Draft Preview: Phillies build through picks
Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels all Philadelphia selections
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies certainly understand the importance of the First-Year Player Draft.
They selected Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Ryan Madson in previous Drafts, and they have been critical pieces in the team's recent success. They know they must continue to draft well to continue that success.
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft on June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live from MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, June 7, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for Rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and Rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Phillies have in store as the First-Year Player Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Phillies traded Cliff Lee in December because they said they needed to restock their farm system. The organization has taken a hit in recent years because of trades that brought them Roy Halladay, Lee, Joe Blanton and Brad Lidge. The players they take in this year's Draft won't replace a potential free agent like right fielder Jayson Werth, but they could replace a player comparable to Werth in a few years.
"We've always lived and died by taking the best player available when we select," said Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever.
Like Wolever said, the Phillies will take the best player available, regardless of position and whether that player is coming from college or high school. One player to watch is left-hander Jesse Biddle, who attends Germantown Friends in Philadelphia. The Phillies have drafted local kids before, most notably Taylor Buchholz, whom they took in the sixth round in 2000 -- and they like Biddle. Austin Wilson, a high-school outfielder from California; Scott Frazier, a high-school right-hander from California; and Taijuan Walker, a high-school right-hander from California, also interest the Phillies.
The Phillies have some outfield and right-handed pitching depth in the organization, so they would like to add some infielders, catchers and left-handed pitching. The Phillies have little catching depth after trading Travis d'Arnaud, Lou Marson and Jason Jaramillo in the past couple of years. They don't have many infield prospects, either.
The Phillies like high-ceiling players. That often means high-school talent, but they certainly are not afraid to take college players if they like them (Utley and Howard are excellent examples of that).
The Phillies selected right-hander B.J. Rosenberg in the 13th round in 2008. He finished last season with Double-A Reading, going a combined 7-3 with a 1.18 ERA and 22 saves after beginning at Class A Lakewood. He impressed the Phillies enough that they invited him to big league camp this spring in Clearwater, Fla. He has been slowed because of a back injury this season, but the Phillies remain high on him.
The Phillies selected right-hander Austin Hyatt in the 15th round in 2009. He went a combined 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA in 18 appearances (six starts) last season with Class A Williamsport and Class A Lakewood. He is 6-3 with a 4.58 ERA in 10 appearances (eight starts) this season with Class A Clearwater.
In The Show
The Phillies have a talented nucleus, and have added to that in recent seasons via free agency and trades. They have not had a player from their previous three Drafts play in the big leagues. The past two Phillies Draft picks to make the big leagues? Andrew Carpenter and Jason Donald. Carpenter was a second-round pick in 2006 and Donald was a third-round pick that same Draft. Carpenter is pitching for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while Donald is playing with the Cleveland Indians. The Phillies used Donald to help them acquire Lee last summer.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.