After their first year in professional baseball, let’s take a look at how the Phillies 2017 draftees performed and how their future looks.
While most of the players in this year’s draft won’t help the Phillies for several years, it is still important to track their progress through their minor-leagues. With year one in the books for the 2017 draftees, let’s take a look at how the class performed in their first year in professional baseball.
Obviously we have to start off with this year’s No. 8 overall pick, outfielder Adam Haseley. He was a hitting machine at Virginia, hitting .390 this spring. He hit fairly well in short-season Williamsport with a .270/.350/.380 line in 37 games. Haseley wasn’t as impressive in Low-A Lakewood as his OPS dropped below .700. However, there wasn’t too much to fault in his first season.
Philadelphia then went with two college pitchers in the next two rounds, taking Spencer Howard from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the second and Connor Seabold from Cal State Fullerton in the third. Both started off their professional careers in Williamsport.
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Howard had two shaky outings towards the end of the season, but for the most part he was extremely dominant. He struck out 32.5 percent of opposing hitters and finished the year with a 2.73 fielding-independent pitching. Howard’s command was shaky as he walked 18 batters in 28.1 innings, but there was a lot to like from his pro debut.
Meanwhile, Seabold made just five relief appearances for the CrossCutters but was effective in limited action.
He recorded 13 strikeouts and walked just two in 10 innings. He didn’t pitch after Aug. 3, which is a little concerning.
Two other pitchers that started off their careers well were eighth-round pick Jhordany Mezquita and 10th-round pick Connor Brogdon. Mezquita had an interesting story coming into the draft as he was an international free agent but ruled ineligible because he had attended high school in Pennsylvania. The Phillies drafted him instead, and it has looked like a savvy move so far. In nine starts in the Gulf Coast League, he had a 0.72 ERA with a 25.2 strikeout rate and 2.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Meanwhile, Brogdon immediately went into the bullpen for Williamsport but did well, striking out 11.68 batters per nine innings and finishing the year with a 2.34 ERA. His 12.4 percent walk rate is concerning, but doesn’t have to be as low if he is going to be a reliever.
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Turning towards position players, fourth-round pick Jake Scheiner had an okay debut, posting a .250/.317/.377 line with four home runs. His plate discipline was an issue, walking just 6.2 percent of the time while striking out 20.8 percent of the time. He showed the ability to hit well with a strong season at Houston this year, but whether or not that hit tool can carry over remains to be seen.
Shortstops Dalton Guthrie and Nick Maton both have major-leaguers in their family as Guthrie’s father, Jeremy, pitched in the majors for 15 years while Maton’s older brother, Phil, currently pitches for the Padres.
Guthrie did not perform well in very limited action, collecting just four hits in nine games in the Gulf Coast League. Maton showed strong on-base skills in Williamsport with a .350 on-base percentage and 12.2 percent walk rate, but his batting average of .250 was sub-par for someone who won’t hit for much power.
17th-round pick Austin Listi started off strong in Williamsport, hitting four home runs with an .852 OPS in 22 games. He moved up to Lakewood and his batting average fell to .242 and his walk rate dropped to 3.1 percent in 31 games. The 23-year-old has plenty of power, hitting 28 home runs in college this season at Dallas Baptist. He showed that it can still somewhat play in the minors.
One sleeper who may be worth paying attention to is 18th-rounder Damon Jones. Baseball America said in their draft report card that Jones was Philadelphia’s best late-round pick. He struck out 38 batters in 26 innings of relief but also walked 20. BA said Jones’s command was a major issue, but he can reach 97 with his fastball and knows how to strike guys out.