Phillies: History on their side with the 15th overall pick

Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Going into the MLB Draft the Phillies have a strong history with the 15th pick

Drafting in the middle of the first round of any draft is never ideal for a team, let alone of the Phillies. Drafting with the 15th overall pick means they weren’t good enough to make the playoffs and have a late round pick or be so terrible that they get a great draft pick.

But the 15th overall pick plays a significant role in the history of Phillies baseball, despite it only being used once in the team’s history.

With the 15th pick in the 2000 MLB Draft the Phillies selected second baseman Chase Utley out of UCLA.

Of course, Utley would go on to have one of the greatest careers in Phillies history and finish as a borderline Hall of Fame candidate with a 64.4 WAR, 1,885 hits, 259 home runs, and six All-Star games.

It took Utley about three years to reach the big leagues but the impact he had in Philadelphia during his 13 year reign that made him the greatest second baseman in franchise history is incalculable.

Phillies come out on top in the history of the 15th overall pick

Utley’s 64.4 WAR is the best among all players drafted 15th overall, but he has excellent company among players taken with that pick. The Red Sox took Hall of Famer Jim Rice with that pick in 1971 and the Blue Jays got an ace in Chris Carpenter in 1993.

Scott Kazmir, Stephen Drew, and Devin Mesoraco also had solid careers after being taken with that same pick.

The last four players taken 15 overall are all still on their way to the big leagues, two of them from high school and the other two from college.

Which direction should the Phillies go in the 2020 MLB Draft?

Until recently there wasn’t much of a consensus on which direction Philadelphia would go in the 2020 MLB Draft. High school catcher Tyler Soderstrom was the pick for both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America (subscription required) in their most recent drafts after each had different players going to Philadelphia.

During his junior year playing in California Soderstrom hit a ridiculous .450 with 12 doubles and four home runs in just 28 games. The majority of his senior season was lost due to the pandemic.

Other players mocked to the Phillies have been Cade Cavalli, Robert Hassell, Austin Hendrick, and Central Bucks East High School pitcher Nick Bitsko.