), right-hander Jacob Stevens (33rd round) and outfielder Ben Pelletier (34th round). Almaraz said with a surplus of money they hope to pry one or two away from their college commitments.

“Even a couple of the college guys that we’re going to see during the summer leagues,” Almaraz said. “And if we feel we need to sign them we’re going to wrap them up.”

Almaraz said the Phillies already have agreements with several players in the first 10 rounds. High school outfielder Greg Pickett (eighth round) announced on Twitter he has reached agreement. Players like second baseman Scott Kingery (second round) are almost signed, too.

“We’re just reading the fine print,” Almaraz said.


Phillies’ Draft: Day 2

The Phillies took a high school shortstop and a college second baseman last night in the first two rounds of the 2015 Draft.

They remained in the middle of the infield with their first pick today.

Here is a look at the Phillies’ selections on Day 2:

Round 3: SS Luke Williams, Dana Hills (Calif.) HS
Williams (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) has committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The right-handed hitter posted a .315 batting average in 32 games and has good speed. He set the school’s career stolen bases record this year.

“I like to utilize my speed, that’s a big part of my game,” Williams told the Orange County Register in April. “Every time I’m on first, I like to try and swipe a bag.”

Round 4: 1B Kyle Martin, South Carolina
Martin earned second-team All-America honors during his senior season with the Gamecocks. He hit .350 with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs, 56 RBIs, a .455 on-base percentage and a .635 slugging percentage.

Martin (6-foot-1, 240 pounds) walked 39 times and struck out just 27 times.

The Angels selected Martin in the 20th round of the 2014 Draft, but he returned for his senior season.

Round 5: LHP Bailey Falter, Chino Hills (Calif.) HS
Falter is 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, and’s Jonathan Mayo said he throws in the mid-to-high 80 mph range, but scouts believe his velocity will build in time.

He has committed to UC-Santa Barbara.

Round 6: LHP Tyler Gilbert, Southern California
He went 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA as a junior with the Trojans, where he spent most of his time in the bullpen.

Gilbert allowed 68 hits, 21 earned runs, 25 walks and struck out 66 batters in 67 1/3 innings.

Round 7: RHP Luke Leftwich, Wofford College
Leftwich (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) is a junior with baseball bloodlines.

The Angels selected his father Phil in the second round of the 1990 Draft. He made 34 starts with the Angels from 1993-96. Leftwich’s grandfather Tom Timmermann pitched six season for the Tigers (1969-73) and Indians (1973-74).

Leftwich went 7-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) this season. He struck out 114 and walked 28 in 89 innings.

Round 8 (234th pick): OF Greg Pickett, Legend (Colo.) HS
Pickett is listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He has power from the left side of the plate.

He hit .420 this season. He has committed to Mississippi State.

Round 9 (264th pick): CF Mark Laird, Louisiana State
He has good speed, but lacks power.

Laird (6-foot-2, 173 pounds) played the corners in college, but the Phillies see him as a center fielder. He has hit .323 with nine doubles, one triple, one home run, 23 RBIs, a .379 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage. He stole 23 bases in 29 attempts.

Round 10 (294th pick): 3B Josh Tobias, Florida
Tobias hit .373 with 14 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 41 RBIs, a .557 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage as a senior.

He is listed at 5-foot-9, 205 pounds.

The Draft concludes tomorrow, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on beginning at noon ET.

Almaraz Hopes to Change Draft Fortunes

crawfordPhillies president Pat Gillick said something interesting in Spring Training about new amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz.

He said Almaraz likes players.

“People might not understand that,” Gillick said, “but sometimes you look at a player and you can talk about his minuses or you can talk about his plusses. Our new scouting director, he talks about players’ plusses. He wants to concentrate on what this player can do, not on what he cannot do. So I think it’s a little bit of a different approach.”

The Phillies announced in October that Almaraz had replaced Marti Wolever, who had run the organization’s drafts for more than a decade. Almaraz gets his first crack at it next week, when Major League Baseball holds the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.

The Phillies have the 10th overall pick.

“I believe that we all know what a baseball player is,” Almaraz said today. “It’s somebody who executes the fundamentals, somebody who hits behind the runner, somebody who takes pitches, who can bunt the ball to both sides of the field. Pitchers who can throw strikes, first pitch for a strike. Baseball players who know how to play the game. We’re going after baseball players with ability. Sometimes when you get somebody who is extremely talented in any sport, and you try to teach them the game sometimes they cannot ever learn it.”

The Phillies hope that tweak in philosophy serves them well. Since the Phillies selected Cole Hamels with the 17th overall pick in the 2002 Draft, Phillies first-round selections (including supplemental picks) have a combined -1.2 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.

That group includes outfielder Greg Golson (2004, playing in Mexico), right-hander Kyle Drabek (2006, pitching in Triple-A Charlotte), infielder Adrian Cardenas (2006, retired), left-hander Joe Savery (2007, not playing), Travis d’Arnaud (2007, Mets), Anthony Hewitt (2008, Class A Frederick), Zach Collier (2008, not playing), Jesse Biddle (2010, Double-A Reading), Larry Greene (2011, retired), Shane Watson (2012, injured), Mitch Guellar (2012, injured ), J.P. Crawford (2013, Double-A Reading) and Aaron Nola (2014, Double-A Reading).

In fact, since the Phillies selected Golson in 2004, the Phillies’ five most successful draft picks have been J.A. Happ (third round in 2004, 6.8 WAR), Vance Worley (third round in 2005, 5.4 WAR), Jarred Cosart (38th round in 2008, 5.5 WAR), A.J. Griffin (34th round in 2009, 4.3 WAR) and Kyle Gibson (36th round in 2006, 3.4 WAR).

Griffin and Gibson never signed with the Phillies. They reentered the draft at a later date.

The Phillies will be looking for the best player available at No. 10, which only makes sense. While they certainly could use a hitter, they cannot afford to be picky. They have numerous holes to fill.

“I know we are going to get a good player at 10,” Almaraz said.

And what would make his first draft a successful one?

“My definition of a successful draft is getting somebody in the first, second and third round who are going to impact the major league level four to five years from now or sooner,” he said.

Phillies Love College

belushiThe Phillies are wild for college baseball players this year.

They have said it is a coincidence, but through the 25th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft they have selected 24 college players (96 percent). That is way above the average for the Phillies over the previous 10 drafts. Here is a look at those drafts with information provided by Baseball Reference:

  • 2004: 32 of 50 players drafted were four-year, junior or community college players (64 percent)
  • 2005: 27 of 49 (55.1 percent)
  • 2006: 30 of 51 (58.8 percent)
  • 2007: 26 of 52 (50 percent)
  • 2008: 26 of 53 (49.1 percent)
  • 2009: 30 of 49 (61.2 percent)
  • 2010: 35 of 50 (70 percent)
  • 2011: 27 of 51 (52.9 percent)
  • 2012: 21 of 42 (50 percent)
  • 2013: 26 of 41 (63.4 percent)

College players represented 280 of 488 (57.4 percent) of Phillies draft picks over the previous 10 years.

Last 10 Drafts Haven’t Delivered for Phillies

Darin RufThe 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.