Phillies Day 2 Draft Notes

Aaron Brown CF Pepperdine- I was on Brown as a pitcher who had an above average fastball, flashed an average slider and whose changeup shpwed a little promise but some teams liked him as an outfielder and the Phillies were one of them. Brown has an athletic, strong build, some pull power and might have enough athleticism to play CF with, obviously, a plus arm. There are footwork issues with the swing and I think he may struggle to make contact. It’s a fourth OF profile for me. Maybe there’s room for more now that he’ll focus on hitting full time.

Chris Oliver RHP Arkansas- Oliver likely fell a bit because he was recently popped for a DUI. Stupid, reckless and dangerous and if he’s got issues with alcohol I hope he gets help to overcome them. Now, there’s no smooth way to transition into talking about his skill set but I kinda have to so here it goes. He was a great value at 112 overall. His fastball will run up to the mid-90s and the slider flashes plus. There’s a bit of physical projection here, too. The changeup is practically non-existent right now and the control and command are just fringe-average so there are questions about whether or not he can start. I think the athleticism is there to at least give it a shot. It’s a good pick on talent but the off-the-field bullshit makes it hard to love it unabashedly.

Rhys Hoskins 1B Sacramento State- Huge torque in the swing and plenty of strength create plus raw power for Rhys Hoskins. His front side is a little soft during contact in games while he’s more upright during BP. Staying flexible might help him be more rotational but all of that movement has his head jutting around and could impede his ability to see the ball and make contact. It’s tough to hit your way through a 1B-only profile but there’s enough power here to do it if his approach is sound. All three of the picks so far on day 2 have been big time Cape Cod League performers.

Brandon Leibrandt LHP Florida State- Surprise, surprise. Another Cape League kid. Leibrandt is very similar, mechanically, to Jesse Biddle. He sometimes doesn’t get far enough out on his front side and finishes too low and early. There’s a chance for three average pitches; fastball, curveball and changeup. It’s possible the change comes a long a little more than that. He has a backend ceiling.

Emmanuel Marrero SS Alabama State- It’s rare to find a player that’ likely to play a premium position this late but that’s what the Phillies have in Manny Marrero, the earliest draft pick in the history of Bama State. The athleticism here is incredible as Marrero makes some fantastic plays, has the range, hands and arm strength to play on the left side of the infield. Offensively, the switch-hitting Marrero is better right handed where he makes better use of his lower half. It’s a very pull-oriented wing right now and he doesn’t project to do much more than hit at the bottom of a lineup. He could be a second division regular at short.

Sam McWilliams RHP Beech High – The very projectable 6’6”, 185lb McWilliams has seen his velocity increase from the 85-87mph range as a junior to a more robust low to mid-90s heater this year. He’d have starts where we would sit 90-93 and touch 94 and others where he’d be back down in the mid to upper-80s. He’s committed to Tennessee Tech which aint exactly Vanderbilt and would be a nice, projectable, lottery ticket sign for the Phils. He’s the first high school player they selected this year.

Matt Hockenberry and Matt Shortall- Both are senior signs and I’d love to tell you more than that but it’s been a while since I’ve seen either of them. Shortall was a catcher and outfielder in high school who had a pretty bad hitch in his swing but interesting strength in the wrists. The Phils announced him as an outfielder. Hockenberry has a fringe-average fastball, a cutter, a circle change and a curveball. Of the secondaries, I liked the cutter and change the most. He throws his share of strikes.

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