Baseball America released its latest mock draft; for the Phillies, they compare their projected pick to star right fielder Bryce Harper.
As Major League Baseball owners and players continue negotiations for a potential 2020 season, another prominent headline in the league is in regards to the shortened amateur draft.
With the draft only being five rounds as opposed to the usual 40, every team’s selections matter that much more; and, according to two latest projections on Wednesday, the Phillies have been linked to an intriguing high school outfielder.
First it was Keith Law, and next Baseball America. The named potential 15th overall pick draftee? Austin Hendrick of West Allegheny High School in Oakdale, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh).
Listed as 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Hendrick has been compared to Phillies star right fielder Bryce Harper, Baseball America notes, in terms of his bat speed and the “violence with which he plays the game.”
The projection further says that Hendrick’s upside should have him being selected earlier on, but they had him slide with more teams possibly reaching for “safer college profiles in the top 15,” adding, “Hendrick has the best impact bat left on the board here and his upside is significant.”
Law linked the Phillies to Hendrick in his first 2020 MLB Mock Draft, released Wednesday. Similar to Baseball America, he describes Hendrick has having qualities that would compare to Harper.
“Hendrick has huge exit velocities and raw power, but he’ll be 19 at the draft and didn’t get to play at all this spring, all of which seems to have cooled interest in him at the top of the draft,” Law noted. Likewise, Perfect Game describes him as having fast hands, lift, and an exit velocity of 105 miles per hour.
Baseball America’s prediction of Hendrick to the Phillies is the third significant mock draft to do so; in January, they called him the best high school hitter in the draft.
Hendrick is not the only prospect to be projected to draw the Phillies’ interest. Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline predicted OF/LHP/1B Robert Hassell out of Tennessee, while, last month, Baseball America listed pitcher Cade Cavalli out of the University of Oklahoma.
The Phillies being tied to Hendrick goes against their front office’s recent M.O. to select collegiate players. Such players are said to be more mature with both their bodies, as well as overall baseball knowledge and skillset. After all, their most recent first round picks, since 2017, fall into the category of collegiate players-turned-high-rated prospect: Adam Haseley, Alec Bohm, and Bryson Stott.
High school players are just as capable to exceed expectations, but history says the Phillies have not been successful in finding them. Only one of the last 10 such drafted players in the first round, infielder J.P. Crawford, reached the majors while debuting in red pinstripes. Outfielder, Mickey Moniak, who has yet to play at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, looks to also “defy the odds.”
Such odds would similarly be stacked against Hendrick, but if his projections and comparisons to Harper on paper turn out to be true on the diamond, it would be difficult for him to shine in red pinstripes.