Phillies Have Unknown Quantity in Little-Known Prospect Greg Pickett

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Mar 23, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies players take a moment to remember Dallas Green, a former manager who passed away, before the start of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins during spring training at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies players take a moment to remember Dallas Green, a former manager who passed away, before the start of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins during spring training at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies prospect Greg Pickett has done little since being drafted, but he has enough raw power at the plate to provide some intrigue.

The Phillies 2015 draft class produced two top-30 prospects in Cornelius Randolph and Scott Kingery along with other notable prospects including Bailey Falter and Luke Leftwich.

One prospect who hasn’t garnered much attention was eighth-round pick, Greg Pickett. The Phils picked him out of Legend High School in Colorado and gave him a $350,000 bonus, far above the slot value for an eighth-round pick.

Baseball America ($) had the following to say about Pickett prior to the draft:

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"“Pickett possesses some of the best raw power among high school players in this year’s draft, thanks to a 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and a left-handed stroke that allows him to drive the ball with good loft. He’s selective at the plate and uses the whole field to hit, but some scouts commented that his raw power doesn’t always come out in games. The bat will have to play as he doesn’t offer much value defensively.“As an outfielder, he’s limited to left field, and a move to first base is not out of the question. Pickett is a below-average runner but not a base clogger. While he’s been a regular on the showcase circuit, scouts still aren’t sure what to project from Pickett as much of his game remains raw. He’ll likely get a chance to work on some of those rough edges at Mississippi State, where he’s committed.”"

Pickett went to the Gulf Coast League but didn’t do a whole lot. He managed a meager .179/.289/.286 line and hit just one home run in 29 games. Pickett also struck out 31 times in 97 plate appearances, nearly a third of the time. He then went on to miss the entire 2016 season due to injury.

Even though Pickett has done little at the professional level, the team is still confident he can become a solid hitter one day.

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Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com visited Philadelphia’s camp and talked with farm director Joe Jordan. As the two discussed potential breakout candidates, Pickett’s name was one that came up. Jordan said:

"“He [Pickett] has the chance to be a really good hitter with power. He’s hit five home runs this spring. He took a 95-mph fastball from Luke Leftwich and hit it out to dead center out. It’s legitimate power. He not a real athletic kid, he’s going to have to play first, but the swing is really good.”"

The pressure will really be on Pickett to hit if he is stuck playing first base. He hasn’t exactly done that so far in his career, but big power guys like Pickett don’t always hit out of the gate. It may take him some time to put his swing together, but Jordan and the club seem to have confidence Pickett can put the pieces together.

As Pickett enters his third professional season, the 20-year old has to start advancing up the minor-league ladder. Had Pickett played in 2016, he likely would have returned to the Gulf Coast League, and that may be where he winds up this season. However, he could certainly wind up being promoted to short-season Williamsport after starting the year in extended spring training.

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Pickett has enough raw power to knock home runs at the major-league level, but whether or not he can actually do it in games will remain to be seen.

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