How have outfielders taken in the first round by the Phillies over the last 25 years turned out?
Monday night in the 2017 MLB Draft the Phillies selected outfielder Adam Haseley out of Virginia with the eighth overall pick. This makes it two years in a row the team has selected an outfielder in the first round of the draft.
If all things go to plan, both Haseley, and last year’s first-round pick, Mickey Moniak, will help the team climb out of the cellar, and become a perennial contender once again.
Looking back over the last 25 years, the team has selected six outfielders in the first round counting Moniak and Haseley. The first was in 1992 when Chad McConnell from Creighton was selected 13th overall.
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McConnell ended up being a bust for the Phillies as he never reached higher than Double-A and was in professional baseball for only 4 seasons. Through Single-A and Double-A from 1993-1996 McConnell would have a career average of .254 with 39 home runs and 199 career RBI.
Three years later the team would draft Reggie Taylor from Newberry High School in South Carolina with the 14th pick.
Taylor, like McConnell, would not work out for the team. Taylor would be in the minors before reaching the big league club in 2000 for nine games.
2001 would be another year in which Taylor spent the majority of the year in the minors again, before being called up for five games. Those five games would be his last as a Phillie, as he would spend 2002 and 2003 with the Cincinnati Reds in the majors before winding up back in the minors in 2004 and 2005.
In his 14 games in the big leagues with the Phillies, Taylor’s career numbers would be a .056 batting average, with no home runs or RBI.
Just two years later the team would take another outfielder, however, this one would never play for the Phillies organization.
With the 2nd pick in the 1997 MLB draft, the team selected J.D. Drew out of Florida State University. Drew and his agent Scott Boras would refuse to sign with the organization as they did not like the offer the team had made him.
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In an interview with the Inquirer Drew stated:
“I don’t want to end up playing in a Phillies uniform at half my market value… Other teams came in and put the money on the table, and the Phillies’ offer is one-third or half of that. It’s hard to play for a club that shoves something down your throat to get you to play for them.” – J.D .Drew
Drew would eventually join the Independent League before being back in the MLB draft, and being drafted by the Cardinals in 1998.
He would go on to have a successful career lasting 14 years in the majors. His career numbers would include a .278 average, 242 Home runs, and 795 RBI. Drew would also finish his career with a World Series ring as a member of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox.
The next year, while the team did not draft an outfielder, the third baseman they drafted would eventually go on to become the starting left fielder on the 2008 World Series team. In the 1998 draft, the team selected third baseman Pat Burrell out of Miami with the 1st overall pick.
Burrell’s polarizing personality and antics off the field made him a fan favorite but also caused him to receive much criticism during his time in Philadelphia. While he never reached the level many had hoped for, he would help the team win the World Series in 2008, and was a Wall of Fame inductee in 2015.
After leaving the team after the 2008 season, Burrell would join the Giants, and help defeat the Phillies in the 2010 NLCS on their way to winning the 2010 World Series.
In nine seasons with the team, Burrell would have a .257 average with 251 home runs and 827 RBI.
The next first-round outfielder for the team would be taken six years later. The team would draft Greg Golson out of John Connally High School in Austin, Texas with the 21st pick in the 2004 draft.
Golson would not make an impact for the Phillies, as after 4 and a half years in the minors, he would reach the big leagues in 2008 for just 6 games and have 0 hits for the team.
From 2009 until 2011 Golson would go back and forth between the major and minor league with the Rangers, Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Rockies and Braves organizations.
It would be 12 years until the Phillies would draft another outfielder in the first round. That pick would be last year’s selection, Moniak out of La Costa Canyon HS in Carlsbad, California with the first overall pick.
Moniak has shown promise so far, batting .284 in the minors in 2016 and so far in 2017 batting .266. He is currently ranked as the number 2 prospect in the Phillies organization.
What makes the MLB draft so tricky is the difficulty of projecting how a 17 or 18-year-old kid is going to develop over the next four to five years. This is evidenced by how many “can’t miss” prospects end up missing year in and year out.
It is way too early to know if Moniak will develop as expected, or if Haseley will project out to be the player the Phillies expect him to be.
One thing is for sure, Phillies fans can only sit back and hope that Moniack and Haseley have more success than a majority of the team’s previous first round draftees.