Phillies fifth-round pick Baron Radcliff compares to Ryan Howard
There is a lot to like about all of the Philadelphia Phillies’ four picks in the recently concluded 2020 MLB Draft. From pitchers Mick Abel and Carson Ragsdale in rounds one and four, to infielder Casey Martin in round three.
But, the club’s final, fifth-round pick selected Thursday evening might have fans most excited out of them all: outfielder Baron Radcliff out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. So much so, Radcliff is already being compared to the “Big Piece,” 2008 World Series champion first baseman Ryan Howard.
Here are some comparisons already being made between Radcliff and Howard:
1. Fifth-round pick
The low-hanging fruit here is that both were drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round. Not to mention, both were drafted at age 21, bat left-handed, and are listed on Baseball-Reference as being 6-foot-4.
Unlike Howard, however, Radcliff was previously drafted by another team. What makes it that much better, it was the Atlanta Braves. Three years ago, Radcliff’s hometown team drafted him in the 40th round out of Norcross High School in Georgia. He did not sign, however, instead embarking on a collegiate career.
Radcliff’s decision worked out, as he was drafted 35 rounds higher. Plus, a lot of power was developed along the way.
Draft analysts say Radcliff has a lot of power, but a high strikeout rate that comes with it.
In 58 games as a junior at Missouri State in 2001, Howard slugged 13 home runs and 54 RBI, but struck out 74 times across 225 at-bats. Due to the COVID pandemic, Radcliff was limited to just 58 at-bats in his junior season this year; he put together three home runs and 17 RBI while striking out 23 times.
For Radcliff and Howard a 39.7 and 32.9 percent strikeout per at-bat rate, respectively. And, a respective 5.17 and 5.78 percent home run per at-bat rate.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper is already a fan. Radcliff already was. Three years ago, the newest Phillies draft pick named Harper, then a Washington National, his favorite MLB athlete.
3. Batting Stance
A popular batting stance first noticeably used by Jim Thome in red pinstripes in the early 2000s, passed onto his successor in Ryan Howard. Now, Radcliff could bring the stance back to Citizens Bank Park this decade.
Three years ago, before Radcliff even improved his game at the collegiate level, his coach Nick Drescher said this about the slugger: “He brings confidence to the team. He steps in the (batter’s) box and everybody feels like he’s going to get a big hit.”
That has Big Piece and “Get Me to the Plate Boys” written all over it.
Radcliff is ready to get started in the Phillies’ organization, tweeting: “Thank you, Phillies, for giving me the opportunity! Can’t wait to get to work! More to prove.”
There is a long way to go, but this should get you excited to see Radcliff potentially one day launching home runs into Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park.