Philadelphia Phillies Should Select a Position Player In MLB Draft


Who will the Phillies select in 2015 MLB Draft this evening?

This draft is unique because there is no consensus number one pick, which causes issues on draft boards. The Arizona Diamondbacks have the number one pick in the draft, so they could shake things up right off the bat. As everyone should know, the Phillies are not a great team, and won’t be contending for the next few years. That means that each and every draft is that much more important. The Phillies cannot afford to miss, but there should be some confidence here. Despite being ripped time and time again, Ruben Amaro and the Phillies have selected two very good prospects in the past two years. J.P Crawford was selected in 2013 and is one of the top prospects in baseball, and Aaron Nola continues to dazzle in his first full minor league season. There is no doubt the Phillies need to hit another first-round home run tonight.

Of course, prospects are a wild-card. There is no such thing as a sure thing in baseball. That is part of the fun with the MLB draft. Each year, teams miss on players that end up being perennial All-Stars. Look no further than Mike Trout, who was drafted 25th overall in 2009.

This year, the Phillies need to decide on whether or not they want to draft a pitcher in the first-round, or draft a position player. That decision could be made for them. The tenth pick has variables to it—most importantly, the nine teams drafting ahead of Philadelphia.

The Diamondbacks have reportedly talked to prospect Tyler Stephenson, who many believe is on the Phillies radar. Stephenson, who became internet-famous with his bat flip, could wind up the number one pick. There is also talk about infielders Dansby Swanson and Brendan Rodgers. Of the three, Stephenson is the only one who could fall to Philadelphia. 

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Personally, I think the Phillies need to go with a bat in the first-round. This draft is not too deep when it comes to elite pitching. Of the pitchers that I have watched, I believe Dillon Tate is the best, and most draft experts would agree. As noted in a previous column, Baseball America had Tate slipping to ten, but I don’t see that as a possibility. Tate may have so repeat-ability issues with his delivery, but he sits at 93-94 and touched 99 this season. I just can’t see eight teams passing on Tate (Houston Astros have second and fifth picks).

So if the Phillies do go with a bat, I think there are three names to watch. The first, and most obvious, is Tyler Stephenson. The Phillies have been chasing a catcher for some time now, and their project with Tommy Joseph is not going well. Stephenson has very good power, which has landed him in the top-pick conversation. The knock on him is that he isn’t great at receiving the ball as a catcher, but that is a skill that can be worked on. His arm is plus, which makes up for some of the receiving issues.

The second name would be Kevin Newman. ESPN Draft Expert, Keith Law has mentioned Newman as a possibility for the Phillies, but whether or not he is around is another question. In case you didn’t know, Kevin Newman is a shortstop from the University of Arizona. He is listed at 6-1, 180 lbs. and hit .370 this past season with two home runs, 36 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts. In his first mock draft, Law ranked Newman as the second-best prospect.

The third, and most likely pick for the Phillies is outfield, Kyle Tucker. Tucker is a power-bat from Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. There are some concerns with how Tucker drops his hands when loading to swing. Keith Law has stated that Tucker is most likely a corner outfielder because he lacks the athleticism to play center-field. Law also notes that Tucker gets good jumps and takes good routes to the baseball, which could make him a plus-defender in the outfield, and could handle right field. As long as Tucker can get his hands into the hitting zone, he should be okay at the next level.

I think the Phillies will take a bat with their first-round pick, and they should. The Philadelphia Phillies farm system lacks depth, especially in the outfield. The selection of Stephenson would make sense because the Phillies have been actively searching for a catcher. Stephenson would add pop, but there is risk associated with him. Newman is a solid prospect, but doesn’t have too much pop. As a fielder, he is very smooth, which will certainly help him. It doesn’t hurt that he has a very good eye at the plate, which is why he should have a plus hit-tool at the next level. Tucker, in my opinion, is who the Phillies end up with at ten. Obviously, Tucker could go before ten, but if he is available, I think the Phillies should select him. He is a young outfielder with a good power bat, and fits in the corner outfield positions.  Again, though, a lack of a consensus number one overall pick makes this a difficult draft to predict.

Next: Mock Draft Roundup: Who Will Phillies Select?