Holding the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft the Phillies need to draft pitching, pitching, and even more pitching
Coming off the NFL Draft in Philadelphia it’s time to examine the not as revered Major League Baseball Draft. Early mock drafts have projected the Phillies to take a hitter for the fourth time in five years.
Personally, I’d look for a collegiate pitcher, preferably a left-hander, with great control and an out-pitch that can sit at the top of the rotation in the near future.
A lot of the Phillies top-tier pitching prospects are in the lower-levels of the organization, ex. Franklyn Kilome, Sixto Sanchez, Thomas Eshelman, Kevin Gowdy.
One, maybe two, of those kids will make it, but how good will they be in two, three, four years?
Pitchers at the Triple-A and Major League level in the Phillies organization have potential, but one, maybe two, have top of the rotation potential.
Between Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Zach Eflin, Mark Appel, Jake Thompson, Nick Pivetta, and Ben Lively you could have three guys who take the ball every five days in Philadelphia.
You hope it’s more, but between Nola’s health, Velasquez’s addiction to strikeouts, and Appel’s fall from grace the Phillies will take three starters out of that bunch.
Getting a mature college pitcher in the first round is similar to the approach with Nola coming out of LSU. This time look for better command, a clean bill of health, and the stuff to dominate Major League lineups.
The worst thing is there may not be that guy available for the Phillies with all those attributes. Seth Romero, the one guy who fills all those holes at the University of Houston, has been suspended multiple times. One was a drug-related suspension after a photograph emerged of him holding a bong while in uniform. The talent is there for Romero but the off-field issues will damage his draft stock.
Here’s the short scouting report on Romero from Baseball America:
"Romero has improved his body and is showing a fastball at 93-96, though he doesn’t always pitch there. He also has flashed two plus offspeed offerings from the left side. Romero has posted a 2.53 ERA and a 57-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio against solid college lineups thus far."
Everything on the field sounds decent, but the multiple suspensions in college are a grave concern.
High school superstar Hunter Greene, who can hit and pitch, will more than likely be gone. Sports Illustrated ran a great story on him, which can be seen below.
You may have to sacrifice the idea of getting a collegiate lefty with control in the first round, but that’s where the Phillies should direct their scouts as the MLB Draft gears closer.