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June 12, 2016

2016 MLB Draft: What they’re saying about the Phillies draft picks

For the Phillies, the much-anticipated 2016 MLB Draft has come and gone. Matt Klentak and co. didn’t have a clear-cut prospect to take at 1-1 (speaking of which, the Nationals picked an awful good time to be bad in 2009 and 2010), so they hit the slots and took California prep outfielder Mickey Moniak.

For Moniak, who has an exquisite baseball name, these are some big shoes to fill:

Generally, the reviews (and draft grades) for the Phillies’ haul were positive. I think because there was no consensus top player, individual prospect rankings were at least somewhat devalued at the top. That wasn’t necessarily the case with everyone, though. For example, The Ringer and South Jersey’s own Michael Baumann feels the Phillies got too cute:

The lesson from Day 1 is that when everyone around you is trying to find the new market inefficiency, the real market inefficiency is to just take the best player on the board. That’s what the Brewers did, grabbing Louisville outfielder Corey Ray at no. 5, and getting, for my money, a better player than anyone picked ahead of him. I’d say the same for Oakland, who got Puk with the sixth pick. Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis was an absolute steal to the Mariners at no. 11, and Groome, the best player in the draft, lasted until the Red Sox took him with the 12th pick.

Keith Law, who is one of the most well-known voices in the baseball scouting world, offered quick-hit scouting reports on Moniak and second-round pick Kevin Gowdy (Insider Only):

Taking Moniak and presumably giving him a bonus well under slot allowed them to take Santa Barbara prep right-hander Kevin Gowdy (2) at pick 42. Gowdy is a very projectable pitcher who already sits 89-93 with a sometimes-plus breaking ball and feel for a changeup. I don't think he has a staff ace's ceiling, but I like his chances to develop into something just a little below that, especially given the projection remaining and the easy delivery.

In the MLB Draft, high school players generally are considered to have more risk than college guys, which is more common sense than anything. Aaron Nola was billed as close to a finished project two years ago, and he hasn’t done anything to dispel the original notion.

Matt Winkelman, who does a great job over at Phillies Minor Thoughts, thinks that Moniak and Gowdy are on the safe side of high school prospects. Tweaking an old Fran Fraschilla line, he believes neither player is three years away from being years away:

Moniak and Gowdy both have a lot of safety as advanced high school players with solid base tools (hit and defense in Moniak’s case and command in Gowdy’s case). I don’t know if Moniak is the top player in the draft, but I think there is a real argument that he is and the Phillies managed to get a special player and save money for later. In Gowdy the Phillies got the overslot pitcher of Moniak. Gowdy does not have the giant arm strength that some of the other prep arms have, but he has enough and some remaining projection.

Echoing those thoughts, Baseball America’s John Manuel thinks that the two SoCal natives could be quick movers up the Phillies farm system:

Moniak and righthander Kevin Gowdy aren’t overly physical, but the two Southern California prep products have a chance to join the Phillies’ rebuild fairly quickly for prep players. Moniak has a special bat and motor, according to most scouts who have seen him, while Gowdy has one of the cleanest arms in the draft in terms of ease of operation and a feel for his craft.

And then to finish up, a couple of major publications (MLB Pipeline, CBS Sports) graded the Phillies draft very highly:

The Phillies had a terrific second day of the Draft too -- the best of any team, in fact. They kicked off Friday's proceedings by selecting Nebraska prep third baseman Cole Stobbe, who can hit for power and average and is reminiscent of Trevor Story. He was the best signable position player available, and Philadelphia's $13,405,200 signing pool has room for another seven-figure bonus.


Boy, did Philadelphia import a ton of talent. They bought premium tools, athleticism, polish, and two-way ability. This is the kind of draft you're supposed to have when you pick first and have a lot of money to spend.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann