Thoughts on Cornelius Randolph and Second Round Pick Scott Kingery
As Bill reported earlier, The Phillies grabbed Georgia HS bat Cornelius Randolph with the tenth overall selection in the 2015 draft on Monday night. Randolph played short in high school, but like many high school shortstops, he doesn’t project to stay there in the pros, and Johnny Almaraz has already stated the club will force him off the infield in his pro debut, likely at Williamsport in the rookie level New York Penn League. That’s a fairly aggressive assignment for a high school kid, and it speaks to his hit tool being one of the strongest among prep players in this year’s draft. The club obviously feels he’ll handle himself at the plate while he works on ramping up his defense in left field.
My personal thoughts on the pick are that versus the alternatives left on the board, Randolph was a pretty good one. Rumors had the club in on Tyler Stephenson, but prep catchers are a bigger risk than other prep bats, as the defensive threshold is so high and the rigors of the position so great. I’m not sure who else I would have picked in Randolph’s place, other than a wildcard like Brady Aiken, who fell to #17, so #10 would have been a little bit of a stretch.
What to expect from Randolph? I’ve seen a 60 on his hit tool, which means he should be above average with the stick overall. Add to that a fair power potential, (MLBN called it a 50), and you would hope to have a guy who manages better than average results at the plate and certainly enough bat to be an average regular, even in left. It’s hard to know what to expect from his outfield defense; he may eventually be asked to play RF, but the arm he’s be competing with at WIL this year is the one attached to the body of Jose Pujols, and nothing I’ve read suggests Randolph has close to the monster arm of Pujols.
And just how quickly can we expect Randolph to move through the system? Hard to guess, since the Phils last HS 1st rounder JP Crawford started in the Gulf Coast League and skipped Williamsport altogether as he was promoted mid-year to Low-A. As I mentioned above, this is an aggressive assignment for a high schooler, and he’ll be facing off against a huge number of college draftees and high schoolers from last year’s draft, plus some Latin American players who’ve been playing professionally for three or four years. I’ll temper expectations this season and not worry if he struggles some, but I would expect him in Lakewood to start 2016, and any time he spends this year would be a huge vote of confidence.
With the 48th overall pick, the Phils snagged 5’11” 175lb RHB Scott Kingery from U of Arizona. Kingery was the Pac-12 Player of the Year, while playing 2B for the Wildcats. He has been an outfielder as recently as last year, and Baseball America calls his speed plus-plus but knocks his base running instincts. He definitely seems like more of a hit than power type at this point, and who knows where the club will ultimately play him. Scouting minds on Twitter seem to like the pick, and with Randolph already in the fold, the trend tonight shows the Phils leaning towards real bats, which is hard to knock. We’ll see where Johnny Almaraz leads them tomorrow with the 83rd pick and beyond.