With the first round of the 2018 MLB draft coming up Monday night, the Phillies need to make their No. 3 overall pick count.
The Phillies are finally emerging from the bottom of the National League East. They have a 31-24 record heading into Saturday night’s game against the Giants. Manager Gabe Kapler has led the team to their best start since the 2011 season.
Even with the team finally making noise in the division, the rebuild is still in progress. Philadelphia still has plenty of talented prospects in the minor leagues and will add even more to the talent pool in the draft next week.
After finishing last season with a 66-96 record, the Phils own the No. 3 overall pick. Mock drafts have pointed to several players, including Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm and Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal.
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Bohm has been killing at the plate for the Shockers this year, hitting .339 with a 1.061 OPS, 16 home runs, and more walks than strikeouts in 57 games. He has an above-average hit tool and power with good plate discipline. Scouts differ on whether or not he can remain at third, but his bat should carry him to the majors either way.
While Madrigal does not possess the power potential of Bohm, he makes up for it with a superior hit tool.
He is hitting .395 this season after returning from a broken wrist. His speed makes him a threat on the basepaths, and he possesses the plate discipline to consistently get on base. Some see him as a shortstop, but he will most likely play second base in the majors. Either way, he is easily a top talent in this year’s draft.
Whoever Philadelphia takes in the first round this year, the pick they make will be an essential one to the rebuilding process. Currently, the team has the ninth-best record in the league, which would give them the No. 22 overall pick next year if the season ended now. Barring a complete and total collapse, this will be the best draft pick they will have in a long time.
This first-round pick will likely be the best chance they have of securing a high-impact talent. They forfeited their second-round pick to sign Carlos Santana, then lost their third-round pick to sign Jake Arrieta. After picking No. 3 overall Monday night, their next pick won’t come until Tuesday in the fourth round. While some good players are selected in the later rounds, the odds are much better to secure a high-quality player in the first round.
Drafting a successful first-round player this year will also lessen the blow from the previous few picks. 2015 first-round pick Cornelius Randolph is hitting just .195 with just one home run and five doubles in Reading this year. His struggles are especially concerning considering how much of a hitter’s park Reading has.
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2016 No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak has been disappointing since his first season. He struggled in Lakewood last year and did so again to start this season in Clearwater. The arrow may finally be pointing up for him as he has 12 hits in his last eight games, but his overall numbers for the year are still poor.
Last year’s first-round selection, Adam Haseley, has done better than Moniak and Randolph, but he isn’t killing it like you would hope for from a first-rounder. He has a .276/.322/.391 line in 47 games in Clearwater. Hopefully, his numbers pick up a little bit once he gets to a more hitter-friendly situation.
Getting a true top-end talent in this year’s draft would do wonders for the Phillies’ future as the rebuilding process comes to a close. Whoever their pick is this year could be a welcome addition to the team once they are fully in playoff contention.