Phillies: 5 UDFA signees make Baseball America’s top 20 list
By Matt Rappa
Matt Klentak says signing only UDFA pitchers “made sense”
Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak recently joined former infielder and current broadcaster Kevin Frandsen on his “Pine Tar for Breakfast” podcast. And, among the topics discussed was Klentak’s thoughts on the team’s UDFA signings, complementing their draft picks of RHP Mick Abel (round 1), infielder Casey Martin (round 3), RHP Carson Ragsdale (round 4), and outfielder Baron Radcliff (round 5).
Klentak says the team definitely has placed more of a focus on signing pitchers rather than position players during this unprecedented signing period of undrafted amateur free-agents. He says a part of that thinking just has to do with where the team has roster spots in the minor leagues.
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Klentak expressed the Phillies’ concern that they do not sign so many players that they have to release those from last year’s, or the year before, before they really get a chance to perform.
“We’re mindful that there’s an entire group of minor league players in the Phillies organization that has not had a chance to play this year and may not,” Klentak says. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to salvage some type of player development out of this summer and fall, but we don’t know that.”
Klentak mentioned there is a balance, and that the Phillies feel like “taking a shot on some pitching,” adding: “We felt like that made more sense for us, given the dynamics this year.”
“We may have another few that signed, we may not. We’re not 100 percent sure, but the fact that it was more pitching heavy, that was in fact by design.”
This year, the Phillies entered the draft under new amateur scouting director Brian Barber, formerly of the New York Yankees organization. Barber has already been praised for a job well done for his four draft picks, and the recognition continues with half of the team’s 10 undrafted free-agent signings making Baseball America’s top 20 list.