Last year, high school outfielder Mickey Moniak was the first overall pick of the First-Year Player Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies as “consolation” for finishing last at 63-99. Moniak was the latest addition to the prospering talent in the Phillies farm system.
This year, Major League Baseball held its annual First-Year Player Draft from June 12 to June 14 with the Phillies holding the eighth overall selection. Last year, the idea was high school talent and stash for the future. For Matt Klentak, Johnny Almaraz, and the front office this year, the draft theme was collegiate talent in hopes of a quick MLB arrival.
With all 40 rounds in the books, let’s break down (some of) the newest members of the Phillies.
Round 1, Pick 8: OF Adam Haseley (Virginia)
For the second straight year in a row, the Phillies selected an outfielder. A Jacoby Ellsbury-like outfielder, at that. The difference is, Haseley is a college bat with a quick timetable to reach “The Show”.
Haseley was always the target at number eight, Phillies director of amateur scouting, Johnny Almaraz said. At 21 years old, he fits right in with the rebuild, being meshed with Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, J.P Crawford, and the like who are (likely) to make their debuts in red pinstripes within the next couple years.
Drafted as a fielder, he was a two-way player at Virginia, having pitched to a career 2.51 ERA in 29 starts. The Phillies will focus on developing his bat, however. The Virginia outfielder is set to play center field after he signs, though he has talent to play at all three outfield spots. He has all the intangibles of a contact hitter who can also hit for some power. Almaraz “believe[s] he’s going to hit anywhere between 20 and 25 home runs,” once his full potential is unlocked.
This past year, he paced UVA with a .390 average, tallying 14 homers and 56 RBI’s. Furthermore, Haseley had 44 walks to 21 strikeouts, showing his advanced plate discipline. The future bodes well if his talent translates to the next level.
Oh yeah, need I mention that Haseley is the first college bat picked in the first round by the Phillies since… Chase Utley?
Round 2, Pick 45: RHP Spencer Howard (Cal Poly)
Howard almost quit baseball all together three years ago for volleyball, turns out, he made the right choice to stick with it.
A right-handed power pitcher, Spencer Howard quickly worked his way up draft boards in only his sophomore season at Cal Poly by solidifying himself as a starter after beginning as a relief arm.
His pitches consist of a fastball in the mid-90’s backed up by an above-average slider in the low-80’s range. He also has the ability to hurl an upper-80’s cutter and the occasional changeup. With four healthy pitches, the 6-foot-3 righty impressed and shot up to a second round selection.
The Phillies scouts believe he was the best right-hander available even after just a year of experience as a starting pitcher.
“He’s somebody that we rank really high across the country and felt that he was the top right-handed arm,” Almaraz said. “This was one of the few guys in the draft that we felt had a chance to be a front-line guy.”
Whether he ends up as a rotation guy or a bullpen piece, his numbers make one believe he has the skill set to succeed. At Cal Poly, he emerged with a 1.95 ERA in 87 2/3 innings pitched with 97 K’s.
Round 3, Pick 83: RHP Connor Seabold (Cal State Fullerton)
Three picks in, three college picks down.
Cal State Fullerton has a penchant for developing reliable starters, and it’s no different with Seabold. He joins fellow righty from the Titans, Thomas Eshelman, on the Phillies staff. With an average fastball just barely reaching the 90’s, Seabold’s talent lies in his command through each outing. The righty elevated his velocity late in the year to 94, only adding to his ceiling as a major league ballplayer. Seabold’s arsenal also consists of a plus changeup and a fringy breaking ball that, if polished, could make for a middle to end of the rotation starter.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound pitcher was originally drafted in the 19th round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2014, but he opted to head to Cal State Fullerton to improve his stock. Three years later, he’s a third round pick for the Phillies.
Through his junior campaign, Seabold has compiled a 23-15 record and a 2.91 ERA with the Titans. In his final collegiate season (provided he signs), he posted a 3.01 ERA with 11 victories in 17 starts.
Round 5, Pick 143: LHP Ethan Lindow (Locust Grove HS)
It took five rounds, but the Phils went young with their fifth pick, taking lefty Ethan Lindow, a high schooler out of Georgia. He is ranked number 318 on Baseball America’s top 500.
Lindow had a 0.97 ERA in 57.2 innings this season, walking 18 and striking out 97 in the process. His stuff is good. Provided it translates well into professional ball, the Phils may have a mainstay on their hands.
This offseason, he worked out with MLB Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, whose son played travel baseball with Lindow. There was improvement in the young left hander, jumping his fastball velocity into the 90’s and sharpening the movement on his breaking ball. Early signs show he is willing to work on his craft, and with the proper training and mentoring, Lindow could improve to star potential. The question becomes, how much are the Phillies willing to sign him for?
