Draft Day 1 Preview: Pick #3
For a team picking as high as the Phillies, it is a relatively quiet draft day. Due to the signings of Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta the Phillies do not have their 2nd and 3rd round picks. That means their day should be over by 7:30pm eastern and not have anything draft related until the second round tomorrow. The loss of the picks (and their associated slot amounts) means that the Phillies are also not really able to pull off any shenanigans with bonus manipulations. There is a chance their first pick will be over or under slot, but that won’t be to float a specific player down the draft, rather it will allow them or prevent them from being flexible on the rest of day two and greatly affect what they can do in the 11th round on Day 3 (more on that when we get to day 3).
The biggest part of the Phillies pick comes down to what happens at pick #1. Without talking about fringe scenarios, there appears to be two near consensus ways the top pick will play out, and two consensus response picks by the San Francisco Giants. If the Tigers take RHP Casey Mize at #1, the Giants take C Joey Bart. If the Tigers take Bart, the Giants take RHP Cole Winn. Winn, a HS SP, is not in play for the Phillies so we can ignore him. In both of these scenarios Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart is off the board for the Phillies.
As of right now, the least likely of these two outcomes is Bart goes #1 and Winn goes #2 and Casey Mize falls to the Phillies at #3. Mize is the near consensus #1 pick in the class, even if he isn’t a huge gap ahead of the next group. He has solid size and frame for a starting pitcher, and a plus fastball that will sit low to mid 90s and touch up to 97. He was a little less good this year than last year, posting a 3.07 ERA in 102.2 innings. However, this is a guy with 19 balls to 249 strikeouts the past two seasons. He has a featured a slider more this year, and more importantly he added a plus cutter. This is important because it makes him rely less on his best pitch, a plus plus splitter. All in all Mize is a polished starter with a history of dominance against high level competition. He doesn’t have a lot of projection left, but he could be a very fast (read 2019) moving #2 starter and would instantly give the Phillies a great 1-2 punch with Sixto Sanchez that would join an exciting MLB rotation. The knocks on Mize are that he is going to cost overslot money at #3, and he has some history of injury on top of the natural fear his splitter induces in people.
If Bart and Mize go off the board, then the choice seems to come down to Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm and Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal. Bohm is probably the best hitter in the draft with a chance at plus hit and power tools. He is a fringe average defender at third, with a frame that could force him to first base if he bulks up too much. He has improved his approach each year and has a history of hitting with wood bats. There are a lot of parallels to Rhys Hoskins, but Bohm shows better raw power than Hoskins did and has the chance to stick at third long term. Madrigal is a plus plus hitter with a great approach, but so far very limited power. He is a good defender at second, but lacks the arm strength ideal for shortstop. He is probably the safest hitter in the draft to be a major league contributor. Both should be fast moving with a 2019 ETA realistic. So far the Phillies have been linked more to Bohm, but Madrigal is in play. The Phillies have also been tangentially linked to RHP Brady Singer from Florida, but he seems more of an outside option. Singers is a fastball-slider righty with a developing changeup and funky-ish delivery. He is fairly polished, but seems more like a mid-rotation starter.
The draft starts at 7pm Eastern and the Phillies should be on the clock fairly quickly, and we should know after pick 1 the direction the draft will go for the Phillies. I rarely cross platform promote, but you can follow more draft coverage at Phillies Minor Thoughts. Jeff Israel has a collection of reports and you can follow all the draft on the Tracker and Draft Page.