Phillies Appear to be Looking at College Arms in Tonight’s Draft
We are just hours away from the 2019 MLB Draft, which takes place between tonight and Wednesday, June 5. The draft has somewhat snuck up on us, given the Bryce Harper signing, hot start of the Phillies, and since for the first time in a while the Phillies do not have a top pick, thanks to a middle-of-the-pack finish in 2018.
The problem with forecasting who the Phillies take is that all the way down at 14, the Phillies need to wait and see what talent falls. In recent seasons, the Phillies picked outfielder Mickey Moniak first overall in 2016, outfielder Adam Haseley eighth overall in 2017, and third baseman Alec Bohm third overall in 2018. They could decide on Moniak back in 2016, the Phillies had a general idea of the type of talent available at eight in 2017 and Bohm last season was also somewhat predictable.
But 2019 will be much tougher.
The latest mock draft on MLB.com by Jonathan Mayo has the Phillies going for a college pitcher just as you suggest. Mayo sees the Phillies taking right handed pitcher Alek Manoah out of West Virginia. Manoah is an imposing 6'7" figure, who worked himself from spot starts and the bullpen into a first round talent.
But again - which talent will fall? Mayo says the Phillies could go with lefty Jake Thompson out of Kentucky if he falls, as well as George Kirby from Elon, a righty who could be quick to the majors.
But Mayo also suggests the club could go high school:
A high school bat like Brett Baty or Gunnar Henderson could also enter the conversation. And don’t rule out a prep pitcher like Matthew Allan.
Over at The Athletic, Matt Gelb seems to think that Kirby could be the choice.
The Phillies might be aiming college pitcher, but if none of the ones they are targeting are available, they may instead try to get a high school player, even though the return is less predictable and takes longer.
When the Phillies drafted Aaron Nola they were looking for a college arm that could rise to the major leagues quickly. Nola was drafted in June of 2014 and in the majors by July 2015. That one worked out pretty well.
Here is some video of the three potential college starters.
Alek Menoah, via Fangraphs:
Read about Menoah on The Last Word on Baseball.
Zach Thompson, via 2080 Baseball
Read about Thompson on The Third Man In.
George Kirby, via Perfect Game Baseball:
Read about Kirby on the Rockland/West Chester Journal News.