Lindow is committed to take his talents to Alabama-Birmingham, although being a fifth round pick, it’s unlikely the Phillies will let him go unsigned. Reports say the Phillies hope to save on their first four picks to over-slot on Lindow and lock him in. Despite being allocated at $353.4K for the 143rd pick, he may receive more.
Round 8, Pick 233: LHP Jhordany Mezquita (N/A)
A diamond in the rough? Potentially.
Mezquita is virtually an unknown to everybody who was reporting and following the draft- except for the Phillies- who knew about him since the international period. Officially without a school, the Hazleton, PA lefty could be the steal of the draft after being ruled ineligible during the international signing period for attending an American high school, albeit never playing baseball.
The 19-year-old was discovered in the Dominican Republic, unbeknownst to American scouts, never having played ball in the United States. He was a secret until Tuesday afternoon. Johnny Almaraz, said he has the stuff to be a productive major leaguer.
“We got a really good lefthanded pitcher with power stuff,” Almaraz said. “[He] throws 90-94 with an outstanding breaking ball with an ability to pitch.”
Only time will tell now if Mezquita unlocks his full potential and proves he is a stud, or a dud.
The other selections by the Phillies in the 2017 amateur draft are as follows:
Round 4, Pick 113: 3B Jake Scheiner (Houston)
Round 6, Pick 173: SS Dalton Guthrie (Florida)
Round 7, Pick 203: SS Nick Maton (Lincoln Land CC)
Round 9, Pick 263: 3B Jack Zoellner (New Mexico)
Round 10, Pick 293: RHP Connor Brogdon (Lewis-Clark State)
Round 11, Pick 323: SS Jake Holmes (Pinnacle HS)
Round 12, Pick 353: LHP David Parkinson (Ole Miss)
Round 13, Pick 383: C Colby Fitch (Louisville)
Round 14, Pick 413: LHP Zach Warren (Tennessee)
Round 15, Pick 443: RHP Alex Garcia (UCSB)
Round 16, Pick 473: LHP Kyle Dohy (Citrus College)
Round 17, Pick 503: OF Austin Listi (Dallas Baptist)
Round 18, Pick 533: LHP Damon Jones (Washington State)
Round 19, Pick 563: RHP Addison Russ (Houston Baptist)
Round 20, Pick 593: RHP Brady Schanuel (Parkland College)
Round 21, Pick 623: LHP Jakob Hernandez (Texas-Arlington)
Round 22, Pick 653: 2B Brian Mims (UNC Wilmington)
Round 23, Pick 683: LHP Shane Drohan (Cardinal Newman HS)
Round 24, Pick 713: OF Kevin Markham (UTSA)
Round 25, Pick 743: SS Jesus Azuaje (Glendale CC)
Round 26, Pick 773: 1B Quincy Nieporte (Florida State)
Round 27, Pick 803: OF Yahir Gurrola (North Florida)
Round 28, Pick 833: RHP Bill Sullivan (St. Marks HS)
Round 29, Pick 863: RHP Bailey Cummings (San Jacinto College North)
Round 30, Pick 893: 3B Matt Kroon (Central Arizona College)
Round 31, Pick 923: OF Danny Mayer (University of the Pacific)
Round 32, Pick 953: RHP Sati Santa Cruz (Central Arizona College)
Round 33, Pick 983: RHP Benjamin Brown (Ward Melville HS)
Round 34, Pick 1013: RHP Kyle Hurt (Torrey Pines HS)
Round 35, Pick 1043: RHP Brian Morrell (Shoreham Wading River HS)
Round 36, Pick 1073: OF Joe Breaux (McLennan CC)
Round 37, Pick 1103: 2B Julien Edouard (Cardinal Roy SS)
Round 38, Pick 1133: C Landon Gray (Weatherford College)
Round 39, Pick 1163: 3B D.J Stewart (Westminster Christian Academy)
Round 40, Pick 1193: OF Paul Coumoulos (Bishop McLaughlin Catholic HS)
The Phillies focused on a specific style early on, looking for the reliable bat who can hit for a high average or the pitcher who has unbelievable command and control. In the later rounds, it was a search for the diamond in the rough in hopes of scoring large.
Perhaps the biggest unknown came in the top 10 with the selection of Mezquita. Maybe it turns out it was someone from the last rounds. The only certainty from a draft of this scale is that there is unheralded potential somewhere, and each team is hoping it’s their man.
The full breakdown of the complete Phillies draft: 11 infield, seven outfield, two catchers, 12 right handed pitchers, eight left handed pitchers.
Photo credit: @UVABaseball Twitter (https://twitter.com/UVABaseball/status/874416137441816578/photo/1)