The latest Phillies news comes from an early MLB Mock Draft
There’s not much Phillies news going around with baseball still out of commission, but a new mock draft is breaking down who the Phillies could take in the 2020 MLB Draft.
MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo, one of the best draft and prospect experts in the business, released an early MLB Mock Draft looking at the 29 first round picks, which excludes the Astros.
With the 15th overall pick, Mayo is projecting the Phillies to take Robert Hassell an outfielder from Independence High School in Tennessee.
According to Baseball-Reference, there has never been a professional baseball player who came out of Independence High School in Tennessee.
Here’s what Mayo had to say about the wiry lefty Hassell going to Philadelphia:
"Many see Hassell as the best pure high school hitter in the class and he could come into play as early as the back end of the Top 10."
Going with a high school player is out of the norm for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and the new-age front office in Philadelphia. The current front office has used its first round pick on a college hitter in three straight years.
Historically, the organization has relied on high school players in the first round of the draft.
From 2001-2016 the organization used a first round pick on a high school player 15 times. Only four players from 2001 to 2015 have played at least 100 games (Aaron Nola, Travis d’Arnaud, Cole Hamels, Gavin Floyd).
In 35 at-bats in the 2019 U-18 Baseball World Cup Hassell hit .514 with an .886 slugging percentage, leading the entire tournament with 14 RBI and finishing second with 18 hits and five doubles. He also pitched in two games, striking out four of the six batters he faced and giving up only one hit.
Mayo notes that some scouts believe Hassell could develop decent power, though some believe he’ll cap out at 15 home runs a year.
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High school players can be very hard to project. They’re still growing and unless they are a once in a lifetime prospect there are more misses than hits. Philadelphia has drafted seven high school outfielders since 1965 and only one (Lonnie Smith) had a long-term career.
By drafting three a college player in three straight drafts (Adam Haseley, Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott) the Phillies have put an emphasis on finding players who can reach the big leagues quickly to help the current team win.
Drafting a high school player could mean four to six years in the minors. Mickey Moniak, the number one overall pick in 2016, just reached Double-A last season and had mild success.
A mock draft written by Baseball America (subscription required) had the Phillies going with pitcher Cade Cavalli out of the University of Oklahoma. Cavalli, who went six picks later in Mayo’s mock, could be on a fast-track to the Phillies rotation like Aaron Nola coming out of LSU.
Based on the Phillies prospect ranking on MLB Pipeline the team could use a young highly-touted outfielder. Teams typically don’t draft for need in baseball, but the Phillies could use both a left and center fielder in a couple of years if Haseley and Moniak don’t pan out.
Still, the Phillies have proven to be more inclined to take a college player and while Hassell may turn out to be a good player, the Phillies need a more immediate return on investment.